6 ways to stop risky cat chewing without losing your mind

Cords are not a tasty cat snack!

A question that has come up more than once:

“Our cat has recently started chewing on our electrical cords … alarm clocks, cell phone chargers, you name it. We are worried about electrocution…suggestions!?”

It’s very worrisome cat behavior, I know.

Our cat Phil became a chewer too – and we needed to do something before it was too late.

My little “ultimate guide to stopping worrisome cat chewing” includes 6 tactics to try, depending on your cat’s situation.

1. Cover cords

Cords and wires are concern number one. An economical way to cover them is with pre-split hollow tubing from computer and home improvement stores.

One tubing product highly recommended by a woman with several chew-happy cats is American Terminal SL500-100 1/2-Inch Split Loom Tubing. She says it’s more likely to fit than the 1/4 inch size.

American Terminal SL500-100 1/2-Inch

2. Give them something less dangerous to chew on.

I’ve got two suggestions that our family chewer, Phil, has embraced wholeheartedly.

1. A rubbery dog chew bone. Canine yes, but some cats like them too. Phil likes this small “dental” one that has little tiny nubs on it that he can rub against. It’s about 4″ long and 1″ wide and looks like this:

2. Primal raw chicken necks (ideal once per week for dental health). I think this is a fairly new offering from Primal. The real reason we started using them once per week is because it was recommended by their vet for dental health maintenance.

3. Deter with Bitter Apple Spray (with caution)

At first, I wanted to make Bitter apple spray on cords my number one recommendation because it’s the fastest and easiest way to quickly keep your cat away from all cords. Typically, after a couple encounters with bitter apple on a previously “tasty” cord, cats will avoid all similar cords.

However, here’s the caution: You don’t want your cat to eat much of this! The issue is that it has herbal extracts in it, which are much more mild and dilute than essential oils. But because essential oils are toxic to cats, some cat guardians may want to avoid anything with herbal extracts too. I don’t think there’s much risk a cat would keep eating this yucky stuff, but if your cat keeps going back to it, wipe it off of everything and stop using it.

Tip: The most popular option for cats and cords seems to be the Grannick’s Bitter Apple for Dogs Spray. Though the spray version is packaged for dogs, it’s easier to apply to cords than the cat version, which only has a dabber top.

4. Have their teeth examined.

No, not their head, their teeth. : )

Sometimes cats chew weird things because they have some tooth or gum discomfort, so make sure your vet finds your cat’s dental health acceptable.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the chewer in our family was the one diagnosed with a mild case of gingivitis.

5. Fight the boredom factor: get more fun stuff

It’s believed that chewing can be due to feline “boredom” in some cases.

Indoor cats, in particular, may get restless. They need a more cat-fun environment and things to play with while you’re away.

For example:

  • Entertain cats while you’re away with the ever-popular Turbo Scratcher. Many cats love to play with that ball that really gathers momentum in there. Phil digs it.

 

 6. Make sure your cat is getting all nutrients needed.

You probably already feed your cat wholesome food that at least meets the AAFCO guidelines for minimum nutrients.

But if you are feeding a homemade diet, check your recipes carefully – your cat may be missing a nutrient and this can cause “pica,” an attraction to munching unusual things. (Common mistakes with homemade cat food is the topic of a future post.)

I hope these suggestions give you more peace of mind by keeping your little chewer gnawing on more reasonable things – like cat food.

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40 Responses to 6 ways to stop risky cat chewing without losing your mind

  1. Melynda Franklin October 1, 2018 at 4:45 am #

    I have a 8 month old baby and 3 cats… one of my cats and my son both like chewing on cords…. Any ideas on a safe deterrent for both… I try to keep cords out of reach of my son but my cat and he are partners in crime…. I would greatly appreciate any help or advice… I am thinking about trying peppermint essential oil to try to deter but I don’t know if it is safe

  2. Heather Meaney November 21, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

    My cat Earl chews my phone charger at least once a week. This is the only cord he chews, a “c” cable. It has cost me hundreds of dollars replacing cords. He actually got up on my night stand, while I was asleep, fished it out of a bin, got it to the floor and chewed it. It’s driving me crazy. I am going to try everything in hopes that the madness will end!

    • Sigh March 17, 2018 at 8:12 am #

      yeah my cat is driving me fucking insane. CHEWS ON EVERYTHING. he doesn’t do anything and he’s scared of everyone in our house, but he chews on. EVERY. SINGLE. CORD. HE. FINDS.

      I’m starting to wonder if it’s even worth keeping him.

      • Trace October 30, 2018 at 8:14 pm #

        Why is he afraid of everyone? Think about your reactions to the chewing. If he’s become afraid of raised voices or agression it could cause some acting out. Worried cats often chew, stop using the litter box or have other signs of stress. Is his diet complete? Lack of certain nutrients can cause chewing. Hope one of these helps, good luck.

