Why is my cat eating concrete and mortar?

  1. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    My cat has been licking the mortar on the fireplace for weeks. Today, he put up the fight of his life to go outside, so he was out on a leash most of the day and licking the concrete.

    Concrete has lime & sea shells, so I'm wondering what he's needing..calcium? Lime? He doesn't seem to be feeling too well, so I will be taking him to the vet, but was looking for some input on what he might be trying to get into his system.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. humans get these picas

    and i guess cats, too

     
  4. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    I think cats do it for entertainment. "owners watching me", if I eat something weird she will spend hours pouring over the cat book to find out what's wrong - snigger.
     
  5. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    That's very strange. Have you got a little food diary over the last few days that you could take to the vet (including how much water he is drinking)? Are his litterbox habits normal?

    Has anything changed in the environment or in his diet or medicines? Is there any sort of pesticide or cleaning products that are new on the things he is licking? Could it be the flea treatment? I remember you said that your dog was licking the flea medicine off the cat's neck, so if the cat is rubbing it off on the fireplace (when he is scent-marking or maybe just rubbing to scratch his neck), maybe he is going back to lick it because it tastes good?

    Other than that, my senior citizen cat goes through all kinds of weird habits. Sometimes she'll only have breakfast in bed, or dinner has to be on the patio, or maybe the kitchen, but only if you put down her favorite beach towel to sit on while she eats. When I volunteered at a nursing home, the elderly residents were ofter very picky about food, so I think my cat is about the same way.
     
  6. Evo

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    His bowel habits have changed, and diarhea the last two days. Coughing and sneezing, sounds congested. :(
     
  7. Danger

    Danger 9,879
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    I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I have a similar topic that I figured might be appropriate here. Feel free to make it into a new thread if it's off kilter.
    Lucy has always been great, except that she's always puked a lot. I'm pretty sure that it's just because she doesn't chew her food, and I think that it's also why she's always hungry. Whenever I clean up one of her messes, the kibbles are intact. That isn't the issue that I currently have though. Before we moved back to my house from W's apartment, and constantly since, she's taken to garbageting on the floor around her litter box, rather than in the box. Strangely, though, she then scoops up a couple of pawsful of litter from the box and sprinkles it over what she just did. I've sprayed deodorizer around, in case it was the smell that put her off, and it didn't help. Next step is to go back to the old brand of litter, but it's a hassle because it isn't a clumping formula.
    Another thing arose only after we moved back. It doesn't cause me any concern, but it's weird. She frequently backs up close to something like a couch or the toilet and her *** starts twitching like crazy. Almost spasmodic, but just for a couple of seconds. In a male, I'd think that she was trying to spray, but she's an 11-year-old spayed-before-puberty female. Any idea what that's about?
    Again, Evo, sorry for the intrusion.
     
  8. She may have sensitive or weak teeth and have trouble with the dry kibble. The litter thing is most likely because she doesn't like tha litter. It may be uncomfortable for her. The 'spraying' like thing I am unsure about. My moms little female cat does the same occasionally. I think that females can usually spray too though.
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cats-1606/Spayed-Female-Cat-Spraying-1.htm
     
  9. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    In humans zinc deficiency is associated with geophagia.
     
  10. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,266
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    If he has diarrhea, he could just be trying to get salts back into his body...maybe those surfaces taste a little salty. Obviously, the diarrhea is more of a concern than what he's licking right now...time for a vet visit.

    He can join Ember in the sick ward. I was off to the vet with her a couple days ago...she has a urinary tract infection. Poor baby is having a rough time of it. About all I can do is keep giving her her antibiotics and put towels down on the places she likes to sit and currently leaks.

    Danger, if you just switched cat litter, that can be the culprit by itself. Cats get fussy about their litter once they're used to one kind. Lucy might not like something about the clumping stuff. Switch back to her old litter and see if that resolves the problem. If you do want to switch to a different litter again, do it gradually, just mixing a little of the new stuff in with each litter change, and increasing the ratio each time if she accepts the new stuff mixed in, until you've completely switched her.

