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

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

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