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Safe leather or wire for cat to chew?

MissPurryJess
October 8th, 2012, 12:59 PM
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my cats are both chewers. From what I can gather they have pica, which isn't uncommon, but they chew very different things. Daisy chews plastic/tape/paper/carpet, and Fitz chews leather/cords/wires. With Daisy it's relatively easy to prevent her from chewing things, as we don't leave any plastic/paper/tape out that she can get to. As far as the carpet, our current home is rented and the carpet is AWFUL and CHEAP and she'll pull it up in the corner and chew on it, and then I'll find a little puddle of barf with carpet bits in it, find the pulled-up carpet, and try to fix it. :rolleyes:

But with Fitzy - it's an issue to hide all the cords in the house. We've done a pretty good job, but in our living room there's still 3 cords he has access too, and we don't have much of a choice since we have limited outlets in here. We keep the cords covered with this:

http://images1.cableorganizer.com/wire_loom/split-colored-loom/wire-loom-main.jpg (http://www.cableorganizer.com/wire-loom/colored.html)

But it's not a deterrent - he loves chewing on the covers. :yell: We don't have any dangling wires, all cords have been consolidated and covered, but it doesn't matter - he still ruins them. He ate through the cable for my laptop charger. :frustrated: He gets in this weird trance state and does it - like he'll be on our laps, all curled up and happy and purring, and suddenly he'll jump down and stumble over to the wall and start chewing on the cord and the plug. It's like he's in a trance - so weird. We've had him checked out, his teeth, his blood work, x-rays and exams and all that, and he's fine. He's done this for a long time - it's nothing new. And I don't think it's boredom, because he'll do it when we're petting him or loving him. It seriously mystifies me.

SO! The other day I was at my wits end and I had this epiphany - chewing on foil isn't pleasant. So on a whim I covered all of the cords he has access to with strips of tinfoil. IT WORKED! :lightbulb: Neither he nor his sister will chew on the wires now - they want to, they try to, but they won't actually do it. So this is good news.

Now he's just acting upset when he gets into a cord-chewing mood. He walks around the room pacing back and forth, in his trance-like state, and since there's nothing to chew on, he just sort of stands there. I try to distract him with cuddles or toys, he's not really interested. This afternoon there was an incident near the basement door - he pooped in front of the basement door. :yell: Now I don't know why - there are a few reasons this may have happened (it's possible someone was in his bathroom at the time) - and I know I'm projecting, but what if he's angry about the lack of cords to chew on? I know this sounds ridiculous - just an idea.

So my question is - what can I give him to chew? My husband gave me an old leather belt and some old cords - they're in the "donation" box in our basement, so if he decides to destroy them, it's fine. I gave him a leather belt to play with for a minute and he WENT TO TOWN on that thing. Gnawing on it, biting it, etc. And then I realized this may be a bad idea - considering it's a cheap leather belt made in China, and who knows what kinds of chemicals they use to tan the leather? :shrug: Do you guys think the leather is a bad idea? And would an old cord be any better? That's still plastic - I mean he can't really hurt himself on it because it's not plugged in, but it's still not a cat toy. I'm not sure what to do - I want to give him something safe to chew on that he'll enjoy.

Any help is appreciated. I'm really glad I found a solution to him chewing up the wires we have plugged in (yay tinfoil! :p), but I'd like to give him a safe alternative.

marko
October 8th, 2012, 01:46 PM
Hmmm very good question actually.

If the cat likes wires - would a piece of wire not connected to anything be a terrible playtoy?

I do NOT know the answer to that question, just throwing out there to see if it has any merit.

If the wire is too big for the cat to swallow, and you know your cat won't swallow it, would chewing on it in and of itslef present a danger? :shrug:

MissPurryJess
October 8th, 2012, 01:53 PM
Hmmm very good question actually.

If the cat likes wires - would a piece of wire not connected to anything be a terrible playtoy?

I do NOT know the answer to that question, just throwing out there to see if it has any merit.

If the wire is too big for the cat to swallow, and you know your cat won't swallow it, would chewing on it in and of itslef present a danger? :shrug:

Exactly - I'm just concerned that there's something potentially toxic in the wire coating or something like that. I'd like to know the same about a leather belt - the leather is shiny on one side and rough and kind of nubby (almost suede-like) on the other side. I'd only allow him to play with either thing while supervised - but if they're toxic than I need to come up with a safe alternative.

Barkingdog
October 8th, 2012, 04:43 PM
Exactly - I'm just concerned that there's something potentially toxic in the wire coating or something like that. I'd like to know the same about a leather belt - the leather is shiny on one side and rough and kind of nubby (almost suede-like) on the other side. I'd only allow him to play with either thing while supervised - but if they're toxic than I need to come up with a safe alternative.

