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Old 03-10-2009, 04:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat Just Started Chewing

We adopted Daniella 3 1/2 months ago - she's now 14 months old - and until recently she wasn't chewing on things. Now she will chew telephone cords, corners of books, the edges of the remote controls, the corners of metal speakers, ends of paintbrushes, etc., etc. She isn't really particular. Bitter Apple and redirection has worked pretty well. And she's picked some pretty harmless objects.

But this morning, we heard her chewing the underside wood brace of my since departed mother-in-law's hope chest from 1942. Egad!!! My husband sprayed the area with Bitter Apple, but who knows what she'll go for next - the beautiful Queen Anne turned feet???

Just wondering if anyone can help me understand why this behavior has just appeared. And what chewing options there might be. For dogs, there are plenty, but I see nothing really appropriate for cats.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My first thought is teething, and I have no clue how to re-direct other than what you are doing and making certain things (elictrical wires) unavailable. I know cats aren't like dogs, but do you have some samll and soft toys she can grapple, wrestle and bite? One o fmy departed kitties liked to bite yarn afghan blankets. He wouldn't chew through the fibers, he would slowly and deliberately squeeze his teeth through the fibers until they squeaked. I always felt he was doing a kitty version of 'flossing', though I know that sounds weird...
h
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat Just Started Chewing

Protection and redirection. Protect the wires and redirect to something else to chew. I provide leather shoelaces hung in several places for my chewer. It's not 100%, but it helps. Make sure you get the untanned, undied, 100% natural laces.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi n Q
I always felt he was doing a kitty version of 'flossing', though I know that sounds weird...
h
Not weird at all; I agree. Or maybe we're both weird. Nah, I know you're not. Ergo. It must be true.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat Just Started Chewing

Chewing will be caused by stress, boredom, or a nutritional deficiency. You have to figure out which one is the source of his actions then take steps to help redirect him doing this.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat Just Started Chewing

Thanks a lot for the feedback. Stressed - don't think so but possible, nutritional deficiency - no, not that either. She could be bored, but seems to stay busy.

Tim, your suggestion of the leather laces is good, but I'm afraid of her chewing them apart and swallowing them. I've already put off the new driveway this year so I could pay for our last linear object surgery. Any risk there?

Heidi, teething - really? I'd thought of that but at 14 months didn't think it was possible. If it continues, I'll take her to the vet to have her teeth checked out - maybe there's a problem there.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cmw0829
Tim, your suggestion of the leather laces is good, but I'm afraid of her chewing them apart and swallowing them. ... Any risk there?.
That's why I specified the untanned, natural leather laces -- they're digestible. I suppose there's a slight additional risk if too much is swallowed or too long a length; I don't know. I've been doing this for several years for two of my cats and haven't had any problem yet. I'm pretty sure one cat is eating them; the other cat seems to just chew them up and spit them out.

I've got another thought about the teething......it might be inflamed gums - periodontal disease.....I have one cat that seems to be at risk for that; I noticed she was doing an awful lot of chewing before her last dental, and the chewing was a lot less after.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the follow-up Tim.

Now that the weather's nice, maybe we'll get her in the carrier and take her for another trip to the vet.
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Old 03-14-2009, 02:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I sympathize, lol. Doran is a chewer and muffin can be too. I actually buy them dog toys lol. Try looking at your petstore for small toys with softer plastic. I either rub them with cheese or catnip and they get it from there. *shrugs* it works great.
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat Just Started Chewing

Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi n Q
I always felt he was doing a kitty version of 'flossing', though I know that sounds weird...
h
Not weird at all; I agree. Or maybe we're both weird. Nah, I know you're not. Ergo. It must be true.
Ha-hah! I just caught this. I've always heard that crazy/weird people never wonder if they are crazy/weird, they just think they're normal. So, because we question it, we haven't reached that level of madness, yet.
I will tell you, though...some days, it just isn't worth it to chew through the restraints.
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