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J Feline Med Surg. 2016 Aug;18(8):652-7. doi: 10.1177/1098612X15591589. Epub 2015 Jun 18.

Characterization of pica and chewing behaviors in privately owned cats: a case-control study.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Montreal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada.
2
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada.
3
Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Montreal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada diane.frank@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to characterize pica behavior in cats.

METHODS:

Cat owners were recruited to participate in a questionnaire survey on pica behavior exhibited by their cats. Emphasis was put on the type of item ingested. Questions on early history and environment, as well as general health and gastrointestinal signs, were asked. Owners of healthy cats not showing pica were also recruited into a control group. Associations between variables and groups were statistically tested.

RESULTS:

Pica was directed most commonly at shoelaces or threads, followed by plastic, fabric, other items, rubber, paper or cardboard and wood. Some cats ingested specific items but only chewed others. A significant positive association was found between sucking and ingesting fabric (P = 0.002). Ad libitum feeding was significantly lower in the pica group than the control group (P = 0.01). Prevalence of self-sucking behavior was significantly higher in the pica group than the control group (P = 0.001). Cats with pica vomited significantly more often than control cats (P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Pica, the ingestion of inedible items, does not seem to be the consequence of a suboptimal environment or early weaning. Cats with pica were less commonly fed ad libitum than healthy cats. As frequently reported, pica and vomiting were related, but the causative association is not well established and thus warrants further investigation.

PMID:
26088566
DOI:
10.1177/1098612X15591589
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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