Why Does My Cat Lick or Chew Things?

Food is not the only thing cats like to lick and chew. Cats commonly bite and nip at lots of different objects around the house, even if they can’t be eaten. While this kind of behaviour is often normal, it can also be a sign of a potential problem. It’s important you manage this behaviour to avoid injury to your cat.

Why does my cat lick and chew?

There’s a wide variety of reasons why your cat may be licking or chewing things around your house. Here are some common ones:

  1. To imitate hunting
  2. To reduce boredom, and seek out exciting textures and flavours
  3. To reduce stress
  4. To address pain in teeth or gums
  5. As a result of early weaning
  6. Or it might just be in their personality!

What items do cats most commonly lick or chew? 

Here is a list of the common household items cats love to chew:

  1. Bottle caps and rings
  2. Electrical cords
  3. Plastic straws
  4. Plastic bags
  5. Cardboard
  6. Bubble wrap and packing Styrofoam
  7. Yarn
  8. Rubber bands

Is chewing behaviour bad for my cat? 

Licking and chewing different objects is normal cat behaviour, and is not worrying in itself (though it may cause damage to your household appliances!) However, if a cat chews and swallows something it can’t digest, this could block your cat’s intestinal track, causing serious problems.

If your cat is a chewer, consult your vet immediately should your cat stop eating its regular food, or suffers from vomiting or diarrhoea, in order to rule out any underlying health concerns.

What can I do to stop my cat chewing my things? 

Depending on your cat’s genetic tendencies, you may be unable to eliminate this behaviour. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep it under control.

Tip 1: Remove Opportunity Pack away appliances and kitchen supplies you are not using, and keep rubbish and recycling in closed containers.

Tip 2: Cord Covers These work a treat. Make sure to get protectors robust enough to prevent your cat from chewing through.

Tip 3: Check Your Plants Indoor plants bring a lovely ambiance to the house, but some are poisonous to cats. Make sure you choose plants that are cat friendly.

Tip 4: Playtime

Your cat may lick and chew your things because it has too much pent up energy or stress. Fit in a little extra playtime to your daily routine to give your cat a better outlet. Just before feeding is the best time to play.

Tip 5: Ask the Professionals If you’re not sure how to get your cat’s chewing under control, take a trip to your local vet. Your vet will have great advice on how to manage your cat’s habits, and may even refer you to a certified cat behaviourist (yes, they exist!)


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Learn More About Cat Behaviour

How To Introduce a Cat or Kitten Into Your New Home 

Why Does My Cat Do That? A Guide to Curious Cat Behaviours