Pica Average Cost

From 426 quotes ranging from $200 - 300

Average Cost

$250

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What is Pica?

A feline with a mild case of pica may suck or lick on inedible objects, but not actually consume said object. However, in severe cases of pica, the feline will consume the object entirely, posing a risk for intestinal blockage, tearing of the digestive tract, toxicity, and electrocution. Common target objects for feline pica include; plants, electric cords, phone cords, wool, fabric, string, or yarn. The cause behind pica is unknown, however, disease and behavioral disorders are thought to be the underlying cause behind this unusual behavior. Oriental cat breeds, such as the Siamese cat, are commonly affected by pica and it is believed to be a genetic disposition. 

If your cat licks, sucks, or consumes objects around the home that are not food, she could be suffering from a condition called pica. Pica in cats is the act of eating objects that are not food. Eating non-food items can be very dangerous to a cat, as chewing on electrical cords can cause a feline to be electrocuted, and plant consumption can be toxic. Other inedible objects, such as clothing, can block the intestine and prevent food from passing. Pica is a serious behavioral issue that can become fatal if not addressed by a veterinarian.

Symptoms of Pica in Cats

Pica in cats only has one clinical sign and that is consumption of inedible objects. Common target objects for feline pica include; plants, electric cords, phone cords, wool, fabric, string or yarn. Felines with a mild case of pica may not consume the object, but chew, lick or suck on said inedible object. Secondary conditions of pica in cats may include: 

  • General listlessness
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Decreased appetite 

Causes of Pica in Cats

Research is still being conducted to find the exact cause of pica in cats, but veterinarians have linked the behavioral condition to several possible causes including: 

Feline Disease

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus
  • Feline leukemia 
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Dental disease 
  • Anemia
  • Brain tumor
  • Diabetes 

Genetic Disposition 

  • Oriental cat breeds
  • Siamese cats 

Behavioral Disorder

  • Learned behavior
  • Attention-seeking 
  • Boredom 
  • Stress
  • Anxiety 

Dietary insufficiencies

  • Hunger 
  • Lack of fiber
  • Mineral deficiency 
  • Vitamin deficiency 

Weaning a kitten too early

Idiopathic 

Diagnosis of Pica in Cats

The diagnosis of pica in cats begins with an exchange of notes between the veterinarian and the pet owner. You will be asked to explain the behavior your cat has been exhibiting, what he or she seeks out as a target to consume, and the duration of this behavior. As pica can be caused by stressful or new situations, it is important to recall any new change in your schedule that may affect the feline. (Move to a new home, work schedule change, etc.) The veterinarian will then proceed to diagnostic examinations. He or she will want to conduct blood tests, including a complete blood cell count, blood smear, and biochemistry profile. The doctor may also ask for a urinalysis to detect the possibility of underlying disease that may be causing pica in the feline. As tumors of the brain are believed to be a possible cause of pica in cats, the veterinarian may likely conduct radiographs or a CT scan of the feline’s brain. 

Treatment of Pica in Cats

The treatment for pica in cats is variable, as it lies dependent on the underlying cause and the results from diagnostic exams. If the veterinarian has found an underlying disease, the treatment will be specified by the veterinary medical professional, but if your feline has received a clean bill of health, treatment may include: 

Removing inedible target objects

Keeping household plants, blankets, clothing and electrical cords out of your cat’s reach will remove the temptation to eat them. 

Providing chewing alternatives

Cat toys and safe plants like catnip can detour the feline’s behavior to a more appropriate chewing object. 

Structured play

Boredom is a common cause for pica, so structured playtime with the feline can prevent boredom and fulfill the need to be active. 

Attending to dietary needs

Malnourished felines may chew on inappropriate objects if their diet is lacking in adequate nutrients. Your veterinarian may supplement the required vitamins and minerals through medications or suggest an alternative cat kibble. 

Consult a veterinary behaviorist 

Recovery of Pica in Cats

The prognosis for cats displaying pica behavior is guarded. Some felines will “grow out” of the inappropriate behavior, whereas other need continuous treatment. If your cat does not improve with the treatments recommended by your veterinarian, he or she may refer you to a veterinary behaviorist.

