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Foodless Chewing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, Erik, our deardemented dog-cat, has developed an odd habit that I've been meaning to ask about here for quite a while now. He randomly starts to "chew" air. It's quite noisy, and there's no lip-licking going on. He never has anything in his mouth, nor does it seem to be related to any vomiting, or anything of the sort. Sometimes he does it while just sitting around, though I'm most conscious of him doing it while he's cuddling, or sitting on top of a human (perhaps it's because it's usually right in my ear!) It's been going on for at least a year now, not constantly, just completely out of the blue, sometimes a ton of times in a row, with days going by without any of this.

He's a former stray, guessed to be about 9, though he's lived with us for 7 years. He has a good appetite, drinks a good amount, but not too much, fairly active (well, as active as any of our cats ever are, being that they're all seniors!) He's been on different foods since this started happening, including wellness and hypo-allergenic stuff.

He's a bit of a nutcase, and has had an ever changing group of manias, from the start, which often last between a couple months to a couple of years, and then go away as suddenly as they started (like the mad licking of all human flesh, which left my skin really raw, particularly the knees that he licked whenever we were in the bathroom!, or a decision that all small rectangular box shaped objects were the devil, including paperbacks, remote controls, cordless phones etc)

Any ideas? Has my cat got Parkinsons? :P
post #2 of 7
Have you taken him to the vet to check this? He might have a tooth infection, of gingivitis? I am not sure at all, but I think something in his mouth might be bothering him...
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I've been suspecting it might be something like gingivitis. Our cats always seem to need dental work! I haven't brought him in for the chewing because he's remained otherwise in full form, including in appetite and ability to chew, and money's been rather tight(thanks to Smudge who had to spend a few days in the ICU before dying), but at his last annual checkup he was looking good, and he's just come due for his next one, so we'll be taking him in soon, as we're close to being in a financial position to deal with that (and maybe even pay for the ridiculous teeth cleaning! oof!)
post #4 of 7
I agree that it's probably a dental issue, especially considering his age. It's not when you touch him? I know some cats have that reaction when you touch their backs (like the liking the air/whatever is near when you scratch a lot of cats back). Have a look at his chompers. Is there a lot of plaque or do his gums look especially inflamed? Has he ever had a dental cleaning done? That's really the only physical issue I can think of. He sounds like a quirky boy though. May just be another of his weird issues, .
post #5 of 7
I was thinking something dental as well.
My RB kitty Roo used to do that with the licking...ouch!!
post #6 of 7
Foodless chewing is actually called teeth grinding. Very recently I had to ask my vet about it. She said the first two things they look for is dental disease and intestinal pain.
(So after an exam and blood work that ruled out the other possible causes, a dental was scheduled for my little girl.)

When I read up on teeth grinding, coming from various sources I found the following possible causes:

Dental problems
Excess stomach acid
Low calcium
Low potassium

More possible causes in this article

Please, take Erik to the vet, have your vet do a very thorough oral exam and also ask for blood work. A complete chemistry profile (not the short version) and a CBC.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. Yeah, it does sound like it's probably dental, he'll be going to the vet's soon, so we'll get proper confirmation of it!

Oh goody, Dear Demented Dog-Cat needs Dental!
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