Supporting Insanity: Destructo-Kitty

This post is part of a new series where struggling pet owners submit pleas for help to the expertise of blogland. Everyone’s experiences are unique. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. What you think common sense may be revolutionary for someone else. You never know what may resonate with someone and keep one more animal out of a shelter. My hope is that together we can help good people, and good animals, feel a little less alone. 

Sharmeen* and her cat that loves to chew:

Hi there, I have been having a small issue with my cat for years now. I adopted him as a baby when a friend of mine found a box of kittens abandoned in the parking lot of her apartment building. He’s a great companion and I can’t imagine life without him. For the most part he has excellent manners. He never jumps on counters and he never wakes me up in the middle of the night.

His only fault is that he loves to chew on wires. In the four years I have had him he has chewed through my cell-phone charger, my flatiron cord, the microwave cord, and numerous lamp wires. It’s not only really annoying for me to have to replace these items but I also really worry about his safety. I am sure he knows he is doing wrong because he only does it when I am not at home. When I have caught him in the act, he always runs away.

I am not sure how I can safely prevent him from all this chewing. I try to make sure all the cords are in a place he can’t reach but sometimes I forget. It seems he just really likes the feel of the cords between his teeth. Do you have any suggestions for how I can safely stop my cat from chewing?

A friend of mine suggested I spray him with water when he does it but since he only does it when I’m not home I don’t think that will work. I have tried to set traps so that if he pulls on a cord something will fall and scare him but that hasn’t worked either. I really don’t know what to do and I am so worried one day I will come home to my cat being severely injured. That and I can’t keep replacing all of my appliances!

Now it is your turn, pet lovers. If you have any suggestions for Sharmeen and her cat, please share them below. The more resources, the better! Thank you so much for taking the time to help

*Name has been changed

If you have a question you would like answered, fill out the contact form and I will post it up as soon as I can. All submissions will remain anonymous.

14 thoughts on “Supporting Insanity: Destructo-Kitty

  1. Sounds like you do have a cat that enjoys chewing. You may already be providing him with things to chew on that are safe, but if not I would totally suggest it. They do sell chew sticks for cats and my friend’s cat has enjoyed them before. Other toys may help too or a room that is more cat friendly to limit him to when you are gone. Cats just like dogs need outlets to climb, scratch and sometimes chew.

    So I would look for some cat chew items. Those cat sticks, wheat grass, catnip covered toys… you could even try some of those chewy sweet potato treats they have for dogs. Do they have greenies for cats? Maybe simply upping his options will help him quit his habit.
    A

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  2. My first tip would be the same as Tracy’s above–spray something that tastes yucky to your cat on the cords. You might need to experiment until you find the right thing.

    But I can’t resist adding that your cat doesn’t know chewing cords is wrong. The reason she only does it when she’s alone is because she knows no one will bother her. She’s only reacting to your response when she runs away every time you catch her at it.

    If you can remember that, you’ll probably be less frustrated with her until you solve the problem. And I’m sure you will–she sounds like a wonderful cat!

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  3. For a temporary solution for protecting your cables and cords you can use PVC pipe and run the wires through it to prevent the kitty from eating them. Home Depot and lowes also carry some wire protector tubes that will help. In regards to the bahvior Im not versed in how to handle cats, never had one.

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    • Great idea Kariaka.. or any tubing. maybe a more flexible vacuum hose type tube would flex better to allow for better coverage. Had not even thought of that. Well done

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  4. I don’t have cats so take my advice with a grain of (very small) salt, but is there some way you can cover them? I think I’ve seen wire cord cover tubey things that you can buy. They’re meant to help contain a bunch of cords together (so it’s one tubey thing instead of 5 different wires hanging around). Maybe something like that would help too?

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  5. In addition to the other good suggestions, could you get some sort of super enticing toy with something safe to chew that could possibly distract him from the cords?

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  6. How has the cat lived through getting many jolts of electricity? One jolt would have been enough to stop most animals from chewing.

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  7. Like the others, I’d try some bitter apple spray or other taste deterrent–you may have to try a few. I’d try to get the wire holders… they wires will look less fun and enticing when they are wrapped up and contained.

    I’d also try to provide plenty of other toys for the kitty to get into during the day. They even make treat filled toys for cats (like the feline version of the Kong Wobbler).

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  8. When our cats get into things we’d prefer them not to, we’ve actually mixed up a chayenne pepper spray as a deterrant. I suppose it’s worked, because we don’t use it any more.

    I also really like the idea above about getting some of those cord protectors, which might deter, but will also keep your cat safe and mean less appliance replacing. If you think he likes the cords because they move a bit, you could also try taping them down or otherwise securing them, and giving catnip or other toys for when you’re away as a distraction.

    Someone actually took both of those ideas and made a product: Crittercord. It’s actually a cord protector that has a citrus scent/taste to deter chewing. Ingenius!

    http://www.amazon.com/D-W-Innovations-crit-Crittercord/dp/B000EH2I5O

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  9. Koly loved the electronics when he was a puppy. He chewed the electrical cord off our TV! We bought some thin PVC piping to run all our wires through, so he couldn’t get at them. Smaller plug in devices (like phones) went into a shoe box with a hole cut so just the plug stuck out/no wire. Good luck with kitty!

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  10. I had this same problem with one of my current cats. It was particularly troubling in my house because when I’m not handling dog behavior or cat behavior, I am a computer programmer.

    I tried all the suggestions above, but it’s nearly impossible to always have two cats and three dogs in sight. So I resorted to management and got the plastic wire cover stuff that comes on a roll at Ace Hardware. It took about three hours to put this on all the wires in the house, but it worked. No more chewed wires.

    That was 6 years ago. Today none of the wires are covered and the cat does not chew wires.

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  11. We had a cat who did this, too! Even after she gave herself a mild shock, she still wouldn’t quit doing it. She also would only do it when we were gone.

    We bought Bitter Apple spray, took every cord we had outside and sprayed the tar out of it (DON’T spray it in a closed in house! Things we couldn’t take outside, like the TV, we wiped the cords down with a saturated rag.)and plugged them back in. It worked with her, but we did have to remember to respray the cords occasionally and to spray anything new we got, too.

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