Why Does My Cat Eat Dirt?

Nov 15th 2012  |   9 Contributions

Larry asks, "Why does my cat eat dirt out of my potted plants? He has perfectly good food in his bowl."

Larry sent me several questions about the strange dietary habits of his cat, who also eats tortillas and bread and also licks the shower curtain. As nutritious as I tell myself tortillas are, I suspect the animal might be missing something from his diet.

You could try feeding him a higher-quality cat food. While dirt itself is not harmful to ingest, the behavior warrants a vet checkup. Your cat could be anemic. If he feasts on other non-edibles, he could be suffering from pica, a compulsion that afflicts some cats in which they want to ingest all sorts of items that can harm their digestive tracts. 

If medical reasons are ruled out, your kitty’s compulsion might be behavioral, and you can treat that with extra attention and play. Supply him with many chewy toys that are appropriate for cats. If you take time to engage your pet, he might forget all about his dirty habit! 

"Eat Dirt" by Sarah Donner

Lyrics:

If your cat eats dirt
It’s okay and won’t hurt
But you’re gonna have to see
If it’s a sign of a serious malady

They could have anemia
An iron deficiency in their blood
They could have pica
When they put things that don’t belong in their mouths

You might need to stimulate
To get them to behave
Or their diet might need change
Or they’re just quirky, that can’t be saved

It’s your pet and no joke
See a vet, let him poke
He can tell if it’s cool
Something that is treatable, super easy beatable

SOURCES: PetPlace, Cat Channel, Web MD

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