or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Eating Litter is Often a sign of Anemia!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Eating Litter is Often a sign of Anemia!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
So many vets tell you not to worry when your cat eats litter, especially if the blood work shows no sign of mineral deficiency. BUT our cat suffered from severe anemia and we were referred to a feline internist specialist. The moment we mentioned litter eating, he knew right away the problem was anemia. Apparently this is NOT common knowledge among vets.

Tuxedo's blood work was normal in October, and he was near death in March. His heart was enlarged, indicating that the anemia had been slowly developing.

So IF YOUR CAT IS EATING LITTER, please take him/her FREQUENTLY to the vet to determine his/her red blood cell count! It was only a matter of five months with Tuxedo, so if we'd waited until his next annual exam, he'd have been dead. Watch for ANY changes in behavior, especially if you notice your cat is not as active as he or she was, however, by the time they're not doing much, the problem is probably already severe.

Anemia in cats can be easily treatable OR a serious potentially fatal problem - either way, the earlier the problem is caught, obviously the better.

I have since found many others that have had this problem.

So if your cat is eating litter, get him to a vet ASAP and watch those packed cell volumes closely even if there isn't a problem yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #2 of 23
Wow, I had no idea. Thank you so much for the info It is always good to know the warning signs well ahead of time so we know what to watch for.
post #3 of 23
Excellent post...just to add a bit...cats with chronic renal failure, many, will eventually develop anemia, and eating litter is one of the signs often mentioned by the members of the crf support list I belong to.
post #4 of 23
Thank you for posting this , as some of you know my "Ginger" had anemia and was eating the litter from the cat box . I also had no clue at that time , but each time she ate the litter she had to go to the vet and had to get meds and one time a blood transfution . Thanks again for posting this
post #5 of 23
Thank you for this important information!
post #6 of 23
I'm so glad you and Gary watched Tuxedo closely and made every effort to find out what was wrong. Thanks so much for sharing this Laurie!

Give Tuxedo some scritches from me!

post #7 of 23
Laurie, thank you so much for this information. I just wanted to add that if a kitten is very small and is just learning to use the litter box, they may eat the litter as part of the exploration process. In this case, the litter eating is normal. Once a kitten/cat is toilet-trained, they won't eat the litter unless, as you said, they are ill.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tania, I forgot to mention that, and that is really important to note.
post #9 of 23
OMG..Cringer eats litter sometimes!
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'd take Cringer to the vet and get bloodwork done - tell the vet you suspect anemia. If PCV, red blood cell levels, white blood cell levels, reticulocyte count, etc. are all in the "normal" range, I'd just keep a close eye on Cringer's behavior and color (at gums, paws if and nose if they're "pink" and not black). If Cringer begins to show any signs of reduced activity or those pink spots look whitish - I'd take Cringer back to the vet for a blood work-up again.

Otherwise - I'd just consider having Cringer see the vet every six months instead of once a year and monitor those levels. Eating litter isn't always a sign of anemia - but apparently most anemic cats eat litter, so it pays to be careful.
post #11 of 23
My cat was just dianosed with anemia a few weeks ago and I just caught her eating litter. My internist did not mention to look for this behavior, I wish he had because I had clumping litter until today.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Do they know the cause of the anemia? Is your kitty allowed outdoors? (Could it be a tick-borne disease?) How old is your kitty?

We kept our clumping litter. As soon as we started treating Tuxie's anemia, he stopped eating the litter.

Many vibes for your baby. hearthrob.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #13 of 23
She is only ten but she has a very aggressive untreatable cancer so they won't treat the anemia as she is not a good candidate. She was abandoned at a year old outdoors but had been indoor for eight years with me. She is allowed on the patio but there are no other pets in her life.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh I'm so sorry. hugs.gifhugs.gifhugs.gif They never determined the source of Tuxedo's anemia. It was labeled an "auto-immune disease." We had ups and downs, and he fought hard for four years, and needed treatment with steroids for a total of ... seven years. But he's doing great now, and whatever the problem was, it seems to be at bay now. cross.gif He developed the anemia when he was .... 1.5 years old. He's 10 now.