Pica Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Kali
Siamese
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

None yet

Hello. I have a 2 year old siamese cat who ive adopted about a year ago. MIm worried she may have pica because she obsesively tears and chew any and all paper/cardboard around the house. She did not use to do this and has only started several months after i got her. I work hard to put away all temptation and play her out since i thought it might be a boredom problem, however she will obsesively seek out the paper, even removing notebooks from shelves and opening them to get at the paper.

Though i havent noticed her injesting the paper and usually find bits everywhere, im worried that she may start to eat it.

Im working to improve her environment and play schedule to keep her engaged and tired, however im worried that we may be dealing with more then a behaviour issue. Could this be pica as well?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
As you’ve mentioned, you don’t think she is consuming the paper just ripping it apart which would indicate a behavioural issue over a medical one like nutritional deficiency; however a medical cause cannot be ruled out without an examination by your Veterinarian. You should try to enrich Kali’s environment with toys and other items to keep her stimulated when you’re not at home or actively playing with her. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.catster.com/lifestyle/pica-in-cats-eating-disorder

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Aliam
Long haired black and white
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Eating hair
Eating

Is pica deadly? I’ve noticed my cat eating clumps of cat hair off the ground. He doesn’t get hair balls which is odd. I try to keep floors cleaned as much as possible but sometimes I can’t always. He doesn’t always do it, it will happen in phases almost. I’m just wondering if there’s anything I can do as I can really afford the vets right now but will if I have too. Thank you in advance!!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1044 Recommendations
Pica isn't necessarily a fatal problem, unless Aliam eats something that is toxic or causes a blockage. He might benefit from having more safe toys and interactions so that he isn't eating cat hair, and of course, try to keep the cat hair in your house to a minimum by cleaning and also by brushing him.

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Merlin
domestic short hair
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Pica
Vocalization
restlessness
Extreme hunger
lack of sleep
hyper-activity
Loose Bowel Movements

My cat Merlin has extreme food intolerances, skin allergies, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and on top of all that, Pica. As you can imagine, it can be very challenging to control the IBD, intolerances and allergies when he eats random stuff off the floor all the time! For managing the IBD, I have tried every kind of food available from vet-provided hypo allergenic diets, to about 30 different kinds of store-bought diets. All caused diarrhea and vomiting to varying degrees. I eventually tried a raw food (rabbit) diet and that was miraculous at first. He had solid stools for the first time in years, the vomiting decreased and most of his fur grew back in (previously he had licked himself bald on his underside, bum, knees and elbows). After about six months of feeding it though, he started to have a slight recurrence of symptoms, though a fraction of what they had been previously. I feared he would develop an intolerance to rabbit and then I would be really out of options. I know a rotation diet is ideal, so I have switched him to raw bison. All of his fur has now grown back in and he looks great, but the loose stools have started up again. I have noticed though, that he doesn't always have loose stools, some days he does and some days he doesn't and since I feed the same food all the time, I suspect it is the pica that is causing it, not the food. We have a dog and two cats, so it can be impossible to prevent fur on the floor. He eats what he can find - mostly fur but also crumbs. I am doing my very best for him, but it is a bit exhausting at times. In the past our vet has prescribed oral prednisone for a week or so when he has had a bad allergic reaction such as swollen lip, but that has only happened twice and we generally try to avoid steroids as much as possible. We administer B-12 injections monthly. I should clarify that the ‘pica’ in his case stems from extreme hunger. If he gets at all hungry he will eat hair. When my husband and I are at work, I think he sleeps all day and doesn’t eat hair, but when I am home he just paces around and eats hair if I don’t give him food every couple hours. If I cater to him and give him a steady supply of food, he won’t eat hair. Occasionally if I don’t feed him for a while he will go off his food and I will give him famotadine. I would really like to figure out the underlying cause(s) of all this rather than just treating the symptoms. I suspect hyperthyroidism, but in the past I was told his blood tests haven't indicated any abnormalities. He is currently gaining weight but it is because he eats so much. He was previously on the thin side, and now he is still slender though gaining a bit because I feed him so much. He eats at least twice as much food as my other cat. He actually eats more than my dog who is twice his size. In addition to the extreme hunger, he seems to never really sleep. He is hyper-active and always seems to be following me around yowling at me. His fur looks good though, and he isn’t underweight, so he doesn’t entirely fit the hyperthyroid symptoms. Any ideas would be appreciated. I am nearing the end of my rope. Thank you!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
It is difficult to say what the underlying cause for Merlin’s symptoms are, but with such a chronic condition I would suggest visiting an Internal Medicine Specialist to have a close look at him and to run some additional tests (possibly faecal tests and a biopsy etc…). Without reviewing Merlin’s case and thoroughly examining him I cannot really give you any way forward, but you should visit a Specialist to help get to the bottom of this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thanks. His treatment in the past year has included a faecal test, extensive blood panels and urinalysis. I was told by our veterinarian that he was in great general health other than a B-12 deficiency and that a biopsy would simply confirm that he had IBD and be a huge amount of stress (for him) and money (for us) to tell us what we already know. Anyway, I guess I was hoping for an outside perspective on potential causes - not as a diagnosis, but as suggestions to raise the next time I have him into the clinic. I will continue to work with my vet and do what I can at home. If they think a specialist is called for, I will go that route. Thanks again.

