My Cat Ate Litter What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 05/10/21 •  3 min read
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Has your cat eaten some litter? Are you worried the litter will make your cat sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!

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In this article, we’ve put together some information about cat litter and whether or not it can make your cat sick. Let’s get started!

What is Litter?

Cats, like dogs, sometimes eat things they shouldn’t. You’d be surprised at how many people have cats that have eaten cat litter!

Cat litter is the substrate used in a cat’s litter box. The litter helps to absorb urine and odor from when a cat goes to the bathroom. There are many different types of cat litter, including clay, low dust or dust-free, clumping/non-clumping, silica gel, pine litter, and more.

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

Why on earth would a cat want to eat any type of cat litter?

Cats Eat Cat Litter for Various Reasons

Cats that eat litter may be lacking certain nutrients, they may have a condition called pica, are curious, or the litter may smell like food. Cats may also eat litter out of boredom.

What is Pica?

Pica is a condition that causes a compulsion to eat certain non-food items. Pica is found in humans and animals, including cats. This may be a behavioral issue or caused by a lack of nutrients.

Can Cat Litter Make my Cat Sick?

Litter is not good for cats, as it’s not meant to be eaten. And clumping litter can be dangerous if eaten in large amounts. This is because the litter may clump in the cat’s digestive system and create an intestinal obstruction. This is a very serious medical condition that can lead to death if not treated.

Symptoms of an Intestinal Blockage in Cats

You may notice these symptoms if your cat develops an intestinal blockage from eating cat litter:

If you notice these symptoms in your cat, then it’s time to call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.

Treatment of Intestinal Blockage in Cats

At the vet’s, they will perform a complete physical exam of your cat. This will include lab work and x-rays (or other imaging). The images will help the vet see where the cat litter is inside your cat’s digestive tract.

If the litter is still in the cat’s stomach, the vet may induce vomiting or perform an endoscopic procedure to remove the cat litter from the cat’s stomach. Another option is to use gastric lavage to wash the cat litter out.

However, if the cat litter has made it to the intestines, then your fur baby may require emergency surgery to remove the blockage.

In most cases, if a cat receives prompt medical care, she will make a full recovery. The vet may also try to determine why your cat is eating litter and treat the underlying cause, too.

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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