Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?

Sometimes our cats, especially kittens, start eating non-food items. We have a question in our minds that “Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?”

However, if we think we are giving enough food to our cat, then why is she chewing on different items and eating non-food items and usually we increase their diet. But increasing your cat’s diet is not the solution to stop her from eating non-food items. There is a medical condition when your cat eats non-food items and if you don’t stop her on time from eating non-food items, then she can have serious medical problems.

To find out “Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?” read the article.

Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?

cat finding food
a cat in jungle hunting for food

Pica is a medical condition in which cats eat things that aren’t food. Such as wool, dirt, and plastic bags etc. Generally, pica occurs in younger cats.

Common causes of pica are nutrition deficiency, lack of enrichment, stress, anxiety, compulsive disorder and other diseases. Moreover, Cats eat and chew on platics when they have pica.


cat chewing plasctic

If your cat eats non-food items, she might have pica. In Pica, your cat will eat non-food objects around the house.

If your cat has pica, you can check it for some symptoms they’re displaying, such as lethargy, vomiting, constipation, decreased appetite, and diarrhea.

Whenever your cat has these symptoms, you can’t say your cat has pica because these symptoms can also result from lots of other medical conditions.

So, if you think your cat has pica, then take her to your vet and your vet will tell you either your cat has pica or not.

Does Pica Only Exists In Cats?

No, pica doesn’t only exist in cats, pica is a medical condition that can exist in humans, cats, and dogs. Especially pica exists in children and kittens.

Is Pica A Serious Medical Issue?

Yes, pica is a serious medical condition. At the beginning, it might not seem that pica is a big deal. But after some time, pica can lead to serious medical issues,

Pica leads to your cat’s serious medical issues when they stop eating their cat food.


cat in non food items
cat finding food in garbage

When cats have pica, they eat non-food items. Actually, pica is not only the reason that cats eat non-food items, there are some other reasons also, such as cats like to explore the world, and when cats explore the world they explore it with their mouths. When the cat is exploring, mostly they eat things that aren’t food.


Which Non-Food Items Do Cats Eat?

The following are some common non-food items which cats eat.

  1. Soil
  2. Wool, fabrics, carpet, blankets, and clothes.
  3. Plastic and plastic bottles
  4. String
  5. Cardboard
  6. Paper
  7. Brushes
  8. Garbage


Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?

If a Cat Eats Insects, That’s Also a Symptom Of Pica?

No, if a cat eats insects, it doesn’t mean the cat has pica. Eating insects or birds is not a symptom of pica.

Cats have hunting instincts and cats are natural hunters, so they eat insects. Eating insects is common and normal in cats.

How to stop cats from eating non-food items?

Try to hide non-food items from your cat.

Keep your household blankets, clothes, plastic bottles and electrical cords out of your cat’s reach. And it will remove the temptation to eat non-food items.

Moreover, play with your cat, try to make your cat busy in any activity, and stress-free your cat. These things will also stop cats from eating non-food items.

If your cat eats non-food items, take your cat to a vet and the vet will do a proper check-up of your cat and it will start the treatment.


cat eating bird

The following are some causes of pica in cats: 

1.Nutritional Deficiency 

The main and common cause of pica in cats is nutritional deficiency.

If a cat is not getting proper nutrition from the food they’re eating, then they will start eating other things as a way to supplement their diet. 

The main problem is that non-food items are not healthy for cats. and the other problem is cats are not actually getting the nutritional value they need. 

Moreover, if your cat isn’t getting enough nutrients, then you should talk to your vet about this. 

2. Lack Of Enrichment

Lack of enrichment is also a reason that your cat is eating non-food things. 

Cats eat non-food things or have pica because they’re not getting enough enrichment which they need.

If you are not giving proper time to your cat, and your cat is bored all the time, as a result, they adopt destructive behavior or they may start chewing and eating things around the house. 

But the good news is, by giving proper time to your cat, a lot of toys, and scratching posts, you can help your cat stop eating household objects or non-food objects. 

3. Stress or Anxiety

how do cats talk to eachother

When your cat is under stress or feels anxious, it may find relief by chewing and eating different items in your house. 

Do you or any of your friends have the habit of biting nails when stressed or agitated? 

4. Diseases: 

There are various health conditions that can affect and cause your cat to bite and eat plastics. Moreover, the most popular diseases are hyperthyroidism, dental issues, diabetes, and anemia.

5. Compulsive Disorder 

If a cat has compulsive disorder, the result is the cat might have pica and the cat has started eating non-food items. Sometimes, due to compulsive disorder, pica occurs. 

If your cat has compulsive disorder, you should talk to your vet about this, and take your cat to your vet for medication and other treatment options.


How To Treat Pica In Cats?

There are treatments available for pica. By those treatments, you can stop your cat from eating non-food objects. 

If your cat has pica, you can also treat pica by giving your cat a healthy diet. Your cat’s diet should contain all the nutrition that the cat needs. 

Give a lot of different toys to your cat to play with and you should also play with your cat, atleast play 20 to 30 minutes with your cat.The main key for treating pica is consistency. 


Why Do Cats Eat Things That Aren’t Food?

Remove all targeted items from your cat’s approach. It’s the easiest and simple solution. 

Give a safer thing to your cat to chew and try to divert your cat’s attention and to chew toward safer, 

 Some cats chew non-food items because they feel bored and lonely. So make a schedule and give time to your cat. Play with cat without toys you could also train your cat, you can do different activities with your cat, and you can take your cat for a walk with you. Take an indoor cat outside for a walk.

 If your cat continues eating non-food items, talk to an Animal Behaviorist. 

happy cat eating meal

NOTE: If your cat eats non-food items, has pica, nutritional deficiency, or has any medical issue. Take your cat to your vet for proper check-up and for further treatment.

If you see your cat eating non-food items or having pica, keep in mind that your vet is the only one who can treat this and who can help your cat.