Cats are popular pets around the United States and the world. There are more pet cats in the U.S. than pet dogs. Part of their appeal is their cuteness.
People love to play with them using string or toys. The problem pops up when they mistake cords around the house for the toys they are allowed to play with and chew.
Not only can it be destructive for cats to chomp on power and other cords but it can be dangerous. When they chew on power cords, they can be shocked or killed by the electrical current. They can also choke on pieces of plastic.
Why Does My Cat Chew on Cords?
To keep cats from chewing on cords, it is important to know why they do this. Many cats like the way it feels to chew on plastic bags and cords, according to the Pet Health Network. They crave the oral sensation they get when they chew the cords.
Some experts have linked a cat’s desire to chew on cords to the impact this can have on their oral health. Cats who are known to chew on cords may benefit from a trip to the veterinarian. The veterinarian should be asked to look at the cat’s teeth.
Chewing on items can also be a symptom of dietary insufficiency. People can suffer from this as well. If your cat is not getting all the nutrients they need, they may resort to chewing on plastic cords.
When people start eating things that are not food, it is called Pica. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) links it to celiac disease and an iron deficiency. Your vet can tell you if your cat is missing something in their diet.
The last reason cats chew on cords is that they are bored. The good news is that if your cat is bored, there are toys you can get to engage them mentally and things you can do to improve their activity level.
Before you even think about how to get a cat to stop chewing on cords, it is crucial to learn the reasons behind this behavior.
Steps You Can Take to Stop a Cat From Chewing on Cords
If you have learned that your cat has a vitamin deficiency or needs help with their teeth, you may have the problem solved and do not need to do anything else to curb this dangerous and destructive behavior.
If you find there is no physical issue and that your cat has more than enough to keep them busy, you may have to take some steps to get the cat to stop.
Put covers on cords. You can get hollow tubing that has been pre-cut from home improvement and electronics stores. People report more success with half-inch tubing. This can also make your cords look better and be easier to conceal.
Do not hang any cords. If you have hanging cords, there may be no way to keep a cat from chewing on it. You can remove the temptation by taping them to a wall.
Make sure your cat has other options for things to chew on. Here are some options:
Dog chew toys: These are often made of hard rubber. Cats may get the same benefit from chewing on them that they get from a cord.
Raw chicken necks: These treats from Primal should not be given every day but work well as a treat once a week or so. They are great for the oral health of a cat.
Make the cords taste bad. Many parents use something that tastes bad on kids’ thumbs to stop them from sucking it. The same principle holds true for cats and cords. Bitter apple sprays work well for this. Most essential oils are toxic so it makes sense to get a product made for pets.
Make homemade sprays. If you do not want to buy a professionally made products, there are things you have at home that can deter your cat. Examples of things they hate are hot sauce, citrus fruits, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili paste and oil, and liquid dish soap.
Spray the cat with water. You can get a water gun and spray the cat with water when they start to chew on a cord.
Tell the cat, “No!” The typical cat can learn a number of words and “no” should be one of them. When you see your cat is about to chew on a cord or has already started, you can clap your hands and shout. “No!” It may take a few times but if you stay with it, your cat will learn.
Get your cat some grass. Cats love to chew grass. You can get yours some cat grass and that should stop them from chewing on cords. Cat grass is very healthy for your cat to chew on.
How Can I Keep My Cat Entertained When I Am Not Home?
One reason cats are so popular is that they are intelligent animals. It can be a challenge to finds ways to keep them busy all day. Here are some ideas from Pet Secure to help you keep your cat busy when you are at work:
Find toys and puzzles that release treats. Most cats love treats. Puzzles that give out treats can be fun for cats throughout the day. You may need to get a few of these as cats will figure them out, leaving you at square one.
Put out some boxes and bags. Cats love to play in paper bags and cardboard boxes. Putting these out will give your cat something to play with all day. The best part is that these are inexpensive and easy to get. If there are handles on the bags, they should be removed.
Get some cat furniture. There are a number of kinds of furniture items you can get for your cat. Cat trees, scratching posts and benches can make your cat happy throughout the day. Sprinkle some catnip to get your cat interested in the new items.
Give your cat a view of the outdoors. If your cat can get to your windows, they can provide hours of entertainment.
Consider a fish tank. If you do not mind cleaning and dealing with fish, a well-secured fish tank can also be very entertaining for your feline friend.
Get your cat their own cat. If you have only one cat, you may want to consider getting a second one. This way your cat will have a friend to play with when you are not at home.
Leave the television on. Some cats like to watch human TV. If yours is not all that interested, there are YouTube channels and Roku channels with videos that were made to entertain cats.
See if you can Skype with your kitty. Not all cats are into this but some do. There are a number of options for this. Skype has some suggestions for how you can do this.
Some of the cat videos involve birds and other creatures that interest cats. Here is one such channel:
Cats are fun animals to have around the home. They are friendly, feisty, and fun. Giving them things to do when you are not around and making your cords less attractive chewing options can top them from this destructive and dangerous behavior. Keeping them healthy can also keep them from wanting to chew on the cord around your home.
The good news about dealing with cats is that they can learn to not do things they should not do. It may take some work to find them the toys and other items to keep them occupied during the day but it is possible with some effort.