"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

One Wired Cat

– Posted in: Columns

Cat Chewing Wire Provided by HybridRainStorm via FlickrDear John,

I have a 1 year old tabby named Garfunkle. Ever since he was about 5 months old I started noticing wires chewed everywhere. He will do anything to chew them. I have tried, cat repellent sprays, butter creams, hot pepper, I’ve tried the spray bottle of water, I yell NO!! he will run for a second but its almost like nothing can stop him from having a little chew. So a lot of play station controllers, computer cords and phone lines later, we just had to adapt, tape wires to walls or tape them together, put everything up high. Now he is chewing on even bigger wires. I bought him chew toys that worked a little but I’m running out of ideas. Maybe is there something wrong with him mentally? –Liisa

Hi Liisa,

Apparently you’ve not heard the English proverb, “In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” As any cat will inform you, unlike dogs and humans they are incapable of mental illness. I’m sure Garfunkle is confident that eventually you will come to understand that instead he is multi dimensionally gifted and beyond the ken of the human mind.

I suspect his devilment is age related and in the long run he’ll become less wired. To paraphrase a writer named Stephen Baker, “Kittens are born with their eyes shut. They open them in about six days, take a look around their world for a year or two, then close them again for the better part of their lives.” In the mean time, while this evolution is taking place, here are a few more ideas to get you to the lazy days of a cat’s version of Freedom 55.

At the very least, cat proof one room and leave him and his litter box in there when you can’t supervise him. For the other rooms, there is a wire protection wrap called wire loom split tubing. You see it used to protect exposed wires in danger of damage like in your car. It comes in various sizes. It even comes in a wide variety of colours and isn’t too expensive. You can start with wrapping your wires in that for a while. You might even wrap the wrap with two way tape like they use for carpets. It may or may not stop the chewing but should protect the wires enough to keep Garfunkle from hurting himself and shutting down the local power grid.

I’d also suggest redirecting his attention. If the toys worked a bit go to a store that specializes in cat toys and buy a range. It’s got to be cheaper then what he’s costing you now. The trick is don’t give them all at once. Rotate them as he gets bored with each. As well, I find with most behaviour like this, we catch them in the act far too few times for them to connect the dots as to why we’re yelling at them. They know we’re ticked but if they don’t understand why they’ll put it down to further evidence of our mental illness rather then their own actions. Set him up while you’re watching television. Buy some similar wires and leave them in open view and see how many times over a week you can correct him and then immediately replace the object of his interest with a cat toy. You don’t have to wait until a wire is in his mouth either. If you see a glint in his eye that’s the time to chastise him. Gets some toys that encourage exercise as well. A feather hanging from a string you dangle and move about. A laser pointer moved madly about the room can wear a cat right out. Do that at the start of the day and then when you come home and see if it keeps him busy napping when you’re not home and busy with other things, like napping when you are.

– John Wade the Dog Trainer

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