I would not let a cat chew on leather or wire. A cat could choke on a piece of leather and it could also be toxic to your cat. The cat could hurt it mouth or gum chewing on wire and this would teaching your cat that is OK to chew on cords and wire.

marko
October 8th, 2012, 06:26 PM
Just like my brother and sister (when they were babies) sucked on Tupperware container lids and other plastic objects (and lead painted toys that are now known carcinogens) when I was a kid and never died.....

I might assume that unconnected wires "might" be the same sort of thing for a cat. And if I had money to wager in a fake bet, I'd wager that sucking on a plastic wire in and of itself won't decrease a cat's lifespan. I do not know this to be true, but in a fake bet that's how I'd wager.

Yes of course it's possible that a cat will swallow a plastic wire so yes it's safest to say "No". No equals zero risk. No is always safest.

Obviously nobody wants to give bad advice and nobody wants another pet to suffer... But if you know your cat won't swallow a wire in the same way that you know it won't swallow a rock, personally I see no issue here so long as the wire itself won't make you sick by chewing on it.

For me that's the only unresolved issue and because I do not know the answer it's safer for me as well to say No it's better if you do not allow this.
.... and it might be difficult for anyone to give you a "yes it's okay" answer because anything is possible, anything can possibly kill another creature and litigation is everywhere. :2cents:

MissPurryJess
October 8th, 2012, 06:54 PM
Thanks marko - I completely understand what you're saying. For now I'm going to let him chew on the leather belt when I'm holding it, so I can watch and make sure he doesn't bite off a piece. And I'm going to look for a leather cat toy at the pet food store - I know they have kitty-safe leather toys there for them, that's probably safest.

Barkingdog
October 9th, 2012, 01:36 PM
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my cats are both chewers. From what I can gather they have pica, which isn't uncommon, but they chew very different things. Daisy chews plastic/tape/paper/carpet, and Fitz chews leather/cords/wires. With Daisy it's relatively easy to prevent her from chewing things, as we don't leave any plastic/paper/tape out that she can get to. As far as the carpet, our current home is rented and the carpet is AWFUL and CHEAP and she'll pull it up in the corner and chew on it, and then I'll find a little puddle of barf with carpet bits in it, find the pulled-up carpet, and try to fix it. :rolleyes:

But with Fitzy - it's an issue to hide all the cords in the house. We've done a pretty good job, but in our living room there's still 3 cords he has access too, and we don't have much of a choice since we have limited outlets in here. We keep the cords covered with this:

http://images1.cableorganizer.com/wire_loom/split-colored-loom/wire-loom-main.jpg (http://www.cableorganizer.com/wire-loom/colored.html)

But it's not a deterrent - he loves chewing on the covers. :yell: We don't have any dangling wires, all cords have been consolidated and covered, but it doesn't matter - he still ruins them. He ate through the cable for my laptop charger. :frustrated: He gets in this weird trance state and does it - like he'll be on our laps, all curled up and happy and purring, and suddenly he'll jump down and stumble over to the wall and start chewing on the cord and the plug. It's like he's in a trance - so weird. We've had him checked out, his teeth, his blood work, x-rays and exams and all that, and he's fine. He's done this for a long time - it's nothing new. And I don't think it's boredom, because he'll do it when we're petting him or loving him. It seriously mystifies me.

SO! The other day I was at my wits end and I had this epiphany - chewing on foil isn't pleasant. So on a whim I covered all of the cords he has access to with strips of tinfoil. IT WORKED! :lightbulb: Neither he nor his sister will chew on the wires now - they want to, they try to, but they won't actually do it. So this is good news.

Now he's just acting upset when he gets into a cord-chewing mood. He walks around the room pacing back and forth, in his trance-like state, and since there's nothing to chew on, he just sort of stands there. I try to distract him with cuddles or toys, he's not really interested. This afternoon there was an incident near the basement door - he pooped in front of the basement door. :yell: Now I don't know why - there are a few reasons this may have happened (it's possible someone was in his bathroom at the time) - and I know I'm projecting, but what if he's angry about the lack of cords to chew on? I know this sounds ridiculous - just an idea.

So my question is - what can I give him to chew? My husband gave me an old leather belt and some old cords - they're in the "donation" box in our basement, so if he decides to destroy them, it's fine. I gave him a leather belt to play with for a minute and he WENT TO TOWN on that thing. Gnawing on it, biting it, etc. And then I realized this may be a bad idea - considering it's a cheap leather belt made in China, and who knows what kinds of chemicals they use to tan the leather? :shrug: Do you guys think the leather is a bad idea? And would an old cord be any better? That's still plastic - I mean he can't really hurt himself on it because it's not plugged in, but it's still not a cat toy. I'm not sure what to do - I want to give him something safe to chew on that he'll enjoy.

