Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Pica or what did you just eat????!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pica is the abnormal appetite for non-food materials, such as wool, fabrics, cat litter, houseplants or licking concrete or stones.

It can arise as a behavioural problem or can be the result of an underlying medical problem such as anaemia.

Behavioural pica

Behavioural pica often is a long standing problem in healthy cats or in playful kittens. They are usually seen at a clinic for vomiting and reduced appetite due to an intestinal obstruction with odd objects, or toxic substances. Behavioural pica may also increase during times of stress (e.g. new pets and moving house).

Siamese and related breeds are particularly prone to fabric eating and this is often a chronic problem starting at a young age. It is presumed that there is a genetic component to the habit and , although incompletely understood, it is thought that the endorphin release the cat experiences makes the habit addictive. Some cases are very difficult to manage and consulting a veterinary behaviourist is highly recommended.

Pica due to medical conditions

Pica can be seen in cats with chronic anaemia or intestinal problems – they consume excessive amount of grass or plant material and consequently vomit, have diarrhoea or lose weight.

Grass/outdoor plant ingestion in cats

Grass eating is common in cats. The reasons for this is not fully understood but it is suspected that grass has some beneficial effects on the stomach and intestines, including easing nausea. Grass eating is not problematic unless the is also showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or eating a toxic plant (i.e lilies). Some owners grow grass on trays indoors for their cats to eat – this may discourage houseplant eating in indoor cats.

Empirical treatments

Steps can be taken to prevent cats from eating odd things:

  • Place wool, blankets and clothing out of reach or sight
  • Hide electrical wires or protect them with cord guards
  • Remove houseplants
  • Use non-clay based litter or placing only shredded/torn up newspaper in litter trays.

Behavioural pica can be challenging to manage; a thorough examination and consultation with a veterinarian will help rule out common causes and allow prompt treatment.


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

breathing difficult scratch blockage cat behaviour client night paralysed behaviour aggression best clinic moving panamax home visit touch signs of pain kitten play panadol kittens constipation urine skin cancer skinny vomit urinating on curtains or carpet exercise aggressive advantage holidays hunter spray vaccination blocked cat rough play desex bite cat flu skin award sneeze visit fleas urinating chlamydia flea prevention vision pica thiamine deficiency holiday inflammatory bowel disease lilly best vet cta fight activity eye ulcer scale allergy litter box corneal ulcer catoberfest open day free snakes snot when to go to vet twitching euthanasia lilies blood pressure radioactive iodine gasping hyperthyroidism poisoning ACT panleukopaenia comfortis bed fat groom cat vet hypertrophic cardiomyopathy tradesmen collapse insulin paralysis snuffles nose scabs flu joints sick cat urination hunched over itchy diet FIV hole love mince opening hours crytococcosus New Year's Eve tablet check-up prey introduce drinking more ulcer thyroid teeth heavy breathing IBD pet meat grass drinking a lot thirsty cortisone competition unwell spey permethrin worming sensitive stomach on heat feliway fireworks feline AIDS conflict head depomedrol carrier high blood pressure overweight weight loss salivation runny nose anaemia odour senses brown snake introducing painful rub kitten lame pred train dry food blood test microchip new year adipokines hyperactive fluid pills pheromone seizures biopsy hungry sore toxic diuretics information night rash water antiviral sensitive fever return home snake bite new kitten plaque poisons arthritis furball enemies xylitol aspirin mouth breathing unsociable headache house call holes cat friendly vocal restless pain relief allergy, African wild cat not eating wet litter ribbon sun sore eyes weight control dymadon echocardiography FORLS kibble asthma cat history appointment cat worms health check blue kidney disease cage whiskers mass intestine feline enteritis computer polish ulcerated nose examination cognitive dysfunction cat fight training dementia dilated pupils annual check grooming lymphoma cough paralysis tick eye infection cystitis fight eyes feline herpesvirus socialisation pet insurance cranky goodbye home blood in urine gifts breeder straining face rub ulcers lump foreign body runny eyes aerokat wool poison virus tooth abscess sudden blindness calicivirus kitten deaths hearing dental check Hill's Metabolic nails marking mental health of cats blind snuffle vaccine stare into space prednisolone AIDS bladder stones vet visit obesity cat enclosures wobbles Canberra Cat Vet behaviour change tapeworm litter physical activity new cat wet food stress snake pet panadeine heart disease senior weight blood hiding obese blindness petting cat slow roundworm hunters open night best veterinarian bump lily outdoor cat scratching stiff tumour introduction string hairball decision to euthanase bladder urinating outside litter appetite christmas rolls old Canberra tartar changed enclosure panleukopenia enteritis antibiotics cancer cat enclosure poisonous sore ears sick introductions pancreatitis pill mycoplasma birthday in season holes in teeth furballs yowling indoor cats desexing dehydration noisy breathing urine spraying cat pain killer checkup eye rigid head fits diabetes paracetamol dental sense of smell dental treatment revolution change learning body language thirst flea treatment liver jumping RSPCA massage old cat fear pain snakebite toxins attack vomiting heaing lick worms hypertension hospital plants renal disease herpesvirus food puzzles hunting photo competition poisonous plants spraying abscess,cat fight cryptococcosis hard faeces bad breath kidney kidneys strange behaviour cat containment anxiety diarrhoea off food sucking wool fabric meows a lot tick castration discount scratching post best cat clinic

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions