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Why Does My Cat Eat Kitty Litter?

hungry tabby cat


"A cat that suddenly starts eating litter is almost always sick," says Jane Brunt, a veterinarian from Towson, Maryland.


Most often when a cat begins to eat kitty litter it is due to a health condition. The cat’s instincts drive him or her to consume the litter in hopes of compensating for or correcting the condition.


Most often, the consumption of kitty litter is a symptom of anemia. Anemia is a disease in which there is a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body.


Another indicator of anemia to look for is paleness. You can check to see if your cat is pale by looking at his or her gums. If your cat’s gums are white or bluish, rather than the healthy pink color that they should be, he or she is exhibiting paleness.


Cats that begin eating kitty litter or who show signs of paleness should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Cats with a vitamin or mineral deficiency may also begin eating cat litter. Natural clays are contained in kitty litter and are rich in minerals therefore a cat may eat litter in order to try to compensate for this lack of nutrients.


As well, cats with kidney disease or feline leukemia may eat cat litter on occasion.


Kittens on the other hand most often eat cat litter only out of curiosity. Much like a child, kittens are intrigued by their surroundings and will not hesitate to put anything in their mouth.


It is important that you do not allow your cat or kitten to eat clumping cat litter therefore it is advised not to use clumping litter until your cat is old enough to know not to eat it. If your grown cat begins eating litter you may want to replace it with non-clumping until you can fix the problem.


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