Why Cats Chew Things

Although occasional chewing can be normal behavior for a cat, excessive chewing can be an indicator of problems. Below you’ll find several potential factors causing your cat’s chewing:

Hazards of Chewing

Aside from the frustration of having your valuables destroyed, your cats chewing can be a danger to themselves. Below is a list of potential hazards to be mindful of:

Chewing in Kittens

The most common time in a cat’s life for chewing is during kittenhood. Kittens will experience sore gums during teething, and oftentimes chewing helps relieve that unpleasant feeling.

It’s important to recognize when a kitten is chewing items they should not be, and discourage this as soon as possible so the behavior doesn’t carry to adulthood. Make sure your kitten has plenty of toys to choose from so they don’t feel inclined to chew your valuables.

Chewing in Adult Cats

Most cats will cease chewing once they’re teething stops, so it’s important to explore why your cat has continued chewing despite their maturity. Anxiety or stress from a recent move or having a lot of guests over can trigger chewing. The most common reason is due to boredom, especially if the chewing begins out of nowhere. Cats in particular are at risk of boredom because they’re generally very playful. Several potential medical problems might be the source, such as gum disease, gastrointestinal problems or nutritional deficiencies, in which case you should see a vet.

Finally, although uncommon, obsessive compulsive disorder is possible in cats. If your cat is chewing very unusual items for a cat such as wool, this may be the culprit.

How to Stave Off Boredom

Introduce novelty by periodically moving familiar cat trees and posts and hiding or introducing new cat toys. Always have “safe places” where the cat can sleep, lay, scratch or play without being punished or even picked up.

Interact more with your cat. Cats are typically very social and require more attention than most cats.

Buying the right toys can really make all the difference. A nice leather-textured, catnip scented chew toy will be far more interesting than the shoelaces and purses your cat was chewing. Find more ways to banish boredom here.

Discourage Chewing in Cats

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