Unusual cat cravings

Discussion in 'Health & Nutrition' started by Trellum, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Trellum

    Trellum Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2013
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    Understanding odd food behavior and how to conquer strange cat cravings.
    By Wendy C. Fries
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S

    Some cat cravings are easy to understand: Cream, catnip, mice.

    But plastic bags, houseplants, wool, paper, rubber bands? Why would a cat eat those?

    Strange Things Cats Eat
    The urge to eat nonfood items -- called pica -- can be pretty common in cats.

    Many cats will nurse on wool, says Arnold Plotnick, DVM, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York. Oriental cats "are predisposed to that," he says.

    That habit also may appear in cats that were weaned too early. The younger a cat is weaned, the stronger its drive to nurse and the more likely the cat is to suck on wool -- or its owner’s arms, earlobes, or hair. Although some cats may only suck on such fuzzy items as wool, fleece, and stuffed animals, others progress to eating these fabrics.

    And some cats move on to eating stranger items such as shoelaces, paper, plastic goods like grocery bags and shower curtains, and even electrical cords, says Nicholas H. Dodman, section head and program director of Animal Behavior at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

    What Causes Unusual Cravings?

    "I wish I knew the answer to that one," Plotnick says. Cat pica may be caused by many things, including:

    • Dietary deficiencies: Some cats will eat their cat litter if they’re anemic, Plotnick says. "I’ve had two cases of cats with anemia, and that was one of the signs." And although it’s normal for cats to eat a little grass, 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, says Alice Moon-Fanelli, PhD, CAAB, a certified applied animal behaviorist researching wool sucking at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
    • Environmental factors: Is the cat bored or seeking attention? Does he need more mental or physical stimulation? "Some cats require more environmental stimulation than others," Moon-Fanelli says.
    • Compulsive disorder: Once other possibilities are ruled out, Moon-Fanelli says, "we start to investigate whether the behavior may be a compulsive disorder. We think it may have a genetic basis, because we do see it occurring more frequently in certain breeds."

    Full article can be found by clicking HERE.
    Trellum, Aug 17, 2015
  2. Trellum

    Anne Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2014
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    West Indies
    Trellum, you are sure to keep us informed. I can't remain at the bottom as the class as long as you are teaching us like this. Twink brought me the odd mouse but once he realised they were not my cup of tea he probably took them elsewhere. I can't say I'd ever seen any of those other weird cravings. I guess there was much more for us to expolore.
    Anne, Aug 17, 2015
    Herman&Eddie likes this.
  3. Trellum

    Susan Brown Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2015
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    Thanks again for yet another very informative post. We are always learning something. Merle doesn't eat anything strange but he does love to chew on plastic grocery bags and straws. He has been doing that since we bought him home. I have to hide the grocery bags because I am scared he will get caught up in them. My other cat doesn't chew on anything or eat anything. He stick with his cat food and that's it.
    Susan Brown, Aug 18, 2015
  4. Trellum

    Eaow Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2015
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    Great post, this one! Now I know cutiepaws is not the only one with odd cravings. Used to think it strange that she liked to catch and eat moths but changed my mind when I caught her eating tissue paper. :)
    Eaow, Sep 4, 2015
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