Cats are known for their peculiar quirks. It’s normal for cats to sniff around in their own waste or even eat it, so don’t feel bad if you’ve caught your cat doing either.
Coprophagia is common in both domesticated cats and dogs. As a cat owner, you may be perplexed as to the cause of this behavior as well as how to intervene and prevent it.
Curiosity is often to blame when cats eat their own feces, but this behavior can also point to more serious problems. You should be able to identify the root of the problem and figure out why your cat eats waste.
In the following paragraphs, we will delve deeper into this topic and provide more information about this behavior.
Is It Normal for Cats to Eat Their Poop?
It’s natural and beneficial for cats to eat their own feces at certain points in their lives. Kittens may pick up this behavior from watching their mothers’ grooming and licking habits, or it may occur naturally to aid in the growth of their digestive systems.
Feline mothers may ingest their own feces to rid the litter of potentially parasitic material. Most cats outgrow this behavior, especially if they are housetrained, but there are a few exceptions.
In addition, your cat will lick the area where it defecated to clean it, as this is part of its natural grooming routine.
While this behavior may make you cringe, it may not be harmful to your cat’s health depending on the underlying cause.
The Reason Behind This Strange Habit
Your cat may be eating feces for a variety of reasons. Look for indicators that may point to the underlying medical or behavioral causes.
First, we’ll go over the various health issues that could prompt your cat to eat its waste. The most frequent health issues that arise from this behavior are listed below.
- Deficiency in enzymes. If your cat’s pancreas isn’t producing enough enzymes, she won’t be able to digest her food properly, which could lead to malnutrition and weight loss. If a cat doesn’t have enough of a certain enzyme, it won’t be able to digest the food properly, so it’ll just poop it out. To make up for the lost nutrition, your cat may start eating its own waste. Your cat could die of starvation if you wait to seek veterinary care for this problem.
- Parasites. Parasites in the cat’s digestive tract are another common cause of a cat eating its own feces. If you look at your cat’s poop, you should see this problem. If you notice worms, it’s important to get them checked out by a vet.
- Subpar nutrition. In order to get the nutrients it needs, your cat may eat its own waste if you feed it only dry food.
- Chronic Thyroiditis
Coprophagia can also be brought on by behavioral issues. Pica is a behavioral urge that can cause cats to eat non-edible objects like feces.
A cat with pica will trick its body into thinking it’s hungry even when it isn’t. Anxious or stressed-out cats may also resort to eating their own waste.
This strange behavior may indicate a lack of stimulation or play. Some felines will resort to eating their waste if they are caught using the wrong area as a litter box.
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How to make a diagnosis
A trip to the veterinarian should be planned if this problem persists. Veterinarians are trained to distinguish between medical and behavioral causes of eating feces.
To make sure your cat is healthy, the vet will likely run a battery of tests on his or her blood and urine. If your cat is eating poop for no apparent medical reason, your vet will want to know all about your cat’s diet, history, and living conditions.
Do not try to diagnose the problem on your own, and do not ignore it, as doing so can have disastrous results.
Does Eating Poop Cause Sickness to Felines?
Coprophagia is not a life-threatening condition and is not uncommon in cats, but if your cat develops this habit, it can cause serious health issues.
Cats can pick up parasites and bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli from eating feces. In addition, if your cat eats the feces, it could develop stomach problems. You should exercise caution because those diseases could also harm you.
Do not let your cat lick you if it acts this way, and wash your hands frequently until the problem is fixed.
How to Prevent Your Cat From Eating Its Poop
Be ready to put in some time and effort if your cat has a habit of eating poop. Read on for some tips on how to stop your cat from ingesting waste products.
Clean up after your cat
If you don’t want your cat eating its own feces, pick it up or throw it away as soon as you see it defecate.
Although the constant, careful cleaning required after your cat defecates can be discouraging, it will help. One option is to invest in an automatic litter box that removes waste after your cat uses it.
To prevent your cat from eating feces, a harness or leash can come in handy when taking it outside.
Slow down your cats’ eating
Your cat may start eating feces if it eats too quickly because it isn’t digesting its food properly. If you want your cat to digest its food and have better-textured poop, slowing its eating pace will help.
Establishing a schedule for your cat’s meals and potty breaks will benefit both of you. That way, you can keep an eye on its habits and schedule litter box cleanings accordingly.
Increase the activity level
If you notice that your cat is eating its own feces out of boredom or anxiety, you might want to up the cat’s activity level.
Make room for them to play, discover, and take risks. It’s important to give your cat lots of attention and include it in family activities. Your cat will be less stressed and bored and will be less likely to eat their own waste if you engage them in fun activities.
You should consider switching your cat’s diet because it has been linked to coprophagia.
Feed your cat a high-protein, high-fiber diet, and make sure it gets plenty of meat. You should check with your veterinarian to confirm which foods are appropriate for your cat’s diet before deciding to take this preventative measure.
Be there for your cat
Your cat shouldn’t be scolded or punished if you find it eating waste. A negative response from you could cause your cat’s anxiety or fear to increase, increasing the likelihood that it will continue eating feces to avoid being punished.
You might want to give potty training another shot, and if you do, make sure to reward your cat when it stops eating poop in the situations where it used to. Your optimistic outlook on the situation will go a long way toward helping your cat break the habit.
We know from experience that this is a tough habit to break, but that shouldn’t deter you. The earlier you can spot the issue and help your cat break the pattern, the better.
If you suspect a medical problem, it’s best to check in with your vet to make sure your cat doesn’t need any treatment or medication.
Keep in mind that your cat requires a reliable companion during these trying times. The effort you put in to helping your cat kick this habit and adopt a healthy diet will be greatly appreciated.