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Chewbacca
Siamese
18 Months
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Pica

My cat has severe pica. He will eat anything literally anything so I have been reduced to keeping him in the bathroom with nothing but his food and water and toys. I have tried everything food enrichment toys other toys. Removing all objects. He has a clean physical bill of heath. So in this bare bathroom he has been chewing on the water supply line to the toilet and our bathroom flooded. I don’t know what to do. I am not spending a fortune on these behavioralists. I just don’t have the money and I think it’s a waste of time because I think it’s probably a neurological problem. I am debating on taking him to an animal shelter.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1044 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that you are having this problem with Chewbacca. I'm not sure that I can shed much light on his problem without examining him, but if you feel that he has a neurologic base for his behavior, there may be anti-seizure medications or anti-anxiety medications that may help. It may actually be a behavior, and a behaviorist may actually be able to help resolve his problems. Your veterinarian will be able to help consider different medications for him if you choose to go that route. I wish him well.

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Mr Ginge
dsh
11 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

obsessive siffing and licking

I have 2 male kittens who are nearly a year old. One, Mr Ginge, has always been more nervous than his brother. He is skittish and rarely settles long enough to stroke him for long. He purrs lots but he has started obsessively sniffing and licking walls. It has got worse since he accidentley, while we were playing with him, scratched my daughter in her eye. It wasn't his fault, we were swinging a toy and he jumped for it but missed. I wonder if the drama that ensued from my 10 year old bleeding from her eye,
could have freaked him out. He's chipped, nuetered and up to date with his vaccines. I also get electric shocks from him so it must be quite intense for him, although this has calmed down a bit with brushing him. Sould I be worried?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
Licking walls may be a behavioural issue or a medical issue (malnutrition etc...), I do not think the incident with your daughter would have led to him licking the walls; I am assuming that the diet is suitable if only one kitten is affected which means it is possible there is malabsorption issues. You should have Mr Ginge checked by your Veterinarian but I cannot think of anything constructive to advise for you at this time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Uriel
domestic short hair
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

During the day my cat will sometimes try to eat cardboard (which we stop) but other than that he's pretty good. Unfortunately at night, he will climb around and find things to eat. most recently, it was the top of a spatula that we had shoved to the bottom of the sink under all the other dishes. The fact it happens most often at night suggests that it comes from boredom, but we need to sleep sometime! suggestions?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
Boredom can make a cat do many things, it may be boredom or it may be due to dietary deficiency; review Uriel’s diet and ensure it is appropriate for breed and age as well as ensuring that he has plenty of toys to play with. If the issue is only at night, you may wish to consider placing him in a particular room or placing him in a cat carrier whilst you’re asleep or not at home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Mister Moon
American Shorthair
9 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pica

