ZAP! Don’t Chew On That – Cats and Cords

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May 11, 2011
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noworkIt seems out of boredom my cats find a way to amuse themselves and drive me nuts. They will start chewing on things that they shouldn’t like the plastic garbage bag, my shoelaces, or start batting the cords behind the tv or computer. Whenever they do these things, I notice they are looking right at me. They know I don’t approve of them chewing on these things and it’s like they are trying to let me know they are bored.

But what about cats who are drawn to playing with wires and cords and want to chew on them? Preventing them from playing with wires can be tough but it would be worse if your cat was electrocuted. There are a few things we can do to cat-proof our homes and keep them away from as many cords as possible.

1: When you catch your cat playing and chewing with wires, use a loud tone and yell “NO!” A water gun, loud noise, or quick movement can also help your cat understand that this behavior is unacceptable. Cats don’t often respond that well to negative reinforcement so don’t forget to give them a reward when they are doing something good like using the scratching post or playing with their toys.

2: If you can, move items that are plugged in closer to the outlets and try to tuck the wire behind, under, or somewhere where it isn’t seen by the cat. Close the gaps between the larger electrical items like the fridge, washing machine, and computers. You can also buy cord protection kits that are usually found in the same aisles as other baby-proofing items at your local department store.

3: Unplug items that you aren’t actively using and put them away in their cat-free space like the pantry, cabinet, basement. There’s no point in leaving things out that you’re not using anyway, it can create clutter but it also keeps your cat from being tempted to chew the wires on something not actively in use like the iron or vacuum.

4: If you can move some furniture and rearrange your layout, it can change the feel of the room but also can provide protection from cords that are hanging or tend to move. By blocking access to cords with a table, stand, or couch your cat will not be able to get to them.

5: Any loose cords can be tied together to prevent clutter and tangles. Tie them up with velcro attachments, tape, or special cord clips. You can also try making the cords taste bad by using a homemade mix of citrus or strong menthol that is wiped on the cord. Make sure the cords are dry before plugging them back in. Avoid salt, as cats seem to like salty things.

6: If your cat is chewing out of boredom like my cats seem to do, you can grow some cat grass and let them eat that, try to keep some toys out at all times, spend time everyday playing with your cat, and let them hunt and catch their toys instead of your electrical cords.

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