It is not known for certain why some cats love to eat wool and yet those who have a cat with them know well what their behavior is. Dresses, sweaters, sofa covers, and other types of fabrics are surprisingly found with showy holes, without imagining that the creator is precisely the house cat.
The cat eats wool, blankets, sweaters
When the cat eats wool, it sucks the blankets or sweaters for comfort and reassurance.
The origin of this dangerous behavior seems to be connected to childhood, the wool becomes a safe and relaxing object, a refusal to almost become an adult.
This obsession is frequent especially in cats removed from their mother too early and still breastfeeding.
If a kitten with less than two months of life is adopted, the human being who takes care of him becomes almost a surrogate of the mother, for this reason, it is always better to avoid detachment when he is so small.
Making the dough sucking the cat mother’s ear is a normal behavior in puppies, but if there is no cat mother available, the cat, even if adult, tends to repeat this pattern by replacing the mother’s ear or nipple with something that provides it the same positive feeling.
The sucking of wool can be compared to sucking the thumb or pacifier of the newborn and in some cases even of the baby no longer in swaddling clothes.
Compulsive behavior of sucking wool
Initially, around the 1950s, the unusual behavior of eating wool was attributed only to Siamese cats, later other studies were conducted and it was discovered that not only the Siamese cats but also the Burmese and others of the common breed, including European or Sorian cats.
In addition to wool, some cats also seem to like other fabrics from cotton to synthetic ones, preferring worn clothes, towels, and sheets.
A cat gnawing on a fabric seems almost in a trance, completely immersed in its activity that repeats obsessively.
At the call of the owner, the cat stops but only for a few seconds, then resumes with the same fabric or looking for one in a quieter area of the house.
Do you gnaw wool or eat it right?
In general, the cat with canines and incisors bites the flap of fabric until it detaches a piece, obtaining a mouthful that it chews carefully with its molar teeth.
Of course, it doesn’t just chew. The bite is crushed until it is ingested.
The quantities of wool or fabrics eaten by cats can also be considerable, even if sometimes they do not cause any damage because they are eliminated with evacuation, but in other cases, they can also generate very serious occlusions.
Dangers for a wool-eating cat
The consequences for a cat that eats wool or fabrics can be quite serious and in some cases even lethal.
The ingestion of foreign bodies is one of the causes of the death of several cats as well as economic damage to the owners.
For this reason, those who have a cat that eats wool must try to solve the problem by tackling this abnormal behavior.
Often you are unable to find a solution without the help of a veterinarian.
Solutions and advice
There may be different solutions and tips for making the cat stop eating wool, sucking on blankets, and sucking sweaters.
- In some cases, the cat puts this scheme into effect only when it is alone in the house away from the owner.
- Care should be taken not to leave clothing within reach of the cat’s “mouth”.
- It is also advisable to leave him some crunchy on hand so that he can satiate himself with food.
- In some cases, one can try to leave the cat outside by encouraging him to go out to be distracted.
- However, there is no certainty that she will not go to eat fabrics elsewhere, such as the clothes hanging in the sun from her neighbors.
- When you see a cat eating wool, you should always dissuade it, for example by stroking it and offering it a snack, or by sprinkling it with water.
- If you are unable to eliminate this behavior at home, you must look for solutions elsewhere, for example with a specialized doctor or trying to identify possible causes that stress the cat.
- Sometimes it is enough to change something within the family routine to create havoc in the life of cats, therefore re-establishing a correct structure could be a decisive solution.
- Even natural remedies and Bach flowers can surely help.
- You can also try to reduce his temptation to eat sweaters, sheets, wool also through indirect tactics by using taste deterrents on favorite fabrics so that the cat can stop.
- Aromas such as menthol, eucalyptus oil can be very successful even if they are used with caution.
But the cat eats wool for food shortages?
It would seem strange and yet it seems that this unhealthy behavior can also be connected to the cat ‘s feeding.
Some cats, in fact, tend to eat wool to fill the stomach by not finding other food available.
It is therefore recommended to always leave a bowl with dry food to the cat so that it can spice as needed.
Keeping the stomach in continuous activity and almost always full seems to help reduce or eliminate the obsessive-compulsive behavior of eating wool because the cat finds serenity from eating and the sense of satiety is reassuring for him so much that he no longer needs to seek pleasure elsewhere.