Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Preventing Cats from Chewing Electrical Cords

Although cats are generally more discreet about what they put in their mouths compared to dogs, some cats have a penchant for chewingunusual objects.  One thing both dogs and cats often chew on are electrical cords.  This can be a hazard for two reasons.  First, it can be a danger to your cat, because of potential electrical burns.  Second, it can be a danger to your home, as an exposed wire can be a fire hazard. 

Cats that chew through electrical cords often experience burns on their lips and/or tongue.  More serious problems can arise, like seizures, respiratory difficulty, and even cardiac arrest. 

Why do they do it?  

Beats me.  If I had to guess, I’d say that cats are naturally curious and seem to be drawn to strings and ribbons, which bring out their prey instinct.  Wires and cords are similar to ribbons and strings. Some cats have a penchant for plastic, and a few are mainly drawn to the plastic insulation on the wires. 

To prevent cats from chewing on cords and wires, you can purchase cord protection kits from hardware stores or computer supply stores.  These are hollow tubes that are pre-split down the side.  The cords are sequestered inside these large hollow tubes, preventing cats from getting at them.  Crittercord (www.crittercord.com) is a thick plastic cord cover that is infused with a citrus scent. Cats do not like the smell of citrus and are generally repelled from cords that are covered with it.   Cats tend to gravitate toward things that dangle or wiggle, so try hiding cords behind furniture, or tape cords to the wall so that they don’t dangle and catch your cat’s attention.   Pet stores sell repellent sprays that can be sprayed on the wires, and the surrounding areas.  Other things you can put on the cords to repel cats are things like Vick’s VapoRub, Bitter Apple, Tabasco sauce, or rubbing the wires with a moistened bar of soap.  These may need to be reapplied frequently until your cat finally gets the message.  For really persistent cats, you might need to purchase a SssCat! Cannister
   This is a canister that has a motion detector on top of it.  When cats trigger the motion detector, the canister makes a high-pitched alarm and then sprays a harmless material.  This scares the heck out of the cat, and will effectively deter your cat from going near the wires. 

To keep your cat’s life from getting boring, provide lots of toys, and regularly engage your cat in play activity.  Wall-mounted toys that they can swat at, ping pong balls in the bathtub, etc.  Rotate the toys, so cats don’t get bored with them.  Toys that stimulate the different senses keep cats on their toes; laser toys for visual stimuli, toys with bells for auditory stimuli, and catnip toys for olfactory stimuli should keep your cat preoccupied, and less interested in the cords and wires.
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