Thursday, February 22, 2024

Why Is My Cat Eating Paper

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Irritated Gums And Other Dental Problems

Why Is This Mom Addicted To Eating Toilet Paper?!

There are other causes of irritated and painful gums that are not related to teething, so even if your cat is older and already has all of its adult teeth, it could be chewing on cardboard to enjoy some relief from pain and irritation. Look for red and bleeding gums. If your cat is off its food and drink, this can also be a sign that it is suffering pain because of dental problems.

Your Cat Is Bored Lonely Or Anxious

Many vets and cat owners believe that cats chew, eat, or tear up cardboard boxes because theyre bored, anxious or lonely.

For many pets, boredom usually leads to destructive behaviors. If your cat has nothing else to do, they may end up chewing on items that arent food such as furniture, cardboard and paper.

The same goes for when your cat is lonely or anxious. Although cats can sometimes be aloof, it is still important to spend quality time with them daily and give them the appropriate toys to play with. Having enough attention from you will reduce their chances of getting lonely and anxious.

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 theyre anemic, Plotnick says. “Ive had two cases of cats with anemia, and that was one of the signs.” And although its normal for cats to eat a little grass, eating a lot of plant material may indicate somethings missing from the cats 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? Do they 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.”

Though feline pica shows up most frequently in young cats, it can also appear in older cats.


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Your Cat May Be Bored

One reason your cat may be shredding, biting and eating paper is because she is simply bored. Maybe you have not been giving her more time lately and havent got the time to play with her. You may also be leaving her alone more than usual because of your work. Try to spend more time with your cat and provide her with entertaining cat toys to keep her preoccupied and entertained.

Why Pica Can Be Dangerous

Why does my Cat Eat Paper?

As long as a cat only sucks or chews on the offending substrate, pica in itself is not a threat to your cats health, but even as simply an obsessive compulsive disorder, it affects the quality of life of your cat. As humans who are plagued with OCD can attest, nobody chooses to indulge in that type of behavior. However, when cats actually ingest the things they suck or chew on, it can lead to life-threatening intestinal obstructions that may require emergency surgery.

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Why Do Cats Shred Toilet Paper

When a cat finds a roll of toilet paper, destruction is sure to follow. Cats will have so much fun shredding, pawing and rolling about in the remnants.

Cats unroll and play with toilet paper because it satisfies their natural hunting instincts. Roll a toilet paper across the floor and the cat will immediately hunt it. Once in a cats paws, it shreds without resistance. This mimics a cat tearing a prey animals flesh from its bones.

Shredding toilet paper is a messy, but safe, activity. Small quantities of toilet roll are soft enough to pass through the digestive tract if swallowed. You only need to put an end to your cats fun if it chews and swallows too much.

What You Can Do

Always talk with your veterinarian first to rule out serious medical causes for cat pica.

Then discuss with your vet ways to discourage your cat from eating nonfood items. The experts at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at University of California, Davis, as well as other vets and animal behaviorists, suggest the following actions:


Be patient. “Everyone wants a step one, two, three to treat behavior,” says Moon-Fanelli. But, she says, behavior is quite complex and “theres no one-size-fits-all treatment. Every cat is an individual, and every environment is somewhat different.”

Cats nibbling on teddy bears or chewing on string can look pretty cute, but the result can be anything but. Dont wait for a life threatening intestinal blockage or an underlying medical problem to come to the fore before talking to your vet about your cats unusual cravings.

Alice Moon-Fanelli, PhD, certified applied animal behaviorist, Animal Behavior Consultations, LLC, Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital, Brooklyn, Connecticut clinical assistant professor, department of clinical sciences, animal behavior, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, Dip. ACVIM, veterinary internist, feline specialist, Manhattan Cat Specialists.

Nicholas H. Dodman, section head and program director, animal behavior, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, author The Cat Who Cried for Help.

ASPCA, 17 Poisonous Plants.

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Ask The Shelter: My Cat Keeps Eating Paper Is Something Wrong

Q: My cat is 14 years old and has started eating newspaper and/or tissue paper. We have to put them away or in recycling as soon as we are done or we find them the next day with parts missing. Is that a sign of something wrong? Also she does not drink more than 8 oz. of water daily , but seems to urinate a lot more. We have been to the vet and she is not losing weight, eating habits havent changed, her coat is nice. Is this just normal for an older cat? I had a diabetic cat for years and know the symptoms and other than the peeing she has none of the classic symptoms. The vet mentioned maybe thyroid but I did not follow up with this, due to her not really having many of the symptoms. Our vet said the water should be one ounce of water per one pound of body weight. Is that too much? Any ideas? Should we try something?

