Few Basic Solutions

Unwanted behaviour – Nibbling

Chewing, nibbling, gnawing are all synonyms! The first thing to check when your cat adopts this behaviour is that nothing is ingested. If it’s the case, go to the veterinarian immediately as it may be a case of pica, which requires medical treatment. Pica is the ingestion of non-edible material (thread, fabric, rope, etc.) and can be a symptom of certain pathologies.

Once this hypothesis is dismissed, you must make your home « nibble-proof ». These techniques are not exhaustive. Moreover, when nibble-proofing your home, imagination and resourcefulness are your handiest tools. If you want to try some if our ideas first, here they are…

Roughly speaking, you must make the nibbled places inaccessible or unpleasant. Here are some choice weapons:

Wire cover

  • Efficiency: excellent
  • Cost: $$$
  • Longevity: very long
  • Visual aspect: aesthetic
  • LIMA 1 respected: YES

Aluminum foil

  • Efficiency: very good
  • Cost: $
  • Longevity: rather long, but watch out for rips
  • Visual aspect: unsightly
  • LIMA respected: YES

Double-sided adhesive tape

  • Efficiency: very good
  • Cost: $$
  • Longevity: medium (hair and dust can stick to it)
  • Visual aspect: aeshetic, thanks to its transparency (until hair and dust stick to it!)
  • LIMA respected: YES

Tabasco, lemon juice, repellent

  • Efficiency: not proven
  • Cost: to be determined according to the quantities used (huge quantities are often required)
  • Longevity: one day (has to be reapplied to remain efficient)
  • Visual aspect: n.a.
  • LIMA respected: NO

Once you have picked your weapon of choice, simply apply it to the coveted spot. If you use aluminum foil on wire, make sure not to stick it directly to the wire. To ensure better protection, leave some space between the wire and foil.

Once the house completely nibble-proofed, you must present the cat with alternatives, so that it can chew on something else. There are several alternatives to nibbling. Here are the ones we have selected :

Cardboard

  • Dangerosity: low; it is overall digestible
  • Longevity: short

Nylabone bone

  • Dangerosity: none
  • Longevity: very long

Braided rope toy for small dogs

  • Dangerosity: very low (the threads can come apart, but it is unlikely)
  • Longevity: excellent
  • Extra: you can easily sprinkle catnip on it

Petstages Wiggle worm

  • Dangerosity: none
  • Longevity: excellent

In general, environment enrichment helps a lot with reducing nibbling. Providing an interactive feeding station, a cat tree and hiding places as well as playing with your cat daily can solve many behaviour problems. Thus, enriched living spaces have a positive impact on the overall well-being of your cat.

To your weapons, matey! And good luck!

 

1 LIMA is a principle in behavioural intervention that means: Low Invasive Minimal Aversive. It is used to assess the effectiveness of a solution and takes into account the welfare of the animal. If the method is too invasive or aversive, we leave it out. To respect LIMA is to respect animals and all that it entails.

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