Pica, a dangerous syndrome: what it is and what it originates from

For the most assiduous reader of GcomeGatto, pica is certainly not something unknown. Just recently we dedicated an article to the habit of cats to swallow ribbons and elastic bands; a behavior, this one, that is really indicative of pica. But more specifically, what is pica?

Pica is a condition that causes cats to ingest inedible objects, quite simply. The instinct for this gesture can originate from various sources, including stress, boredom, attention-seeking, play, or an inviting taste or smell of the object. It should be taken for granted, without needing to specify it, that the consequences can also be very dangerous.

The next question that arises, however, is the following: What factors in the growth of the cat can lead to the development of pica? This question was effectively answered by the feline psychoetologist Ewa Princi, and we report precisely the causes highlighted by her.

Early weaning

Dietary deficiencies: for example, a cat eating grains from the litter tray could suffer from anaemia. Care should also be taken when Kitty eats too much grass, especially if she bites a houseplant. Some are toxic.

Medical problems, such as a compulsive disorder or diseases such as FelV, diabetes or some brain tumours.

On other occasions, pica is simply part of the cat’s genes and he is born predisposed to it.

If we are aware that Pica tends to swallow foreign bodies, it is worth paying attention to the following symptoms, as their appearance may mean that it is becoming complex for him to “digest” them.

  • Vomiting;
  • Anorexia or decreased appetite;
  • Effort in defecating or diarrhea;
  • Abdomen painful;
  • Fever;
  • Depression;
  • Dehydration (due to vomiting).

It is important to be vigilant, because pica can even lead to the death of our beloved feline. The right policy would be to call the vet as soon as we know what has happened, without waiting for any symptoms.

It is also essential, in this case, to avoid trying to pull the rope from the anus or mouth. If it is knotted to the intestine, it could be severely damaged!

Have a good (safe) game to your kittens, without any pica problems.


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