How to stop my cats chewing wires?
December 17, 2006 10:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I keep my two cats from chewing through every wire less than an eighth of an inch in diameter? They eat every pair of headphones that I buy, no matter how well I keep them hidden or protected. Please help!
posted by joshers13 to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Dust a bunch of wires with cayenne pepper. They'll learn pretty quick.
posted by aubilenon at 10:53 AM on December 17, 2006

What exactly have you tried? Do your cats open heavy dresser drawers for the joy of chewing on wires? Do you have a room with a door that closes where the cats are not allowed? Is there a closet with a tall shelf? How about a pocket in a backpack?

My cats ate a pair of AirTran headphones a few days ago. I left them on the coffee table, and in the morning they were toast.
posted by bilabial at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2006

Isn't there some spray you can get at the petstore which tastes bad to cats? It's a sour apple taste or something.
posted by defcom1 at 11:01 AM on December 17, 2006

Have you considered wireless headphones?
posted by squidlarkin at 11:02 AM on December 17, 2006

I also have a chewer. Things like headphones get put away in a drawer promptly. If there's a small wire that must be left out, I either use wire protectors or wrap them in foil. I've tried cayenne, sprays, etc., without much success.
posted by frykitty at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2006

Yep, I had a chewer. Julie would chew on any and everything, particularly camcorder and camera cables for work. Apparently, those are delicacies in the kitty world.

She's since stopped. How? She stopped on her own. No amount of spraying, yelling, clapping, airhorning (you think i'm joking....) and whatever else stopped her. She learned how to open the dresser drawers and cabinets. She just became uninterested in them. It might be because I play with her alot now, and back then I didn't have the time.

Granted, she hasn't COMPLETELY stopped. Most of the cables in my house have a couple of bite marks on them, but nothing severe enough to warrant replacing the $90 camcorder cable. Again. For a fifth time.
posted by damnjezebel at 11:35 AM on December 17, 2006

I had the same problem - don't know how old your cats are, but mine mostly grew out of it aged around two, though he still goes for it if there's a particularly enticing cable. I considered cable protectors, but in the end just wrapped bubble wrap and foam sheets around the most important (and frequently replaced) cables - this might help if they are chewing through other wires, but not headphones I guess. I always worried about the chewing giving him shocks, but he seems all right for it.

The only other thing I can think of is to make sure they have plenty of toys, and play with them as much as you can to wear them out. I got my cat some toys with wires in them, so he could chew legitimately - not sure if this was a good idea or not.
posted by paduasoy at 11:55 AM on December 17, 2006

I second the keep them entertained idea. Chewing is often a sign of boredom and/or a plea for attention. We keep lots of mousies and hair bands and scratchers around the house. They also love laying on and in and attacking each other from paper bags.

However, I recognize that's easier said than done. For things you really value, put them in a childproof cabinet if your kitty knows how to open doors and drawers. We bought a "yuck" spray at Petsmart that has rosemary essence and baking soda in it that makes chewing on wires unpleasant (it's even working for the Christmas tree and we have four cats!)

Good luck!
posted by Kimberly at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2006

Also, cats LOVE earwax. You probably know this already, but I imagine it makes your headphones a lot more delicious than you think they are.

Try it, stick your finger in your ear and present it to your cat.
posted by armoured-ant at 1:33 PM on December 17, 2006

One of mine does this too. For the wires I leave plugged in, I wrap tape around them with the sticky side out. Mine doesn't chew on small wires, just larger ones like the laptop's cable etc.

Are they the earbud headphones you can put in a case like these?
posted by jesirose at 2:06 PM on December 17, 2006

Get some thin nylon spiral wrap, and toss it in a bag with cayenne or whatever to dust all its surfaces before installing it on the wires.
posted by Myself at 4:44 PM on December 17, 2006

There's a spray called 'Phooey' (which I can't find a link for, but which my regular pet store has) which is stronger than 'Bitter Apple'. It worked great for my cats, because they too ruined expensive headphones, computer power supplies, etc.

Be aware that this stuff is really foul, and if you touch your headphones you will need to wash your hands afterward...and if you inhale some of the spray while applying you will definitely know it!

You could also try confining your cats to one room where they will do the least damage when you are not around.
posted by sLevi at 7:25 AM on December 18, 2006

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