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

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

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