Have you ever seen your cat chewing on a piece of wood? You are not alone. Many cat owners will experience this, especially if their cat has a tendency to chew on anything it can find. So, is this behavior safe and, if not, what can we do to lure cats away from sticks onto something safer?
So, is it safe for cats to chew on sticks? The answer is no. You don’t know where that stick has been and what creature has urinated on it or infected it in some other way. Some trees contain oils and other substances that can be dangerous to pets. Finally, there is the risk of the wood splintering and cutting or choking your animal.
Wooden sticks that you find out in the yard are not good playthings or chew toys for our pets. So, it pays to be cautious when you see cats with sticks and to try and substitute them for something safer. Check out the list of the best chew toys for cats on Amazon now!
Why Do Cats Chew Sticks?
There are a few possible reasons why cats might chew on sticks, or on other items around the home. Frequent or excessive chewing could be a sign of:
- dental problems like gum disease or periodontal disease where the act of chewing and mouthing at items soothe the cat and the inflammation caused.
- digestive issues, where the productions of excess saliva can actually help the cat deal with nausea.
- obsessive-compulsive tendencies, where cats become orally fixated on items and want to chew everything sight.
Could my Cat Have Pica?
Pica is a little bit different. This is where you have a cat with the urge to eat all kinds of non-food items, rather than merely chew at them.
Some kittens will start by sucking on items and fabrics. While most grow out of the behavior, others will develop Pica and become fascinated with other objects.
This can be a big issue for a lot of cat owners worried about the health of their pets. Cats can pick up all kinds of objects, chew on them for a while, and then potentially swallow it.
If you find that your cat isn’t just chewing on bits of wood and has swallowed some, this could be very dangerous. The wood could cause internal damage and blockages.
How Can I Stop My Cat from Chewing on Wooden Sticks?
Whether your cat has Pica, or just an overwhelming desire to chew on wooden sticks, it is important to discourage this behavior as much as possible.
One option is to provide an alternative item to chew on and remove the stick.
Some of these are mentioned below. Or, you can try and change their feeding schedule with more regular feeds to try and reduce the urge and fulfill that need for oral stimulation in another way.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Destructive Chewing?
In addition to creating a health hazard for the cat, this excessive chewing of sticks and other items can be a nightmare at home. The last thing you want is your cat chewing on electrical cords, swallowing your hairbands, or chewing on the furniture.
There are three key steps here that you can take to help your cat get over this issue. You can:
- Do your best to remove any problematic items from within your cat’s reach
- Try and train your cat not to chew on anything it shouldn’t
- Provide safer alternatives as substitutes
Where possible, you need to remove any tempting items that could prove to be dangerous for your cat. Unfortunately, this may also mean removing houseplants, as some cats will develop a desire to chew on those leaves.
Make sure to put your shoes away so cats can’t get at the laces. Move electronics out of the way of cats where they can’t get to the wires. Take your time to access the potential risks in your home.
From there, you can try and train your cat not to go near anything that is dangerous. Clicker training is sometimes effective as the cat associates the noise with positive action.
Food-based rewards may help too as long as you are careful not to overdo things with tasty treats.
What Can I Give My Cat to Chew on?
If you find that your cat doesn’t respond well to training, and still seeks out items and sticks to chew to ease these cravings, you can look at offering some healthy and safe substitutes.
Cat jerky, dental sticks, and cat chew toys can all help. Check out the list of the best chew toys for cats on Amazon now!
Should I Get My Cat a Chew Toy?
A safe cat chew toy that won’t break down and isn’t ingestable could be a brilliant way to discourage stick chewing or Pica. These toys should be far more engaging for the cat with a greater reward at the end.
You can also create a game out of it for a better bonding session.
Can You Get Dental Sticks For Cats?
Dental sticks aren’t just for dogs. There are some great products out there that can help cats maintain better oral health and lure them away from wooden sticks or other dangerous items.
However, cats chewing due to gum disease and periodontal issues will need more intensive treatment.
Are Silvervine Sticks Safe for Cats?
Silvervine sticks are much like catnip sticks in that they are a safe option when you get the right product.
There are many options out there that are approved by vets, especially those with organic materials and ingredients. The more natural the better.
In short, wooden sticks from the yard are a bad idea but you can find some brilliant alternative products, such as silvervine and catnip sticks, that provide a safer option and a lot of fun for your cats.
Cats that have excessive tendencies towards chewing may be better off with a substitute than going completely without anything.
Try these safer sticks or a chew toy and help your cat manage their urges in a better way.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.