My cat is eating her stooIs. Is this disgusting habit related to her diet?FamilyPet
Stool eating (either their own of that of another animal) is called coprophagy. Eating non-food items is called pica. Coprophagy is much more common in dogs than cats. It generally isn’t harmful to the animal, but the owner almost always finds it unacceptable.
Cats still do get some very weird cravings, including plastic bags, houseplants, wool, paper, rubber bands and even litter.
When a cat sucks on wool or even human hair, it might have something to do with the weaning. If a kitten is taken from her mother at too young an age, it might be her way of nursing—but then it sometimes progresses to eating the wool or hair.
Other causes for strange feline cravings can be:
• Dietary deficiencies: Some cats will eat their cat litter if they’re anemic. It’s normal for cats to eat a little grass, but eating a lot of plant material may indicate something’s missing from the cat’s diet.
• Medical problems: Cat pica is also associated with feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus and it may be triggered by conditions like diabetes or brain tumors.
• Genetic predisposition: For some cats, pica appears to be in their genes.For example, wool sucking, sometimes a precursor to pica, is seen more frequently in Siamese and Birman cats.
• Environmental factors: Is the cat bored or seeking attention? Does she need additional mental or physical stimulation? Is there some kind of stress factor?
• Compulsive disorder: Once other possibilities are ruled out, it’s time to start examining this possibility.
Wool-sucking won’t necessarily progress to eating rubber bands, but you’ll want to curb this because potential dangers do lurk; for instance, grass eating could escalate to chewing on toxic plants.
Here are some things to do:
• Remove targeted items.
• Give your cat something else to chew.
• Play with your cat.
• Make appealing items unappealing.
• Get rid of dangerous plants.
• Talk to an animal behaviorist.