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How to stop cat from chewing

Updated on January 19, 2009

While cats may not chew to the extent of puppies and dogs, they may still set their own repertoire of destructive damage. Cats merely chew for three particular reasons: teething (which takes place between 3 to 6 months of age), boredom and in some cases even nutritional deficiencies. Kittens in particular, go through an acute teething phase, where there will be seen chewing more than normal.

While chewing is not harmful per se, the objects the cat chooses to chew on can be dangerous and even potentially fatal. Owners of cats with a tendency to chew should cover their electrical cords with special tubings available in electrical supply stores. Such tubings are made of "teeth proof' materials that will prevent access to the cords.

Small kittens just as puppies and human toddlers tend to explore the world around them through their mouths. They may therefore, find house plants to be an attractive greenery to mouth. All owners of cats and kittens should be educated on the types of plants to avoid because they are toxic to felines. A list of toxic plants may be found here.

Cats weaned too early may develop a tendency to chew on wool and knead just as if they were nursing. Siamese cats and Oriental breeds in general seem to be particularly prone to this behavior. Such behaviors are comforting to the cat and blankets and sweaters may be spared by redirected the cat to a nice soft chew toy instead.

Cats and kittens may also tend to nip their owner's hands and feet. This derives mostly from play however, a cat that chases ankles and attacks feet may be going into prey drive confusing feet for an animal to chase. Such behavior should be discouraged. The cat should be redirected to another play method. Owners can toss a ball when this happens so the cat will learn appropriate behavior.

Owners should also refrain from allowing cats and kittens to play with fingers and hands. This will cause a cat or kitten to believe that hands are a nice set of toys and they may therefore develop a tendency to bite and scratch their owners hands and may not allow owners to pet them.

Some cats may chew themselves up. If a cat chews constantly on its paws and tail it should be seen by a veterinarian to rule out fleas, food allergies or skin diseases. Some cats chew themselves out of anxiety.

How to Stop Cats From Chewing

Now that the top reasons why cats tend to chew have been revealed, the next topic is how to stop such behaviors in first place.

-Invest in electrical cord protectors. This should be the main concern of owners of cats that tend to chew. Check your electronic store or a large pet store. "Critter cord" or "Chew Safe" may be some products of interest.

-If your cat enjoys chewing on your plants, purchase some cat grass. You can find the seeds from garden centers or you can plant your own from barley and oat seeds.

-If your cat has started to chew on furniture or any other large object, you can try to purchase a bottle of bitter apple. Bitter apple is a product that features a very sour taste that most cats and dogs dislike. It make take a lick or two and the cat will learn its lesson.

-If you want to restrict the cat from going to a particular area of your home all together try a scat mat. Scat mats deliver a small shock as the cats steps on it discouraging the cat from accessing certain areas.

-If you cat tends to jump up your night stand or your counters to chew on fake flowers or anything else you can try to place some empty soda can bottles that the cat will knock over and cause him/her a big scare.

-Double sided sticky tape placed on the object the cat enjoys to chew on, will very likely discourage the cat to chew because cats tend to hate the consitency of sticky tape.

-Bored cats should be provided with entertainment. Invest in safe cat toys and purchase a cat tree. The more occupied the cat, the less bored it will be, thereforethe less like to chew from boredome.

-If the cat tends to mouth and chew everything is sight, it should be checked for a medical condition called "Pica". Cats affected by pica in reality suffer from some vitamin or nutritional deficiency, while uncommon, a cat that tends to chew too much without any obvious reason, should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Chewing may simply be a phase your cat is going through momentarily, however in any case your cat's safety is of utmost importance. Small objects such as rubber bands or fragments of objects may cause an intestinal obstruction while some objects may be simply toxic to injest. Careful monitoring is essential and all potentially dangerous objects that your cat may injest should be removed.

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    • BioMedGirl profile image

      BioMedGirl 

      7 years ago from Corpus Christi, Tx

      This is good stuff! My cat is currently going chew crazy and destroying all of my clothes so I will definitely be giving some of these techniques a try, thanks!

    • David Fallon profile image

      David Fallon 

      9 years ago from Pomona, CA

      Thanks for the info :) We have a young cat who might be headed toward a bad chewing habit. Your advice will come in handy

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