How do I stop this?

Antonio65

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My cat Freya, is driving me crazy.
Since she was a young kitten, she started showing an aggressive behavior towards food in general, and we had to eat with our hands covering our dishes to stop her from stealing our food, whatever food it was. She also has a very strong prey drive, so everything that moves HAS to be chased and chewed or taken around the house in her mouth. No matter how small or tiny an insect can be, she spots it without fail, and she's not happy until she catches and eat it.
Furthermore, she tends to chew on just anything she finds in the house.

I remember the first incident, she was around 5 months old, she chewed on the cable of my earphones. In the morning I only found the plug and the earbuds on the floor.
The second incident a couple of months later, she ate all the string for my eyeglasses. She expelled it two days later.

Since then, we tried to be extremely careful on what is left around, but no matter how careful we are, she still can find something to chew and swallow. Toy mice lost their tails, so now I only buy toys without any string, or I cut it away as soon as I come home from the shop. She ate two small furry items we had on a shelf, I found this out because I saw pieces of this stuff in her poops for days. Once she managed to open a metal case where I would keep the pouches for my outdoor cats (it had a tough latch, I don't know how she managed to open it), she chewed on the pouches to reach the content, but she also ate the material of the pouches. And again I found pieces of that stuff in her poops for days. Last week she managed to find (don't know where she found it) and eat a rubber band, I didn't know that until I found segments of this rubber band in her poops.

Last night she was able to find another very long rubber band, and ate it all. I know it was left unattended last night, this morning I remembered of it and couldn't find it.
I spent the whole morning at the clinic, where the vets ran an US scan, and saw at least one segment, one inch long, in her stomach. The rubber band was around 15 inches long (total length), but they couldn't find the remnants, so they tried to make her vomit, and failed, she didn't vomit.
They told me to keep her monitored until next Sunday, hopefully she should pass it. In case I notice any symptoms, I have to rush her back to the clinic.

Freya has just turned 2 years old, if we're lucky she could live 15 more years, but I just can't stand this level of stress.
How do I stop this thing?
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
You are not unfamiliar with cats so I'm assuming you're feeding her enough, and for peace during your own meals you could of course contain her in another room. Given that however, this sounds like pica.

Since your cat has a compulsion to chew, offer her things like durable chew toys, rawhide bones, or dental sticks.
 

susanm9006

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Chewing, just like claw sharpening is a stress reliever for some cats. You can block or remove things that may harm them but it also helps to give them something they can chew. A cardboard box works for some cats who will spend hour chewing on the edges. You do need to check they are spitting them out though rather than swallowing. There are also chew sticks that you can buy that may help with her need.

I would also second the advice to make sure she is getting enough to eat. If she isn’t overweight you can try setting up a food puzzle with kibble in it so that she is 1) occupied and 2) gets a food reward when she succeeds.
 
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Antonio65

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Hi
You are not unfamiliar with cats so I'm assuming you're feeding her enough, and for peace during your own meals you could of course contain her in another room. Given that however, this sounds like pica.

Since your cat has a compulsion to chew, offer her things like durable chew toys, rawhide bones, or dental sticks.
I believe she has enough to eat, because there are times when she isn't showing appetite and doesn't finish her meal.
Our meal are safe now, I had freya treated with a few sesions of acupuncture to fix this, and it worked.
She doesn't seem to want to chew or bite her toys, though.
I thought of pica too... I also think she's doing this out of boredom when we're not there for playing or interacting with her. All incidents occurred overnight or when we weren't home. But she's not alone, she has her friend Giada to play with, if she needs.
 

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My Tortie is also a chewer.. she once chew my headphones cable, while I was in a meeting!
It's a lot like babies, I believe, keeping small and dangerous things away/ locked :dunno:

One of the best toys they had was a durable chewer toy, and she managed to tear it apart when she EAT IT.
Once she puked a chewed out toy, while we were worrying and waiting for her to puke something else that she (allegedly) swallowed!

Thankfully she pukes everything she will swallow, but the stress you mentioned can be hard..
 
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Antonio65

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Chewing, just like claw sharpening is a stress reliever for some cats. You can block or remove things that may harm them but it also helps to give them something they can chew. A cardboard box works for some cats who will spend hour chewing on the edges. You do need to check they are spitting them out though rather than swallowing. There are also chew sticks that you can buy that may help with her need.
They both have their cardboard boxes, and occasionally chew, bite and destroy them, but they can also get bored easily. Usually they spit the pieces out, but I was told that even in the event of swalling a piece of cardboard, this wouldn't be an issue.
I bought those attracting sticks too, they played wit hthem a few minuets, then they ignored them.

