Is Pica Dangerous: Its Signs, Causes, and How Can I Treat My Cat
Cats have a well-developed sense of smell, so they can determine which grass is safe for them to eat, and which one is not, and it also applies to other foods. However, have you noticed that your pet is eating something that is not edible, such as filler or a plastic toy? If you notice this behavior, then it is pica syndrome in cats. There is a theory that it is most often found in certain breeds (Burmese, Siamese, etc.) and is transmitted genetically. But according to statistics, this syndrome can manifest itself in a cat of any breed. Below we will tell you what it is, what are the causes of its occurrence, possible symptoms, and how the treatment is carried out.
What Is Pica Syndrome and Is It Dangerous?
If your cat loves to lick or suck on inedible objects, then it may have pica, and knowing the meaning of this syndrome can help you avoid bad consequences. Usually, two forms are distinguished. In a mild form, the cat does not swallow objects that it licks, but in a severe form, it does, which creates a great risk for its digestive tract. Usually, pets are not indifferent to toilet filler, plants, fabrics, etc. Owners may not always find a problem on time, because the consequences may not come immediately. For example, your cat eats a toxic plant every day for a month, but your pet may become ill only now because a large percentage of toxicity has entered the body, which can disrupt intestinal function. Is pica dangerous? With a late visit to the veterinarian, treatment may not help. Therefore, try to be attentive to your cat in order to notice the symptoms immediately.
Pica Symptoms in Cats
Of course, we understand that you cannot spend all your time with your pet, so it is not always possible to catch cats while eating weird things. However, it is quite possible to notice the accompanying signs of pica, even if you see each other only in the morning and in the evening. The most common among them:
- Decreased appetite
- Mouth ulcers;
- Excessive salivation.
These symptoms are common not only in pica disorder in cats, so your veterinarian can better diagnose your pet. If you notice at least one of them, you should not look for the cause or prescribe treatment on your own, because it can do more harm than good.
What Causes Pica in Cats?
It is not so easy to establish the medical causes of pica in cats because this syndrome has not yet been fully understood. However, among the most common reasons?
- Stress, lack of communication with the owner, early weaning from the mother cat;
- The presence of worms;
- Deficiency of minerals;
- Accompanying illnesses;
- A large accumulation of hairballs in the digestive tract.
If you’re wondering: “Why does my cat eat things that aren’t food”? Look at the item that it eats, it can also help determine the cause. For example, a pet can eat filler with anemia, plastic due to psychological discomfort, etc.
How to Treat Pica in Cats?
In order to make a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian must learn about your pet’s behavior, what and how long it has eaten strange objects. It is also important to communicate any schedule changes that may affect your cat and cause stress. Then the veterinarian would conduct a diagnostic examination and take the necessary tests. Even if pica in cats was diagnosed in time, treatment depends on the underlying cause and the results of the diagnostic tests. If the veterinarian detects an underlying disease, the veterinarian would prescribe a treatment, and you would also need a creation on your part:
- Remove inedible objects from free access;
- Offer your pet a chewy toy or treat when he wants to chew on something inedible;
- Limit pet’s access to toxic plants;
- Give your pet more attention;
- Review your cat’s diet.
You may also need to consult a behaviorist veterinarian. Some pets may experience this symptom once, while others require constant treatment. Therefore, you need to be even more careful if your cat has already had this problem. Do not expect that it would be solved by itself because your delay can cost your cat’s life.
We have told you the basic information about this syndrome, which also answered many questions, but not all. Therefore, we have analyzed the queries on Google regarding Pica and will also provide answers to them below.
What Materials Do Cats Consume Most Often?
Most cats eat wool, especially oriental breeds. However, this can also apply to synthetic and natural fabrics, plastics, wood, cardboard, leather, etc.
Can Cats Have Pica at any Age?
From the first weeks of its life, a kitten can chew anything, but gradually this habit may disappear. You should not hope for it but stop this behavior right away.
What If I Can’t Help My Cat with Pica?
To achieve the most positive result, you need to immediately consult with a veterinarian, remove all inedible items that arouse your pet’s interest, and also eliminate all possible risks in the future.
Are There Any Other Pick Problems That Could Have A Negative Impact On My Cat?
Cats can consume other abnormal materials besides wool and other fabrics, and their behavior has nothing to do with the usual habits of oriental breeds. They do not use the same shearing action as when eating wool, so it is easy to distinguish one type of pike from another. Unusual substances can be eaten or licked due to special cravings associated with diseases such as thyroid swelling, cancer, poisoning, or infectious peritonitis.
Your pet’s health is in your hands. If you managed to cope with this syndrome, be sure to share your story in the comments, it may help other readers who are looking for help!
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