Our domestic shorthaired 13-year-old male cat, Baxter, has been diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. He is now being treated with long-term steroid shots, starting 30 days apart, after a few short-term shots lasting a few days. He was a big cat, but he is now gradually losing weight. He has an unusual and perplexing habit of licking concrete. If he is not taken outdoors, he will lick the bricks on the fireplace hearth. Yes, he had one bout of toxic illness.Baxter has been a patient of the best allergy and dermatology clinic for animals in the area, ever since we got him at birth. His veterinarian cannot explain this behavior and neither can I. He runs to the door when he observes me leaving, and dashes outside to lick the concrete. I have never seen another cat do this.I was raised on a farm and remember the salt licks in the pasture for the outdoor farm animals. I put a dish of salt on the floor beside his food for a few days, but he did not partake of it. His veterinarian told us that salt would not hurt him, but
C.W., Livonia, MI Oct 24, 2004
Animals who are experiencing chronic pain, discomfort or irritation, as from cancer (like your cat) or tonsillitis, gingivitis or intestinal inflammation, will engage in what is called pica. They obsessively lick solid surfaces like wood or concrete floors, brick walls and iron pipes, and sometimes chew and swallow all kinds of materials from soil and leaves to pieces of carpet and upholstery. They will also do this to their own bodies when extremely disturbed.Pica caused by a nutritional deficiency in calcium, phosphorus and other dietary essentials is rare. But to be on the safe side, have your veterinarian prescribe a multi-mineral and multivitamin tablet or liquid drops for your cat.Pica caused by boredom, anxiety and frustration is seen in dogs who are left home alone all day, in factory-farmed sows in narrow stalls, and in many caged wild animals in zoos, circuses and laboratories all over the world. Pica indicates that the animal is suffering (and your cat clearly is), and the steroids may be contribu
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