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Do Cats Need Chew Toys?

by Lucy

Unlike dogs, who seem to wait at your feet and hands to please you, cats are contrary creatures with weird quirks. You may find that your perfectly well-behaved kitty has suddenly started to chew on anything and everything it can get its paws on. 

Do cats need chew toys? Kittens benefit from having chew toys when teething in order to relieve their discomfort. Some adult cats enjoy chewing well into adulthood and in this case a chew toy will keep them occupied and your cords and plants safe.

Not every cat loves to chew on things, but if your cat has developed an urge to gnaw on your cell phone charger cords, the electric wires, or even your shoelaces, it is wisest to shop for chew toys.

However, it is essential to try and understand the reasons behind your furry friend’s unusual behavior. Many new pet parents tend to believe that their kitty is simply throwing a tantrum, but usually, the underlying reason for starting to chew on odd objects is medical.

Therefore, let’s look at some of the few causes for a chew-crazy feline.

Why Is My Cat Chewing On Things?

There’s no denying that your fluffball could have attacked your shoelaces in protest of the new cat food you might have given it. But, there are plenty of times when pet parents misconstrue what their furbaby is trying to tell them. You see, cats do chew on things when they don’t feel well.

Reasons for cats chewing on things:

  • Teething Stage – Yes, kittens teeth. And, many pet guardians are not well-informed to know what their pet is going through. They tend to misjudge their kitty’s behavior as being destructive. In the meanwhile, your poor kitty is just going through a challenging growth phase where it needs to gnaw on something to relieve the pain and irritation it feels in its gums. 
  • Gum Disease – Another health concern in cats is gum disease. Many animal lovers make it a point to visit the vet for their pet’s other health concerns, but they are clueless about teeth hygiene. If your pet is fed in dirty dishes and not given proper oral care, it may develop gum disease. A cat having swollen gums or inflammation will chew as much as it possibly can to relieve the pain it is experiencing.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Many Vets across the globe concede to the fact that cats can develop OCD. The causes of OCD in cats are unknown, but most vets claim that OCD is often triggered in animals due to stress. One of the most common OCD behaviors in cats is excessive chewing. Consult your vet if you think your cat may need help with diagnosing and managing OCD.
  • Pica – Pica is a behavioral disorder in cats. Pica is when your cat starts to eat non-edible objects such as yarn, wool, wires, and other essential household items that aren’t food. Unfortunately, Pica can be pretty dangerous for your fluffball, as cats are known to ingest things that block their intestines and require surgery. Once again, Pica may develop due to many reasons, including various mineral deficiencies. Siamese cats tend to have a higher likelihood of being affected by pica. Consult a veterinarian if you think your cat may be suffering from pica.
  • Other Feline Diseases – Many medical problems may trigger your furbaby’s chewing tendencies. These can be feline immunodeficiency virus, a brain tumor, feline leukemia, and even diabetes. But don’t freak out, these conditions are rarer and you should never diagnose your pet without consulting a veterinarian.
  • Periodontal Diseases – Excessive plaque buildup and tartar can result in many gum diseases in your cat as well. If there is inflammation in the gums or the area surrounding the teeth, your kitty will resort to chewing on things to soothe the irritation. Again, seek the medical advice of a vet.
  • Boredom – Let’s not completely ignore the fact that your cat might be chewing on things simply because they’re bored! The simplest solution to all these problems lies with you. We’ll talk more about how later on in this article.

You see, you have to try and comprehend what your kitty wants and needs. So, a visit to the vet with regular buccal checkups is always a good idea.

And, if the vet feels that your kitty is simply looking for an outlet to vent its ennui, then you can look through several options to provide your feline with the entertainment it needs. At the top of that list, you will find chew toys. 

Do Cats Need Teething Toys?

Yes, getting chew toys for your cat’s fancy is essential. They deserve to be involved in activities that are fun just as much as you do. And, they certainly need something to scratch and tug at while they’re venting all that pent-up predatory energy. 

But, these aren’t the only reasons for a chew toy. You see, kittens need teething toys when they’re teething. Kittens do not have any teeth when they are born.

Their baby teeth appear around 2-4 weeks of age. At 3.5-4 months of age, the deciduous milk teeth fall out, and the permanent teeth come out. So, cats teeth twice in their lives. 

Around the time of their teething, cats do experience discomfort around their gums. Many pet lovers fret about the care of their pets during such sensitive growth phases. The best place to start is their diet.

Wet cat food with fiber and polyphosphate salt, as well as dental chews, are a must for your cat’s oral hygiene. Furthermore, any cat food with the seal of VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) ensures that the product is best for your fluffball’s buccal health.

Yet, bringing home some soft rubber or plastic toys, mainly designed for kittens, can also prove beneficial. You see, kittens feel the urge to chew when they have inflamed gums, so gnawing on a soft rubber toy does provide some relief. 

If you’re going to provide softer stuffed toys, make sure the stuffing is safe for cats.

How Do You Keep a Cat from Chewing on Things?

Well, that’s an easy question. But, the answer is not going to be easy for you. Cats, like dogs, need training. And, the more time you spend training your cat, the less likely you’ll find your cat chewing on everything. 

