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Why does my cat suck on shoelaces and power cables?

7560 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jennn
He's 14 years old and has done this his entire life, so I suppose it's not likely to change anytime soon.

He has this attraction to shoe laces, and power cables and anything else that has that shape, but shoelaces are his favorite. He grabs one end in his paw and starts by rubbing it on his face and chin - to scent mark them? Then starts licking and sucking and eventually chewing. He leaves shoelaces all wet and slimy with his saliva and I've had to replace many electronics due to the damage he does.

This cat loves the flavor of all of the cat repellants I've found at the pet stores, spraying the cables with things like bitter apple, pet block (cinnamon and lemongrass), or pepper based deterrents just attracts him more.

Can anyone explain this behavior? Is this just a personality quirk or am I missing some kind of big sign?
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Personality quirk, I'd say, but who knows? My Devon Rex spay girl has a thing about shoe laces I know what you mean about all "slimy"! Problem is she bites them off and swallows them, and occasionally they come out in her poop, or even after 2 wks, she's barfed it up! We've had to resort to putting in a stick in our sliding front closet door, and trying to keep the shoes up on a rack off the floor. My fear is an intestinal blockage, which would result in surgery and a big vet bill $$$$. Fortunately our girl doesn't like Bitter Apple, but I'd really get a shoe rack that she can't get at the shoes....maybe one of those plastic enclosed zippered hanging shelf ones might do the trick.
We've got the same problem. We used leave out the shoes that we frequently wear instead of putting them back in the shoe cabinet. Milky would not stop licking and biting shoe laces, so we ended up having to put our shoes back inside. Oh it was so much handier before.... Well I guess it kinda was out problem for not putting away our shoes in the first place.
Hi there!

I agree with the others that this is just a personality quirk with your kitty. The actual name for this behaviour is "wool sucking", and many other cats take part in it, sucking or chewing on everything from shoe laces to hair.

The cause of this behaviour is not completely known, but some people believe that the behaviour begins when a kitten is weaning, as it is a type of suckling behaviour.

I wouldn't be too worried about your cat sucking on shoelaces, as long as he doesn't swallow one. As well, because you said he actually likes the taste of those cat repellents I found some other ideas you might want to try to stop him from sucking on electrical cords here: How to Keep Cats from Chewing on Electric Cords and Chargers

Good Luck!
What about something mint-scented as a repellent? Callie and especially Puffy hates/hated the smell of anything minty- toothpaste, cough drops, Vicks vaporub... one time Puffy gagged when she sniffed my mom's mouth when she was sucking on a cough drop. lol
Hi there!
The cause of this behaviour is not completely known, but some people believe that the behaviour begins when a kitten is weaning, as it is a type of suckling behaviour.
That's an interesting theory! He was originally found dumped in an alley - too young to be away from his mother. He had to be bottle fed, and he was small enough to sleep inside of a shoe - which he did until he grew too big.

Even after he was weaned from the bottle and eating solid food he would make sucking motions and try to suck on your fingers, or buttons on your shirt, etc. Never things that weren't attached to a person though, like shoelaces. He finally grew out of that about 5 years ago.

He's always had a thing for shoes too, but usually he just shoves his paws into them and sleeps there. He's 14 now and I'd say the shoelace thing started within the past 2-3 years (the power cable thing on the other hand has always been an issue).

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