Cat litter has one job, so it’s naturally a bit strange when you see your cat taking a few nibbles from their litter box.

Cats are curious by nature, but does this mean you should turn a blind eye when they start eating their litter?

If you’re currently worried about your feline’s new habit, here’s what you need to know.

Why Is My Cat Eating Litter?

Over and above your cat being curious, there are a few other reasons why they might be making a meal out of their cat litter.



Many people don’t know that cats can develop anemia, which is the result of too few red blood cells transporting oxygen through the body. There are a number of underlying medical issues that can result in anemia, which can cause your cat to eat their litter. If your cat is more tired than usual, you may want to speak to your vet. 


Cat litter scent

Natural cat litter that is made from ingredients such as wheat, corn, or walnut could smell like a food source to your cat, which is why they may be attempting to eat it. 


Dietary deficiencies

Just like humans, cats need specific nutrients to stay happy and healthy. If your cat’s food is not providing them with the nutrients they need, they could be turning to their litter as an additional source. 



Even though hyperthyroidism in cats is rare, if it is present, it can cause pica, which is the consistent chewing or consumption of inedible materials. Hyperthyroidism can also lead to an increased metabolism and appetite, another reason why your cat may be looking for extra food sources.


Boredom and stress

Cats are known to eat their litter when they’re bored or they’re experiencing high levels of stress.


Intestinal parasites

Worms and parasites can also cause pica in cats. Studies show that these parasites make cats more hungry, which is what can encourage them to eat their litter.



This particular condition causes cats to eat their feces and is most common in younger felines. This could be down to simple curiosity, but medical conditions can also be the cause.

What Can Happen If Your Cat Eats Litter?

Overall, it’s not safe for your cat to be eating litter, even in small quantities, as it can lead to constipation and intestinal obstructions. 

This is particularly true with clumping litter variants, which can form hard lumps within your cat’s digestive tract. 

Over and above this, it’s not uncommon for cat litter to accidentally become contaminated with harmful pathogens – natural cat litter is particularly prone to this. You can prevent mold growth in natural cat litter by storing it in a dry location and regularly cleaning your cat’s litter box. 

How to Stop a Cat Eating Litter

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure your cat isn’t eating their litter.

  • Pay a visit to your vet. Your first step should always be an appointment with your vet. Your veterinarian will help you rule out any underlying medical conditions or deficiencies that may be affecting your furry family member.
  • Review their diet. Next, you may want to review your cat’s current diet. Does their cat food contain high-quality, nutritious ingredients that will fulfill their needs? Your vet can also help you determine whether your cat needs more nutrition. 
  • Add a few treats to the mix. This is good for both boredom and giving your cat some extra snacks throughout the day. Hide cat treats or place fresh catnip in your home to give them something extra to keep their mouths occupied. 
  • Change up your cat litter. If you’re currently using a clumping cat litter, consider changing to a non-clumping alternative. This may discourage your cat from wanting to eat it.
  • Relieve stress and boredom. Find ways to keep your cat busier during the day – toys really help. You can also use your spare time to play a few games with them. And, if possible, find ways to make your home less stressful for your feline, especially if they’re new to your space.
  • Pamper them. Maintaining your cat’s hygiene is another way that you can prevent them from consuming any cat litter that gets caught up in their fur. If kitty often loves rolling around in their litter box, make a point of brushing them more often.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve realized that your cat has started eating their litter, don’t panic. There is a lot that can be done to find out why and to prevent them from continuing this odd habit.

Your local vet should always be your first port of call when it comes to minimizing how much litter your cat eats.