What Can I Give My Cat For Pain After Surgery

Why Does My Dog Eat Shoes and Underwear? – Ask Dr. Andy

Determining your cats pain-management plan before surgery will help decrease stress for you and your cat.

Before and during the procedure, your primary care veterinarian will be giving your cat different combinations of medications to ensure they are pain-free and safe through surgery.

Typically, cats receive two types of pain medications at the time of surgery. The first is an opioid to help control acute pain from the procedure. The second medication is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

After surgery, your veterinarian will go over the multimodal approach to pain management for your cat, whether youve already discussed it before the surgery or not. Pain management is an essential part of surgery aftercare. Managing your cats pain will not only help them feel better, but it can positively influence their recovery. Cats that are pain-free are more likely to start feeling like themselves.

The opioid pain medication used during surgery may be prescribed for a few days after surgery depending on each individual procedure and patient. Some veterinarians may also recommend a slow-release opioid which can last up to three days.

In some cases, anti-anxiety medications may also be dispensed to keep your cat calm during the recovery period. Its important to realize that sedatives are not a substitute for pain medication, and using a sedative alone will not be adequate to control pain.

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Your Cat Has A Dental Issue

If your cat chews on cardboard or paper outside of the teething age, your cat could have a dental issue.

Some cats develop dental problems as young as the age of 4. The most common dental problems are periodontitis, tooth resorption, and gingivitis. To soothe their gums from any pain caused by these dental issues, cats often look for something to chew on.

To avoid dental diseases, it is best to make sure your cat has proper toys to chew on and that your regularly brush your cats teeth. You should also have your vet check their teeth at their annual checkup, and some cats may need a professional dental cleaning from time to time as well.

Here are some common signs your cat may have a dental disease

  • Visible tartar and/or tooth discoloration
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Pawing at the teeth or mouth

Additionally, it is also a good idea to regularly check inside your cats mouth to make sure nothing strange is going on it there. When you look inside their mouth, you are making sure their gums are their normal color and arent swollen, that there isnt any bleeding, and that there are no missing or chipped teeth.

How To Get Your Cat To Stop Eating Plastic

If your kitty is already exhibiting pica, the first thing to do is take him to the veterinarian. Discuss your kitty’s diet and bowel movements with your veterinarian, and be sure to bring up any other signs that would be considered out of the norm some examples are vomiting or coughing. Your veterinarian will do a fecal test and a physical examination. She may also recommend lab work in order to get a clearer diagnosis.

If your veterinarian says your kitty is otherwise healthy, try the tips below to reduce pica. If these tips and the trip to the veterinarian don’t help, ask for a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. You can find one from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

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She May Be Stressed Or Anxious

Your cat may be eating paper and other inedible things because she is stressed. This may be due to sudden changes at home such as a house remodeling or a new pet or family member addition. Your kitty may be eating things as an outlet for her stress and anxiety.

To avoid this, spend more time with your cat and see to it that her essential resources such as the litter box and sleeping quarters are well-maintained.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Getting Hold Of Your Toilet Paper

Why does my Cat Eat Paper?
  • Use a toilet paper guard.
  • Make sure your bathroom door is always closed.
  • Reshape the toilet roll to make it more square than round.
  • Install the toilet paper holder vertically and not horizontally, so that the toilet paper is less accessible.
  • Provide interactive playtime to keep your cat busy.
  • Always provide food puzzle toys or prey-mimicking toys to preoccupy your cat.
  • Hide kibble around your home.

However, these tricks may not always work with all cats. Some felines are smart enough to know how to gain access to the bathroom.

You can also redirect your cats attention to keep her mind off the toilet paper. Redirection is best done during kittenhood. It is a positive and effective way to distract cats from destructive behavior while reinforcing good behavior.

Consuming toilet paper is an undesirable behavior, and you should not use the remnants of your toilet paper after your cat has chewed it. It may contain contaminated cat saliva or fur.

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When Is It A Problem

If a cat is doing some light sucking or nursing on fuzzy items like blankets or stuffed animals, its not usually a problem. This behavior is actually fairly common.

Its also somewhat common for cats to chew on plastic bags that can contain gelatin. A cat may occasionally chew on grass without issues as well, so long as that grass hasnt been treated with fertilizers or weed killers.

The problem starts to arise when cats begin ingesting nonfood items or chewing dangerous objects.

