This post concerns several similar issues of pets eating inappropriate things that aren't their food and that aren't being fed to them:

I see this coming up a lot (and more to appear). Most are generically assigned to , but I think a more specific tag is in order.

I am of the opinion that these posts should not be using which, while it refers to what is fed to a pet, the intent of is that the what is intentional. I would like to create something akin to a hypothetical , but less unwieldy.

Should a tag of this nature be created, and if so, can anyone recommend a name for it that a user would recognize as applicable? I initially typed , but it is synonymed to .

Votes on this question are agreement that something should be done; not consensus that the sample tags I suggest here are applicable.

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    Related to your examples but not technically eating: pets.stackexchange.com/q/23/31 – Monica Cellio Nov 13 '13 at 21:33
  • Hahah, yes! . . . . . – JoshDM Nov 13 '13 at 21:35
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    Maybe using another existing tag is sufficient? Eg safety, health or something like that. As far as I interpret the definition, diet covers everything you eat, healthy and unhealthy stuff. – Baarn Nov 13 '13 at 22:52
  • The notion of "diet" implies this is what you're feeding regularly or with a positive intent. The questions regard (prevention of) eating with a negative intent. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 4:57
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    I'm going to break the linkage on eating/feeding, it's pretty clear there's a difference. – John Cavan Nov 14 '13 at 15:59
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    Done. Have to run to a meeting, but ideally we should update those questions to reflect the difference. – John Cavan Nov 14 '13 at 16:00
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    All questions listed above have been modified, the "eating" tag wiki has been created, differentiation specified, and the associated "feeding" tag wiki definition updated. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 18:43
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    I have to wonder if this one is also relevant although again not technically eating: pets.stackexchange.com/questions/1394/… – Kate Paulk Nov 15 '13 at 12:40
  • I already tagged it drinking before I came here, but it's pica drinking... There was a feeding-drinking synonym proposal, but I know I down-voted it to keep them separate. Not sure if there's an inappropriate-drinking phrase, or if it's even warranted. – JoshDM Nov 15 '13 at 15:32

I see diet as something you feed them, intended to be part of their regular eating cycle. If an animal is eating something outside of that scope, such as paper, it's not really about diet, it's about some other issue. The medical term, as noted in an answer, is pica. Unfortunately, it's probably too obscure... it's accurate though.

Interestingly enough, I'm no longer convinced that eating and feeding are synonyms. Eating, or inappropriate eating, is the situation here.

  • "eating" is locked-in as a tag at the moment; I suspect it takes a moderator to change it, but we can give it a bit of time to decide. Feeding : the act of providing food; diet : what is being intentionally fed; eating: the act of consuming something. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 2:30
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    @JoshDM - Yep, we can remove the synonym if that is the desire of the community. – John Cavan Nov 14 '13 at 2:49
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    I, too, think there's a difference between stuff that's intended to be food and stuff that pets sometimes eat (or chew on, or lick). I think decoupling "diet" and "eating" is good, though I don't know if "eating" is right for the other cases of attempted ingestion. (I don't have a better suggestion, though.) – Monica Cellio Nov 14 '13 at 15:35
  • @MonicaCellio - it's actually "feeding" and "eating" that are coupled. "diet" and "feeding" are decoupled. An alternate to "eating", "consuming" seems much too generic and has more potential for irrelevant synonyms than necessary. "ingestion" doesn't seem like something someone would think of for tag purposes unless they were really reaching. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 15:53
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    I think that coupling doesn't make sense. Feeding is an act of supplying food, eating is consumption. They're related, but not the same. – John Cavan Nov 14 '13 at 15:57
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    @JoshDM oh right; got the pairing wrong. And I agree with what you said about other options; I don't think "consuming" or "ingestion" works at all. Nobody's going to think to type that. – Monica Cellio Nov 14 '13 at 16:19
  • @MonicaCellio - "Mastication" lol – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 16:19
  • In my mass re-tagging, I discovered one use of chewing, which has been eliminated, though I think I'd have preferred to add it artificially to multiple questions, then synonimize it. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 16:21
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    What is the problem with using a tag that's accurate but not well known (i.e. pica)? If the intent is to attract experts, I think using good terminology would help that. – Zaralynda Nov 14 '13 at 18:23
  • "eating" will be edited to include pica. – JoshDM Nov 14 '13 at 18:44
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    If "pica" is a standard professional term then let's make it a synonym. – Monica Cellio Nov 15 '13 at 2:03
  • I'm good with that if the synonym can be done without having to tag several questions with. I CALL UPON THE POWER OF THE MODERATORS! @JohnCavan Also throw "Chewing" in for good measure, IMHO. – JoshDM Nov 15 '13 at 3:51
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    @JoshDM Done and... done. Both are now synonyms. Go forth and chew. :P – John Cavan Nov 15 '13 at 3:59
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    Oddly enough, I just got a badge for that. I was a bit surprised, I had gotten used to not getting certain badges because the approval process is different. – John Cavan Nov 15 '13 at 4:02
  • Chewing got thrown into this a bit too lightly, imo. – Esa Paulasto Feb 23 '14 at 21:25

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