    As for not chewing her food, that's actually pretty normal. Ember at most gives her food one crunch before swallowing. Some cats do have sensitive stomachs, or can't eat certain brands of cat food. When Ember was younger and started having hairball issues, I tried putting her on a hairball control food, and she would just vomit it up whole too.
     
  11. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    The licking of concrete or mortar could be an indication of anemia, or perhaps feline leukemia.

    The coughing/sneezing/congestion could be an infection, perhaps viral.

    Diarrhoea could be serious.
    http://www.felinecrf.org/symptoms.htm#diarrhoea
    http://www.felinecrf.org/symptoms.htm


    Take the cat to the vet!

    If the cat is old, 15+ years, then perhaps kidneys are starting to fail.
     
  12. turbo

    turbo 7,366
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    Ditto on the vet. Are the cat's gums pale? That's probably the first thing the vet will look for.
     
  13. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,723
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    What do you clean that concrete and grout with? Concrete and grout are usually fairly porous and absorb cleaning agents. Could be that the licking is the saltiness associated with that. It might explain the loose stool as well.

    edit: BTW... do you notice any efflorescence or whitish deposits on the lower portions of the grout? It could be that the mortar cement was blended with ground limestone (they usually are) and that the limestone is dolomitic (contains magnesium). Magnesium salts cause loose stools.

    AND... magnesium is bad for cats.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  14. Danger

    Danger 9,879
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    Thanks, Stats and Moonie. I rather suspected that it was the litter itself, but I have to be very frugal so I was reluctant to waste the rest of the bag. I'll switch back to the brand that she used to have, and just give the clumping stuff to the Humane Society.
    Come to think of it, I don't believe that I've ever actually seen any cat chewing. My old one used to swallow mice in one gulp. Lucy is very picky about her food. She will eat only Purina dry cat food (although she doesn't care which formulation of it I get). Luckily, it's one of the least expensive brands. A side benefit is that I don't have to worry about her stealing my food. I've put tuna, pork chops and all manner of other goodies on the floor right in front of her and she won't do more than sniff it. One of my previous cats would steal the food right off of my fork.
    That was a good link, Stats; it sounds exactly like what Lucy is doing, except that she doesn't expel anything. I had no idea that females display spraying behaviour.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  15. Evo

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    I have never used cleaners.

    He has a good appetite. Gums are bright pink.
     
  16. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    How are her eyes?
    We had an older cat with poor vision - she would manage to get her front paws into the litter box and then be a bit confused about where her rear was.
    The worst part came when somebody left a jigsaw puzzle on the floor - it sounded the same to the cat!
     
  17. dlgoff

    dlgoff 3,045
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    I bet his tongue is bright pink too. :biggrin:
     
  18. Danger

    Danger 9,879
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    If I didn't feel so sorry for the cat, I'd find that funny. She might have felt quite ashamed when/if she realized what had happened. My first cat (the food thief) was immaculately clean. His litter box was out on the porch, and he'd just ask to be let out. One time we forgot to leave the door open for him when we went away. He shredded a bunch of newspaper, went on it, then covered it with more paper. When he got sick (13 years old), we moved his box inside and put it under a chair for privacy. He had quite a bit of trouble walking. One day, he suddenly couldn't stand up, let alone walk. I found the poor guy dragging himself across the carpet with his front claws. Here he was dying of kidney failure, and was still determined to make it to the box. I started to pick him up to help, but he lost control before I could get him there. He just stared at me with such shame on his face, asking forgiveness for making a mess. Of course, I reassured him that it was okay, but I realized that his quality of life had deteriorated enough that I had to take him in to be put down.
    Lucy's eyes are fine, though. At least, they're good enough that she made a leap and took a wasp out of the air 5 feet above her. I hadn't seen it, and I was standing right beside her.
     
  19. about the cat throwing up unchewed food... i've got one that does that occasionally. for him, it seems to be a gluttony thing. usually happens after being out all night and coming in for the morning meal. he just binges, then purges. no real harm, tho. luckily, it's not an everyday thing.
     
  20. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,266
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    Maybe it's a hangover. :biggrin:
     
  21. lol, may be
     
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