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C2005-36

Dear Christopher Cat

Cleopatra, my one-year-old cat, chews on everything: carpet fringe, clothing, blankets, plastic wrappers and paper. She even chewed the leg off her favorite cat toy. How can I stop her from destroying things?

Christopher Responds

Chewing is a common problem in cats, particularly among the oriental breeds.

To discourage it, offer Cleopatra entertaining chew toys, and rotate them so she has new ones daily.

My favorites are dog chew toys, catnip toys and dancer toys that hang from doorknobs. I also like boxes and crinkle tunnels.

Other cats in my family enjoy toys that dispense treats when they bat them around the floor.

Play interactive games, like chase the laser beam, to tire her.

Consider adopting an additional cat, so Cleopatra will play with her buddy instead of your possessions.

To prevent Cleopatra from damaging your belongings, spray Bitter Apple or rub a jalapeño pepper on them.

Apply double-stick carpet tape to the top of carpet fringe to deter her from touching it.

If she chews electrical wires, protect them with a shower curtain rod cover that matches your decor.

Discourage Cleopatra from jumping onto blankets with the SSSCAT automated repellent mentioned in last week’s column.

Incorporate seasonal deterrents, such as a Halloween mat that cackles like a witch when Cleopatra steps on it.

Until Cleopatra limits her chewing to approved toys, confine her when you cannot supervise her.

If these techniques fail, ask your veterinarian to recommend a veterinary behaviorist.

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