While dogs are most often known for destructive chewing, cats can also pick up this bad habit. Reasons range from curiosity (in kittens) and boredom to a nutritional deficiency. This behavior poses a danger to your cat and could lead to intestinal problems if it isn’t treated. Use these tips to help discourage it:
Kittens often explore with their mouths and tend to chew when they’re teething. If you discourage or manage her chewing behavior when she’s this age (three to six months), you’re less likely to have issues with it later.
Offensive measures: tools and toys at the ready
Whether you have a kitten or an adult cat, your best tactic is to go on the offense. This includes giving your cat chewable toys, play toys, catnip, cat furniture with crawl spaces and other items to engage her attention. Play time and food-dispensing toys will also keep her diverted and less likely to chew out of boredom.
Electrical cords, wires and toxic plants are hazards for your chewing cat and should be covered, treated or removed altogether. A few defensive measures include:
- Hollow tubing or covers for electrical cords – Store-bought tubing is one of the most effective ways to keep cords and wires out of reach.
- Sticky Paws tape – For cords or items that are hard to cover up, try surrounding it with Sticky Paws instead. Cats dislike walking across it and learn to avoid it.
- Repellents – Taste repellents like Bitter Apple or Bitter Yuck are also good deterrents. These sprays add a bad taste your cat will want to avoid. Other repellent sprays like Keep Off! use scent to keep cats away instead.
A special case: chewing on fabric and leather
Cats who chew mostly fabric or leather may have a condition similar to OCD in humans. Cats like Burmese and Siamese are predisposed to this behavior and can destroy clothing, bedding and other items. Most importantly, they can swallow materials that block their intestines. If your cat prefers fabrics, offer chewing toys, divert her attention and use a taste repellent. For further help, see your vet.
Careful attention and a few preventive measures can curb your cat’s chewing tendencies. For repellants and fun cat toys, stop by your Pet Supermarket store or shop online at PetSupermarket.com.