Is cat pica dangerous? Obviously munching on live power cords can be hazardous to a cat’s health–but the other danger is that ingested materials can get stuck in your cat’s stomach or intestine, which can obstruct the passage of food and may cut off the blood supply to organs–either scenario can be fatal.
As well, many houseplants are toxic to cats; chewing or eating these plants can have mild symptoms as well as fatality. If your cat has a history of ingesting non-food items and becomes lethargic, vomits, or displays other concerning behavior, take them to your veterinarian immediately. (See the ASPCA’s full list of plants toxic to cats.)
Treatment. Treatment is really just a matter of deterring. It’s important to determine if there is an underlying cause to your cat’s preference for eating non-food items. After your cat’s good health has been established, try these tricks to help keep your feline from getting into trouble by ingesting potentially dangerous items.
- Remember to keep no-no items like plastic, tape, clothing, blankets, houseplants and electric cords out of the reach of your cat.
- Provide alternative items to chew or eat–Food-dispensing toys, tough cat toys, or pieces of rawhide can be used to redirect your cat’s chewing behavior to more appropriate and safe items.
- For cats that snack on houseplants, fill small flowerpots with grass or catnip as an alternative. And did you know that birdfeed can be used as a safe source of plant seed?
- Provide structured play. Many cats chew on household items out of boredom. Offer interactive toys and dedicate some time each day to play with your cat.
- It may help to boost the fiber in your cat’s diet. In addition to adding more dietary fiber, high fiber foods usually contain fewer calories. Your kitty may be able to satisfy his craving to eat more while still maintaining his weight. (Talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your cat’s diet.)
Does your cat eat strange things? I recently wrote about why cats leave “gifts” and the comments were fascinating. I expected tales of small trophies–but socks from the neighbor’s house and live opossums? Wow. I bet you have great stories about your cat’s odd (or not so odd) eating habits. Leave a comment below and tell us what strange things your cat likes to eat.