Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have two cats who like to chew on cords. They will be three years old in May. We use as many cord covers as possible but they chew on those too. I’ve read lots of ideas on this but wonder what your suggestion is. I thought they would outgrow this by now. We feel like we have to watch their every move and it’s frustrating sometimes. What do you suggest? Thanks.
Siouxsie: Wire chewing is pretty darn frustrating, Teresa. And Mama should know: Bella’s chewed through three headset cords and done her best to wreck the cord to her LED Christmas lights.
Bella: That’s not fair! They tasted good, and besides, they weren’t plugged in at the time!
Thomas: Bella, you know better.
Bella: I only did it ’cause I was bored and nokitty was paying attention to me.
Siouxsie: That brings up one point about why cats chew on wires: They’re bored. Make sure your cats have plenty of environmental stimulation — vertical space like tall cat trees, catnip toys, little bouncy balls and the like.
Thomas: If your kitties like to chew things, consider getting them one of those rubbery dog chew bones. (They can’t read, so they won’t know the bones are designed for dogs. Tee hee hee!)
Bella: Sometimes cats chew on wires because they’re having mouth discomfort and the chewing makes them feel better, so you may want to get your kitties to the vet to have their teeth checked.
Siouxsie: So there you have the main reasons why cats like to chew. Now what do you do to deter that behavior?
Thomas: You said you already use cord covers, which is great, but there’s one special kind of cord cover that might help them to lose interest in cords altogether.
Bella: It’s called Crittercord [be warned: this is just about the most annoying website ever because everything is a pop-up], and it’s a clear, flexible cord cover just a little bit bigger than the wires themselves, which is infused with a citrus flavor that cats are supposed to dislike. If you buy it online, you might see it listed as Marshall Cord Protector.
Siouxsie: Bitter apple spray is an old standby. Again, the nasty taste is supposed to stop cats from chewing on wires. Other options include Vicks VapoRub, Tabasco sauce, rubbing the wires with a moistened bar of soap, or using double-sided tape to make cord chewing extra-unpleasant.
Thomas: If you’re away a lot, get your cats some fun toys they can use while you’re not in the house. Wall-mounted toys they can bat at or motion-activated cat toys are great.
Bella: If there are certain cords your cats can’t resist chewing, consider getting a deterrent that gets them before they start chewing. Ssscat is a motion-activated device that squirts out an odorless, harmless spray if the cat passes a certain threshold.
Siouxsie: It’s going to take a lot of patience for you to retrain your kitties not to chew wires, but if you keep it up, you will get there.
Thomas: It may take more than one of these methods to get your cats’ teeth off your cords, but it’ll be worth the time for reducing the damage … and the fire hazard potential.
Bella: What about you other readers? Have you had a wire chewer in your household? What did you do to stop the behavior and prevent damage to your wires? Please tell us in the comments!