What It Means if Cats Are Chewing on Wood

by Elton Dunn, Demand Media
    Behavior modification can curb your cat's predilection toward wood.

    Behavior modification can curb your cat's predilection toward wood.

    Cats do strange things, which owners often shrug off. However, cats who chew on wood aren't just being weird, they could have a condition called pica that can be life-threatening. You can manage your pet's pica to keep him safe -- and keep your furniture intact.

    Pica

    If your cat eats wood and other inedibles, pica is the likely cause. Cats with pica eat things they shouldn't, such as wood, wool or rubber bands. These items can cause your pet intestinal blockages that could threaten your kitty's life.

    Causes

    Pica may be genetic for some cats. Certain breeds, including Siamese and Birman cats, are more likely to display behaviors that lead to pica. Cats with medical conditions may start to eat things like wood, although vets aren't sure why this behavior develops. Cats with feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia or diabetes may develop pica. Take your cat to the vet to rule out medical causes.

    Treatment

    Curb your cat's tendency to eat other things by feeding your cat at regular times. Dividing up kitty's meals into several smaller meals throughout the day may distract him from munching wood. Likewise, give your pet something else to chew, such as cat jerky or cat dental chews. If your pet gets preoccupied with these safe chews, he's less likely to eat wood.

    Tips

    Try cat-proofing to keep your pet safe while you're away. Move things that would be dangerous for the cat to chew, such as electric cords, away from your pet's level, or close the door to the room so your cat can't chew wood furniture. Bitter apple or hot sauce sprays can discourage your cat from chewing certain items.

    About the Author

    Elton Dunn is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, technology, beauty and fashion writing. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.

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    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images