Q. I have a three-month-old kitten who keeps chewing on electric cables. I don't know how to stop him and I am becoming really worried. Could he actually get electrocuted? Sue, Berkshire
A. Chewing is a very common problem with kittens and puppies, and wires and cables are particularly tempting for them. One of the main reasons they want to chew everything in sight is because they are teething – a stage which can last for several months or even as long as a year.
Another reason that kittens chew things is because they are bored or curious. Obviously, chewing wires could result in electrocution, so the first thing you need to do is make your home a safe environment for the kitten to grow up in. First, hide all the wires that you can behind furniture and invest in a cable tidy, which is available from computer outlets.
Even if you can't manage this in every room of the house, make sure that at least one room is completely safe, so that when you go out you can leave your kitten in there in the knowledge that he won't get himself into trouble. Another reason for tidying up all the wires is because the kitten could also get tangled up in them.
If you catch your kitten chewing a wire, say a firm "no!" so that he gets the message that what he is doing is wrong. You could also buy some bitter apple spray, which discourages chewing. Remember, though, that your kitten will need to chew on something, so buy your kitten a selection of safe toys. Kittens need to play – you can have endless fun with a ball or a length of string!
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended