Cat Chewing on Cords
Does your cat chew your power cords?
If your cat chews on cords, you probably worry that they are going to get injured by getting electrocuted. You are also probably spending a lot of money replacing these cords or devices. Find out why your cat may be chewing on power cords and how you can stop them from doing it.
Why is my cat chewing on cords?
There are many reasons why a cat would chew on power cords. One of the most common reason cats do this is boredom. Even though cats are seen as lazy creatures, sleeping for most of their existence, they still do require a certain amount of physical activity and mental stimulation (the amount needed will differ between cats). If your cat doesn't get enough physical activity, they will often sprint around the house for no reason. If your cat doesn't get enough mental stimulation, they will often do something to get your attention, similar to a child acting out for attention. If this is the case for your cat, getting them to stop could be as easy as spending more time playing with them.
If your cat is very young, they may be teething. Just like when babies teethe, a kitten will seek out things to chew on to relieve pain. Cords are often chosen because they are pretty much the perfect shape. They are small enough around to fit comfortably in a cat/kitten's mouth, and the plastic insulation on most cords will literally gives them something to sink their teeth in. This can cause your cat to default to chewing on things when they get overwhelmed by anxiety later on in their adult life as well.
It could be a number of other reasons that cause your cat to chew on cords. Cat behavior is often hard to understand, so let's discuss how you can prevent your cat from doing this.
One of the ways to prevent your cat from chewing on your cords is with taste deterrents. There are products like Bitter Sprays that are made for the sole purpose of applying to cords to make them so distasteful that your cat will think twice about putting a cord in their mouth after the first time. I have tried out one of these sprays and can tell you they work very well. It was by far the worse tasting substance I have ever tasted. The big problem I had with it was its application. Spraying a cord didn’t seem like a very good idea, since I would undoubtedly get the majority of the spray on whatever is behind the cord, so I decided to spray it on a napkin and then wipe my cords. This worked pretty well except I got the stuff all over my hands and this stuff does not come off. Even after washing my hands vigorously with warm water and soap, anything I ate for the next couple of days had a slight bitter taste to it.
There are now products that come with ‘dabber tops’, so that may solve this problem. You will want to remember that these cords have this bitter coating though, just in case you find yourself handling them at some point, as you will probably end up getting this on your hands. Another option is to put some Tabasco or other hot sauce on anything you do not want your cat to chew. If you do use hot sauce there is a chance that your cat will walk past a cord and some will rub off on their coat, making their next grooming session an unpleasant experience. Also, if you have small children you will want to remember that they could get this stuff in their eyes or mouth and that would surely ruin their day as well.
Wrapping your cords
Another way to prevent a cat from chewing on cords is to wrap the cord with materials that your cat doesn’t want to chew on. This will prevent you from ‘getting your hands dirty’ like you will probably do with the taste deterrents. You can use things like CritterCord which will cover your cords and has a built in taste deterrent.
There are certain textures that a cat will not want to rub against their teeth as well. You can wrap up your cords in double sided tape, though this can have some negative side effects, like collecting dust or sticking to things you don’t want. Aluminum foil is a cheap alternative that your cat will not like rubbing on its teeth, though it can stand out and possibly ruin your home decor.
You can also buy any sort of tubing to cover your cords with. This will make the cords too big to fit in your cat’s mouth.
What I ended up doing was in addition to trying to deter my cat from chewing on power cords, I gave him something similar to chew on. I ended up putting a durable boot lace dangling in a corner of the house where there were no cords, and he eventually learned that the boot lace was the only safe thing he could chew on.
Eventually I was able to remove the aluminum foil and stop applying taste deterrents, and my cat has not chewed on my cords in over a year (even though he will still chew on the boot lace from time to time).