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Lifestyle Pets

Ask the Pet Expert: Cat shredding paper

I have a female cat who's about 2 years old. About eight months ago, she started shredding paper and my bedding. There are three other cats in the house, but the behavior doesn't seem connected to them; all get along well. Any suggestions? 

Your cat most certainly is frustrated and bored. All cats need outlets to express normal behaviors: predation, chasing, scratching, climbing, exploration, hunting, etc. This is especially important for indoor cats, who tend to have more free time at their disposal and no need to hunt for meals.

Try some traditional chew toys. Also cat dental treats and cat grass are options for safely satisfying your cat's need for oral play. Cats are hunters at heart, so offering multiple small meals per day in hidden locations or toys designed to hold dry food (or treats) can use up some of that energy. 

Prohibit access to areas where she has been destructive in the past. With time, you may be able to reintroduce her when you've tired her out.

Punishment doesn't address the real issue (need for play), and can create fear of you and anxiety. By providing safe outlets for her mouthy needs, you will eventually have a happier, calmer cat.

Veterinarian Nancy Kauder practices at Eastern Animal Hospital. Send your question to sun.unleashed@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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