I would also second the advice to make sure she is getting enough to eat. If she isn’t overweight you can try setting up a food puzzle with kibble in it so that she is 1) occupied and 2) gets a food reward when she succeeds.
I bought one of those kibble puzzles last year, she managed to take all kibbles out in a very few minutes 🤷‍♂️
 
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Antonio65

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Are you familiar with Doc & Phoebe's mouse feeder?
It's great because you can control size of the hole, where the kibble is dropping from.
I didn't know this item, so I had a look and read some of the reviews. And it seems someone else has a cat that acts just like mine would.
As I believe, my cat would eat the strings (which should be removed as soon as possible) and/or eat the fabric and padding as well.
The kibbles I use are small sized, I guess they would come out of those holes in nearly no time. I haven't understood how you can change the size of the holes.
 
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Antonio65

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Yesterday, after the vet visit and the US scan, Freya came back home rather lethargic and she would drag her hind legs, couldn't walk straight or jump. She slept most of the day. She hardly ate something, I'd say she had less than a half of what she usually eats.
The vets tried to make her throw up, without success, so I think this caused her lethargy and lack of appetite.

Last night Freya played a lot, but it seemed to me she was a little slower at chasing the ball that I was throwing, also she didn't jump as high as usual.

This morning she ate quite well, but not herself yet. She pooped, and I found eight segments of rubber band, of different lengths, from half an inch to one inch a a half, for a total of 6 inches. So, she has expelled less than half of what she ate. The good thing is that they are segments, so she broke the rubber band down in pieces before swallowing it, this should reduce the risk a lot.
 

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It does very much sound like boredom to me. Having a cat like that can be exhausting for sure. Especially if the other doesn't have the energy to keep up.

Is it possible to do a sediment blood panel for cats? Perhaps a vitamin could be missing or malabsorption.

Even if the puzzles don't last long, I'd still use them and whatever else will keep them busy for any minutes. Even a ball in the bathtub can work well.

Growing fresh catnip and catgrass inside helped for us as well. You already have a box they can chew and destroy. We also provide brown paper usually, even if Magnus eats a bit he can digest it.

We have had to majorly baby-proof our home in a way I've never experienced for Magnus. Especially wires. Keeping them up is helpful.


Some toys we use (you'll have to judge if they are best for you): wool toys because with potential pica wool can stop your cat chewing metal which Magnus does, recycled fur toys, electronic balls for them to chase (no flashing light), those felt covered 'springs', felted mice with tails removed, a large woolen dryer ball - rolled in dried catnip of course, those U and S shaped floor scratchers where they can go under and over - we have cardboard and wooden ones all generously dosed with catnip regularly.

We also had to get in to very generous amount of playtime. We play hide and seek chase with him as wand toys are apparently very boring. However, we did find the smaller the toy on the end of the stick, the more likely he was to play with it.
 

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Our last cat, Neely, was a chewer too. Even after we removed every possible item to chew on she would go in my daughters' bookshelves and find something new. I don't expect you to do what we did but unbeknownst to us when we adopted a dog the problem was solved. She would not accept a feline playmate but absolutely loved the dog and it changed her behavior for the better.
Here's a pic of the two of them side by side.

DSC00640.JPG
 
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Antonio65

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Our last cat, Neely, was a chewer too. Even after we removed every possible item to chew on she would go in my daughters' bookshelves and find something new. I don't expect you to do what we did but unbeknownst to us when we adopted a dog the problem was solved. She would not accept a feline playmate but absolutely loved the dog and it changed her behavior for the better.
Here's a pic of the two of them side by side.

View attachment 436429
How lovely they are!
My Freya seems a bit of ruler in the house, she accepts other cats (she has absolutely no problem with the outdoor cats), provided that everyone follows her rules :lol:
 
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Antonio65

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This morning I found another long segment of rubber band in her poops. It was a long single segment 9 cm / 3.5 in long. This was the piece of rubber band where it has a bend, and because all the segments she expelled yesterday were linear, I'm waiting for the second long segment with a bend. The rubber band she ate looks like this one.
IMG_20221118_115408.jpg
 

susanm9006

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Perhaps the kibble puzzle as too easy.
This morning I found another long segment of rubber band in her poops. It was a long single segment 9 cm / 3.5 in long. This was the piece of rubber band where it has a bend, and because all the segments she expelled yesterday were linear, I'm waiting for the second long segment with a bend. The rubber band she ate looks like this one.
View attachment 436442
Most cats of mine have eaten rubber bands if they find one so I pretty much never use any. When they come on packaging they go into the trash immediately.
 
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Antonio65

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Well, ten days later, and no other signs showed up, and no other pieces of rubber band were found in the litter box, so I can say the worst is over. Surely this cat knows how to keep me alert!
 
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