Cat about to chew on a cord while climbing up a Christmas tree

Shock and Gnaw: How to Stop Cats From Chewing on Cords

Have you recently noticed that your sweet kitty has picked up a bad habit? Have they begun to chew on your power cords or charging cables? You’re likely not only worried about your electronics being worried, but also about the safety of your kitty!

Cats chewing on cords can be a concern, but there are some steps you can take to stop it from happening. These will help with both keeping your cat safe and keeping your sanity!

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Below you’ll find numerous ideas you implement in order to solve your cord-eating kitty problem. Not everything will work with every cat, so you may have to try multiple ideas until you find the perfect solution for you and your cat!

Why Cats Chew on Cords and How to Cat-Proof Wires

Animated *.gif: a determined cat reaching from a door to grab at an unplugged electrical cord

Before we discuss how to stop your cat from chewing on cords, it is important to have a general understanding of some of the possible reasons cats chew on cords in the first place. Having this understanding may help you pinpoint the problem and find the correct solution.

Sometimes cats chose to chew on cords out of boredom. They may just be looking for something fun to play with.

In addition to boredom, the cord chewing you’re seeing could be related to an underlying medical condition such as stress, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PICA, or even dental issues. If you suspect a medical condition is to blame, talk to your veterinarian in addition to trying some of the solutions below.

1. Hide the Cords

Hiding the cords you cat likes to chew may seem like a simple solution, but it can also be quite effective. If your cat seems to like cords that are in a particular location in your house, try to hide them behind furniture or another large object if possible.

You could also move the cords to be plugged into a different outlet so you are able to hide them behind a piece of furniture in your home. If your cat is unable to get at the cords, then they won’t be able to chew them!

2. Avoid Having Long or Loose Cords

An orange kitten clawing at a loose cord

Once you’ve noticed that your cat has started chewing cords, take some time to look closely at the cords they are chewing. Are they longer than is necessary? Do you have loose cords hanging off of your desk?

If you have cords that are long or loose, do what you can to eliminate the extra cord. Wind up your extra cords and use a slip-tie or something similar to keep them together. By eliminating the extra amount of cord, there is less temptation for your cat.

Cats can be especially attracted to a cord that is hanging off a desk. Do what you can to make sure that if it is necessary for the cord to be hanging off the desk that there isn’t a lot of slack that will attract your cat.

3. Cover the Cords With Plastic Wraps

If you are unable to hide the cords behind furniture, another possible solution you can try is to cover the cord. You can buy plastic wraps for cords from most home improvement stores. Once you cover the cords in these wraps, your cat won’t be able to chew on the cord.

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4. Find a Food Your Cat Doesn’t Like and Rub It on the Cord

There are many items you can likely find in your kitchen that your cat dislikes. You can use these to your advantage by rubbing them on the cord (with it unplugged). Your cat will want to stay away!

Some items in your kitchen that will keep your kitty away from the cords include hot sauce, citrus fruits, and cayenne pepper. These might be staples you use to create delicious meals, but your kitty doesn’t find them appealing!

Before you use any food on your cords, check to make sure that it is safe. You don’t want to solve one problem by creating an even more serious one and threatening the safety of your cat!

5. Rub Soap or Menthol on the Cord

How to Stop Cats From Chewing on Cords

Other smells that will discourage your cat from chewing on your cords are dish soap and menthol. Cats do not like the smell or taste of soap, so if you rub it over the cord (again, with the cord unplugged), your cat will want to stay away! Additionally, cats do not like menthol, so if you use a product like Vick’s Vapor Rub on the cords, they won’t want to nibble them.

6. Use a Bitter Spray Deterrent

If you’d prefer to buy a product you can spray your cords with instead of using household items, you can purchase a bitter apple spray. This can be very effective at stopping cats from chewing on cords because of their strong distaste for it.

However, if you chose to use a bitter spray, you need to be very cautious about how much you use it. Ingesting too much of the spray can be potentially harmful to your cat.

7. Put Tape Around the Cords

Another relatively simple solution you may want to consider is to put double-sided tape around your cords. Your cat will not enjoy the sticky taste of the tape, so they won’t want to chew your cords anymore.

Another type of tape you can use to wrap around the cords is foil tape. When the cat chews on the foil tape, they will get an alkaline taste in their mouth, which they will not enjoy. You can pick up foil tape at a home improvement store near you.

Using tape to cover the cords is a cheap option. A few rolls of tape will probably be all you’ll need to cover all the cords in your home. Beware though, if you plan to remove the tape at some point in the future, the cords may have a sticky residue on them.

8. Deter Your Cat When You Spot Them Chewing

If you catch your cat in the act of chewing, act immediately to deter them and stop the action! Think about what your cat doesn’t like and use it to your advantage. Take note, though, that you don’t want to use your cat’s name when your cat is doing a non-desirable action; save their name for giving praise.

One way you can deter your cat from chewing when you catch them in the act is to make a loud sound or saying something like “no” or “ah.” This will startle them and stop them in their tracks.

Cats are notorious for hating water. Keep a spray bottle handy so when you see your kitty start chewing you can spray them. Again, this is an unpleasant experience that, if consistently used can deter your cat from chewing.

If you chose to use either of these methods, consistency is key. These will not be effective if you don’t use them every time you see your cat chewing your cords.

Also, remember, these need to be done immediately. It will not be effective at all (and could cause additional problems) if you come home to a chewed cord and then bring your cat in the room to spray or yell at them.

9. Provide Alternatives for Your Cat

Remember, one of the reasons your cat might be chewing your cords is boredom. If you don’t want them to make your cords their toys, then you need to provide them with alternatives to play with.

Take a trip to your local pet store and pick up some new toys for your cat. Since you know they like to chew on cords, try to find some toys that have a similar shape or material.

Cats also love the smell of catnip. So, if the new toys are enticing enough to pull your cat away from your cords, consider rubbing catnip on your toys. Your kitty will be much more likely to want to play with their new toys now!

10. Play With Your Cat More

Again, if you think boredom might be the underlying reason your cat is chewing your cords, take more time to play with your cat! Even if you have a very busy schedule, find pockets of time to throw a toy mouse or pull a string for your cat to chase.

Playing with your cat can be very beneficial. It can help decrease their boredom while also increasing their bond with you. Both of these could help them decrease their chewing problem.

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11. Incorporate More Digestible Fiber Into Your Cat’s Diet

Often, when cats ingest more digestible fiber, their undesirable chewing is reduced, or may even stop altogether. There are a few different ways you can offer your cat digestible fiber.

Consider mixing some greens, lettuce, or green beans in with your cat’s food to up the digestible fiber in their diet. You can also look for cat foods that are labeled as ‘hairball control‘ as these generally include more digestible fibers than traditional cat food.

If you are interested in learning other ways to incorporate more digestible fiber into your cat’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.

12. Reduce Your Cat’s Anxiety

Anxiety in cats is not always as easy to identify as anxiety in humans. Cats often exhibit undesirable behaviors such as chewing, scratching, or urinating when they are anxious.

If you think your cat’s anxiety may be a contributing factor to their cord chewing, check with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you implement strategies that can help reduce their anxiety. And, in some more serious cases, there are medicines they may prescribe to help calm down your kitty.

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Final Thoughts on Cat Cord Chewing

Cord chewing is definitely not something you want your cat to continue to do for a multitude of reasons. Hopefully, some of the ideas you’ve read here will help you find a solution to this problem.

Remember, solutions that work for one cat won’t necessarily work for your cat. You may need to be patient and use trial and error to find the perfect solution for you.

Product data was last updated on 2023-02-03.

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett

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