Eating issues in pets
Understanding eating issues
Most pets love their food. Dogs especially will 'wolf' down each meal, as if they had not been fed for weeks! This comes form their drive to find food, a basic drive which aids survival. Even though we give them all the food they could eat and more, they are still looking for food.
The following articles should help you understand your pet's problems with food...
Feeding our pets
Info and tips on feeding
Tips for fussy eaters by Dr Joanne Righetti for Purina
Eating is a natural part of life. Finding food is a primary drive in our pets so we shouldn't have issues with diet and eating but we do." Dr Jo
Can't believe the things pets eat?
I have a kitten about 14 weeks old who just loves drinking water. Not so much out of his own bowl but from the kitchen sink, puddles outside, anywhere he can find water, his most favourite at the moment is the toilet. We feed him dry food only but he never drinks a lot from his own bowl.
Is this okay or is he lacking in something?
This is perfectly normal cat behaviour, unless your cat has seriously increased his water intake, in which case you should consult your vet.
Cats enjoy ‘natural’ water sources. Our tap water contains chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride which cats are able to taste and often avoid. Using a water filter or allowing the water to sit in the fridge for a day or two should remove the chemical taste.
Ensure that any fresh water sources that your cat seeks are indeed fresh. Close the toilet lid!
Lastly - occasionally the bowls we provide for our cats are too small. Their sensitive whiskers touch the edges and they avoid them. You may like to try providing a wider bowl.
I hope this helps,
Q&A: Unusual eating habits
Q. Dear Dr Joanne
My nephew and his wife purchased a male Burmese a year ago after their previous dearly loved Burmese died at age 17. The new puss appears to be a compulsive chewer of socks, blankets, fluffy toys, school blazers etc... Initially this was put down to playful kittinish behaviour, but eventually, they referred the problem to their local vet who prescribed Prozac. The Prozac slowed the puss down, in that he sleeps a lot, but if he ever gets the chance to come across socks, fluffy toys etc ... he still eats them. (By the way, he just doesn't chew on the object, he actually eats it).
My nephew and his wife recently took puss off the medication and were delighted to have their cat back, in that he doesn't sleep day and night but actually socialises with them, which they and their 3 children love. However, the problem still exists with eating anything he can find.
I also must add that they whole family makes every effort to be vigilant to ensure that nothing is left lying around in harms way, but the slightest lapse is all puss needs to start eating something he shouldn't.
My nephew and his wife would like know if there is a non-drug related way to address this behavioural problem with their puss. They feel there must be another solution, and so do I. What can you suggest?
A. It sounds like this cat is exhibiting a behaviour known as Pica. This is quite a common behaviour problem in Oriental cats, suggesting a genetic origin, and is also commonly seen in cats that are weaned too early. Cats may eat a whole variety of substances including rubber, electrical cords but it most commonly involves fabric ingestion and/or chewing. Sometimes separation anxiety or other kinds of stress can cause this behaviour to worsen. Pica can be serious as it can lead to gastric obstructions.
Some owners have been successful in treating this problem by providing their cats with quantities of fabric to chew. Shredded wool provides lanolin, a natural substance, that cats often are seeking. It may also be best to provide regular laxatives if you go down this route. Please do consult your vet if you intend doing this.
Otherwise you are doing the best thing in being ultra-tidy. You may also like to set up some unpalatable fabrics by sprinkling them with eucalyptus or citronella oil.
If this cat does appear to suffer from anxiety this may have to be treated. Medication specific to this problem may help.
Also increase the fibre content of the diet and it may be worth seeking the help of a complementary veterinary practitioner.
This cat has an oral need and it would be wise to satisfy this by giving him lots of chews, food to play with and toys that require the use of the cat's mouth. Good luck.