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25 October 2011 @ 05:19 pm
Zathras and the Inedible Edibles  
Advice and commiseration wanted.

We have a 3 year old long-haired cat named Zathras who has a fetish/obsession with all things plastic. This has been going on for years: we can't use plastic trash bags or plastic shower curtains; we go through our mail quickly to throw away any plastic wrap, etc. I don't understand why he does this, but it's become routine and not a huge deal.

Today, however, he decided to branch out. Today, Zathras ate part of a plaster cat statue that was painted silver. It wasn't a large amount, just two kibble-sized pieces that likely broke into smaller pieces.

I've already contacted our vet to let them know. They told me to try to get him to eat some Laxatone and keep an eye out for vomiting or diarrhea.

But what I'd like to know, really, is WHY. This branching out concerns me. What is he going to try to eat next? 

So, has anyone experienced anything similar? 
Current Mood: confusedconfused
infobitsinfobits on October 26th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
Start with ruling out medical issues:
- are there dental issues? maybe there is mouth irritation and plastic has a texture which makes it feel better
- pica = eating inedible objects, due to malnutrition or higher than usual requirements for a nutrient. see if vet would be OK with a multivitamin supplement

- any household changes that prompted the behavior? stress may prompt all kinds of things
- any other compulsive behaviors? it is possible for cats to have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which may be treatable by meds

some options:
- regular play sessions reduce stress, improve bond with owner, and distract from obsessions. Aim for at least 2 a day, 15 minutes a set, of active play. Rotate through various toys so it doesn't become boring.
- diversion/distraction - when the cat goes for the plastic, gently remove it and initiate play with a toy
The Funnel: zathras and mefunnel101 on October 26th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
To clarify, the vet ruled out medical issues when we first noticed Zathras's penchant for eating plastic over a year ago. He was just in for his bi-yearly exam in July and everything looked good then. I am planning on requesting some additional blood-work to be done at his next normal appointment, but it doesn't seem urgent to take him to the vet right now. (I'm disabled and he's stronger than I am, so I have to arrange help to take him to the vet. We also have 5 cats, 2 of which need to go to the vet within the next few weeks, so this is going to have to wait until Zathras's next vet appointment.)

As for behavioral, no real household changes or other compulsive behaviors. He has 4 other cats to play with--1 of which is younger than he is and loves to play--and a whole basket full of toys he can access at any time. He gets plenty of attention from me and my husband, though most of it comes in the form of affection and not play-time (I have hand issues and it's painful to hold a cat toy for 15 minutes at a time even once a day; my husband often comes home from work with his hands hurting).

Thanks for the suggestions, though. :)