How can I treat my cat's pica? He is eating things like material, fabric, string, wool. There were a couple of isolated incidents when I first brought him home, all targetted on one throw. I removed the throw and he didn't chew on any other fabric. Then I had a couple of visitors, after which he chewed huge holes into his favorite wool sleeping blanket, so I removed that. Then I was away for a couple of weeks and left a friend in charge (who the cat knows quite well) and there were builders in the house for two days while I was away and his pica behavior really increased. He began chewing threw fabric things non-discriminantly, eating huge holes. When I got home I caught him eating some string and the next day I saw the string in his poop but I've never seen anything else strange in his poop. He did seem nervous and stressed when I returned home but now he seems much calmer, happy, friendly, and yet the pica continues. I worry what he's doing to his insides but it's also a liability having him in the house.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
Eating of nonfood items like this may be due to a diet poor in nutritional value, malabsorption or boredom; you need to determine which of the three issues are causing the rating of anything and everything. Review Mister Moon’s diet and ensure that he is eating a high quality food (preferably kibble) and ensure that when you are not around him he is placed in a room where he cannot eat anything; if this behaviour continues you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Thorin
Domestic shorthair
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Eating plastic
Vomiting

Medication Used

none

My cat has been eating plastic. Shower curtains (about a 12"x6" section), trash bags, plastic labels on water bottles, he has also eaten things like blue painters tape (about a half foot that he threw up)

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
Eating nonfood items like plastic may be a sign of dietary deficiency, boredom or other causes; it is important to ensure that Thorin has a complete diet which is suitable for his size and weight, also you should have your Veterinarian check him over to look out for any specific symptoms which may help with a diagnosis. Sometimes changing food or adding a supplement may help, but in behavioural cases it can be more difficult. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Thibodeaux
Ragdoll
9 Months
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

screaming and howling
Eating non food.
Separation Anxiety
Chewing
picky eater

My cat like to chew on wool, rubber band, my hair, plastic, metal anything. She just ate 3 wool balls and puked 2 and pooped 1 ended up in vet twice in a week. She also scream and howl all the time when i leave her by herself. She is a very picky eater. I play with her a lot. Wonder if she has PICA? She is like this since I got her age of 13 weeks from breeder (Ragdoll) and now she is 9 months old. She was rejected from cat sitter and boarding because she is high maintenance.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1044 Recommendations
Bleu, thank you for contacting us about Thibodeaux. Kittens like to play with things, and those things often end up in their mouths - they're a little like babies in that respect. They usually outgrow that behavior but until they do, you need to make sure that the things that she might eat aren't out for her to eat them. She may have been weaned too young, as that will sometimes cause cats to chew and suck on things that they wouldn't normally, like blankets or hair. It is possible that she might benefit from another pet in the house to keep her occupied when you aren't home, but you can talk to your veterinarian about that addition and if it would work for her, since they know her.

I was not gonna comment because the answer was not very helpful, but I got emails asking how was the experience, so here I am. Anyways, I already know what vet said. I know kitten chew things and she already has another pet that she play with in my house hold. She ended up in Vet 3 times because of her chewing /eating non objects 2 weeks ago. All I wanted to know was is she has a PICA or not, so I can think about long term solution, but seems like your vets do no tell any one who posted questions on your website here that the cats have PICA. Your answers are always "Behavior prob" or ""cat like to chew things and eat". A cat Breeder and a cat community that I belongs to think my cat has PICA because she is very extreme on chewing and eating non food objects. Cat community leader share my cat prob on her web and I get lots of suggestions, but what ever I tried in last 6 months are not helping at all. So I thought maybe I can get a better answer from your website, but I did not get anything useful.

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Diana
dsh
18 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Pica
anxiety
Chewing
excessive vocalization

Diana is currently a year and a half old. She was brought to a shelter at a very young age when her mother died and was therefore not weaned healthily. I got her at about 2 months old and for the first year she tried to "nurse"/suck on any exposed skin (eventually narrowed it down to just my hand). She never wanted to suck on fabric or anything else, just skin. However, within a couple months after I got her she began eating any kind of strip of fabric, such as drawstrings off of my pajama pants or sweatshirts. If left to her own devises with them within reach she will chew off a 2-3 inch strip and swallow it whole (not that I knowingly leave them within reach, I do my best). She continues to exhibit this behavior whenever she happens upon something of this nature. Today it was the ties of a tree skirt.
Any suggestions on things to do to help her? She has plenty of toys that she loves to keep her entertained and we have also recently gotten another kitten that she has a blast playing with. Having a second kitten in the apartment seems to have helped with a lot of her anxious behaviors and general quality of life, just not this specific issue. I'm thinking about trying some kitty-friendly plants as a chewing alternative...

