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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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I have a two year old cat that has begun to chew holes in

Customer Question

Hi there, I have a two year old cat that has begun to chew holes in clothing. Before this is I noticed she was chewing on the corner of the leather couch..(and my little pony toys hair) I bought no chew and it seemed to help a wee bit, but she moved from the leather couch, to the clothing. She will drag clothes out of laundry hampers, out of closets and absolutely destroy them. She is chewing daily. I am at my wits end, and its become awful since we have 3 kids, and its impossible to keep on it 100% of the time keeping the clothes out of reach. I also don't feel comfortable spraying that no chew stuff all over clothing, and toys, since that stuff is awful if you have any left over on your hands ect. She has an abundance of catnip toys, a cathouse, and a huge house to explore. She is strictly indoors. Is there any advice to rid her of this behavior? She is costing me a fortune replacing the damages!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that Autumn has had such a strange change in behavior! Eating inappropriate items can lead to intestinal blockage and possibly poisoning (not to mention the property damage).

I would first consider taking her to your regular vet for an exam and blood work to ensure there is no metabolic cause for the inappropriate chewing. I would wonder about diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreas problems or cancer as possibilities. If that is normal, I would consider contacting an animal behavior specialist. Complex behavior problems can be challenging to treat and correct and I would recommend taking her to a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. These are veterinarians who have gone to three extra years of schooling to learn about cat behavior and specific training and medications (if needed) to help remedy undesirable behavior. To find a specialist near you check out their website at www.dacvb.org. (Per their website there are diplomats in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.)

In the mean time, I would evaluate her diet and ensure that she is getting enough protein. I recommend canned kitten food as the primary diet for all cats regardless of age because this will be the highest in protein. Dry foods do not contain enough protein for cats and they can have a voracious appetite trying to make up for the deficiency.

I would also try to reduce stress in the house the best you can. Do you have enough litter boxes (one for each cat in house plus one more)? Do you have several feeding stations? Are there any dogs in the house that could be causing stress to the cat? Does the cat have a room or area that is her own, where she can escape the kids to sleep, eat and toilet?

You can also consider the following products. They have been shown to reduce anxiety in cats and can help in some situations: Feliway Spray or diffuser, or Composure. Both of these are available on Amazon.

Good luck to you and Autumn,

I hope this answer helps you. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Dr. Amanda

Kansas State University

College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2001