  3. beth Curtin June 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

    Just posted above. Does anyone have suggestions? Blacky rarely goes to vet because he goes beserk. Last visit year or two ago and I was bloodied trying to surprise and grab him into carrier. He is stronger, faster and smarter than I.

  4. beth Curtin June 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    My Blacky eats everything and always has: vacuum cords, air conditioner cords, hair dryer cords, almost every lamp cord, rulers, the corners of CD boxes, TV and antenna co-axial cords, cellophane, rubber flip-flops, pieces of plastic storage containers, the corners of books, etc. etc. I have given up. I cannot child/cat/proof my home completely. He was a feral kitten living in a tree when he adopted me. He periodically gets sick, vomiting and ejecting from his rear exit. The last bout provided a long piece of cellophane and he was better. But he is back at it. He is 14 and still partly feral.

  5. www.PureKitties.com April 30, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    it doesnt work to bad. i like the bitter apply spray and use the cord management to hide my cables.

  6. StreamN April 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

    I’ve done and or tried everything in this post but the “bitter apple spray” and I was wondering how effective it was and safe. Especially for a nine week old kitten. thank you.

  7. Virginia Hamann April 13, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    Has anyone tried to wrap their cords with no chew bandage for dogs? I’m thinking of trying it…we have five cats and one of them chews all cords…she just chewed through a game console cord, a network extender cord and both speaker cords of the blue tooth ….she also drags pillows and blankets around the house. She’s so tiny and the blankets are huge!

    • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:55 am #

      Sounds like you have a good idea

  8. linda post January 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    My cat doesn’t need electrical cords it is eating a few charger cords but she really loves is my oxygen tubing I’m on oxygen 24/7 this cat thinks there is nothing more fun in this whole world then chasing the little bubbles caused by the humidifier inside the clear tubing and the air that poops out of her once she has bitten or clawed through please anything anyone can recommend besides that Apple stuff it doesn’t work with her

    • J. D. Dornbusch August 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm #

      My cat is also chewing on my oxygen tubing. Did you find something to stop your cat from chewing on your tubing? If so, will you tell me what you did? Thank you!

  9. Ashley January 3, 2017 at 2:34 am #

    Our cat just likes the expensive iPhone chargers and headphones….I know she wont get electrocuted but she’s done over $100 in damage and we just cant get her to stop. Do you have any home remedies?

    • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:53 am #

      Put the headphones in a nearby drawer. Some chords can be wrapped. Try double sided tape. My cat stopped

  10. Lisa Evans December 1, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    What is your advice to keep my cats from chewing my baby’s pacifiers and nipples to his bottles. Thesee are the only things they chew. This takes away the deterrent sprays or keeping them in out of reach places. They have a lot of toys as well.

    • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:50 am #

      Really except when the baby needs or is using the pacifier or chewy toy, keep them put away-some in frdge-if teething toy. Otherwise if you are like most you will be washing off the baby’s toys and especially their pacifiers on a constant basis. Keep them in a jar with vinegar and water. Than just before giving to baby rinse off.

  11. Ellen October 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    I have a 13 year old cat who must have s lucrative deal with Apple, because she bites through every device cord we have! We just tried spraying with an extremely bitter per deterrent spray, and the problem is it’s so strong that it leaves a strong residue on our hands when we go near anything we sprayed. Any idea how to at least get it off our chargers and counter top so we can try something else? That stuff is awful!

  12. Deborah May 5, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    Good suggestions. Hopefully this will work for my 6 week old kitty! So far, I’ve been using a squirt gun. I sure hope he stops this when he gets a bit older. I had a 13 year old cat once who never ever touched a cord in her life and one day she did. Killed herself. I never want to have that happen ever again!!!

  13. Gia January 16, 2016 at 5:39 am #

    Ginger cats seem to be chewers more than any other DSH. I’ve had TWO now. Only power cords.

  14. cat biting problems August 5, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    good post, thanks for sharing. found it interesting

  15. Mike April 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Help. Our cat, about a year and a half old chews wires every once in a while. I notice its a habit when he knows its around his time to eat. Recently he chewed right through a heavy hdmi cord in back of cable box. possibly while we were sleeping or gone. Were not ever gone for too long. Hes got toys , blue wilderness food , catnip toys, we play with him…
    …..its just that I cannot cover EVERY cord in our house! It seems to me it’s not that he likes the chewing , so much as he thinks it gets us moving so he will be fed if that makes sense.

    • Shelly Caldwell June 20, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      My cat also chews on hdmi cords, co ax cables. I can’t tell if she likes to chew or the shock. What worked for you?

