There is nothing in my house that my cat hasn’t had a taste of. My shoes, the couch, the chairs, the table legs, the edge of her food dish. She chews holes in her kitty litter bag, the dog food, boxes of cereals, the edges of the rug. She even chewed up my laptop cord (bad kitty!) and anything electrical she can get her mouth on. I’ve heard of puppies and dogs chewing on everything, but CATS?! Why does my cat chew on everything?
According to vetinfo.com, many cats exhibit some form of “pica” (the need to ingest various objects or chew on them incessantly) due to lack of proper fiber in their diets. Hmm. I feed my cat basic cat food because, well, she’s a cat, and had no idea she needed anything more than the kitty food I provide her. I’ve included salmon oil into her diet and changed her kitty food to a more fibrous brand. No change, so far. Also, some breeds of cats, like Siamese cats, have a higher tendency to eat wool and other materials, for reasons unknown. There are many reasons a basic cat can have the tendency to chew on things, including the aforementioned lack of fiber, boredom, or a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Rarely, it can be a tooth-related issue, but if your cat is in otherwise normal health, this is mainly ruled out.
Can the condition be treated? Yes. Vetinfo.com suggests spraying bitter apple on electrical cords to make them taste nasty to cats (I just wrap the cords up tight and cover them so she can’t get to them) and I spray vinegar water on the areas that she is chewing on, or thinking about chewing. The website also suggests including a more fibrous diet in your cat’s food, adding grasses (such as grass, green beans, or sprouts) to their diet if they like to chew on plants, or even getting them on a medication to treat compulsive behavior, such as clomipramine, to calm the cat’s chewing. The site does not recommend punishment of the cat (though I’ve had success with the vinegar water spray or clapping my hands loudly to distract my cat), as this can interfere with the cat’s behavior around people.
If your cat is a chronic chewer, take them to the vet to rule out a diet issue or some form of tooth-related issue. Keep chewable things at bay or spray them with something nasty tasting, such as vinegar water or bitter apple, and make sure your cat has ample play things. My cat finds something to chew on no matter what I do, and she has more toys than the kids do. I don’t know if she’ll outgrow this behavior, but I have noticed one thing that pacifies her, at least for a while- tossing her chewing butt outside so she can run some energy off!