You have to remove items of interest, in terms of chewing pleasure, from your cat’s surroundings. And, it would be a great idea to give more time to your cat for play.

You have to provide stimulation for your cat in terms of games and fun time. Moreover, dental sticks and chew toys will also help you a long way when training your fluffball.

How Do You Keep a Cat From Getting Bored?

If you’ve consulted your vet and determined that your cat is suffering from none other than a bad case of chronic boredom, there are several ways to ease their pain.

  • Daily Playtime – Yep, you knew we were going to mention playtime. We’re all guilty of being a little too busy for daily play with our cats, but the consequences come back to bite us in the charging cords. Your cat builds up a whole lot of energy sitting around all day, and you have the opportunity to help them release it upon plush mice and feather toys instead of your home. Play with your cat for at least 15-30 minutes, twice a day if you can. It’s a great way to bond with your pet.
  • Window Seats – Cats spend a good chunk of their time in the wild observing the world around them when they’re not actively hunting or napping. If all you had to look at was a couch and a blank wall, you’d probably go a little nuts too. Give your cat space on the windowsills or provide them a perch in front of the windows so they can look outside. Voila! As Jackson Galaxy would say, now you have Cat TV!
  • Cat Furniture – To relieve anxiety and provide more places to explore, get your cat a cat tree or furniture with scratching posts and toys to keep them occupied. Cats are territorial creatures, and they love having their own space to roam and to sit above everyone in a safe space. This cat tree will be a place to nap, scratch, play, chew, and climb so that your couch doesn’t fill that void instead.
  • Gifts – If your cat is getting bored of regular toys and you’re not into the fancy stuff, you can always bring them home a new gift every once in a while. These gifts don’t have to be expensive or big, but cats are curious creatures and will enjoy something new. These gifts can be anything from a crinkled paper bag or box to a new tasty treat. This has the added benefit of your cat being more likely to greet you at the door when you come home, even when you don’t come bearing gifts.
  • Catnip or Silvervine – Most cats go absolutely wild for a tiny morsel of catnip and silvervine. You can find all kinds of toys infused with catnip dust or oil to attract your feline friend and distract them from their woes for hours on end. Alternatively, you can get a catnip spray for toys your cat already loves to renew their hunter’s instinct. Silvervine sticks are also completely safe for your cat and a perfect distraction from chowing down on anything that can’t be ingested.
  • Cat Porch – Some pet owners who know the risks of letting outdoor cats venture outside have decided to give their cats a taste of the outdoors in the safest way possible – by building a cat porch. These small, enclosed spaces built around a cat door or perched outside a window create a safe space for your cat to observe the outdoor world not just by sight but also by sound, touch, and smell.
  • Get Another Cat – If all else fails and you only have one cat in the household, it may be time to get another cat or kitten. Despite the common misconception of cats being solitary creatures, they are actually quite social and tend to enjoy the company of another feline to play and lounge around with. Not all cats will respond well to a new member of the family at first, but most cats end up warming up after a few weeks of diligent supervision from their owners and proper introduction techniques.

Even just implementing one of these strategies will have your cat living their best life in no time!

Related Questions

Adopting a pet is no simple task. Many times, animal lovers feel out of their depth trying to deal with so many different facets of caring for pets. So, here are the answers to a few frequently asked queries to help you navigate caring for your cats.

Are Cat Chew Sticks Safe?

Cat chew sticks are designed not only to entertain your cat, but some even help remove plaque and tartar from your kitty’s teeth.

Moreover, there is no element of toxicity when it comes to cat chew sticks. Hence, your cat can not only chew on these sticks but also swallow them. 

Furthermore, catnip sticks are a fantastic alternative to cat chew sticks that aren’t toxic for cats. Catnip sticks contain Silvervine, which helps naturally floss your cat’s teeth and stimulate them into a playful mood.

Do I Need To Brush My Cat’s Teeth?

Well, that depends on what you want for your cat. If you want your kitty to live a long and happy life with minimal dental problems, then yes, you need to brush your kitty’s teeth.

You don’t have to brush your cat’s teeth every day. But, kitty teeth brushing on alternate days and dental treats twice or thrice a week will ensure you have a furbaby with healthy teeth and gums.

It is also necessary to take the occasional trip to the vet for a dental checkup. You see, many pet parents forget to take preventive measures when it comes to dental hygiene.

But, just like us humans, a lack of buccal hygiene does lead to many serious health concerns, such as extreme pain, oral disease, and even kidney or liver damage. So, never take dental health lightly when it comes to your beloved pet.

Are There Chew Bones For Cats?

Frozen raw marrow bones are an extremely healthy alternative to chew toys. Similarly, frozen raw spare rib bones also are an excellent alternative to dental sticks.

Not to mention, most cats seem to enjoy chewing on these natural treats. Frozen raw marrow bones and spare rib bones are better able to clear up the tartar buildup on your kitty’s teeth. And, the bones contain many minerals and nutrients that are exceedingly beneficial for your cat’s bones, particularly calcium. 

However, it is vital to keep in mind that you should never give your cat cooked bones. Cooked bones present choking hazards, as the bone becomes soft when cooked and poses the chances of splintering. If your cat swallows any of the splinters, then you will need to see a vet immediately.

Up Next: Do Cats Like Collars?

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