When a cat starts to swallow wool, plastic, or any indigestible material, an intestinal blockage can occur. Blockages can cause a lot of problems and can even be deadly if they arent treated.

Cats who eat grass may progress to eating outdoor plants, which can have weed killers or pesticides on them.

If your cat starts chewing your houseplants, make sure you are aware of which plants are poisonous to cats. Daffodils, azaleas, geraniums, and tomato plants are all toxic to cats, as well as many other plant varieties.

If your cat is chewing on plastic, be aware that electrical cords can present a risk, both for intestinal obstruction and electric shock. Rubber bands, food containers, and any other object thats easy to chew and tear apart may also present a choking hazard in addition to blockages in the digestive tract.

Why Does My Cat Chew On Plastic Bags

Your cat sees a plastic bag and thinks, Oh, look, a treat! Likewise, your cat may chew on bags and other, harder plastic objects, such as straws and milk jug rings, to alleviate anxiety caused by environmental or medical stressors. These can be anything from moving to a new home, a new pet or a new baby in the house, or even illness and aging.

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Are There Any Other Pica Problems That May Affect My Cat

Cats may consume other abnormal materials apart from wool and other fabrics in behaviour that has no link with the habit that is common in the Oriental breeds. They will not use the same shearing action associated with wool-eating, so it is simple to distinguish one form of pica from another.

Unusual substances can be eaten or licked as a result of specific cravings associated with diseases, such as hyperthyroidism , cancer, lead poisoning or feline infectious peritonitis. Cats with severe burdens of intestinal parasites or with chronic deficiencies in their diet may also consume non-nutritious material. Most cats eating these substances for medical reasons will also exhibit other behaviours that indicates they are unwell.

The Causes Of Feline Pica


There are several factors that contribute to feline pica.

Environmental Conditions Is your cat lonely or bored? Your cat may be seeking attention especially if there have been changes to her environment. She may develop pica because she lacks stimulation or is stressed by big changes.

Nutritional Deficiencies Cats who arent getting adequate nutrients from their diet might resort to eating items such as plants or kitty litter. Pica may also develop if your cat isnt getting enough fiber in her diet. Remember: cats are carnivores, so make sure their diets are balanced so they dont try to find the nutrients on their own.

Medical Conditions Underlying medical problems can lead to feline pica. These include feline immunodeficiency virus , hyperthyroidism, feline leukemia virus , brain tumors, dental disease, parasites, and diabetes.

Genetics Certain breeds, such as Oriental breeds, are more prone to developing pica.

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When Cravings Become A Problem

If a cat simply sucks on wool or other soft and fuzzy items, thats usually not a problem, say the experts.

And although nibbling on a bit of paper or occasionally chewing on a plastic bag — some of which contain gelatin, which cats can sense — could simply be a harmless little quirk, “Its hard to know,” Plotnick says. “If your cat is eating something odd, it should first be seen by a vet.”

Not every cat will progress from sucking wool to eating rubber bands, but some do. Moon-Fanelli says, “It is a concern” once they start ingesting inedible materials. Thats because indigestible items could lead to intestinal blockages, which. Moon-Fanelli says, could be extremely costly and even deadly.

What about grass? While many people think cats eat grass to stimulate vomiting and relieve hairballs, for some cats, grass-eating may eventually progress to chewing on houseplants. This habit can be dangerous because many houseplants, such as lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, and English ivy, are poisonous to cats or can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Why Is My Cat Purring After Surgery

Purring is a natural response to certain stimuli in cats. For many cat owners, this is a sign of comfort and pleasure. But you may not know that scientific research has shown that cats not only purr during times of contentment and happiness, but also during times of discomfort, pain, fear, and distress.

Purring can be a defense mechanism to help cats stay calm in stressful situations such as trips to the veterinarian office or even during recovery. Purring is a method of nonverbal communication but also a way to self-sooth and manage pain.

If your cats behavior has changed and you notice purring with other signs of discomfort, such as hiding, not eating, or not playing, speak with your veterinarian to discuss a multimodal pain-management plan and to rule out any other serious underlying conditions.

If you are able to rule out all medical issues, it is possible that stress or anxiety may be causing this response. Decreasing stress during the recovery period can help. Set up a quiet, dimly lit room as a safe space for your cat during recovery. Make sure this is a low-traffic area, and if possible, keep out other pets or distractions.

Give your cat exclusive access to her own clean, fresh water bowl, food dish, and a litter box with low sides to help decrease stress .

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