Ask a Vet Archive

When it comes to your pet's health, there's no such thing as a dumb question. Search questions real clients have submitted to our popular Ask a Vet Q&A series, and then submit a question of your own.

  • My one-year-old kitten eats clothes and charging cords. She appears to be healthy, has a shiny coat and eyes, a strong appetite, is very active, and has lots of toys - but she just has this one horrible habit. I don't want her to get shocked or eat something that can damage her internally, as is the case with Pica. Please help!

    Eating clothes and chewing on other items like cell phone cords is typically a behavioral issue that can be addressed by training and prevention efforts.

    Pica, a clinical term for improper ingestion of non-food items, is a rare condition that usually occurs when a cat is missing something in their diet. Fortunately, with the high-quality pet foods that are available now, true Pica is uncommon.

    Regardless of the root cause, it is important to keep your cat from chewing on these household items to prevent injury. Chewing power cords can lead to electrical shock of the mouth which can cause burns and other injuries to the mouth or throat. Chewing clothes can also be dangerous. If she swallows pieces of the clothes it can lead to intestinal blockage which can cause damage to the intestines and requires surgery to fix.

    If she shows any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite she needs to see her veterinarian immediately. If the blockage lasts long enough it can cause severe damage to her intestinal system, which can be life-threatening.

    Chewing, like other behaviors, can be hard to prevent, and you are already taking a great first step by preventing her access to the cords and clothes. However, you can also try training your cat or kitten by presenting her with safe chewing alternatives.

    When you catch her chewing on things she shouldn’t be chewing on, I recommend that you gently remove the object that she is chewing on and then give her a toy.

    This can help to train her to chew on her toys and not other objects. If the behavior continues or worsens, I recommend that you talk to your local veterinarian about your concerns. They can partner with you and give you more recommendations specific to your cat ’s unique needs. 

     


Need more information or advice?

Contact your nearest Banfield Pet Hospital to schedule an appointment today.

Tags

Behavior