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1044 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us today about Diana. Unfortunately, that is a common problem in kittens who are weaned too early from their mothers. They do tend to outgrow some of the behavior, but many cats will suck on and chew blankets for their lifetimes. Getting another cat usually does help quite a bit, and having fresh cat grass and catnip helps to distract them from inappropriate items. She should also be tested for FeLV/FIV if she hasn't already, as that can sometimes contribute to the problem. Non-edible toys are a good idea so that she has things to play with that won't end up in her stomach. Make sure that the alternatives you are trying to give her aren't able to be eaten in excess, and always monitor her for any vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy on inappetance - she should see her veterinarian if any of those occur.

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Yankee
American Shorthair
2 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Pica

Nothing I am doing is helping my 2 yr old male with his pica. Every cord is covered in tubing and any cord that isn’t covered fast enough is eaten. Sometimes even while in the process of opening a package he leaps to the cord and severs it instantly. He eats hair ties that don’t get put away fast enough or even right off my head! He eats the window blinds and cords and I can’t have a tree because of him so the garland is hanging from a ceiling beam. He is out of control and I don’t know what to do. He spent 6 days in the cat hospital while I was giving birth because he threw up a petrified piece of fabric tape measure he had eaten 3 months earlier which caused a 104 fever. He eats pants and socks as well. Nothing is safe and he even opens the closet and drawers all on his own. I don’t know what to do at this point. He has special toys that I have deemed safe for him but it’s not enough and he doesn’t learn from his experiences

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
This is a behavioural issue since he is going after certain objects, all of which have the potential to cause string foreign bodies. I do not know what to suggest more than you are doing already, cats can be difficult to train and see many things as toys or the hiding of things a game. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Meg
Siamese
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

I have a 2 year old female Siamese/Seal Point mix. She is a rescue feral barn kitten. I've had her since she was 8 weeks,along with two sisters. The sisters were forever homed and she stayed with me.

She was a sick kitten, off and on. I had to give her hydration fluids three times over three weeks. She was fed a special food - Royal Canin recover- to make her eat for a week. They were all kept in a spare bedroom, where she had a habit of peeing on the bed.

To this day she regularly pees on the couch between the cushions. I now resort to coverING the couch with a wood board and Have to put pee mats where the cushions divide. She will also pee on my bed between the pillows. I used to cover the area with Plastic bit have now resorted to closing the bedroom door.

And last but not least, she has a tendancy to lick the cushions on the couch, leaving big dark rings on the cushions. She will also lick my hair if I use a product called beach spray which has some salt in it.

I am starting to get fed up with all these behaviours. I feel I've tried everything to get her to stop but no luck.

Do you have any ideas, suggestions on what may be the problem, and what to do about it?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
Whilst repetitive licking may be a sign of pica, it is more likely a behavioural issue along with the urination; I once had someone ask me “why does my dog lick my pillow but not my wife’s?”, the answer was due to the husband’s drooling whilst sleeping. I have no answers for you unfortunately apart from keeping her in a restricted area so she doesn’t urinate where she shouldn’t. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Violet Reign
Persian-Himalayan
19 Months
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

None other

I have a Persian-Himalayan that constantly chews on the long strands of hair along the sides of her face, sometimes to the point where the hair is actually swallowed while still attached. In one alarming instance, she had so much hair from her face / neck down her throat that I at first thought she had a tumor or teeth infected, the lump was so hard (due to her saliva drying the wad and hardening it). I had to slowly remove the wad while she was choking on it. She also will at times spit up hairballs but never eats them. I shaved her side face areas and neck to stop this from happening again, I'm afraid she might choke to death. She has a very healthy appetite.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2467 Recommendations
This most likely is a behavioural issue as she is focusing on hair around the head instead of licking herself elsewhere; cutting hair short is important but also a hairball remedy may be a good preventative of issues which would lead to an obstruction. I would bring this up with your Veterinarian at your next visit and make sure that Violet Reign has an adequate complete diet. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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chee-wee
Manx
5 Years
Mild
Has Symptoms
None Yet
i have a male manx he has been doing this since i rescued him could this be the cause of it he eats everything clothes blankets hair ties qtips plastic broom straw phone cords he has already had 2 surgeries