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Chews on everything

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have a mixed breed cat that chews on everything - especially wood. He really loves trying to open cabinet doors with his teeth. He has other behavior problems and when we need to put him behind closed doors while we have company he chews on the frame of the door until we let him out. I just moved into a new house. Please give me some advice on what to do before he ruins my cabinets and doors.
post #2 of 5
Hello well I can help you with the chewing on wool thing. It's actually has a name "PICA".

Chewing or Sucking on Fabrics (Pica)

Although not a common behavior some cats will chew or suck on different types of fabrics and materials. This behavior is referred to as
'pica'. It is not well known why cats do this, but some theories are that the cat is suckling similar to what it did as a kitten (when feeding from
the mother cat's nipple). It is thought that this suckling might have a calming, relaxing or pacifying effect.

Cats who don't grow out of suckling as a kitten may continue it into adulthood. At which point they may not only suck on, but also will chew
and may even eat different fabrics. Common fabrics are wool, cotton and other synthetic materials (even plastic garbage bags). This behavior
seems to be common to Siamese and Burmese cats and cats who are weaned very early (before 4 weeks of age). Some cats who do exhibit this behavior may swallow fabric and this can cause a host of digestive problems in the cat.

The best way to limit or stop this behavior seems to be keeping the cat calm and happy. You may want to start off hiding the favorite fabric. For
instance if your cat chews wool, keep your sweaters and other wool products in closets that can't be opened by your cat etc. Next make
sure your cat is calm and has no reason to be upset. Many cats will start this behavior when they are stressed or ill, so make sure there is
no reason why your cat would need to do this behavior to relax (some behaviorists put cats with this behavior on anti-depressants to keep
them calm and happy). Do NOT punish or yell at the cat for this behavior; this will only increase the cat's stress and compound the problem. You can also purchase some toys for your cat that he can
chew, that way if he needs to chew he has something acceptable and distinct from what he use to like to chew. And lastly make sure your cat
isn't simply hungry. Many times cats do this to try to feel like they have a full belly because they are simply hungry.

I am sure the other members of this boards will also responds. Good luck and plenty of huggs and kisses to your furbaby.
post #3 of 5
You could put citrus or bitter apple on the areas that he likes to chew on the most. Most cats don't like the smell of citrus and will stay away from that smell. Be sure to use a non-toxic item in case your kitty is one of those that likes or doesn't mind the smell. Check at PetSmart or PetCo for something safe for cats.

You can also put double-sided tape on these areas, they don't like the sticky feel in their mouths. (It doesn't look very good for guests, but once he stops the behaviour you can take it off.)

If he does it when you are there, you can make a noisy shaker like a pop can with pennies in it. Shake the can when you see (or hear) him chewing. He will begin to associate the behavior with that horrible noise that scares him.

Hope this helps!
post #4 of 5
Since you said your kitty chews on wood, I would be concerned that he has some sort of internal parasite that is sucking the needed nutrients out of his body. I would get him to the vet as soon as possible for a check and also speak to the vet about changing the kitty's diet to something a little more nutritious than he is getting.

I would also give him alternate things to chew, start interacting with him more one on one with a toy (a feather on a string, or something like that) in case he is just bored. But chewing on door frames and wood panels alerts my warning bell that this might just be a different kind of parasite he has inside of him. Good luck and please post an update when you can?
post #5 of 5
My cat suffers from Pica. Here's a website that might shed some light into your cat's behavior.

World Small Animal Veterinary Association
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