A cat with gum disease may gnaw on things to soothe its mouth, and a cat with a digestive issue may chew and drool on things to help with nausea. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, nutritional deficiencies, and early weaning all are possible medical causes for chewing.
Your cat may be suddenly chewing on everything due to anxiety, a medical condition, or even just because he realized it’s an activity he enjoys. While adult cats don’t usually chew as much as dogs, it is a normal behavior. Still, depending on what they chew, it can be annoying to you and dangerous to them.
As such, some chewing by cats can be expected; it’s just when the behavior becomes compulsive that owners should start taking notice. Dodman likens more serious chewing to obsessive compulsive disorder in humans. “A lot of the more extreme chewing behaviors are brought on by anxiety,” he says.
Many cats will chew and tear at objects when exhibiting predatory behaviour during play but pieces are torn off and not consumed. A pica sufferer will take the chosen object in its mouth and grind repeatedly with the back molar teeth before swallowing in a sequence that can take just a few seconds.
If necessary, hide all valuable and dangerous chewable objects, leaving out a few non-valuable fabrics for your cat to chew on—so long as he does not swallow too much. Also, try offering your cat alternatives such as cat-safe rubber toys scented with fish oil or even dry cat food.
If you allow them to bite and scratch when they are young, it will be hard to stop them doing it when they are older - although most kittens naturally grow out of the habit between 1 and 2 years old.
The urge to eat nonfood items – called pica – can be pretty common in cats. Many cats will nurse on wool, says Arnold Plotnick, DVM, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York. Oriental cats “are predisposed to that,” he says. That habit also may appear in cats that were weaned too early.
So, what is pica in cats exactly? Simply put, pica is a medical term for the persistent chewing and ingestion of non-food objects. The specific non-food objects your cat enjoys will vary, but fabrics and paper are both common choices for cats with pica.
Pica is the behavioral urge to eat nonedible materials. In cats, these items most often include fabrics, elastics such as hair binders, cardboard, paper, and plastic. Young cats are more likely to suffer from pica syndrome.
There are numerous health conditions that can be the cause of your cat biting plastic. The most frequent ones are diabetes, dental issues, anemia, and hyperthyroidism. In some cases, brain tumors can also be the reason why your cat is doing it.
Essentially, because she likes it. Plastic bags appeal to your cat’s senses for a variety of reasons: the crinkle of the plastic, the smell of the food that was contained in it wafting through the air, the smooth surface under her paws. It’s a full sensory experience for your little pal.
Signs of stressed cats can include:- becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual.
becoming less tolerant of people.
hesitating or becoming reluctant to use the litter tray, go through the cat flap or sit on your lap.
eating or drinking less.
scratching the furniture.
hissing or growling.
Cats can be enthusiastic chewers throughout their lifespan, from when they’re teething as kittens to gnawing on a cat toy as an adult for mental stimulation. These are normal, healthy behaviors for cats, but in some cases, chewing can be a sign of concern.
People are not the only ones who can be afflicted with eating disorders — other animals, including cats, can be too. Behavior such as overeating, not eating enough, and chewing and swallowing non-food items are examples of eating disorders that can affect cats.
We asked the experts at Toy Pet Reviews for their input and they suggested the following 9 product picks if your cat likes to chew.- Happy Kitty Tickle Kick Stick.
Petstages Dental Health Cat Chews.
KONG Teddy Bear Catnip Toy for Kittens.
Petstages Catnip Rolls Cat Toy.
Petstages Fresh Breath Mint Stick.
Diagnosing pica by visiting a veterinarian
Typically, this involves checking folate and cobalamin levels and doing a TLI (trypsin-like immunoreactivity) test to check for pancreatic function. X-rays may also be warranted if there is concern about a GI obstruction and to rule out other potential causes of pica.
The best way to discipline a cat is to encourage good behavior rather than discourage bad. For example, if they start to use a scratching post rather than the sofa to exercise their claws, reward them. Give them a treat, a toy, some praise, or a bit of loving attention.
Spraying your cat with water can have long-term negative effects. On top of the physical discomfort, spraying your cat with water doesn’t actually teach your cat better behaviors and could end up seriously confusing her.
They may chew because they are teething or just because it’s fun. Some kittens chew out of boredom. Of course, they chew many innocuous items, but they can also chew items we don’t want them to — most often electrical cords, houseplants, leather objects, clothing or shoes.
If your kitten is ever going to get into trouble, this is when it’s going to happen.- From Ten to Fourteen Months is the Worst. Most kittens edge into adolescence at about ten months of age.
Behaviors Signal a Change.
Listen to that Meow!
Kittens start play biting at about 3 weeks of age, and social play reaches its peak between 9 weeks through week 16 and begins to fade thereafter. Momma cat and siblings teach kittens that bites hurt and to pull their punches.
Iron-deficiency anemia and malnutrition are two of the most common causes of pica, followed by pregnancy. In these individuals, pica is a sign that the body is trying to correct a significant nutrient deficiency. Treating this deficiency with medication or vitamins often resolves the problems.
A cat’s strong sense of smell and curiosity drives them to explore the world. Cats often chew on cardboard to simulate the act of hunting. Scratching, chewing, or licking on a cardboard surface is an instinctual behavior for your pet that they may not have outgrown as kittens.
Chances are, he/she could be suffering from PICA. PICA is a condition that makes cats chew on non-food items such as wool, metal, wood, and even electric cords. PICA is often associated with medical issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder, dental issues, or a mineral deficiency in their meals.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Cats. This is a behavioral disorder where a cat will engage in repetitive, exaggerated behaviors that are seemingly without purpose. For example, grooming to the extent that fur is rubbed off; compulsive pacing; repetitive vocalizations; and eating, sucking, or chewing on fabric.