Our Lazlo, his brother, on the other hand, is fighting lymphosarcoma. The first real symptom was anemia. agree.gif Once he was diagnosed (his was a "massive" tumor in his stomach), the oncologist told us he had a 50/50 chance of going into remission with chemotherapy, but given the tumor was fused with his stomach wall, it was inoperable. We opted to try the chemo. We were very fortunate - he went into full remission after the six months. We're not sure what's up - he's experiencing a bout of inappetance right now. It's making us wonder if he's coming out of remission. sigh.gif We've been able to make him comfortable with an anti-nausea med and an appetite stimulant. And, of course, the apparent miracle drug, prednisone.

More vibes for you and your baby. vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif I'm so sorry you're facing this. It's hard dealing with a terminal illness in anyone we love - they're all family members. hearthrob.gif
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

So many vets tell you not to worry when your cat eats litter, especially if the blood work shows no sign of mineral deficiency. BUT our cat suffered from severe anemia and we were referred to a feline internist specialist. The moment we mentioned litter eating, he knew right away the problem was anemia. Apparently this is NOT common knowledge among vets.


Tuxedo's blood work was normal in October, and he was near death in March. His heart was enlarged, indicating that the anemia had been slowly developing.


So IF YOUR CAT IS EATING LITTER, please take him/her FREQUENTLY to the vet to determine his/her red blood cell count! It was only a matter of five months with Tuxedo, so if we'd waited until his next annual exam, he'd have been dead. Watch for ANY changes in behavior, especially if you notice your cat is not as active as he or she was, however, by the time they're not doing much, the problem is probably already severe.


Anemia in cats can be easily treatable OR a serious potentially fatal problem - either way, the earlier the problem is caught, obviously the better.


I have since found many others that have had this problem.


So if your cat is eating litter, get him to a vet ASAP and watch those packed cell volumes closely even if there isn't a problem yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks so much for posting this Laurie!!!! Cookie has been eating litter lately so I am going to call the vet ASAP!! vibes.gif
post #16 of 23
Thank you for your kind words and kitty background. Unfortunately the new batch of the miracle drug put ladybug in a vommit diarrhea state. We got her on anti nausea meds but when those ran out the drooling continued. She has refused the miracle drug and her drooling instantly stopped, two days I have spent trying to sneak it in somehow but now I am thinking its not helpful.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Awww... sounds like pred was making her nauseous. frown.gif
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Jen, I hope it's nothing! vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #19 of 23

When Speedboat got sick, we never knew what was wroing with him.  His bloodwork was all fouled up.  They were concerned he was going to start bleeding everywhere.  He started eating the litter and he was anemic.  For the remainder of is life, I used the Yesterday's News cat litter.  That kept his form eating it.  Thanks for this post.  I had never heard of cats eating litter until we saw it up close and personal.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Was anything done to treat his anemia? Were they concerned about him potentially "bleeding everywhere" because he had low platelets?
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Was anything done to treat his anemia? Were they concerned about him potentially "bleeding everywhere" because he had low platelets?

 Hey, Speedboats bloodwork was all a catastrophe.  His platelets were really bad.  Everything on the chart was bad, inclluding his kidneys were failing.  The vet thought is was cancer.  We did everything like fluids and all kinds of medicines.  I can't remember a lot of the details now.  But because it was all so bad, we just did everything on a daily basis hoping to get some more time.  It went on several weeks.  He quit eating entirely.  I have a picture of hm taken the last day of his life.  He was laying by the dining room door and was so beautiful.  You could not tell by looking at him that anything at all was wrong.  He was a big red tabby and loved me better than any cat I ever had.  I don't know how you feel about such, but we know for sure he has visited us at least two times.  We miss him.  He was 14 years old.

post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
I do believe in such things, and I remember reading about the visits. hearthrob.gif

Aw.... I'm sorry. rub.gif Cancer can do that. frown.gif And cats are so good at hiding how they feel, we often have little warning.... frown.gifhearthrob.gif
post #23 of 23

Yes, I have lost two super sweet cats to sudden deaths and not really known why.  Max, my tuxedo cat, was 12 and his kidneys failed. We didn't do a necropsy on either cat and sometimes I wish we had.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Eating Litter is Often a sign of Anemia!