Help me get cat to stop chewing fabric!
April 14, 2011 6:14 AM   Subscribe

About a year ago my cat developed the habit of chewing on fabric. I can't leave clothes anywhere in his reach now, because anytime I do he chews on them (I have had to throw out many articles of clothing due to this.) My bedding is also full of holes, and I'd like to get new blankets and sheets but know there would be no point as long as he'd just chew them up too. I can't spray my whole bed with anything bitter, and I'd really prefer not to have to start shutting him out of the bedroom because he usually sleeps at the foot of the bed. What can I do to end this behavior? Help
posted by Zorz to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Has he had a recent vet check? This sort of thing can be a sign of a medical problem, including a dental issue.
posted by biscotti at 6:25 AM on April 14, 2011

Has his teeth been checked by a vet recently? My cat developed a fondness for licking (not chewing) fabric. I thought it was a stress reaction to the death of one of our other cats. It turned out to be an infected tooth. Once it was removed, she stopped.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:25 AM on April 14, 2011

Response by poster: I tried asking my vet the last time I was there, and they just told me that it was a common issue that usually went away eventually and that there was nothing to really be done for it except to try and keep him from swallowing anything harmful. I may take him back and insist on having his teeth checked.
posted by Zorz at 6:30 AM on April 14, 2011

do you have a pot with cat grass at home? May be he needs something to assist digestion and cat grass might help with that
posted by ivanka at 6:38 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

amitriptyline or prozac.
posted by TheBones at 6:42 AM on April 14, 2011

I use this spray on my furniture to keep my cats from scratching. I have no idea whether it works, or whether they just don't have any interest, but the new couch is still scratch-free.

I mention it because it actually doesn't smell like anything to me, and is supposed to have a calming effect on them. It also seems pretty chemical-free and safe. Maybe if you spray your bedspread (especially if you are going to replace it anyway) it'll calm down the cat a bit?

It was relatively inexpensive for a huge bottle, so it might be worth a shot.
posted by juliplease at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2011

Try using a Feliway diffuser in your bedroom and every other room where the cat has gnawed on cloth. Also get the Feliway spray and spray down your bedclothes. It will not smell once it has dried. It's going to be a not-insubstantial initial outlay of cash, but probably less than it would be to jump right into a vet visit and Prozac.

However, if that doesn't work, you might be looking into a vet visit and Prozac.

Note that the diffusers only last for 3-4 weeks and need to be refilled. With us, we can tell that they have run out by when the cats start tearing up the stairs regularly again.
posted by Addlepated at 9:34 AM on April 14, 2011

I was going to say teeth, too.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2011

I just answered this question for someone who adopted two kittens from us. I sent him these links:

> one
> two
> three

and recommended this canvas catnip banana toy that many cats love to chew (I'd recommend getting the original YEOWWW! brand; it seems very tough and really really satisfying for some reason).

And let him know he was not alone. Apparently, they've been making holes in sweaters, and finally destroyed a nice new one. Ouch.

It seems that a kitty who chews needs more of some kind of nutrient, attention, or an outlet of energy.

Good luck.
posted by amtho at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2011

Response by poster: amtho, am actually already a big fan of YEOWWW! toys; they're my cat's favorite.

So here's my plan of attack so far. This weekend I intend to take my cat to the vet, and insist that they examine him to see what can be done to rule out any medical issues that might be causing it. After that, I can weigh options on sprays, medications, etc.
posted by Zorz at 9:09 PM on April 14, 2011

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