rawhide for a cat?
March 22, 2009 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Is it OK to give rawhide chews to a cat?

Our youngest cat (@ 2 years old) has some neurotic chewing habits, and we've often had to take objects out of her mouth so she doesn't hurt herself or ruin them. I've been thinking about giving her a rawhide chew of some sort. Would this hurt her in any way? Are there better alternatives?
posted by dlugoczaj to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't immediately think of any reason this would be detrimental to the cat. They haven't the jaw pressure to bust open something like rawhide, so no chances of splinters, not that it would splinter anyway. The trick, I guess, would be getting her to choose a soggy clump of cow or pig skin over whatever else it is she enjoys chewing. And in my experience, most cats, unlike dogs, are pretty fussy about food-like things that have been hanging around for longer than a day or so.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:10 PM on March 22, 2009

There are chews made specifically for cats. Rawhide isn't a great idea for dogs, so it sure as heck isn't a great idea for cats, big risk of obstruction.
posted by biscotti at 9:39 PM on March 22, 2009

Rawhide is just dried cow skin. Here's a non cow-based alternative: fill a heavy sock with catnip and cotton. Your kitty will love to chomp the sockbeast (mine does).
posted by zerokey at 9:39 PM on March 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

I make little pouches and stuff them full of catnips and add a "tail" to them. Our little chomper happily gnaws away at them. if you are not the crafty type, memail me and i can send you a couple.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 11:07 PM on March 22, 2009

Also, more info on chewing.

I have used "No Scratch" by Pet Organics to stop her scratching. It doesn't have an unpleasant smell for me, and she doesn't seem bothered walking past it, but she won't lick or paw at places sprayed with it either.

I am inclined to say that as far as rawhide goes, you could probably give it to her when you are there to monitor that it isn't splitting up or anything. But i wouldn't leave it out for her without supervision.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 11:13 PM on March 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't know about rawhide, but my cat also loves to chew and will happily gnaw on a leather shoelace (like the ones you'd buy for work boots, I buy them at Walgreen's). He especially likes it when I attach it to the Fling-Ama-String, but a piece tied in a knot and thrown across the room is pretty exciting too.
posted by cali at 11:29 PM on March 22, 2009

I can't think of any reason why not, cats are carnivores and love gnawing on animal flesh. However, rawhide has a characteristic where when it gets soggy, pieces come off and if the animal swallows it, it could cause digestive grief. I would think that monitoring the rawhides you give out for this condition would be enough to guarantee safety. Even if it didn't *hurt* the cat, you might end up with a situation where it would take a couple of tries for the cat to completely pass the shard. This used to happen with christmas tree tinsel. Tinsel hanging out of a cat's ass = comedy, but rawhide probably not so much.

(We had a cat that would follow us out the door when we tried to leave. My dad invented a fool proof way to distract the cat. Our back door was one of those ones where you went down 4 steps and you could go out the door, or continue down into the basement. When we'd go down the steps, dad would go first, the cat would follow, and dad would crumple up an empty pack of Winstons. The cardboard and cellophane made a great cat toy. The cat would hear the noise, become instantly enthralled, and dad would throw it down into the basement. The cat would give chase and off we'd go...)

(Another cat would go bonkers for the little blue ring that seals up plastic gallons of milk. It would bat the thing all around the kitchen, growling at it. It would "chase" it for a while, then catch it and gnaw for a while. When it got sufficiently chewed up, she would give up.)
posted by gjc at 5:55 AM on March 23, 2009

My cat is also a chewer (not on himself, but cardboard ?!??!). I've found peppermint Bright Bites Dental chews made for small dogs and puppies are awesome. They don't stain, clean up easily and he can just gnaw away until it's a masticated mess.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:41 AM on March 23, 2009

Our gnawiest kitty loves to chew on drinking straws. We use the bright neon straws that you can "bend" at the top. He steals them out of our drinks (usually before we've finished using them) and goes to town. The bright color means they stand out against the carpet and so far he's been unable to disassemble them into smaller pieces. By comparison, this cat will chew a catnip mouse or sock clean in half in under three minutes.
posted by subbes at 5:12 AM on March 24, 2009

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