Why Is Your Kitten Eating Litter?

A kitten eating litter is possibly sign of a serious medical condition. Although curious kittens may eat litter, excessive and persistent litter eating should be a concern for pet owners.

Potential Problems

A kitten eating litter consistently may have medical problems and should be taken to the vet at the earliest opportunity. Besides the problems that may be causing the kitten to exhibit this behavior, eating litter can lead to intestinal blockage, particularly if the litter is clumping clay litter.
While the kitten is eating litter, change clay and clumping litter to non-toxic biodegradable alternatives, such as litter made from wheat or corn. Litter made from paper, pine chips and cedar may also pose less of a potential problem, especially since they are non-clumping, but to be on the safe side, owners should consider litter made of more digestible ingredients.


A kitten may be eating litter simply out of curiosity. Still, it is better for the owner to err on the side of being too cautious and to have the kitten tested for possible medical conditions. Any kitten eating litter should have clay and clumping litter replaced with non-toxic biodegradable litter until the behavior ceases.


A kitten digesting clay litter might be subconsciously attempting to compensate for a mineral and/or vitamin deficiency. While eating litter is hazardous and not an adequate source of these minerals, the cat doesn't know where else to get the nutrition it needs. After a vet examination, the kitten's owner may be advised follow a more balanced and regulated diet plan for the kitten and replacing the litter with non-toxic alternatives. The vet may also prescribe a vitamin supplement, which should be administered either in pill form or in drops squirted over food.


Anemia, or insufficient red blood cells, may also be the cause of a kitten eating litter. Anemia can be caused by parasites, particularly fleas, kidney disease and other diseases and conditions. The most common cause in kittens is parasites, so the solution may involve medication, anti-flea baths and a balanced diet.
To check for anemia in the kitten, gently pull back its lips and look for signs that the gums are pale. White, blue or very pale pink gums may be a sign of a blood problem. Cats' gums are usually a dark pink color, although some other dark splotches may be visible according to the individual cat's pigmentation. Owners should familiarize themselves with the cat's usual gum colors so that identifying paleness when a problem occurs becomes easier.

Renal Failure

Although rare in kittens and more a problem in aging cats, eating litter is sometimes a symptom of chronic renal failure, a gradual shutdown of the kidneys. Kittens with this condition are usually not given optimistic prognoses, but this is rarely the cause of kittens digesting litter.
A kitten eating litter consistently likely has a medical condition, although it is possible the kitten simply is curious. To avoid possible complications from ingesting litter, the best course of action for a concerned owner is to switch the litter to a biodegradable litter alternative immediately and have the kitten examined by a vet.