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Question
Hello,

I have a 5 year old female burmese mix cat who I found and adopted when she was only a few weeks old. She has always been the most people friendly cat I have ever known, and has been pretty vocal from too. She was spayed at about 8 months old.

Since a young age she has had a biting, chewing, gnawing obsession that seems to be getting worse. It started with chewing her tail, this has never stopped and over the years she has chewed her tail to a point, it is a lighter color than the rest of her fur. Over time the chewing progressed to other hard objects like shoes and even some rot iron chair bars! She also has developed an affinity for q-tips. She will get on the bathroom counters and look for them, she will knock over the trash can and look for them also! She has swallowed several and passed them all out seemingly ok. She has also always been a complete scavenger. She will go through the trash no matter what we do with it or how we try to keep her out!

She was strictly an indoor cat for years, but about 2 years ago we moved into a very large house with roomates and she began getting outside. We recently (about 5 months ago) moved into a much smaller house and have kept her inside since.

She seemed OK with the move at first, but lately seems to be acting out terribly, I'm not sure what the cause is! She is in our face every minute when trying to cook or eat especially, she will steal the food in front of you, from your plate. The tail biting has become beyond obsessive. If she catches sight of her tail she immediately starts the chewing ritual. She has lost weight, but still has her insatiable appetite. She has begun crying loudly for no apparant reason. I can't tell if she's wanting to go outside or if it's for food or if she's in pain. I changed her food a couple months ago and wonder if she's not liking the new food and not eating? She got out a few days ago and I chased her til she ran under the neighbor's front porch. She crawled under there and cried loudly while staring at me, almost growling some. Was she saying leave me alone I want to be outside?

I know I need to take her to the vet, but her behavior is still normal. My husband has been out of work for quite a while and we can't afford to take a cat with behavior problems to the vet for no reason. I am not being an irresponsible pet owner, I will take her I just cannot immediately, and in the mean time I am worried and she is driving me insane!

Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

Answer
Hi
Ummmmm well when I first started to read your question the first thing that struck me is that your cat may be one of the few who suffer from a rather strage condition known as pica. Little is known about it, basically it is a facination with eating and chewing non food items. Pleasee my page here for more info on this

/cat-eating-disorders.html

However at the end of your story her behavior does sound rather extreme and I'm not sure if there could be an underlining illness there. Losing weight but still eating lots can be an indication of several condiotions from thyroid issues, diabetes or even heart conditions. All of which have to be diagnosed by a vet to be sure.

if I were you i really would try to get her to a vet, I don't know if there area ny animla charities in your area that can help with vet costs etc it's always worth checking as here in the UK if you are uneployed there are places that will treat animals for free etc.

Cats can't tell us us verbally if something is wrong and often a change in behavior is one of the first indicationms thatyb something could be up.

best wishes KAte
http;//www.our-happy-cat.com

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Kate Tilmouth

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I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.

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I run my own cat website at http://www.our-happy-cat.com and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

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I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Education/Credentials
Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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