Cats that are experiencing stress—such as moving to a new home or a new baby in the house—are also more at risk to develop a compulsive chewing problem. See if the chewing is tied to playful behavior. Not all chewing is the result of a compulsive behavior. Young kittens and some adult cats may just be curious and adventurous enough to start chewing on things they shouldn’t. While it may be cute at first, this can be extremely dangerous if a kitten bites into an electrical cord or pulls a heavy object down on itself. Boredom can also cause a cat to chew. Look for any associated medical conditions.
Some chewing starts as the result of a medical condition, such as fleas, allergies, food intolerance, or an unhealed wound. Dental disease or mouth sores may also cause a cat to chew on objects. Even a behavior like chewing on a plant can have an associated medical explanation. Indoor cats especially with few grasses in their diet may simply chew on plants because they’re craving greens. Before any diagnosing the reason behind any chewing behavior, your veterinarian should perform a thorough medical examination, especially on an adult cat that has recently started this behavior. Once your veterinarian has a diagnosis for the chewing behavior, then he or she will help you form a proper treatment plan. Why might a cat suddenly start chewing after you bring a new baby home?
It’s a sign of asserting dominance and claiming territory. Most of the time, when a cat is trying to stake claim or assert dominance, you will be able to tell. It’s important to do your best to acclimate your cat to the new baby, to prevent either from being harmed, but there’s another reason why a new presence might cause chewing. Cats often chew when they are stressed. If a cat has undergone a major life change, like moving into a new home or having a new baby brought into the house, they may experience stress. This can put them at risk to develop a compulsive chewing problem, so do your best to help ease your cat into its new life.
Read on for another quiz question. It is trying to bring food to the new baby. While much feline behavior is rooted in helping humans to survive—bringing in dead mice and birds for us to eat, for example—compulsive chewing brought on by a new arrival to the family is not. There is another reason this might occur. The cat gets bored because you are busy with the new baby. Boredom can cause a cat to develop a chewing habit. It most likely isn’t compulsive, however, and there’s a more universal reason a cat might begin chewing when you bring a new baby into the house.
Keep items the cat wants to chew out of its reach. This could mean putting clothing or fabrics into a closed closet, placing items on an unreachable shelf, or keeping the cat out of the room where you keep the chewed object. If the cat has a problem with chewing electrical cords, then try placing a cord protector a rug, or even tape over the cords. Use bad-tasting deterrents to stop the chewing. Always spot test the object you want to spray to make certain the spray doesn’t damage it. Use a spray bottle or small squirt gun with water in it to deter the cat.
If you catch your cat chewing an object, immediately spritz the cat. Your cat will only associate the act with the negative consequence if you spritz the cat as it chews the object. If you can’t reach the spray bottle before the cat stops chewing, keep it next to you and wait until the next time the cat exhibits the behavior. For instance, you can place double-sided tape around the object. Cats detest the feel of sticky tape and will concentrate on that instead of the object. You can also look into products that deliver a repellant spray via a motion sensor. Replace plants in the area with cat-friendly options.
If a cat is chewing on a houseplant, it may enjoy the texture of the plant and want greens to chew on and eat. Remove the chewed plant from the area and replace it with a more-appropriate option, such as oat grass, catnip, or catmint. Make sure you especially move plants that would be toxic for the cat to chew. Some common examples include caladium, dumb cane, English ivy, lilies, mistletoe, oleanders, and philodendrons. Ask your veterinarian about medications. If none of the behavior-modification techniques help, then consult your veterinarian. Certain medical conditions, such as the cat chewing its own fur, may need to be treated with mood-altering drugs. How can you control your cat’s chewing, even if you are not around? Move their preferred chew toys out of reach. If your cat chews on specific blankets or curtains, moving them out of reach will certainly help to stop the habit. Still, if your cat isn’t picky, you won’t move everything you own into the closet. There are specific ways to control the chewing even when you’re not around to see it.