Why does my cat eat dirt?

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Cats stand out for having a very selective palate, since their diet is part of the routine they stick to as a way of preserving their well-being. For this reason, tutors tend to be alarmed when they perceive alterations in the eating habits of his felines. In this sense, something that is not so frequent but that is very strange for guardians is to observe that their cats eat dirt, or eventually the sand from their own sandbox..

If you wonder why does my cat eat dirt, In this AnimalWised article we will talk about the main causes that can cause your cat to ingest sand or dirt. Likewise, we will explain what to do to avoid this behavior problem, which can also lead to a very serious health problem.

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  1. My cat eats dirt, is it normal?
  2. 5 reasons why cats eat dirt
  3. Symptoms that my cat is eating dirt
  4. My cat eats dirt, what should I do?

My cat eats dirt, is it normal?

If your cat eats dirt, you shouldn't make the mistake of considering this behavior to be normal, acceptable, or harmless. In fact, this anomalous behavior tells us that his well-being is compromised and, in addition, that problems in your state of health may occur if we do not act quickly.

By ingesting dirt your cat can come into contact with toxic substances, parasites, excrement, bacteria... Thus, the earth can become a perfect contagion medium for many common diseases in cats. In addition, the consumption of elements and foreign bodies can irritate and inflame the gastrointestinal mucosa, which can cause a gastritis picture. And in the event that the feline also ingests stones or pointed objects next to the ground, it is possible that it suffers a intestinal perforation, which can cause internal bleeding and even lead to the death of the animal.

Nevertheless, ¿why does a cat eat the sand in the sandbox? ¿Or the land in our garden? There is no single reason for this behavior in felines. A cat that eats dirt can do so for different reasons and, to identify it, you will need to pay special attention to its routine, nutrition, health status and behavior on a daily basis.

Considering all the possible risks of ingestion of soil for the health of your feline, we recommend go to the vet If you have seen him carry out this behavior or you are suspicious that he may be doing it in your absence. Likewise, we will review below the possible causes why cats eat dirt:

5 reasons why cats eat dirt

Although there are many other causes that can cause the appearance of this behavior, below we will mention the five main causes that can answer your question about "why does my cat eat dirt ":

  1. Pica syndrome: This health problem is characterized by the fact that the individual begins to eat inedible foods and without nutritional value. It is more common in dogs than cats. The cat can start to consume plastics, wood, stones or, as in this case, sand.
  2. Stress, boredom, or anxiety: cats need to have their body and mind well stimulated to maintain a balanced behavior. If your feline does not have an enriched environment, does not exercise enough and cannot find ways to express his intelligence and curiosity, he will probably end up developing symptoms of stress or boredom. So, the habit of eating dirt can be a behavioral alteration caused by accumulated tension.
  3. Demand for attention: Although they are usually characterized by having a more independent character, cats also experience a bond of affection with their guardians and their company is essential to provide them with a healthy and happy life. If you have been very busy and you have not dedicated a special time to play with your feline, it is possible that it adopts certain unusual behaviors to get your attention, such as swallowing dirt or other foreign elements.
  4. Intestinal parasites- Certain animals, in the wild, have been shown to consume grass and other foods to purge themselves when they are infested with intestinal parasites. Thus, it will be essential to visit the vet to rule out this cause..
  5. Discovery in puppies: Finally, it is important to point out that in the puppy stage cats will experiment with all kinds of objects, surfaces and materials. It is totally normal and acceptable, a behavior that we should not repress as long as it is manifested in a timely manner.

Symptoms that my cat is eating dirt

Many guardians only realize that their cat eats dirt or stones when cleaning their litter box, since their body is not able to fully digest these types of elements and they must eliminate them through feces. Therefore, the presence of residues or foreign elements in the cat's feces is one of the first and most common symptoms of possible alterations in its eating habits..

But in the event that the feline consumes a large amount of land, or swallow stones or foreign bodies, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent retching and vomiting.
  • Constipation or difficulty in passing stools (the accumulation of dirt, sand or stones can cause an obstruction in the intestinal tract, preventing the feline from defecating normally).
  • Presence of blood in the stool (can derive from obstructions or from the consumption of stones and pointed items).
  • Common symptoms of gastritis in cats, such as vomiting, loss of appetite and weight, diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, excessive drooling, etc..
  • Weakness and loss of interest in your daily activities.

My cat eats dirt, what should I do?

Although cats can carry out this behavior from time to time, they eat dirt it is not something positive for the organism of felines. On the one hand, it is important to consider that the consumption of contaminated soil can cause the appearance of severe illnesses in cats. Also, let's not forget that this behavior can be a symptom of unbalanced nutrition, health and behavior problems..

If you observe that your cat eats dirt it is essential that you go to your vet to check your health status. After ruling out possible pathological causes, it will be important to pay special attention to your feline's diet, environment and routine to combat and prevent the development of this behavior.

In this sense, we advise you to follow the following guidelines to prevent your cat from eating dirt, sand or other foreign bodies that affect its health:

  • Feeding: you must provide a complete and balanced diet to your cat, according to the nutritional requirements of the species and the variations of each life stage. You can opt for commercial food, such as feed, or for homemade recipes. If you have doubts, consult with the specialist.
  • Wellness: It will be essential to enrich the environment so that your feline finds positive ways to burn its energy, exercise, stimulate its mind and have fun, even when you are not at home.
  • Play and socialization: it will be essential to reserve certain minutes each day to share exclusively with your cat, taking the opportunity to propose intelligence games and fun activities that allow him to express his instincts and senses. We will also offer you caresses, massages, brushing... ¡What you like the most!
  • Hygiene: Maintaining optimal hygiene at home, and especially in the cat's litter box, avoiding the accumulation of dirt, dead hair, stools and possibly pathogenic microorganisms, will be essential. ¡Remember that cats are very clean animals!
  • Preventive medicine: Finally, it will also be essential to make veterinary visits every 6 or 12 months that allow us to detect health problems promptly. Likewise, we will always respect your vaccination schedule and periodic deworming..

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