Monday, March 9, 2009

My Cat Eats Weird Things

I am completely serious - he really does. I think he must be brain-damaged in some way, as he has always been a little "off" since he was a very young kitten. Since I know he was born in a hay loft in a barn, I've always wondered if he fell out of the loft on his head or something.

While I know he is a "mutt" in the cat world, he looks like a Siamese with white paws and he's little... like a kitten. I think the last time he was weighed at the vet, he was 6 lbs. I've had him since he was about 6 weeks old and he is now a very senior cat at 18 years old.

Tigger has been with me a long time and through many life changes and cross-country moves. He was given to me by some friends during a very difficult time, right after someone I was very close to passed away. Those friends (a married couple with very young children) took me in to their home for months afterward and gave me this kitten during that time. I think it was an effort to help me heal and maybe in some ways it did. In any case, Tigger has always been a special cat because of the circumstances that brought him into my life.

Now, his weirdness is a whole 'nother story. He eats really bizarre things. Like the tip of his tail. He has chewed on the end of it since he was a kitten. No vet has ever been able to find anything wrong with his tail and they've all concluded it's just a behavioral oddity.

He also likes cotton and wool. Ask me how I know... sigh. He has eaten holes in many of my clothes, sheets, blankets, shoestrings, etc. He even once ate a strap on a purse that belonged to one of my friends (sorry Sue!).

In the last few years, I finally found some information online on this condition -- it's called "pica" and refers to the act of eating non-food items. It is commonly seen in Oriental cat breeds (Siamese, Burmese, etc) or their crosses. While there are various theories on the causes for it, no one seems to know for sure what triggers it.

Amazingly, Tigger has never had an obstruction from swallowing any of these things. And now that he's older, the occurrences are more infrequent. And while I love him dearly, I will probably avoid Oriental cat breeds in the future for this reason.

Here he is eyeing my sheets and blankets, contemplating a snack:

More info on pica can be found at BestFriends.org.

3 comments:

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

That's really interesting! He's lovely. I'm glad he's been with you for so long. What a lucky cat.

DogsDeserveFreedom

Sheila-Army Wife said...

What a beautiful cat. I just laid our cat to rest on 03/02/2009. Precious was 16.5 yrs old
I swear she had Catzymers

Pies Placek said...

greeting to your pets. They are lovely.