Ask the Vet - Eating Cat Litter
My 15-year-old female Manx has suddenly started eating some of her clay litter. Is this a sign of a mineral deficiency or some behavior associated with old age?
It is not a sign of any deficiencies. I usually associate this behavior with
- age (some senility setting in),
- liver failure (which can lead to demented behavior), or
- pain (for example, in the oral cavity caused by a bad tooth).
Many cases we see that are similar to what you have described tend to be simply behavioral changes resulting from old age.
To be on the safe side, I always recommend a good checkup to look for possible areas of pain or abnormalities. In addition, we usually run a general blood and urine screening to determine if there is evidence of a treatable disease. Your veterinarian will be able to help you figure out what is causing this behavior.