If you think seeing your cat eating grass is weird enough, you have not seen it all. Cats can eat all kinds of weird stuff including spider webs.
Why do Cat eat spider webs?
Cats eat spider webs for the following reasons::
1. Due to its nutritional value.
One reason why cats are drawn to spider webs and also eat them is because of their nutritional value. Spider webs consist of protein, carbohydrates and nucleic acids that are beneficial to a cat. Eating spider webs per se is not harmful to cats since the silky webs are made up of chains of amino acids or simple proteins.
2. Your cat may have a nutritional deficiency.
Just as cats tend to eat grass to make up for some nutritional needs like fiber and folic acid, they may turn to spider webs to replenish nutritional deficiencies in their diet. Humans crave sugary food when tired and seek water when thirsty. Similarly, cats tend to seek food or edible items to make up for missing nutrients.
Cat experts recommend that you bring your kitty to the vet for some laboratory tests to check if she is losing weight, hypoglycemic or deficient in protein and carbohydrates. Your vet may recommend supplements, provide an IV boost or suggest that you switch up the food that you give to your cat.
3. Your cat may have pica.
Feline pica is a behavioral disorder that is characterized by a long-term and compulsive consumption of non-food items like power cords, plastic, cardboard, paper, fabric and plants. This disorder often affects younger cats around the age of three months and manifests in felines prone to anemia. If your cat has pica, likely, she will also eat spider webs alongside other items mentioned above.
Pica can be caused by the following:
- being weaned too early
- feline diseases like leukemia, anemia, diabetes and hyperthyroidism
- genetic disposition such as in Siamese and Oriental cat breeds
- behavioral disorders like anxiety, stress, compulsive behavior and boredom
- dietary deficiencies such as lack of fiber, vitamins and minerals
These are the other common symptoms of feline pica:
- decreased appetite
- general listlessness
Ways to deal with feline pica
These are some of the ways to deal with feline pica:
- consult the experts including your veterinarian and an animal behavior consultant
- treat pica by removing target items out of your cat’s reach
- discourage your cat from eating target items by spraying them with a cat deterrent spray
- provide safe alternatives for your cat to chew on like dental sticks and chew toys
- keep your cat preoccupied with interactive toys, scratching posts and puzzle toys
- feed your cat more fiber
- avoid sudden changes to your cat’s routine so she won’t be stressed
- use a pheromone spray like Feliway in your home to keep your cat calm
Aside from the reasons mentioned above, it could also be that cats simply love the texture and taste of spider silk. Also, it may be that your cat just happened to walk into a web or she got entangled in a cobweb while trying to catch a spider and was just trying to clean herself up from the mess.
What to do if your cat eats spider webs?
While eating spider webs is not a cause for alarm, you may still want to consider the following measures to ensure your cat’s safety and wellbeing:
1. Bring your cat to the vet for a thorough checkup.
If your cat is ingesting spider webs it may indicate nutrient deficiencies as mentioned above so it may be best to bring her to the vet. Certain lab tests such as a blood test may be done which can detect and reveal certain nutrients that your cat needs. Your vet may also assess your cat’s behavior and the frequency with which your cat eats spider webs.
2. Providing supplements for your cat may help solve the issue.
You may consider giving your cat supplements to help improve her immune system and support nutrient requirements. Some of these supplements worth checking out include Purina FortiFlora Probiotic Cat Supplement and Tomlyn Immune Support Supplement and you may also consult your vet for the right supplements for your cat.
3. Distract your cat by giving her treats.
If your cat is showing keen interest in spider webs you can distract her from the web. Try to give her some treats so she will forget about those webs. Just be sure not to overindulge her with the treats.
4. Provide variations with your cat’s meals.
If you have been feeding your cat with mostly wet food lately, consider altering it and giving her some dry food for a change. Do not change her meals abruptly though as it may cause stomach upset. Try to vary the food you serve your cat for at least two weeks and observe if it has lessened your cat’s cravings for spider webs.
Seeing your cat eating spider webs may freak you out but the is usually no need to worry as the webs themselves are quite harmless. Having said that, your cat may be eating these spider webs because of a nutritional deficiency or she may be suffering from pica. While eating spider webs is not harmful for your furry baby, you should consider bringing her to your vet for a thorough checkup and to assess for nutritional deficiencies that should be addressed.
Image: istockphoto.com / krblokhin