Cats with Pica Condition: Strange "Eating Habits"Published June 11, 2012
Persian Kitten: Getty Images
While not extremely common, there are kitties, with Pica disorder, that seem to delight in ingesting objects which can totally mystify and frustrate their caretakers. In fact, I cannot recall how many times I have been asked about why some cats seem to be magnetically attracted to non-food items and appear to eat them with gusto.
But of all the cats with which I have shared my heart and home, the weirdest one was a Pica inflicted half-Siamese named Nemesis, whose obsession for wool nearly drove me crazy.
One night when my husband was taking a shower, without thinking, he left his expensive brand new wool bathrobe on the bed. Several minutes later I heard a blood-curdling shriek emanating from the bedroom. I dashed into the room, worried that he may have fallen; thankfully he was fine. But I fell on the floor laughing after discovering that Nemesis had chewed a gigantic hole in the back of my husband's bathrobe.
The "cupboard was bare", so to speak. My husband became unglued as he modeled his "air conditioned" bathrobe and of course he was highly concerned about our cat. Two hours later, much to our relief, Nemesis upchucked the remnants of his "bedtime snack".
The ingestion of non-food items for both cats and humans is due to a condition called Pica. The underlying cause of this disorder is not precisely understood, but it is by its very nature, extremely dangerous to a cat, since indigestible items can become lodged in the intestines and cause considerable damage.
A few common materials include:
- rubber bands
- and even children's plastic toys.
Some experts theorize that Pica may be caused by nutritional deficiencies, or even feline leukemia, or feline Aids. If your cat is dining on nonfood delicacies, it is crucial to arrange an appointment with your veterinarian.
A practical and easy first line of defense which protects your cat and your possessions is to keep these objects away from your cat and stored safely out of reach. I also had a kitty that loved to chew on my stuffed animals, so sadly I had to relegate my collection into the closet.
For more information about Pica with helpful hints how to manage this condition, visit UC Davis.
Have you lived with cats who had this disorder? Share your experiences and any suggestions that you found useful in dealing with Pica.