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Eating Paper?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My 3 year old neutered male tabby, Joey, has started eating paper the past couple of days! I was wrapping a gift with tissue paper when he started biting off pieces of it and running off and eating it. Then this morning I had to cover the toilet paper because he was pulling it off and eating it. I called the vet and asked if this was a sign of some illness, but they didn't think so. They said it wasn't really a problem unless he ate a lot. This can't be good--how much paper is too much? Won't it mess up his digestive system??
He is otherwise normal as far as eating and using the litter box. The only thing he has started nibbling on my face at nite while I am trying to sleep--ugh. Right now he is sleeping cuddled up to Sassy (18 year old tabby girl)
Thanks for any suggestions--I'm worried
post #2 of 10
Well, IMO a small amount won't hurt and probably pass through. But I would definately make an attempt to keep all paper away from him. I know easier said than done. Are you sure he is swallowing it or just shredding it? My cats love to get a roll of tp or papertowels and shred it. I imagine minute little pieces get swallowed. If you see him doing it, redirect him with something he really likes. That's all I can offer. Hopefully, someone will have another thought. Good luck.
post #3 of 10
My Pancho loves to shred paper, he will destroy every paper available, but would not eat it at all...
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
No, he is definitely eating it. It sticks to his mouth like peanut butter and he wiggles his tongue till he swallows it. We are closing the bathroom doors so he can't get in when we are at work to restrict it and hopefully he will forget in a few days. He has plenty of toys and 2 other cats to play with, so maybe he'll find something else to do. He has always been a vacuum cleaner, eating anything he finds on the floor, including bird food, bugs, etc. so I have to keep the house extra clean
Thanks for your responses. I was just afraid he might be sick or get sick. Joey is my cat=dog. He greets me at the door, sits by me, and sleeps with me.
post #5 of 10
I find it kind of strange that he never ate paper before and all of a sudden is. Our vet's policy is that any change in behavior merits a vet visit. That seems like a rather noticeable change in behavior!

I'm also slightly paranoid about stuff like that, because one of our little fellas started eating litter - and it was the sign of an illness. Eating litter, as it turns out, is common for cats that are anemic (though many different things can cause the anemia). Now I've never heard of a condition associated with eating paper - but if he hasn't had blood work done in a while, it may be time to consider it.
post #6 of 10
There is a condition associated with eating paper. It's called Pica. And people can get it too. I mean - a couple of my fosters will "deconstruct" cardboard boxes and eat a little of it in the process.

I would call the vet back after reading these articles and give HIM or HER a lesson in veterinary medicine!

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you Laurie and AddieBee! I know from having human children that when they start eating wierd stuff(like dirt) it means something bad and they need to see a DR.
I suspected with Joey that this might also be the case and I was confused when the vet dismissed my concern. I guess it's time to decide whether to educate my vet or find a new one.
Joey still seems fine otherwise, but again this morning was making spitwads out of the toilet paper when I was taking my shower. He does swallow the paper. Ugh...
I will print out both articles and start calling vets to ask if they have heard of pica in cats.
Update to follow...
post #8 of 10
Good. Eating anything non-food -paper, litter, licking photos, fabric. Dogs can get Pica, too. Often means there is an illness or medical problem.

And I didn't mean to say that my foster boys have Pica. There is a difference between having a need to chew and eating non-food iteims.
post #9 of 10
One of the vets we work with said that Tuxedo's eating litter didn't mean anything. When we got a second opinion, they referred us to a cat specialist - who upon hearing that Tuxie was eating litter said "He's anemic?" without having seen his file.

So yes - it can be a lack of vet education. At the very least kitty should have a full blood work-up done.
post #10 of 10
Definitely keep a eye out! I definitely have a pika cat and no matter how safe I think I am being he finds something new. Last time I found him chewing on the plastic bag that holds potatoes! Now I make sure no plastic is in reach of him.
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