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Kitten eating litter

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
OK so anyone who saw my first thread knows I am looking after a small kitten who has had some health problems.

Wel overnight he has turned into a whirling dervish of fluffy terror, I am really pleased to see him so active but am getting so frustrated as he is constantly taking mouthfuls of kitty litter over the last two days - I can't even get him to eat cat food yet (still bottle feeding and some success with mushy wet food this evening).

I am using a kitten safe litter obviously but it still can't be good for him, and I don't know if this is a stupid worry but could eating the litter be putting him off proper food and/or affect his toileting?

I am seriously considering emptying out the litter and filling the tray with IAMS kibble but figure that will only lead to more complications in the future LOL!

Does anyone have any advice how to discourage this, especially as I physically can't be in the room with him 24/7. So far I have been squeezing his mouth open and removing any litter whenever I see him doing it and stopping him from going back to the tray if I am sure he does not need to void.

Thank you in advance you lovely clever people, from one heck of a frazzled kitty-slave...
post #2 of 8
Well, I wasn't up on the story, so I went and read your original thread. I'm glad I did.

One of our kitties started eating litter when he was a little over one year old. Our original vet said not to worry about it. But he became more and more lethargic. A second opinion sent us immediately to a specialist - who upon hearing the second symptom (the first symptom was being lethargic, the second symptom was eating litter), said - "His blood work indicates he's anemic, doesn't it?" We hadn't given him the file yet.

Just like eating dirt indicates PICA (often caused by iron deficiency) in humans - eating litter seems to be a keen indicator of anemia in cats. Not always - but often.

We know from the flea infestation that your little guy is very anemic. Did you speak to your vet about a mineral supplement? Our solution was a lot more complicated as it was caused by a disease - but to help, he was given a prescription for an iron supplement that a local pharmacy compounded into chicken flavor for our cat. But I know there are cat multivitamins that contain iron - maybe call the vet to ask if he should receive some sort of supplement to help boost his iron?

I know declawing is illegal there (wish it were here!!!!!!!!!!!!) - but here I believe they use shredded newspaper in the litter box instead of litter while the cat's paws are healing. It's harder to keep clean and messier to clean up.... but until his red blood cell count gets back towards normal, he will likely want to eat litter.

Your resident kitty won't be too happy. Do you have anyplace "up" you can put a litter box for your older cat to use? Do you have like a folding table (we call them card tables here) - that maybe you can set next to where a litter box usually is - and put one up on the table for your older cat that he/she should easily be able to jump up onto to use - and one on the floor with the shredded newspaper in it for your wee one?

He needs the nutrition from his food, and eating the litter will interfere with his hunger.

They make kitten safe litter because many little kitties will give it a taste - but it is most likely his anemia that is causing him to want to eat mouthfuls of it.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi,
Thank you so much for that response, it makes a lot of sense I guess as we do know he is anaemic. Becaue he only started this AFTER the vet's visit yesterday I guess it never occured for him to tell me this was something to watch for. I am currently supplementing goats milk with vitamin drops for him as he was refusing Lactol replacement milk but I will call the vet and see if this is enough or if I HAVE to go back to Lactol/find another supplement for him.

Luckily it isn't a problem with my big guy for me to replace the litter in the kittens tray as they have spearate pans in different rooms just now as I am not comfortable leaving Bateman alone with Dollarhyde yet cause he plays a bit rough sometimes.

And (putting myself at risk of looking like a total idiot here but I'm gonna do it anyways...) could his anameia explain why he is so interested in playing/biting/licking the radiator pipes sometimes? Like...I don't know...because they are iron? *ducks and covers from the scornful glares*

Once again - thanks!
post #4 of 8
It could very well be. We didn't have anything like that, so I've no experience with it. But maybe wrap them in aluminum foil or something so he can't get any paint or rust in his system. ????????????????

And he's just a wee baby, so teething isn't an issue yet (not until he's around 4 months)... but it seems there were weaning issues - so maybe get him appropriate stuff to bite and chew? When kitties are teething we recommend whole-heartedly regular drinking straws - fat ones if you can find them, and "bendy" ones even better. But they're made out of a plastic that cat's can't chew into bits too quickly - you can throw them out before they get too bad - and they seem to be a great texture for them when they're being "bitey."

If you bought a bag or box of straws and scattered them around - and used them as play things with him - you'd find out pretty quickly if he just wants to use his mouth, or if it's actually the pipes attracting him.

BTW - he's such a doll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for rescuing him!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for answering my dumb questions, I will definitely be taking you up on your tips! It will be nice if he has something small enough to chew that is NOT one of my fingers lol :P

I am SO not used to having a tiny kitty to care for, my first cat came to us as a stray at approx 2yrs and Bateman was from a foster home - we got him at around 12 weeks and his temperament was so timid and "scaredy-cat" he never really acted very kittenish poor guy

Basically I can do the feeding, bathing and snuggling but I haven't a clue about the other random (and often cute) behaviour a kitten shows!
post #6 of 8
There are no dumb questions!

Yes, you're at the point you want to discourage him chewing or suckling on you. His mom would be pushing him in the forehead away from her to discourage this behavior. But having a straw handy to let him chew is even better - redirection to something appropriate and positive reinforcement work SO much better for cats than "no."

Since he's so little and missing his mates - and mum, most likely - are you able to get the Snuggle Kitty there? http://www.lambertvetsupply.com/Snug...--pr--022UP03G
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
There are no dumb questions!

Yes, you're at the point you want to discourage him chewing or suckling on you. His mom would be pushing him in the forehead away from her to discourage this behavior. But having a straw handy to let him chew is even better - redirection to something appropriate and positive reinforcement work SO much better for cats than "no."

Since he's so little and missing his mates - and mum, most likely - are you able to get the Snuggle Kitty there? http://www.lambertvetsupply.com/Snug...--pr--022UP03G
Oh my gosh! Cutest thing ever! For now we are have been making do with a hot water bottle with a ticking clock (one of those cheap travel alarms, no idea how it got into my house!) and a furry case that I "liberated" from my mum's house. It also comes in handy for tipping up his bowl as he can't reach into it by himself but I like him to have access to something when I am not there as he has been lapping by himself a bit.

Funny you should mention pushing in the head as Bateman keeps knocking the wee guy's forehead when they are interacting, I guess it must be when Dollarhyde is annoying him! We are introducing them (as you saw in the pics) but are taking our time as Bateman has not been around other cats much - he is almost two now - and kept trying to pick Dolly up but wasn't being very careful with his teeth. Right now they are spending a couple of hours in the morning then another hour in the evening together, Bateman can't decide if he is scared or fascinated by the kitten and Dollarhyde apparently wants a piggyback!
post #8 of 8
Oh that is too cute all the way around! And the ticking clock and hot water bottle in a furry case are perfect. It's what we all used before Snuggle Kitty existed (and far cheaper! ).

But yup - Bateman's bopping Dollarhyde in the head to set boundaries, to let him know what's bugging him - this is totally normal cat-cat behavior. Our kitties all bop each other on the head now and again.

And poor Bateman is probably both scared and fascinated! He's also probably somewhat annoyed at times - and enjoying it completely at others.

We've a picture of one of our kitties when he was two with one of our foster kitties when she was probably around Dollarhyde's age. She's sitting on Shel's back - his neck, actually - with her paws around his head, one in his eye, chewing on one of his ears. Thankfully Shel was a VERY good big brother.
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