    • Lisa kalbflesh August 21, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

      Hi Mike
      I
      Know exactly what you are talking about. Our 6 year old cat chews on cords when he wants fed or wants our attention. We have covered all of our cords but I want the behavior to stop. I’m afraid he is going to cause an electrical fire.

      • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:43 am #

        A friend of mine works with a vet and has worked with cats and owns them-has for years. She used a little gadget th a attaches to various places in the home including on the wall or objects. It contains a sensor that shoots a spurt of air at the cat . It frightens them and redirects theim, so they avoid areas they frequent and might cause harm to themselves. I LISTEN TO HER AS SHE HAS WORKED WITH MANY MANY CATS for now 30 plus years and takes in many rescues. She has been helping me with my oriental who loves heights and chews up papers magazine’s and I was finding Kleenex in her recent vomit.
        Sorry for my typos- but I am using a new small tablet and am not used to it yet.
        Becky

  16. Heather March 5, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    My cat is 6 years old and chew on EVERYTHING! I do mean everything… any cord or wire, socks, shoes, sweaters, stuffed animals, anything plastic, and the list goes on and on and on. He has cost me thousands of dollars in the amount of things he has damaged. I have taken him to the vet for this problem a few years ago and I mention it at his yearly appointments each time we go and they tell me nothing is wrong, or it is behavioral. There has to be a solution can anyone help?

  17. Krista August 9, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    My cat was chewing and it reminded me of PICA behavior. Have seen the same in turtles. I gave my cat a drop of liquid minerals (trace minerals) in its wet food 3x/day for the first day and within 24 hours she wasn’t chewing on a single thing. No wood chewing, no plastic chewing, no metal chewing, no mini blind chewing and no plant chewing! NONE.

    • Dora April 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      Interesting! My cat chews everything, and I mean everything! You should see my sheer curtains :,( . Where can I find liquid minerals for cats? Thanks in advance!

      • Leanne February 17, 2017 at 10:53 pm #

        I thought I was the only one with this problem! I have sprayed bitters on my sheer curtains but she seems to now like the taste and is still eating them😱 Did you find a solution?

  18. Amy Segnit November 8, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    My husband and I recently invented a product that deals with this issue. It’s called thingCHARGER, and is a (truly) wireless charger that will charge any and all of your devices. Pet owners are excited about the prospect of a safe charging alternative that keeps their pets out of danger, and not have to constantly buy new chargers.

    Currently, we are working to raise money on IndieGoGo to have it produced. See it here and let us know what you think! http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thingcharger-the-awesome-new-charger-for-all-your-things/x/4242308

    Thanks in advance. We appreciate your feedback!

  19. casio wave ceptor August 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    腕時計 casio

  20. Molly August 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    These are all wonderful ideas. However, my 15-year-old likes to chew on plastic bags! I’ve tried keeping all bags off the floor and out of cat-reach, but not everyone in the house complies. How do I stop THAT??? I’ve tried everything I can think of to stop him, but nothing works. Can you help? Obviously, I’m concerned about the possibility that his digestive system could get plugged if the plastic he eats gets “sideways” in his stomach. Can you help me, please?

    • Liz-cat August 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Hi Molly, yes that sounds awful! I have heard of it before. If I were you I’d start spraying some “bait” bags with the Grannick’s Bitter Apple for Dogs Spray mentioned above. Stay where you can watch him and take the bag away if it doesn’t repel him pretty fast. For most cats, after they encounter that a Bitter Apple few times, the object in question becomes something they want to avoid.

    • Lynne August 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I read all of the ideas on all kinds of blogs. My kitten was chewing on cords, mostly thin ones like phone charger and computer charger. Some of these ideas seemed like alot of work especially when a house has so many cords around. I simply sprayed my cords with scented hairspray, easy to apply and stays on. If she got past the smell, she didn’t like the taste. Problem solved. She doesn’t touch them at all now!!

    • Lynne August 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Sounds like you need to train everyone in the house instead of the cat. How can they not comply. It’s not like throwing plastic bags on the floor is normal.

    • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Wahl makes a cat scratch dterrant spray. It works for a multitude of things certainly safer than hair spray. One of the better ideas for a d eterrant is either the bitter appple;or just use a spray bottle half vinegar and water, but please note that hair spray is both toxic and very flammable so to be using it on objects about the house is dangerous!

  21. jessica July 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Wonderful post! I have a “chewy” kitty and am going to try out some of these tips!

    • Liz-cat July 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      Good to hear, I hope it helps. Thanks Jessica.

    • Lynne August 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      Scented hairspray, smells bad and tastes bad. My kitten never touches them anymore and hairspray is cheap and easy to buyu

      • Barb November 26, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

        Is hairspray safe? Chemicals!

        • Snow73 April 23, 2017 at 9:16 am #

          Hairspray is very toxic! I would not use this in a spot that could be chewed

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