Why Do Cats Chew Things? How Do You Control Cat Chewing?
Reasons For Cat Chewing:
There are potential medical, anxiety, stress, boredom and digestive reasons for cat chewing as well as teething. There can also be a genetic component as some cats are more prone to it as well as potential serious medical problems. Pica is the term used to describe this condition where cats have a serious chewing problem and eat things they shouldn’t like chewing on electrical cords and plastic bags or rubber bands. This can be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, leukemia, tumors and FIV. Get your cat checked out by a vet if they have a serious chewing problem. They can also have a nutrient deficiency and chew on strange items like plastic bags in an attempt to get a needed nutrient. Some plastic bags have gelatin in them, and likewise a deficiency could cause cats to even eat cat litter! Don’t panic right away though, many cats chew even if they don’t have a serious condition. Following are some more common causes and how you can address them.
Causes For Cat Chewing That You can Address at Home
Anxiety could be caused by moving, introducing new pets to the home, medical problems, territoriality if other cats are nearby, stress inside the home, a new baby and so many other possible reasons. If anxiety or stress is the cause of chewing, a calming atmosphere should be maintained and products to reduce anxiety can be used such as pheromone products and drops that get rubbed on the fur. Cats can also develop chewing problems if they were weaned too young. The answer to why cats chew things can be difficult to determine sometimes. I will share what worked with my anxious and chewy boy here. He benefitted greatly from the pheromone calming products and drops, added toys and chew treats below.
Young Cats Chew, It’s Normal, So What Can you Do About It?
Young cats, like young puppies can chew while they are teething. There is nothing wrong with this behavior and it is natural so it should not be punished, just redirected to an acceptable target! This may sound strange, but my boy cat loves to chew on Greenies Dental Chews for dogs. They are made as a dental chew treat for dogs but if you buy the Teenie (for 5 to 15 pounds) or Petite (15-25 pounds) sizes they work for a chew happy cat! I get the Petite as my cat is about 15 pounds. He can finish one off in about an hour or may stop halfway through and continue later. I am glad these may help clean his teeth in the process. The whole point is to give him a real chew workout to keep him happy so I don’t want a little one he will just eat right up. If you have a small cat or one that is not a ravenous chewer, try the Teenie.
Here is a multi pack with three different flavors including regular (which my boy likes), mint and blueberry which I have not tried!
Once you clink on the links above and go to Amazon you can look at the many varieties available such as weight control and grain free as well as many options for sizes and quantities.
Boredom is an obvious problem and appropriate toys and activities should be provided. It is always a good idea to get your cat checked out by a vet to rule out potential medical problems first. Any toy your cat loves will help if boredom is the cause of chewing. Easy and free toys include paper bags and cardboard boxes for cats to hide in. My cats all like chewing on the flaps of cardboard boxes as well.
Cats Need Some Plants!
Some cats crave greenery and that results in many cats eating houseplants. This can be dangerous as many plants are toxic and most will at least result in the cat throwing up. Get your cat some cat grass and they will have their own safe, healthy and enjoyable place to browse any time!
My Secret Tip! Buy Wheat Grass for People instead of Cat Grass.
Cat grass at pet stores is often dried out, dead looking or full of bugs! Get wheat grass at the grocery store that is sold for people. Wheat grass and cat grass are the same thing! It is healthier, you get more of it and it is cheaper! It will also be a higher quality and you will not be introducing bugs into your home. Most grocery stores have wheat grass in small, square, plastic pots in the produce section. They will only last a few weeks but at only a dollar or two you can buy them on a regular basis for your cats.
Solutions for Cat Chewing
Some chewing may simply resolve with age. A young cat will be more likely to chew. A cat may start chewing due to teething or due to being weaned to young. It may also be anxious when introduced to a new home. If your cat is chewing expensive items like shoes or purses I would recommend putting them out of reach to start with. I had to do that with my cat while he was still young. He seems to have grown out of most of his chewing now. You can also get products to reduce anxiety, and products to deter chewing such as sprays that taste bad to cats.
For electrical cords (potentially the most dangerous item you cat can chew) try covering them with a carpet, taping them down or buying cord covers.
Cat Toys that Keep Them Busy
Get your cats toys that give them an outlet for their boredom and a way to burn off energy (a problem for young cats!). Here is a ball and track toy that my cats love. If they are too rambunctious they can break the track apart however so you may have to put it back together for them.
Here is a tunnel that my cats use every day to hide in and ambush each other through. It provides the hiding, planning, pouncing and running they crave. They can also see through the sides and feel like they are camouflaged from within.
This is my cats favorite toy for chewing, kicking and scratching. It is catnip scented and they love to hug it with their front paws while scratching and kicking with their hind feet and chewing. All three of my cats love this thing!
Get your cats kitty grass. I recommend going to the grocery store and getting wheat grass meant for humans since it is cheaper and higher quality.
Give your cats lots of places to hide and play like cardboard boxes and cat trees.
Finally, if your cat really love to chew, try out a bag of small Greenies for dogs! My cat will work on one of these for about an hour until he gets through the whole thing.
Please let me know if you try any of these for your cat or if you have other solutions for why cats chew. Comments and shares are appreciated!
Thriving Cat makes use of affiliate relationships with merchants such as Amazon Associates for monetization. This means when you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in a small commission that is credited to this site.