If you have encountered a situation where your kitten has taken to eating the cat litter, there are several reasons why this might be happening.
Kittens (and cats) are naturally curious and inquisitive, and will go in search of new sights, sounds, scents, and experiences. They will also eat a variety of things to find new tastes and textures, and one such experimentation may involve the kitty litter.
Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Eating Litter
If the eating of litter is a one-time occurrence, then you can chalk it up to curiosity, and leave the matter be; however, if the behavior continues, it can be indicative of physical or emotional issues. So if it is not curiosity, what can it potentially be?
Anemia is the condition where the body does not produce enough red blood cells or loses them due to bleeding. It is a good idea to seek your veterinarian’s opinion so rule out anemia, because it can be life threatening if left untreated. Anemia can be the result of infections or even parasites. Testing will be required to determine whether your cat is suffering from anemia and the underlying cause of it.
Lack of Behavioral Development
If your kitten was separated from her mother, it is possible that she didn’t have enough time to learn proper behavior from her mother—kittens learn how to do a variety of things, like use the litter box, from their mother, so if they are removed before they are around eight-weeks-old, they can develop such undesirable behavior.
Your kitten may be trying to supplement some types of nutritional deficiencies by ingesting kitty litter. This can be the case if she is eating clay-based litter, which could be the result of mineral deficiency. Seek out the opinion of your veterinarian to be sure.
How to Stop the Behavior?
Whenever you happen to catch your cat in the act, the first thing that needs to be done is to remove the litter form her mouth, and take her away from the litter. If the litter is of the clumping type, it is a good idea to visit your pet to avoid any complications due to any litter she may have already ingested.
Regardless, of the type of litter, if your kitten has ingested a large amount of litter it is advisable to visit your veterinarian as it could turn into an emergent condition.
Of course, you cannot remove the litter box completely, so the alternative would be to switch to non-clumping and non-toxic variety until the problem goes away. Keep plenty of proper food around for the kitten so that in case of hunger she doesn’t have to resort to eating from the litter box. It is also important to continue with any litter training activities to teach your kitten what the litter box is for, and to eventually eliminate the behavior all together.