Any help is appreciated. I'm really glad I found a solution to him chewing up the wires we have plugged in (yay tinfoil! :p), but I'd like to give him a safe alternative.

I just found this web site for cats , it has a lot of tips for cats. And it tell how to give cat a CPR if they do bite on a live cord

http://www.cat-health-detective.com/Cat-Health-blog.html

Barkingdog
October 9th, 2012, 02:01 PM
Just like my brother and sister (when they were babies) sucked on Tupperware container lids and other plastic objects (and lead painted toys that are now known carcinogens) when I was a kid and never died.....

I might assume that unconnected wires "might" be the same sort of thing for a cat. And if I had money to wager in a fake bet, I'd wager that sucking on a plastic wire in and of itself won't decrease a cat's lifespan. I do not know this to be true, but in a fake bet that's how I'd wager.

Yes of course it's possible that a cat will swallow a plastic wire so yes it's safest to say "No". No equals zero risk. No is always safest.

Obviously nobody wants to give bad advice and nobody wants another pet to suffer... But if you know your cat won't swallow a wire in the same way that you know it won't swallow a rock, personally I see no issue here so long as the wire itself won't make you sick by chewing on it.

For me that's the only unresolved issue and because I do not know the answer it's safer for me as well to say No it's better if you do not allow this.
.... and it might be difficult for anyone to give you a "yes it's okay" answer because anything is possible, anything can possibly kill another creature and litigation is everywhere. :2cents:
I heard of kids that had health issues from eating lead paint. I knew some parents that had a child that was sick and it took awhile to realize the child been eating lead paint. I am talking about the wire could be sharp and the cat could hurt it mouth or gums or get lead poisoning. My dad had cut his leg on wire and he got lead poisoning from it. He had a red line going up his leg and if he had not gotten to the DR. in time he would had dies.

Reg
October 9th, 2012, 03:16 PM
HI:
Your comment about "chewing on the leather belt" caught my interest. So I just did a quick "google" and came up with a web site that will give you an idea on the chemicals used in the different tanning methods. Thought I'd enclose it for your interest.

https://sites.google.com/site/isttschool/useful-information/chemicals-used-in-leather-processing


If there is a pet toy made with "pet friendly leather'", and you can trust the manurfacturer, then that is possibly the way to go.
In regards to the wire chewing, I can sympathize with you - it gets extremely expensive. We've lost 4 mice, - not the 4 legged type - yards of stereo cable wire - our surround sound stereo has become mono - The cable technicians came and put brand new coax in the house and three days later we had no TV - chewed the coax cable. A couple of headsets and microphones, not to mention small power supplies. Plus a myriad of boxes, plastic, containers, and all from mainly one cat. What I have noticed though, is any of the electrical cords carrying line current - 110 120 volt - seem to be to the greatest extent, off limits, for some unknown reason. The cords may receive a little bite, but not enough to penetrate through the insulation. But if they are unplugged, they're fair game and the cords could end up severed.
We've had this condition since BB was a kitten. At the time, I was talking to one of our friends, who is a microbiologist, and she suggested sending a sample of fur so she could do a chamical analysis. This was because as a kitten she had a very tough start in life. We thought perhaps there could be deficiencies in her system. One of the major deficiencies that our friend found was Zinc. We gave it to her for a while. Then there were a couple of household moves and we forgot about this supplementation. We are back into it again. Since the end of July/first week in August, I put a question on this site re this situation - regarding cat chewing wire - and someone suggested that we try something called "Bitter Apple" that you can purchase at the pet food store. I took it and manually rubbed it into all the wires by hand, and that seemed to help somewhat. A short time after, I remembered the Zinc deficiency and started to supplement it again and basically since the first of September, all chewing of anything other than food has ceased.
A few days ago she was looking at the telephone wire and she just passed by it.
Maybe you could be having the same sort of problem - some sort of defieiency in your animals. And they're looking for a "fix".
Anyway, try the Bitter Apple. Hope my story might give you some ideas.

MissPurryJess
October 15th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Hi Reg,

Thank you for telling me about your situation. I went to a few pet stores in search of pet safe leather toys and didn't find anything, so I guess it's time to do an online order from somewhere. I've been letting him chew on the leather belt while I hold it every now and then - but I'd rather he have something kitty-safe of his own.

We tried the Bitter Apple when they were babies, and it didn't seem to deter the cord chewing behavior. But it's worth trying again, especially if it's not expensive.

He pooped in front of the basement door again. :shrug: I'm so confused. There are so many variables that could be causing it at this point - so we're making a list and changing them one by one, starting with the most obvious and least disruptive. I'm moving their food further away from their bathroom and we're implementing "play time" with the two of them in the evenings. There's a LOT of "social tension" between the two of them - they used to love each other, but now they kind of hate each other and won't even be in the same room at the same time. :( So maybe he's marking territory? I don't know. And I don't know if the cord/leather thing is just making things worse for him, like it's stressing him out not to have that comforting thing to chew on. :confused::confused::confused:

So for now:
-get a pet-safe leather cat toy for him
-moved his food further away from his bathroom
-implementing play time with him and his sister in the evenings where we all play together and then they get treats

Thanks everyone for the advice. This is turning out to be a more complicated problem than I originally thought - I think this goes beyond the cord/leather chewing.

Reg
October 16th, 2012, 12:01 AM
Hi:

I was just wondering if there's something in the environment outside the home that is bothering the cats - for example, stray cats coming in close to the house and interfering in their so called territory. This can set up all kinds of issues from territorial marking to fighting between the cat residents in the house. From the human's point of view, situations like this are missed. All we know is we have an issue and we don't know what started it. The poo on the floor at the basement door could be a territorial marking thing, as well as stress, as you've mentioned earlier.

Have you considered using an animal communicator to see if they could shed some light on your problem. I know there has been some mention of animal communicators when it comes to lost animals on this site. I think there's been some success in their use, I'm not sure maybe somebody else could shed some light on this subject.

Here are some websites that I got out of the Animal Wellness Magazine, maybe they might give you some ideas. Hopefully we can bring this to a happy and successful conclusion.

http://carolschultz.com/

http://www.ark-angels.org/

http://www.animalparadisecommunication.com/Home.html

http://www.animaltalkhealing.com/main/index.cfm

MissPurryJess
October 17th, 2012, 06:51 PM
Hi:

I was just wondering if there's something in the environment outside the home that is bothering the cats - for example, stray cats coming in close to the house and interfering in their so called territory. This can set up all kinds of issues from territorial marking to fighting between the cat residents in the house. From the human's point of view, situations like this are missed. All we know is we have an issue and we don't know what started it. The poo on the floor at the basement door could be a territorial marking thing, as well as stress, as you've mentioned earlier.

Have you considered using an animal communicator to see if they could shed some light on your problem. I know there has been some mention of animal communicators when it comes to lost animals on this site. I think there's been some success in their use, I'm not sure maybe somebody else could shed some light on this subject.

Here are some websites that I got out of the Animal Wellness Magazine, maybe they might give you some ideas. Hopefully we can bring this to a happy and successful conclusion.

http://carolschultz.com/

http://www.ark-angels.org/

http://www.animalparadisecommunication.com/Home.html

http://www.animaltalkhealing.com/main/index.cfm

So just to put it out there since it appears to be working - we've solved the pooping problem (for now). He was always doing it in the exact same place, in front of the closed basement door (they're not allowed in the basement). So we had an extra litter box and we filled it with litter and stuck it there, where he'd been pooping...now he just poops in the box. :thumbs up It doesn't answer the question of WHY he started doing it in the first place, but for now it's okay. They have 2 boxes and I guess this new basement door location is prime real estate because they're both using it exclusively now. :crazy: I moved their food into the dining area with us, so they're far away from their litter boxes, and they seem to like that as well.

I haven't seen any outdoor cats in the neighborhood, and I work from home so I have a pretty good feeling for what comes around the house - the only thing we have are deer. Daisy will "hunt" them from our back door (it's a huge glass sliding door), chattering at them and stalking them from inside. Their wet food is venison, so maybe she's thinking "dinner". :laughing: j/k

BUT - we did have a traumatic event that sparked the whole social tension thing. In a nutshell (because it's a long story), the day we moved to this new house from the old one was HELL (this was June). We sequestered them in the bedroom with us with their food/water/litter box, and Daisy spent the ENTIRE night screaming, howling, meowing, etc. And I saw Fitz just snap. He completely lost his mind - growling, hissing, spitting, making jungle cat noises - it was REALLY affecting him. I mean I know she was stressed with the move and everything, but her incessant meowing really set him off. And he has pretty much hated her since that night. They've never been the same since that night. At our old house they used to have a rivalry for sure, and they avoided each other for the most part, but not like they do now. Now he stays downstairs and she stays upstairs. They mingle sometimes (like right now they're eating together) and he's spent the last few days in bed with Daisy and me while I'm sick, and it does seem to be getting a little bit better. But I guess that horrible night has just stuck with them - it's like he can't tolerate her. She'll act like she's scared of him, but she's bigger than he is and when he instigates a fight, she can pretty much always knock him down. But she hisses at him sometimes if he surprises her, which is new.

I wonder if the social tension is what caused the pooping? I guess this is where the animal behaviorist would come in.

Thank you for the links to the animal communicators. I'm not sure if that's the next step I'd take - I have a referral for a DVM animal behavioral specialist near us that I may call. Back before he was famous (like in 2004) I had a $50 2-hour phone consultation with Jackson Galaxy, and he really helped us - now he costs like $500 for a consultation (my friend just had him help her with her cat)! If anyone has had experience with an animal behaviorist or animal communicator I'd love to hear about their experience.

This thread has morphed into something else entirely - and thank you for your help and suggestions and advice.

Reg
October 18th, 2012, 05:03 PM
Are these two cats from the same litter? There seems to have been a lot of things going on between these two cats before you even moved. Which brings up how were they introduced to one another? If one cat was already a resident of the house and another cat has been introduced without taking time to allow them to get acquainted properly over time, this can upset things for the resident cat. Cats being very territorial usually set up territories within the house that more or less suit them. And we as humans in a cats mind are fitted into this territorial system of theirs. They don't differentiate between cats and humans we're just all animals in their mind and the territories are somewhat flexible. Cats also have a tendency of rating their hierarchy status with the other animals in the territory or house. This is just a few of the things that could've come into play before you moved. As you said the move itself became a horrific stress factor for the cats. It's a wonder one of them didn't made a break for an open door to escape. Usually when they get put to the wall like this, it is either fight or flight and there was nothing to fight so the best thing that they could do is run from the stress factor. Or take it out on another member of the household, which appears to have been Daisy. Something else that didn't help matters is the new rental unit that you moved into. There's a good possibility that people who were in it before you, had animals and their scent would be all over the place. So it means establishing new territory over old animal scent from previous animals, and even today the basement is off-limits and maybe there is a scent coming out of the basement that is affecting them as well and without being able to get down there and investigate this could be causing the problem.

It's easy to theorize on this problem, but it appears is what you really need is some body in the know that can give you some professional help on the problem. It will take some time and a lot of TLC to work this out. I wish I could be more of a help, but I would appreciate knowing how things work out.

MissPurryJess
November 12th, 2012, 12:19 AM
So my new pet sitter, who does animal training and behavioral therapy, has given me some insight into my situation. Ever since we moved the litter box the situation has continued to improve - less tension and they're spending more time in the same room. I still don't quite understand why that litter box relocation was so important to them, but apparently it really was.

Fitz has stopped chewing the wires entirely :thumbs up and I have a leather belt that I let him chew on now and then (I hold it and just let him chew on it for a few minutes). I couldn't find a leather cat toy for him, but for the small amount he chews on it, I don't think it should be an issue. The vet was unconcerned when I asked her, as long as he didn't have leather when unsupervised.

Fitz even slept in the bed with us and Daisy a few times since we moved the box! :cloud9: Don't get me wrong - there's still tension in the house, but it's better. Slowly but surely.

Reg - they are littermates. They were adopted together 10 years ago. No one has ever attempted an escape, and we've never given them anything even resembling an opportunity - to say I'm paranoid about that would be an understatement. Our townhouse was only rented once before us, and they didn't have pets - the owner of the unit did have a cat here at one point, years ago, but the carpets and flooring (and paint) are completely new. They're spoiled little babies, but they've had some stressful events in the last few years - most significantly the time period where I was gone for months at a time getting medical treatment. That really changed their behavior for good - that was traumatic for them and it definitely changed the whole dynamic in the house. But for some reason this move just set Daisy off and Fitz wasn't having it, and it's changed the way they act towards each other.

But overall things have really improved - fingers crossed that it continues in that vein. :fingerscr Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions.

marko
November 12th, 2012, 10:37 AM
Thanks so much for the update MPJ and glad things are improving :highfive:

MissPurryJess
December 29th, 2012, 05:17 PM
Sorry to bump up the thread - but I had to share this photo from this morning with you guys. :lovestruck:

78784

78785

I woke up on my back, with Daisy asleep on my upper thighs (wasn't very comfortable for me, but she seemed happy) and Fitzy curled up against my left side. She had a paw stretched out over my leg touching her brother. They stayed like that (both asleep and awake, they were rolling around and purring) until I got out of bed. :lovestruck: It's so much more peaceful here - I guess they just needed time, patience, and their litter box moved to the bottom floor. :p