BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How to Stop Cats from Chewing on Cords: Cat-Proof Your Home

Kitten chewing on cord
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Many people think cats are independent and calm animals. However, they’re just as or even more curious then you or I. Especially if they are new, they’ll be roaming around your house freely, inspecting every corner or hole they can find—meaning you’ll want to make sure that your home is kitten/cat-friendly. Although, there are some things that you can’t simply tuck away, such as cords. You may have noticed that many electrical cords and wires around the house have tiny bite marks on them, so now you’re looking into ways on how to stop cats from chewing on cords.

bald cat chewing on cord

Though it may look cute, having your cat chew on electrical cords and wires is extremely dangerous for both you and your cat. It is a choking hazard. The cat can also be fatally injured due to electrocution. In addition, cord damage can cause electrical fires which can be fatal for everyone living in your home. We don’t want to scare you, but it’s vital that you understand how dangerous this is. If you notice bite marks on your electrical cords, don’t worry; there are ways to prevent your kitten/cat from chewing on them.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the reasons why cats chew on electrical cords and what you can do to prevent them from doing it. Looking at the cat’s emotional and physical health can usually help you find and prevent the trigger.

Why Do Cats Chew on Cords?

It’s important to know what the reasons are. By answering the question “why?” you’ll be able to find the right way to approach the problem. Just like humans, there isn’t just one reason why cats do certain things. Depending on your cat’s personality, their breed, and health, the reasons will vary. Of course, there are a couple of main reasons why cats chew on electrical cords.

  • Dental Hygiene: Dental issues are a common reason as to why cats chew on cords. If the cat is experiencing pain in their mouth, they can be tempted to relieve the discomfort and pain by chewing on the cord. Shockingly, 70% of cats develop periodontal disease by three years of age. Thus, it’s very important to brush their teeth and have regular dental checks.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Yes, cats can also suffer from OCD just like humans do. OCD is usually a behavior that’s developed in Oriental breeds such as the Burmese and the Siamese. Although, it is really open to all breeds. OCD causes cats to have the urge to chew on objects including cords.
  • Instinct: It’s rare, but your cat may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies which cause them to chew on and eat objects which are not typical in their diets, such as plants, and of course, cords. Their need to do so is because they’re trying to replace the missing nutrient. This could be a sign that they’re anemic.
  • Age: If you have a kitten, their chewing may be a factor to their curiosity and playfulness. If it’s an older cat that is chewing on cords, there could be a combination of issues as to why they’re doing it. If they have arthritis, their need to chew electrical cords could be due to the boredom of being unable to move properly, or for pain relief.
  • Stress: If your cat is stressed out, this can lead to a variety of unusual behaviors. Cord-chewing is a popular stress-relieving activity for many cats as it helps them emotionally calm down and it also reduces anxiety.

stressed cat

Now that you know some of the reasons as to why cats chew electrical cords, you’ll be able to narrow down the root problem and find the best possible solution for your cat. Below you will find some helpful ways to help stop cats from chewing on electrical cords.

10 Tips on How to Stop Cats from Chewing on Cords

Though it may seem cute in the beginning, chewing on cords is extremely dangerous, and it’s a possible sign that your cat is experiencing stress, boredom, or nutritional deficiency. It’s important to narrow down the root problems so that you can find the right solution for them. Here are some of the ways you employ to keep your cat from continuing to chew on cords:

Tip #1: Minimize the Number of Cords You Have

many cords

Every electrical cord is a potential hazard for your cat to chew or pull on. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of all the electrical cords in your home. If you’re not using some of those cords, remove them from the room.

Of course, there will still be cords in your home. Thus, make sure that the termination point and the cord protection are as small as possible. The space in between the cord and the plug makes up the most vulnerable parts of the cord. Make sure that areas such as behind your fridge are small enough so that your cat cannot fit in between the gap.

Tip #2: Go Wireless

This is the easiest way to prevent your cat from chewing on cords. Remove cords from your home by opting for a wireless connection. Of course, certain appliances such as your fridge and toaster will be unable to go wireless. However, it’s still worth it to try to minimize the number of cords you have as much as possible.

Tip #3: Tape Dangling Cords

Cats are attracted to things that are free flowing or dangling in the air. In order to prevent them from grabbing hold onto cords, make sure you tape down any dangling cords firmly to the sides of the walls or to the legs of a table.

When a cord is blended into the wall, cats are less likely to be attracted to it. You can also use velcro to keep the cords properly held down.

