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Unusual Cat Eating Habits

September 15 2022

Cats are well-known for their mysterious ways. We all know that, but did you know that their eating habits can sometimes be quite odd? Of course, all animals have their own individual quirks and ticks, which is why we love them. Read on as a vet talks about some unusual eating habits your cat may get into.

Finicky Eaters, They Are

Cats have finicky eating habits. They simply do not like to eat what we humans would consider the “normal” way. However, there is nothing wrong with your cat’s behavior if they prefer to eat in an unusual manner—it’s just something that’s natural to them.

No matter what kind of cat you have, you’ll notice that they all have a few things in common. They sleep a lot, and they love to play.

But what you might not know is that each cat has his own distinct personality, and they each have their unique eating habits. Here are some of the most common ones:>


“Tongue-rolling” is one of the most popular ways cats eat. When a cat rolls their tongue back into their mouth, this allows them to push food further into their throat and make it easier for them to swallow it. This technique can be used with large chunks of meat or wet food, but since cats don’t like wet kibble, tongue rolling may not be very useful when it comes to dry food.


“Lapping” is another common way for cats to eat. This involves smacking their lips together while they lap up liquids from bowls or other containers like water bottles or even water fountains! Lapping is quite common among older cats who often lose their sense of smell as they age—they may not be able to smell their food anymore so they resort instead to lapping up liquids so that they can still get some nutrition from what’s left on the plate after you’ve eaten your own meals.

Eating Poop

Cats will eat their own poop. Yuck!

This is a weird one, but it’s true. Cats do it to get the nutrients from their food back into their system, so they can digest it again and make use of those nutrients in their bodies. It might seem gross, but at least it’s natural.

If you have more questions or are concerned about a particular behavior your cat is displaying, please feel free to call our office anytime.

Our Advice on Unusual Cat Eating Habits in 2024

Why are cats known to be picky eaters?

Cats are known to be picky eaters due to their empathetic and selective eating behaviors, often rooted in their evolutionary biology. They possess a keen sense of smell and taste, which they use to scrutinize their food and ensure its freshness and safety. This cautious approach can make them appear picky, especially when introduced to new foods or if their meals lack the specific textures or flavors they prefer. Additionally, cats are obligate carnivores, naturally inclined to favor protein-rich diets, further influencing their selective eating habits to meet their nutritional requirements.

What are some everyday unusual eating habits of cats?

Some everyday unusual eating habits of cats include tongue-rolling, where they use their tongue to scoop and swallow food, particularly effective with wet food. Lapping is another habit, where they use a quick, smacking motion to drink liquids. Surprisingly, some cats may also eat non-food items, a behavior known as pica, which can include fabrics, plastic, or other materials. Additionally, some cats exhibit coprophagia, the consumption of feces to re-digest nutrients. These behaviors vary widely among individuals and sometimes indicate nutritional deficiencies or health issues.

What is lapping, and why do cats lap up liquids?

Lapping is a method cats use to drink liquids. It involves a quick, delicate scooping action with their tongue formed into a J-shape. This technique allows them to draw up water efficiently with minimal spillage. Cats lap up liquids because, in the wild, staying hydrated through drinking from streams or puddles is crucial for survival. Despite getting a significant portion of their hydration from prey or wet food, lapping remains essential for their water intake, especially for those on a dry food diet or in warmer climates.

Can cats eat their poop, and if so, why?

Yes, cats can eat their poop, a behavior known as coprophagia. While it may seem unusual, this can occur for several reasons. Nutritional deficiencies or malabsorption issues might lead a cat to seek out missing nutrients by consuming feces. Sometimes, it’s linked to digestive problems where the cat instinctively tries to reprocess undigested food. Stress, anxiety, or behavioral issues can also trigger this behavior. However, addressing any underlying health or dietary concerns with a veterinarian is essential to prevent potential health risks.

Are there any health concerns associated with cats’ unusual eating habits?

Yes, unusual eating habits in cats, such as consuming non-food items (pica) or their feces (coprophagia), can lead to health concerns. Pica can cause gastrointestinal blockages or injuries from ingesting sharp or indigestible objects, requiring immediate veterinary care. Coprophagia may expose cats to parasites or bacteria in feces, potentially leading to infections or gastrointestinal upset. These behaviors can also indicate underlying nutritional deficiencies, digestive issues, or psychological stress, necessitating a thorough veterinary evaluation to address any health problems and ensure proper care.

Contact us, your local animal clinic in Bloomington, CA!

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