My cat bites my electronic cords and chews on them. The cat has chewed through a couple cords already. What is a safe and effective way to get the cat to stop biting the cords?


I've made sure to have more cardboard boxes around for my youngest cat to shred and bite. Yeah, they're messy; but each trip to Costco gets me another box, and when he has other sacrificial victims, he spares my cords. (And my books.) Whenever he looked like he was about ready to puncture another cord, I'd distract him with a box or piece of cardboard.

Other things I've seen people do include wiping the cords' surfaces with lemon juice so that the cords taste nasty.

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    Boxes worked for me! It'd be like "Get out from under my desk!" - "No! Make me! Nom!" - I push a box across the floor - "BAWKZ!" He chases it and jumps right in. Jul 3 '14 at 10:13
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    Every creature has different tastes, read this answer before using additives as distractions Jul 3 '14 at 10:27

Most cats find citrus oils offensive. Rub the outer part of citrus peels against the wires. Or if you want more bang you can get the essence (peel oil) of bitter orange and put that on it. That should ward the cat off.

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    Every creature has different tastes, read this answer before using additives as distractions Jul 3 '14 at 10:28
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    Every creature may have different tastes and I have noticed citrus oil is not equally effective on all cats... but that being said most cats find the citrus odors highly unpleasant.
    – Dan S
    Jul 4 '14 at 3:25

Ah yes, I had that problem with some of my cats, years ago.

If you have a sewing machine, you can create fabric "sleeves" for the cords. They should be loose-fitting tubes, wide enough to fit the plug through. You might think you should use thick fabric to protect the cord, but I actually recommend you use thin fabric, perhaps something fuzzy like flannel. The idea is to make it less satisfying to chew on.

Another thing is to make sure the cords don't dangle loosely, tempting the cat to bat at them and then bite them. Tucking them behind tables, sofas, etc. can help.

  • Hmm, I would think that the cloth texture would make it more appealing for clawing at.
    – zero298
    Jul 4 '14 at 3:04
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    Depends on what kind of cloth you use. Cats are usually attracted to thicker and courser fabrics. Cats also like a wide, stiff clawing surface, like the arms of couches, or a wall. A thin and limp bit of cloth won't be as appealing. Also, clawing is less likely to damage the cords than chewing, and even a thin piece of cloth can make it more difficult for the cat to actually bite through the cord. Make sure there are no loose threads though, because cats like to chew or eat those.
    – Kai
    Oct 23 '14 at 15:34

We rub the cords with a fresh habanero pepper. Not smelly, not toxic and very effective. The cat tried on different cords three or four times, and never showed any interest in cords ever since.

  • Wouldn't have habenaro sauce be too hot...it wouldn't hurt him?
    – user8261
    Oct 30 '16 at 18:33
  • Pepper, even very hot varieties, doesn't actually cause any tissue damage; it just triggers the nerves so they send the same message they would for an injury. Unless the animal has an allergy to this family of plants (which includes some other veggies, such as tomatoes) it should be unpleasant but safe.
    – keshlam
    Oct 31 '16 at 1:28

Try to use some apple or grape vinegar. Take a cleaning cloth and moisten it with the vinegar. Clean all your cables with it and observe your cats. It should work.

Cats never like the smell of the vinegar, and they won't get close to objects which smells like it.


Most cats grow out of this stage fairly rapidly when they finish teething at about 6-8 months and can be trusted more with strings and cords. I tended to cover the cords with a barrier or pillow until my latest kittens were big enough to stop gnawing on things.


My cat gave up chewing on cables once he started going outside and had access to grass. When he had to stay indoors for a few months as an adult he took up chewing cables again, so we grew some cat grass in a small pot.

I also wrapped cables in polyethylene spiral cable wrap. It won't necessarily stop an adult cat, but it slows them down and gives you a fighting chance at rescuing that macbook power supply before it's too late.

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