Tip #4: Cord Covers

how to cover cords

If you’re unable to tape down your cords or you’d like a more organized way to keep them contained, then use cord management covers. They’re pieces of plastic piping you can insert your cords into. They come in a variety of colors and formats—thus, you’ll be able to easily attach them to either walls or furniture which your cat will not be able to bite through.

There are even commercial covers which are specifically designed to deter cats from chewing on your cords. Products such as “Chewsafe” and “CritterCord” are flexible and clear cord covers which are citrus-scented. They’re easy to use, and you don’t need to reapply the scent.

Tip #5: Make it Taste Bad

If your cords don’t taste good, your cat will become disinterested and will stop chewing them. Wipe or spray down your cords with something unappealing for cats. There are many commercial products available. Some homemade solutions work just as well.

If you’re going to make your own cat repellent solution, there is a variety of things you can use such as garlic, Vicks, lime or lemon juice, chili oil, lavender oil, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce.

After applying the solution, make sure that it’s given enough time to dry before plugging it back into the wall. You’ll also need to reapply the solution every so often, just to make sure the cord stays unappealing. Do not use anything salty as cats love to lick salt.

it tastes bad for cat

Tip #6: Train Your Cat

Yes, you can actually train and discipline a cat; it’s not just limited to dogs. You can teach your cat to stay away from cords by either yelling “no” or clapping your hands when they go near them.

You can also prepare a spray bottle filled with water which you can use to spritz at them when they’re getting too close to the cords. This will slowly associate cords with a negative connotation—thus, they’ll be less likely to want to chew on the cords.

Tip #7: Play With Your Cat

If you’re not playing with your cat on a daily basis, then their habit of chewing cords may be a sign of boredom, or perhaps they are simply practicing hunting. Basically, they want attention. Does your cat tend to chew on cords when you’ve been away for some time? This could be the reason why.

Make sure that you give your cat enough attention on a daily basis. Play games with them, give them toys, or play fetch with them. Keep them distracted, so they would forget all about the cords.

playing with cat

Tip #8: Have Cat Grass in the Home

Many cats love to chew on grass, however, if they’re indoor cats, most of the time, the grass is not available to them. What happens next? They opt for the second best thing, which is cords.

So, to fight this habit, purchase some cat grass that’s grown from either oats or wheat. You’ll be able to purchase it from any pet store, or you can buy the seeds and grow it yourself. Place some cat grass in a pot, place it on the floor, and let your cat chew on it.

cat eating grass

Tip #9: Make Sure Your Cat Has Toys

If your cat doesn’t have enough toys to play with, they’re going to go find their own toys and usually they’re not ones you want them to chew on. Now, they don’t know what’s right or wrong, so for them, an electrical cord is just as perfect a toy as feather teasers or wand charmers. To keep them from chewing on cords, you’ll want to provide them with actual toys.

Felt balls and mouse-shaped toys can help them pass the time. Best of all, they are also great for keeping your cat’s hunting skills intact. Stay away from giving them toys which look similar to cords such as strings or yarns.

kitten playing with a toy

Tip #10: Add Fiber to Their Diet

As mentioned previously, chewing on cords can actually be a sign of nutritional deficiency. The act of chewing on inedible objects is called Pica. Though the exact cause of Pica is unknown, there is a certain percentage of cats that completely stops chewing on cords if you add digestible fiber into their diet.

Digestible fiber can be sourced from cat greens, lettuce, or green beans. Simply add it to their food bowls. If they don’t want to eat it, crush it and mix it with their favorite wet cat food.

Wrap Up

When you bring a new kitten home, expect them to be curious about everything around them. Of course, they’ll want to know their new home like the back of their paw. They’ll look into every nook and cranny that your house has.

Though it’s beautiful to see your cat getting acquainted with their new home and all that’s inside of it, their safety is always a concern. Chewing cords is a common problem with cats of all ages. This is an activity you have to stop immediately because it’s dangerous.

cat not chewing on cords

Take some time to understand why your cat is chewing electrical cords. Do they tend to chew on them when you’re gone for long hours or do they have toys which look similar to the electrical cords dangling down from your computer?

These issues can be easily fixed by spending more time playing with your cat and changing the type of toy you use to play with them. On the other hand, if it’s a nutritional deficiency issue or a life stage issue, then you’ll have to take a different approach.

So, take some time to figure out when they’re chewing on cords and why. Once you get an idea of what’s going on, use some of the tips above to help get your cat to stop chewing on cords. It may take some time and persistence in training. However, this will possibly save you and your cat’s life.

Do you have a cat that loves to chew on cords? What was the reason and what tricks did you use to get them to stop? Let us know how you solved this problem in the comments section below! We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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