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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29707
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat has recently begun eating his litter(this sunday i

Customer Question

My cat has recently begun eating his litter(this sunday i caught him) i had him just at the vet last week had blood work done for a senior panel and for another issue and all looked well. I was told by my vet to switch brands and i did, switched from a clumiping to a non clumping, even tried pine pellets but he will not go near those. i cant get him to stop eating the litter
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Neko and is 12
JA: Is there anything else the veterinarian should be aware of about Neko?
Customer: a bit of a story ill make it short back around labor day he was cornered by our new puppy under my bed with her barking at him. Nothing physical just her barking at him for a few moments, he would not come out for a few days finally i coaxed him out and his appetite diminished and began having dirreha and was acting very anxious, well long story short we also moved but he seems to be getting back to normal. eating better and pooping normally but now the litter eating think. Vet did blood work and he was all with in range
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Neko. You've described a pica - ingestion of non-food items - and there are quite a few considerations when pica arises. Many aren't going to be revealed in a senior panel. Gastrointestinal disorders, dental and oral disease, central nervous system disturbances such as brain tumors, electrolyte imbalances, metabolic diseases, and toxins such as lead can induce licking, sucking, chewing, and picas (ingestion of inanimate objects), licking of owners, and air licking. Picas may also be caused by excessive restriction of calories (i.e. weight loss diets) and any medical condition that could cause polyphagia (increased hunger). Similarly, numerous medical conditions from Cushing's disease to diabetes insipidus might induce polydipsia (increased thirst). Licking, chewing, polyphagia, polydipsia, and picas can also be a side effect of drug therapy. In geriatric pets, repetitive behaviors including licking, chewing, and picas might be associated with brain aging and cognitive dysfunction.

At 12 years of age brain aging and cognitive dyfunction becomes an important differential but I would first attempt to rule out gastrointestinal disorders and dental /oral disease by ultrasounding Neko's abdomen and thoroughly examining his oral cavity. Unfortunately, we don't have any reliably effective therapy for cognitive dysfunction in cats or dogs. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin