While some chewing can be harmless, such as on paper products or cat toys, if your cat swallows any of the unusual objects she likes to chew on, doing so can cause an intestinal blockage. If your cat has a history of chewing on nonfood items and becomes listless and/or vomits, take her to the veterinarian right away.
How do you curtail your cat’s strange cravings? First and foremost, you need to speak to your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. Once a medical issue is ruled out, the best treatment usually involves redirecting the cat’s attention.
If your cat eats grass on occasion, it should not be a problem. However, some owners think this could lead to eating houseplants, which could be dangerous because many houseplants, such as lilies, tulips and ivy, are toxic to cats. If your cat keeps chewing on houseplants, remove them. If you are not sure which plants are unsafe for your cat, you can go to the ASPCA’s website to find a complete list (www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants). Another option is to provide grass or catnip in a small flower pot for your feline to chew. However, be aware that some cats will also eat the potting soil.
Boredom can cause chewing problems as can being home alone all day. Give your cat plenty of attention and play time. Playing with something as simple as a feather provides plenty of fun activity. In addition, offer her safe cat toys or catnip items, or get her an outdoor enclosure so she can bird watch whenever she wants.
You should also remove the things your cat craves: Sometimes, the easiest solution is to simply remove the item she chews on. Whatever it is—your favorite sweater, blankets, houseplants, electrical cords, etc.—it should be hidden or put away.
Talk to an expert: If your cat has no medical issues and yet continues to munch on your socks or blankets, consult a certified animal behaviorist. You can call your veterinarian’s office for a recommendation.
Don’t become discouraged: Be patient with your feline family member. Unusual craving behaviors can be very difficult to treat and not every treatment will work with every cat. Just like humans, every cat and her environment is different.