2001-Tue Jan 17 04:15:57 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. The behavior you’ve described is generally called
pica, which is an abnormal desire to eat inedible things. Wool chewing or wool sucking is not at all uncommon in animals who have the disorder, especially in the so-called
Oriental breeds such as the
Siamese. Though the target is often a soft fabric — such as wool — some cats prefer other objects, such as
plastic grocery bags. We’re not really sure what causes the behavior, but since it is more common in some breeds than others, it is believed to have a genetic component. It was long believed that wool chewing was a result of a kitten who was separated from her mother too soon (probably because the behavior can look like nursing), but that’s not believed to be the case today. Nor is it believed to be linked to dietary deficiency.
Best guess: It’s a habit (like people who chew fingernails, pop knuckles, chew gum) that relieves stress and brings comfort.
Unfortunately, there is no 100 percent effective cure for it. Things to try:
If all else fails, ask your veterinarian if she'd recommend medication to help with compulsive behavior.
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.