These are some truly serious oral behaviors in cats.
- For genetic reasons Siamese and Burmese cats are far more likely to commit this domestic crime, most often sucking and chewing wool.
- Beyond causing expensive damage these kitties can get intestinal obstructions by swallowing bits of fabric.
- In addition to preventing access to your cloth sucker’s preferred fabric there are behavior medications to help truly compulsive cats.
Cats are known to chew lots of other bad stuff including electric cords, plastic, rubber, houseplants, and even wood.
- Youngsters shouldn’t be allowed near the forbidden items. Here are some simple indoor deterrents:
- A motion activated compressed air can called Ssscat (www.ssscat.com)
- Snappy Trainers (www.scottsdog.com)
- Scat Mat (www.scatmat.com) or an
- Invisible Fence indoor shield (1-800-385-7387; 505- 265-4007 in New Mexico)
- Plants can be made unfun by misting them with water and then sprinkling with cayenne pepper.
- You can also tie balloons around the base of houseplants so they pop during a feline ambush. Spraying Bitter Apple can work on other items but it needs to be applied daily.
You must also give your cat a reasonable alternative to wrecking your stuff.
- Wheat grass, lettuce, small dog chew toys, slightly moistened rawhide chews, catnip, or a kitty herb garden are a few of my personal favorites (for my cat-not for me).
- Make toys irresistible by smearing them with meat, cheese spread, or fish oil.
- You can turn your home into the Wild Kingdom by hiding a little dry food in jars under the furniture. Offer small meals in a variety of locations. Are we having fun yet?
There can be physical reasons for destructive chewing.
- Cats fed cheap generic food may look for other things to eat including their litter.
- Some older cats consume nonfood items because of aging brain changes or internal disease like kidney or liver failure.
- Many of these cats do better when given proper treatment.
A word about physical punishment:
- Whether it’s a tail sucking kitten, a wool chewing Siamese, a bored teenager, or a confused feline senior spanking, yelling, and other forms of harassment are a waste of energy that only drives the problem underground as it damages the bond you share with your pet.
- Get the right answers so you can do the right thing.