I have an almost 1-year-old cat. When she was a kitten, she chewed a few cords and I just thought she was teething. It’s gotten so much worse over the last few months. She goes looking for things to chew. I am afraid that she will hurt herself. I have tried the bitter yuck spray and she liked it. I don’t know what else to do. Please help.
Your concerns are justified. Chewing and ingesting objects can lead to life-threatening obstructions. Take your young cat to the veterinarian; a medical condition might cause your cat’s behavior. Depending on the reasons for your cat’s behavior, your veterinarian may recommend a combination of behavior modification along with medical intervention.
After the vet exam, use behavior modification and environmental management to modify the behavior. Start by managing the environment by putting cords in conduit or other cord protectors. Place objects that the young cat might want to chew into cabinets and drawers where she cannot access them.
When you take away the forbidden objects, provide your cat with appropriate items to chew and give her activities to do that will mentally stimulate her. Dip dental health chew toys in real tuna juice to entice and keep her busy. Interactive toys such as ball and tract toys, puzzle toys and ping pong balls will also help focus her away from destructive chewing. If your cat enjoys playing in water, consider either a pet fountain or a motion-sensitive faucet. All toys need to be durable and without pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed.
Your cat will also appreciate climbing up on tall objects as well as hiding in tunnels and boxes. Place vertical territory such as cat trees and shelves in all of the rooms where your cat likes to be. Additionally, add horizontal scratchers and scratching posts for her to scratch in every room.
Consistency is important. Play, feed and engage your cat in the activities she enjoys at the same time every day. Since she is young, she needs multiple play sessions every day. Do not play using your hands; always use toys when playing with her. Clicker training your cat on a consistent schedule will mentally stimulate her and shift your cat’s focus away from destructive behaviors.