What to Do If My Cat Is Chewing Cords

A cat’s natural urge to chew can lead to them gnawing on things like electrical cords. This can be dangerous to them and your household. It poses a fire risk for your home. Your cat could end up with electrical burns, be electrocuted, or choke. 

Why Do Cats Chew?

Your cat could be bored, curious, or just love the way it feels to chew on cords. It often starts when they’re kittens. Young cats have a strong urge to chew while new teeth are coming in. Cats younger than two years old have the most injuries related to electrical cord chewing.

What to Do About Cats Chewing on Cords

Look around your home for frayed cords or cords chewed in half. If your cat is chewing, you’ll need to determine when it’s happening: when you’re home or when you’re gone. If they’re doing it when you’re gone, it may be a sign that your cat needs something to do.

There are ways to entertain your cat and keep them from chewing on household items that they shouldn’t: 

  • Play with your cat on a regular basis. Get them to engage in interactive play daily. 
  • Use toys that allow them to use their hunting instincts. This could be with wands or fake mice. Monitor their play and don’t leave toys with strings or electrical components in their reach when unsupervised.
  • Get your cat a rubber dog toy to chew on. This is a safe alternative to them chewing on rubber cords. 
  • Put scratching posts in easy to reach areas that entice your cat to use them.
  • Change their toys up. Different foods, toys, and puzzles rotated daily can keep your cat interested.  

Signs of Problems From Chewing on Cords

Being shocked from cord chewing can lead to heart or lung damage. Cats under two years old are most likely to have electrical burns.

If you suspect your cat has been chewing cords, look for the following signs: 

  • Burns in and around the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Coughing
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice any of these signs you should call your vet. 

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Training Your Cat to Stop Chewing on Cords

This behavioral issue can be challenging to correct. Give them other options. When you catch your cat chewing on cords, gently remove the item and replace it with a safe alternative. 

Another training method is to coat your cords in a cat-safe bitter spray to get your cat to associate cords with the terrible taste.  

If the behavior persists or worsens, talk to your vet to get specific recommendations and tips on how to stop the behavior. 

Preventing Your Cat Chewing on Cords

The simplest way to prevent your cat from chewing on cords and to keep them safe from electrical injuries is to keep them away from your cords. Also, inspect the cords in your home and remove ones that are damaged. Even minimal contact with a bare wire can cause harm to your cat. 

Baby-proofing your home can help you protect your cat. Keeping cords out of reach of your cat is the best way to keep them from chewing cords. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on June 29, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

A Cat Clinic: “Cats Chewing Electric Cords: How can I get her to stop?”

ASPCA: “Keeping Your Foster Cats Out of Trouble.”

Banfield Pet Hospital: “Why Does My Cat Chew on Cords and Eat Clothes?”

CatHealth.com: “Why Does My Cat Chew on Electrical Cords?”

Dr. Jeff Nichol: “Albuquerque Journal Article — Cat Chews Electric Cords at Risk of Tongue Slough and Electrocution.”

PetMD: “Electric Cord Bite Injury in Cats.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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