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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30333
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat chews on everything. She has ruined shoes, purses, eaten

Customer Question

My cat chews on everything. She has ruined shoes, purses, eaten short fringe or ribbons on decorations/toys. She puts everything in her mouth, kind of like a toddler. She is 3 years old, normal weight, eats well and is very playful. I'm afraid she will eat something that will hurt her, plus I'm tired of finding my expensive shoes with the toes chewed off! Any ideas?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You're correct to be concerned. Cats that chew or suck on objects may cause costly damage to the household or serious injury to themselves. I have advanced training in feline behavior and am pleased to discuss Bella (The Monster) with you.Treatment for these cats such as she involves keeping the chewed objects away from them, teaching the cat to avoid areas where it might find objects to chew, making target objects taste bad, and providing the cat with its own chewing alternatives. Cat activity centers and interactive play toys can keep some cats distracted. Cats that chew on plants may find them particularly appealing because of their taste or texture. Supplying the cat with lettuce, catnip, or access to a herb garden may reduce chewing on houseplants. Providing alternative oral stimulation in the form of dog chew toys, rawhide, bulky, dry, or chewy foods might satisfy the desires of some cats. Applying a little meat spread, cheese, or fish oil to the toys might help pique the pet's interest. Feeding sessions can be made more natural if the cat is provided with a means of searching for food. By offering small meals in a variety of locations, or requiring some form of manipulation to obtain food (feeders that deliver food when the cat interacts with them, toys or play centers with food inside), feeding can become a much more active and productive part of the cat's day.Environmental punishment using taste aversion or booby traps may be necessary to deter cats that develop fixation for household items. A plant's leaves can be lightly sprayed with water and then sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Commercial sprays with an adverse taste can also be used to coat objects to discourage chewing. Motion-activated alarms can be placed near plants to chase the cat away when it approaches, or hidden under fabric items the pet chews. Balloons can be tied around the base of larger plants or tress, so that when the cat plays with them they pop. For wool/fabric sucking that is a manifestation of compulsive behavior, treatment with clomipramine, paroxetine, or fluoxetine might be helpful.Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin