Unusual Cat Cravings: Why Is My Cat Eating That?
WebMD discusses odd eating behavior in cats and explains some of the reasons that might lead to unusual cravings in cats.
By Wendy C. Fries
Reviewed by Elizabeth A. Martinez, DVM
Some cat cravings are easy to understand: Cream, catnip, mice ... we get that. But plastic bags, houseplants, wool, paper, rubber bands? Why on earth would a cat eat those? We went to the experts for insights into unusual cat cravings.
Cat Cravings: Strange Things Cats Eat
The urge to eat non-food items -- called pica -- can be pretty common in cats.
Many cats will nurse on wool, says Arnold Plotnick MS, DVM, ACVIM, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York. Oriental cats “are predisposed to that.” It also may appear in cats who were weaned too early. The younger a cat is weaned, the stronger its drive to nurse, and the more likely the cat is to suck on wool -- or its owner's arms, earlobes, or hair. Although some cats may only suck on such fuzzy items as wool, fleece, and stuffed animals, others progress to actually eating these fabrics.
Other cats move on to eating stranger items still, such as shoelaces, paper, plastic goods like grocery bags and shower curtains, even electrical cords, says Nicholas H. Dodman, section head and program director of Animal Behavior at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and author of The Cat Who Cried for Help.
What Causes Unusual Cat Cravings?
“I wish I knew the answer to that one,” Plotnick says. Cat pica may be caused by many things, experts say, including:
Though feline pica shows up most frequently in young cats, it can appear in older cats as well. When that happens, says Moon-Fanelli, “my first thought is, ‘Is there an underlying medical cause, or stressful changes in the environment that would precipitate this sort of behavior?'”