why does my cat keep chewing on things
Look for signs of compulsive chewing. A compulsion is an irresistible need to perform a certain behavior. In catБs, the most common compulsive behaviors are wool or fabric sucking/chewing or excessive hair licking/chewingБalso called psychogenic alopecia. This most often occurs when a cat is stressed or frustrated by something out of its control. In kittens that are weaned too early, this can become a problem when they become adults. Generally a kitten should not be weaned from its mother before eight weeks of age. Oriental breeds of cats are more likely to develop a compulsive chewing problem. Cats that are experiencing stressБsuch as moving to a new home or a new baby in the houseБare also more at risk to develop a compulsive chewing problem.
Destructive chewing in cats is a behavior that is far easier to prevent than to correct. To prevent destructive chewing behaviors from developing, pet owners should provide their cats with a fun and stimulating environment, provide teething kittens with plenty of chewy toys, and address any obsessive compulsive chewing with medication and behavioral modification techniques.
Chewing is very common in teething kittens. Their gums are sore, and chewing is the only way to relieve the pain. Kittens should only be permitted to chew on toys, however. Ignoring chewing of furniture, wires, or other household items can cause the behavior to continue past the teething stage. Bring home a variety of toys in various textures to give a kitten plenty of options. If the kitten seems disinterested in the toys, try rubbing catnip on them to stimulate interest. Some kittens will chew on items that smell like their owners. This is often an indication that the cat was separated from its mother too early in life. This can be overcome by socializing the cat to help build confidence.
A second cat is often very useful in these households, as that cat can teach mature, grown-up cat behavior much better than a human can. Most cats outgrow chewing once they mature and their adult teeth come in. If an adult cat suddenly starts chewing on inappropriate things for no apparent reason, it could signal boredom. Inside-only cats should have places of their own in the house where they can climb, jump, and scratch without fear of punishment. Plenty of toys should be made available, as well, and new toys should be introduced into the home on a regular basis. Moving or hiding the cat s toys, and periodically moving climbing posts around the house, can also help to prevent boredom. To further distract the cat, purchase cat-friendly grasses from your local pet store and place them next to the wires or furniture where the cat likes to chew. These grasses can give the cat much more satisfaction than a piece of plastic or fabric, and may take their attention away from chewing the inappropriate objects.
If an adult cat continues to chew even though you ve provided plenty of stimulation and cat-friendly options, it will be necessary to take other measures to deter the behavior. Spraying an offensive-smelling substance in the areas where a cat chews can be extremely effective. There are several smells that cats dislike that won t offend the rest of the household. Possible Medical Issue - Chewing a Sign of OCD? In some cases, cats with obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) will develop chewing disorders. Most cases of OCD in cats require medication in order to calm the symptoms and unwanted behaviors. Only a veterinarian can determine whether or not a cat truly has OCD, so instead of attempting to medicate your cat with herbs or home remedies, schedule a checkup to ensure a proper diagnosis.
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