Why Does My Cat Eat Garbage? What to Do and When to Worry

As cat owners, we know our pets are capable of some very strange behaviors. They ask us to pet them, then bite us, make strange chirping sounds at birds outside the window, and stare at us from across the room, but one behavior we can do without eating trash is. Cats eating litter scares many owners and if this is the case in your home, keep reading while looking at the possible health risks. We’ll also cover why your cat might be eating litter and what you might be able to do to prevent it so you can be better informed.cat-divider

Why Do Cats Eat Garbage?

1. Cats Love the Taste

The most likely reason why your cat eats litter is because he likes the taste. While cats generally don’t want to eat clay, there may be additives that your cat likes. Many people use alternative litters that cats are more likely to eat, including litters of corn, grass, wheat, coconut husk, and walnut shells. Some cats may even enjoy eating paper litter as cats often eat paper around the house.

What Can I Do About This?

If you think your cat might be eating its litter because it likes the taste, the best thing to do is try a different brand. If you are using a clay alternative to keep dust out of your home, you can still try one of the other alternatives. For example, if you’re using corn, switch to walnut shells.

2. Pica

Pica is an eating disorder that affects many animals, including humans, dogs, and cats. This causes your pet to eat items that have no nutritional value, including wood, plastic, metal, and trash. We often see it in kittens first, and some can grow from it, while others will continue to eat into adulthood, and may be difficult to intervene. If you have a Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, or other Oriental cat or a mixed breed with Oriental genetics, your cat most likely has pica.

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What Can I Do About This?

Pica can be a challenge to manage, and your cat can continue its behavior despite all efforts. Parents of these cats need to be careful to keep items that the cat might eat out of reach at all times. It can cost more than $1,000 to remove an item from a cat’s stomach.


3. More Serious Health Problems

Unfortunately, other serious health issues can cause your pet to eat litter. Brain injury can cause this to happen in some cases, and old age can also be a culprit.

What Can I Do About This?

The best way to help a cat with a serious health problem that causes it to not realize it’s eating its litter is to throw it away when the cat isn’t using it and use safe, non-toxic litter that won’t harm the car if it swallows it. .

4. Emphasize

Another common reason for strange behavior like eating junk is stress. Health issues or environmental concerns such as a new cat or a hard construction vehicle working on the road for a few days can cause stress. Cats who experience high anxiety will usually show other symptoms such as aggressive behavior, decreased appetite, and isolation.

What Can I Do About This?

If you feel that your cat is suffering from high anxiety, you should identify and eliminate the problem. For construction vehicles, hopefully it can move soon. If you recently got a new pet, you may need to separate the animals and reintroduce them slowly to reduce stress levels so your cat will stop eating the litter.

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Old ginger cat resting on the sofa

Is Eating Litter Bad for My Cat?

Most litter is not toxic to cats, and they all eat it in small amounts when cleaning themselves after using the litter box. However, eating them in large quantities can be problematic because the lumpy stools can clump together in the stomach, clogging the intestines. Other letters may have fragrances or other chemicals to help them work better which can be dangerous for your cat to ingest in large amounts. Silicone-based litter can be very harmful to your cat if he eats too much of it.



If you’re having trouble keeping your cat from eating litter, we recommend switching to natural brands for a while. Grass and corn-based litter that doesn’t clump should not cause physical harm to your cat if it eats it. Once your cat is out of harm’s way, you can start looking at our list of reasons and possible solutions that you can apply to find a permanent solution.

We hope you enjoyed reading this quick guide, and that it has helped answer your questions. If we’ve helped you get your cat back on track, please share with this person, share our views on why my cats eat litter on Facebook and Twitter.

  • You may also want to read: 4 Reasons Why Cats Roll Around in the Litter (And How To Stop Them)

Featured Image Credit: Serhii Ivashchuk, Shutterstock

Why Does My Cat Eat Garbage? What to Do and When to Worry
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