Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Ingestion of Feces and Foreign Objects in Cats

Coprophagia and Pica in Cats

 

Pica is a medical issue referring to a craving for non-food items and the subsequent eating of them. Coprophagia is the eating and ingesting of feces. Generally, neither of these conditions are the result of an underlying disease, but may be the result of a mineral or vitamin deficiency. Fortunately, there are treatment options in these types of cases, or behavior modification practices that can be implemented if it is a non-threatening issue.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

You may observe your cat eating dirt, clay, rocks, soap, or other items that can endanger the animal’s health. The largest organ system that is affected by this behavior is the gastrointestinal tract, especially if foreign objects are being swallowed. You may notice that the animal is vomiting, has loose stools, or has diarrhea. There may be weakness and lethargy in the animal.

 

Causes

 

There are several possible reasons for why an animal would eat feces or other non-food items, including malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, increased appetite, or conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Parasites, too, can be another of the causes for this behavior.

 

Sometimes an animal will eat its feces if there are remaining undigested articles of food in the stool. Mothers with newborns will also commonly eat the feces of their newborns; this is a normal part of their grooming behavior. As such, puppies may also eat feces as an observation of the mother's behavior, or as part of exploration. In addition, an animal may eat feces as a response to recent punishment, to attract attention, because it desires to clean its environmental area, or because it is hiding its mistake.

 

Medical Causes:

 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Anemia
  • Increased hunger
  • Neurological disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Malnutrition
  • Thyroid disease

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will need to distinguish between medical and behavioral causes. will need to begin by giving a thorough history of your pet's health and recent activities. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. If it is not due to a medical condition, your veterinarian will need a full history on your cat, including its diet and appetite, handling practices, and information about its environment. This will assist your veterinarian in developing a proper treatment plan.

 

 

 

Related Articles

Intestinal Viral Infection (Rotavirus) in ...
The rotavirus is a double-stranded, wheel-shaped RNA virus which causes inflammation...
READ MORE
Intestinal Obstruction in Cats
Gastrointestinal obstruction refers to blockage that may occur in the stomach or...
READ MORE
Constipation (Severe) in Cats
The colon is the section of large intestine that begins at the cecum, the sac that...
READ MORE

Does your pet have an identification tag or microchip?

  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM