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Cat Eating Litter? Bare With Me. Its A Long Story.

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by Dave8014, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 7, 2018
    The last 2 months I had my cat were crazy. In the last 2 months I've been to the vet about 7 times. Half the times I was being paranoid and half the times not. First time I got x-rays and was determined my cat had early asthma with no medication needed and then to get second opinion. 3rd was diarrhea and tests showed no signs of any infection or worms. He had for a month and finally after changing his food to Ziwi Peak last week he has no more diarrhea. 4th and 5th times were because his gums were red but each time I was told he was teething. 6th time I found broken ceramic on the floor and was scared he had eaten it. I go get xrays and the vet found a small white piece in his intestines. He said nothing to worry about. Small part of me was happy because I knew that I wasn't going crazy like my friends and family were telling me but very upset that I had put my poor baby Michael at risk. The vet told me to come in a week for a follow up.

    So far I'm in 800 dollars. Keep in mind I have a low paying job at the moment. Thankfully I have insurance but I still had the deductible to pay. Finally comes yesterday and I go for his 3rd xray. He comes back and I was sure of myself he would tell everything past. He pulls up the xrays and asks me has your cat been eating any litter? I told him I've seen him in the beginning trying a piece off the floor but I was told that was normal since I had changed his litter. I'm using Dr Eseley respiratory clumping litter. He showed me a bunch of little pieces in his intestines. He didn't look to concerned. He told me to just change his litter and since hes pooping and peeing normal hes fine.

    Now my mind went wild when I got home because I remember reading how if a cat is eating litter he is 100 percent sick. Pica, anemia, kidney issues, leukemia etc.. I called the vet that night and asked him was there a lot of litter. Maybe hes just licking them off his paws or finds a few on the floor and licks them because my cat is always licking the floor. He said it was possible but there was a lot. I saw the x-ray and it looked like 10 small pieces in my opinion but obviously i'm not a vet. I asked him could he be sick and told him about pica and kidney disease and he said hes too young to have kidney disease and he wasn't concerned it was pica. I even thought to myself that if he ate a lot he would surely be sick right now with a blockage because its clumping litter but hes not acting abnormal he plays and poops every 24 hours. No more diarrhea. Which led me to think it wasn't litter. Maybe it was his new food. I saw in the lamb ziwi canned food there was white pieces in it like fat deposits or undissolved minerals.

    Is it possible that it could also just be PICA without be anemic? Maybe he was just bored? I did go to the vet Monday and Saturday i worked from 2 pm to 11 pm and Sunday 7 am to 2 pm so he may have been stressed. If he has been eating litter constantly I would think it would of showed up up in the previous to xrays which isn't to long from the last one.

    I asked them to email me his xrays so if you guys are interested I can post.
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi!
    I don't think eating litter is necessarily an indication of illness.

    What litter did you change to?

    His licking the floor is a bit odd...unless you have interesting food-ish things on the floor?
     

  3. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 7, 2018
    I found a litter called Pretty litter. Read great things and its perfect for someone who is paranoid. Its non clumping.
     
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  4. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi. Did you ask the vet if the particles they saw in the x-rays could be from the food you are feeding him, and describe to the vet what you described to us above? That would be my first thought.

    PICA is a condition whereby cats eat non-food items - so, no it doesn't have to be tied to anemia. With Feeby, I have to keep plastic bags away from her as she will chew on them. She will also try to eat non-fabric ribbons off of packages, if I would let her. One of my other cats, Gracie, would chew on rubber bands if she found one.

    Now, if your cat is in fact eating litter, you will have to try a bunch of different ones until you find one he won't eat - hope it is the Pretty Litter you just got, and then you won't have to try a zillion more. Are you going to be able to watch him closely enough to see if he eats it too?
     
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  5. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 7, 2018
    I will be able to watch him for this week. I never see him eating it. He jumps in the litter box does his business and leaves. I did tell the vet and he said unlikely its the food because the fat deposits would have been broken down in the stomach after it passed to the intestines. He said hes seen this type of xray before in other cats.
     
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  6. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 7, 2018
    He also said he can tell I just fed him and it was the ziwi peak I was talking about which made me wonder. The last two xrays he didnt eat
     
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  7. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    I am betting that if I took Feeby to the vet for an x-ray they might find litter in her digestive tract too! Since she started peeing on her one back paw, I have no doubt she is ingesting it when cleaning!! So, maybe that is what your guy is doing, cleaning it off his paws.
     
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  8. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    I had one who stayed close, her little place was almost a triangle of litter box, dishes and bed. She had litter in her stomach because per the vet 'she didn't walk it off her paws like most cats do'. Clearly not your guy's problem unless he's in to immediate washing.

    However, I got her wheat litter, which is safe for them to eat. She did fine with it, no trouble transitioning, no problems from having eaten it. It doesn't work as well as clay for odor, but that hardly counts as a problem when kit is eating the litter. Wheat does clump. It's pricey, but for one cat it's doable. (She was the only cat in the group that got to use that box. Everyone else staggered along on non-clumping clay because there were a lot of them and they didn't eat it for whatever reason.)

