At the end of my rope… or power cord

Last night, when left alone in the living room for five minutes, Holmes chewed through the power cord on Brad’s Macbook Pro… while it was charging.

I thought that he had gotten his chewing under control a few months ago, but I guess I was wrong. I He used to chew on everything and we thought it was teething (it very well could still be) so I bought the cats a set of baby keys that helped for awhile but then became a game of hiding the keys in my slippers.

Watson rarely chews on anything, instead he’s a compulsive padder, which is way more cute than destructive. Holmes has now ruined two iPhone cords, an optical cable, a surround sound wire and now the expensive power cord to Brad’s computer. He tries to chew on every wire he sees, which puts our lamps and every single electronic device at risk. In our house, it is not an option to not have cords around.  Not a single cord is left dangling that would catch his attention, the power cord was actually covered and he pulled it out to chew through it.

Last night Brad was ready to give the cat away. We’re both concerned that his affinity for cords is going to get him electrocuted. Right now, the cats stay in our third bedroom while we’re working or away from home, there aren’t any cords in that room except the one on my sewing machine that is stored away when it’s not in use. This seems unfair because Watson suffers as well. We can’t separate them for the whole day, Watson is co-dependent and when they were sick and separated, he didn’t get better until we had them both back and together. Obviously Holmes doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t chew cords, he can roam the house all day.

This crazy cat lady need advice help. Is there something else that we can do to stop the cord-chewing?

Here’s what we’ve tried:

  • Distracting him with a cat toy when he starts sniffing at cords
  • Squirting him with water
  • Putting hot sauce on the cords
  • Spraying bitter spray (that’s sold at the pet store to stop cats from scratching or chewing on things)
  • Making loud, startling noises to scare him away from cords
  • Positive reinforcement when he chews on his toys instead of the cords
  • Tucking the cords out of sight the best we can
  • Physically moving him elsewhere when he goes toward cords

We can train our cats to stay off the table and not scratch furniture, why can’t we stop the chewing? Help?

9 thoughts on “At the end of my rope… or power cord

  1. Maybe you can get some flexible wire conduit from a place like Home Depot and run the electrical cords through that. It won’t be cheap and it’s a real pain in the butt, but it may be worth a shot.

  2. Wow! My cat-scratching-the-wrong-area-rug problem seems much less serious in comparison now. But really… how do you get them to stop scratching the places they aren’t supposed to beside covering them in double-sided tape? I always have the spray bottle nearby which is a good punishment but they really seem too stubborn to actual learn to do something different.

    • We were originally considering getting them declawed, but found advice online that said to put a scratching post where they’re currently scratching. It didn’t seem like it’d correct the problem, but we tried putting a scratching post near the chair they wanted to scratch and every time they started to scratch, we moved them to the post. Eventually they went straight for the post, then we slowly moved it to a more convenient location.

  3. I agree with Scott. To be honest, it sounds like something that will continue until he is done teething or it is simply a soothing mechanism for him and those are nearly impossible to break. Better to protect the cords.

  4. I used a bar of soap to deter my cat from chewing cords. It only took one application and she quit for good. I used Irish Spring since that stuff is STRONG but I’m sure you can use whatever you have, even those free hotel soaps. Just hold the soap in your hand (dry) and run the cord through your hand. It’ll leave white marks on the cord, but it’s just soap, so no big deal.

  5. Pingback: Things I’ve Learned About Pet Ownership | probablyrachel

    • Hi Kali,

      As a stop-gap measure I covered all of the exposed wires with split-ring tubing, but the cats kept chewing. We permanently installed out home theater system using a cord guard/covering system that the cats leave alone.

      For the delicate cords like the new Macbook power cord, I put clear plastic/rubber tubing on it. It’s a little clunky but works. Good luck!

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