Have you noticed your furry one munching on houseplants, plastic bags, cushions, wool, or anything easily available to them? If your cat is consuming non-edible food items, he or she is suffering from a condition called Pica Syndrome. Most of the time pet parents mistake this behaviour for their natural instinct to hunt, scratch, or play.
Experts were unable to detect the exact cause of this condition. However, they’ve speculated that it could be due to various reasons such as stress, anxiety, dietary deficiency, boredom, genetics, environmental factor, or compulsive behaviour. Cats who are weaned early are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. Because, when weaned early their strong drive to nurse makes them suck on various materials around them. They mainly turn to woollen materials such as blankets, pillows, etc. for comfort, warmth, and nursing.
According to experts, you need not worry if you’re feline is simply sucking on wool or other soft fuzzy items. The main problem arises when they munch on wood, plastic, wires, or any such harmful objects. Chewing on plants that are not safe for them can cause severe health issues. They are also at a higher risk of choking from chewing a non-edible object. In such cases, you must consult a vet at the earliest.
Here’s what the experts suggest you can do to help your furry baby if he or she is suffering from this condition –
Remove targeted items –
One of the simplest solutions is to keep their targeted items out of their reach. You can hide the objects that they love to chew. You may also keep your furry one in the playpen away from all the household material.
Spend some more time with him or her –
Some felines chew on non-edible things out of boredom or loneliness. To help them stop this habit, you can start by making some more time for them and giving them all the attention they need. You could teach him or her to play a new game and even take them for a walk. Taking them outdoors can also help in diverting their mind off the chewing.
Give your cat something else to chew on –
You can give your cat a chewy toy, healthy treats, or toys with treats hidden inside them. It will help in keeping them active and stimulating their mind.
Make appealing things not so appealing –
Felines hate the citrusy smell! You can apply citrus-flavoured essential oils or citrusy air freshener to objects that are on your feline’s target. The smell will take their interest off that particular object.
Get rid of dangerous plants –
Plants such as Asparagus Fern, Aloe Vera, Lilies, etc are toxic to furry one’s health. You can find out more about which plants are dangerous to your furry one on ASPCA’s official website. If your feline is attracted to one of those plants, you must get rid of them as soon as possible.
Consult an animal behaviourist –
If your feline continues chewing on non-edible food items even after trying out these methods, if this is not a medical issue and if it is just a behavioral problem, you must reach out to an animal behaviourist. They can work closely with your veterinarian and provide the help your furry baby needs.
While following these methods, you must be patient and consistent. Slowly and gradually you can help your pet beat the pica syndrome and live a happy healthy life.