    See @Dave8014 we're still here for you.

    when I got my first dog, she got so many did she eat that thing x-rays that it was a wonder she didn't glow in the dark. This is a phase, it will pass. You will be able to relax. At least you aren't alone for it. :grouphug:
     
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  9. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Nov 7, 2018
    Thank you Kflowers! Its been just so stressful. Maybe he was just being weird and he had a bored day and ate it. With my luck and as a coincidence it showed up in the xray and drove my paranoia wild. Now of course in these days if he shows any signs of blockage I will run tot he vet. if he poops today im in a clear. Last time was yesterday at 12 pm and its 1 pm now. I would look into Pretty Litter. Its really cool. When eaten its digests normal and passes through. It also changes color. If his pee i bloody the litter turns red. If normal its yellow and if its too acidic its orange. One bag truly lasts one month for 20 dollars. The pee is absorbed and releases little to no smell. Kinda cool.
     
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  10. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    I think Pretty litter would be a good choice for both of you. It's much better than puppy pee pads and trying to decide what the color is. Though I'll tell you right now to set your mind at rest (ha-ha! as my BF from the military said) If there is blood in the urine you can see it in the clay litter. With the Pretty litter you'll catch it when it's just a teeny tiny bit, so that's to the good.

    I have a request, please say to Michael every day at least three times - deep slow breath "You make my life peaceful." Try it for a week and let me know how you feel afterward. Again, you are doing really good. The Pretty litter is a fantastic thing.
     
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  11. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dang, I went to Amazon and Chewy can couldn't find anything called Pretty Litter.
     

  12. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Kflowers, Furballsmom and Dave8014 purraised this.

  13. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    I already do that!
    I'll try that because I think I really need too haha
     
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  14. Dave8014

    Dave8014 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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  15. kmoulus

    kmoulus TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jan 15, 2016
    My 17-yo cat Speedy has started eating her litter, I think it has been going on for about a week. Last night I caught her trying to eat litter four times (!) and that made me realize her behavior has been a bit suspicious lately.

    - I remembered that I caught her eating litter about a week ago
    - she has vomited a few times lately, but that is not unusual. I figured a hairball was on its way.
    - she was constipated about three days ago but is fine now
    - this morning she vomited fluid with a little bit of litter

    I have always used clumping clay litter, this morning I switched to wheat-based litter. While she is eating, drinking, pooping and behaving normally, we're going to the vet tomorrow. Changing the litter makes her safer but I still have to figure out what's causing this behavior.

    My concern here is the underlying cause and the treatment. Speedy is almost 18, has stable CHF and is very skinny. If it's anemia or kidney failure, I don't think her heart can handle the treatment.
     
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  16. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    :vibes::crossfingers: :redheartpump:
     

  17. kmoulus

    kmoulus TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jan 15, 2016
    Update: I was very nervous because everything I read on the internet said that eating litter is almost always indicative of a serious problem. But after we exchanged a few text messages, the vet told me not to bring Speedy in. She asked is Speedy eating well besides eating her litter? Grinding her teeth? Vomiting? When I replied that she's eating, drinking and pooping normally, the doctor decided it would not be worth stressing her heart with a visit. Elderly cats get weird, in the absence of other symptoms it could just be dementia or confusion.

    New litter, no problems for the last two days!

    Although thinking back, I believe she might be grinding her teeth. It only occurred to me just now that when she eats her treats (with meds inside), she takes a really long time chewing and has begun making some weird chomping or grinding noises. Sigh, there is always a new problem with old kitties. Off to search the forums for info!
     
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  18. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Can you talk with your vet about calming products, either over the counter or vet prescribed, to help your kitty with the stress of a vet visit?
     

  19. Genesis123

    Genesis123 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 21, 2018
    Cats will, often, eat litter if they are constipated, or are, for any reason, having difficulty passing waste -- it gives them a little extra weight to their bowels. Baby kittens will, often, eat litter when they are beginning to eat solid foods and learning to use their bowels -- again, it gives a little extra weight to help pass the waste through. The reasons cats need help vary, but could be illness (but not always).

    Kmoulus -- I'm glad you switched to a wheat-based litter. I, personally, feel it's the safest litter out there, for both cats and kittens. Age could be a reason a cat needs help pushing waste though (hence, they may eat litter) -- since older cats may be a little weaker to give it the "umph" it needs. ;)

    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  20. kmoulus

    kmoulus TCS Member Young Cat

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    Jan 15, 2016
    @Genesis123 , Speedy was indeed constipated for one day. I really thought it was caused by eating clumping litter but you raise a good point, maybe I had the cause and effect backwards. She eats a very wet food and drinks tons of water (thanks to Lasix) so I don't think it's a hydration issue, maybe it is her age. At any rate, she took to the wheat litter right away and I haven't seen her eating it, so we will stick with it. And it's flushable!

    Speedy is extremely fractious and takes 100 mg gabapentin before any vet visits. As she ages, however, the effects are unpredictable. Sometimes it doesn't work at all, sometimes it kicks in too late, and sometimes it knocks her for a loop. Last fall we had to see the vet for sterile cystitis, I gave her only 50 mg and yet the sedative effect lasted 40+ hours. It was scary.

    I wouldn't mind if Speedy never took gaba again. The GP and cardiologist have agreed that she should only come in when absolutely necessary, we are skipping the well visits for now.
     
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