What can I do about my cat teething and chewing?

What can I do about my cat teething and chewing?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My youngest cat is 15-months-old and appears to still be teething. He actually chewed a pair of my new shoes! We adopted him from the vet when he was 12-weeks-old. We also have a 4–year-old male who was rescued after being on the street for about a year and a half (also adopted from our vet) and a 15-year-old female, who hates both of her brothers. My question is when will my youngest stop teething and is this normal? The two boys are great pals and really attached to each other.

Mary Pawlus

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that you have a cat that is chewing on everything and 15-months old. Most cats are "teething" when they are between 8 weeks and 6 months of age. After about age 6 months, most cats have all of their adult teeth. Your little boy is no longer teething but has the desire to chew. Chewing can be a part of the play behavior.

This can be dangerous as many cats will chew on and ingest objects that they cannot digest necessitating surgical removal of the item. String, ribbon, yarn, balls, you name it have been removed from the stomachs and intestines of cats. Ensure you have "safe" toys. Go to Cat Safe Toys for some suggestions.

Your cat may be both exploring his environment and maybe even a little bored. Some cats want attention and love to chew in front of you. I know several cats that make sure their owner is watching then chew on something such as plants while watching the owner out of the corner of their eye.

Dedicate tons of play time to your cat and ensure his environment is "enriched". I have two really good articles for you – the first is
Cat Toys – Selecting the Right Toys for Your Cats Play Preference and Selecting the Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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