“Why does my cat chew on everything?” is one of the most common questions asked by many pet owners. The phenomenon is normal but can potentially be dangerous to the cat. Researchers also found that your cat’s chewing habit can be linked to a medical condition called PICA.
Like dogs, cats love to explore with their mouths, play with everything they see and chew on it. It’s very normal if they are nibbling for food. But sometimes, your cat may chew on everything from cotton, paper, plastic items, fabrics, wires to wood. This can be fatal as non-food objects may cause obstructions and blockage that require surgical intervention.
PICA is an obsessive-compulsive disorder in cats. It occurs with repetitive and uncontrollable behaviors. Be noted that not all cats chewing on non-edible materials might get PICA. For example, a kitten chews on everything as prey items when they play.
Why Does My Cat Chew On Everything? 2 Common Reasons
If your cat eats non-edible materials regularly, PICA syndrome can be first to blame. You can take your cat to the vet for an accurate diagnosis. PICA may begin just like a behavior. But then, it will gradually develop into a medical condition without treatment.
Some common reasons for PICA, causing your cat to chew on everything include medical problems and stress.
Several medical problems can result in PICA in cats. They are diabetes, brain tumor, anemia, FIV, dental disease and hyperthyroidism.
Cats are more likely to get PICA when they are stressed. The problem can result from the below things.
Lack of attention: Cats want so much attention. They like to be petted, talked to and played with. If you ignore this furry friend, they could be lonely or stressed.
Some cats also experience misdirected behavior. They don’t want to eat rocks, and stuff. They want to do something else but they can’t.
An indoor cat can get upset or stressed by an outdoor cat. When they see another cat outside the window, they may want to chase and play with it. But if you don’t let them out, they will become aggressive and start chewing or tearing at objects.
Separation anxiety. Some cats are overly attached and dependent on humans. During the owner’s absence, they may become stressed and anxious.
Boredom. Like humans, cats get bored very easily and end up chewing on everything if they don’t get enough play. This behavior is considered to alleviate boredom.
Loud noise exposure. Being around too much loud noise can cause anxiety in cats. To deal with this problem, they tend to bite or chew on something.
Traveling or moving to a new home has been linked to PICA in cats, causing them to get stressed.
PICA can develop in cats when they become sad, depressed or upset. This happens due to various reasons, for example an injury, the loss of a close friend or family member.
According to research, kittens weaned too early may have higher risk for PICA. If your cats bite or tear at objects, it may also be involved in predatory behavior, like the bird-killing habit.
My Cat Chews on Everything- How to Deal with It
Treating PICA in cats may vary and depend on the exact causes. Some possible treatments may include:
This therapy works by redirecting your cat to perform good and positive behaviors. To do this, you have to remove all inappropriate objects from your cat’s reach. Do not respond either positively or negatively to your cat’s PICA behaviors. Gently pull the object out if your cat is chewing on it. Redirect your cat to perform a positive behavior. Give them a ball or toy to play with, not for food. If your cat exhibits a desired behavior, reward them to motivate them.
When your cat chews on an object, replace it with a safe alternative. One of the best methods may include:
Play with your cat. This furry friend loves to play and interact with the owner. So, play with them for a few short sessions every day. This will distract your cat from being bored and chewing.
Provide your cat with toys. Make sure that these toys are made with natural materials that your cat can’t eat. For example, use plastic and natural rubber toys instead of cotton fabric ones. Offer your cat different toys to keep them active, preventing them from boredom and stress. The toy that mimics a bird, for example, can stimulate your cat’s hunting skill.
Taking your cat for a walk is also an effective way to relieve stress. Try and see if your cat loves it.
Stop other cats from coming to your yard
If you think your cat might be stressed or anxious by other cats outside, keep them away from the window. Moreover, do not let other cats enter your garden or house to avoid fighting. Using water, sound, spice, coffee or textures is also a good way that you can try.
The vet can prescribe medications to treat PICA in cats. Anti-anxiety pills can help in decreasing feelings of stress and redirecting your cat’s behaviors. So if your furry friend is suffering from PICA, take it to the vet for medications. Never give your pet human meds.
Reading the above information may help you answer the question “Why does my cat chew on everything?” In fact, nearly all cats chew on stuff and it’s considered to be normal. In some cases, the behavior can be an alarm for a medical condition or lead to serious issues. You need to spend more time with your cat to understand what they want to tell you. Besides, focus on their feelings and behaviors to make sure they are happy and healthy. Just like humans, cats can become stressed, upset, angry or depressed. While we can handle symptoms by ourselves, cats cannot do it by themselves. So if you suspect your cat is sick, or have a problem like chewing on everything uncontrollably, call your vet for help.
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