Help! My Cat Keeps Chewing Through Wires!
Why are they so obsessed? ⚡️
Do you ever go to plug in your phone or charge your computer, just to find the cord is now useless because your cat chewed the heck out of it?
Of course it’s irritating to have to constantly replace your cables — but more importantly, it’s scary knowing your cat is chewing through things that could zap him.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Tom Elston, a cat specialist and owner of T.H.E. Cat Hospital in California, to find out why cats gnaw on wires in the first place, and what you can do to stop this behavior issue.
Why cats love chewing cords and wires
For cats, sometimes chewing things is just who they are.
“Some cats have an inherent need to chew, although [it’s] typically less intense and less problematic than [with] dogs,” Dr. Elston told The Dodo.
But there’s a reason they gravitate toward things like cords and wires.
“When they have the desire to chew, cats seem to prefer softer substances as opposed to bones,” Dr. Elston explained. “So, they tend to like chewing plastic bags, cardboard and plastic-coated wires.”
Why it's dangerous when cats are chewing cords
According to Dr. Elston, the act of chewing itself isn’t all that bad. But it’s super risky when your cat is chomping on wires.
“A serious concern is if they like chewing electrical cords,” Dr. Elston said. “If a cat bites through a power cord and contacts both wires at the same time, it can cause a short circuit which may burn or electrocute your cat.”
Yikes! No one wants that.
And that’s not even the only danger when your cat's chewing cords. It’s also baaaad news if he swallows any wire.
“Chewing and ingesting long pieces of thin wires like headphones can cause dangerous obstruction issues similar to if they swallowed string.”
The issue with swallowing something long and thin like yarn or wire is that it can get caught in your cat’s intestinal tract and cause what’s called linear foreign body, a life-threatening surgical emergency.
This can cause serious blockage and damage to your cat’s system, and can lead to intestinal bunching (which is exactly what it sounds like, eek). Material like wire could even end up sawing through his intestines!
How to tell if your cat swallowed cord or wire
If you didn’t catch your cat in the act of swallowing wire but know they had access to it, you should keep an eye out for things like:
- Poor appetite
These could be signs of linear foreign body or intestinal blockage, and you should contact your vet RIGHT AWAY.
How to prevent cats from chewing through cords
When it comes to keeping your cat from chewing through cords, defense is the best offense.
“The best prevention is keeping all wires away from your cats by hiding them,” Dr. Elston said. “There are some products available that can group and cover wires.”
“If a wire must be exposed, some people try coating the wires with bad tasting substances,” he explained. “However, these seldom deter a cat committed to chewing. So, hiding them is usually the best defense.”
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