How to Stop Cats from Eating Litter and Why

cat eating litter

For a number of reasons, cats may ingest litter and other unwanted stuff. Pica, or eating things other than food, is the term used to describe this activity.

Pica can have a number of reasons, including a mother leaving her kittens, which might show up as nursing behavior. All kinds of things, including plastic, cloth, string, paper, dirt, and even litter, might be the focus of cats who have pica.

Some forms of pica may be relatively harmless or annoying—such as licking plastic bags—but eating non-food substances can cause intestinal blockages. Also, it can be a sign of an illness.

Why Do Cats Eat Litter?

It can be a health or behavior problem if your cat or kitten is eating the litter. Bring your cat to the doctor straight away if you think there may be a health problem, especially if the behavior just started.

Some kittens may eat litter purely out of curiosity and will grow out of the behavior with close monitoring.


Eating litter might be a symptom that your cat is ill; anemia is one illness where this indicator may be present in an afflicted cat. Lack of hemoglobin and red blood cells results in anemia. Owners of cats should look for pale, white, or blue gums. A lack of iron, trace minerals, vitamins, or vital fatty acids can cause anemia.

Additionally, if your cat is anemic, the anemia may be a symptom of parasites, renal illness, bone marrow disease, or the feline virus (FeLV), in addition to other conditions.

Following a routine examination, your veterinarian will likely advise blood tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) and urine. These tests will identify any underlying disorders and determine whether the cat is anemic.

Nutritional Deficiencies

If your cat isn't receiving enough nourishment from its food, it can start eating litter. This can happen if your cat is not consuming a food that is appropriately balanced, but it can also happen if your cat's digestive system is not correctly absorbing nutrients. If a nutritional deficit is suspected, a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist can advise you on the best course of action.

Curious Kittens

It's advised to wait to use clumping litter on kittens until they are older since kittens could ingest litter out of curiosity. An intestinal obstruction might result from consuming clumping litter. Use a non-toxic litter, and keep an eye on usage. If you see that your kitten is consuming litter, take it out of the litter box, but only after it has used the toilet.

Adult cats may also snack on litter if the type of litter has been changed recently, for instance, to a wheat- or corn-based litter.

How to Stop Your Cat From Eating Litter

Once your cat has been given the all-clear, you may focus on getting him to stop eating the litter. Litter comes in a variety of forms, including clay, clumping (scented and unscented), maize, wheat, and paper-based litter. Try another if your cat is only eating one sort.

  • Your cat may be bored. If you see it eating litter, redirect the behavior with play. Toss a crinkle ball or toy mouse, or dangle a fishing pole toy and lure him away from the box.
  • Reevaluate your cat's diet. Upgrade the food you're feeding, especially if it's a supermarket-grade dry food. Many high-quality food options are more nutritionally complete.
  • Enhance your cat's natural prey behavior. In addition to ramping up playtime, look into food puzzle toys, which encourage natural foraging behavior. There are many ways to make your own using common household items, as well as different models available in pet stores. Puzzle toys are fun ways for your cat to work to get its food, thus distracting it from undesirable behavior.
  • Try offering a pot of cat grass. Again, this is a distraction from the litter and gives your cat something else to chew on. And don't forget that happy cat standby—. You can grow your own and offer it fresh, sprinkle it on scratchers, or buy catnip-filled toys.