How Can I Stop My Cat Eating My Furniture?

We adopted 2 Sphynx cats (brothers) 2 years ago. The behavior problem that has placed us in a desperate position is that one of the cats eats our furniture. This problem did not start until about a year after he had settled into our house. The cats are treated the same, loved to pieces, cuddled and snuggled etc. We are desperate.

Firstly, there is going to be no magic solution to this problem. Your cat has developed what seems like a compulsive behavior to destroy and eat parts of your furniture and you’re going to have to put some effort into changing this. Secondly, aside from the behavioral problem, if your cat is actually ingesting the material your cat is at risk of developing serious medical problems – thread can easily become wrapped around the intestines, causing blockages.

The first thing I would recommend is to have your cat’s mouth examined by your veterinarian. Cats that have tooth or gum pain can often want to chew on furniture.

My second theory would be that your cat is not being stimulated enough. This is not necessarily an indictment of your care – simply that some cats, as in humans, require a great deal more stimulation. First, make sure that your cat has a cat tree to climb. Since these are often made from carpet, sisal and similar materials, I would also hope that he would choose to destroy this instead of your furniture. Good cat trees are quite expensive, but I imagine you’d rather replace these than your furniture. Second, make sure your cat has loads of toys – again these should be made from similar material to your furniture. However, if your cat is actually ingesting the material these ideas should not be considered.

Whether or not your cat is actually ingesting the furniture he destroys, a great way of stimulating him and taking up more of his time is to make him "work" for his food. For example, you can hide his food around the house – under blankets and in plant pots. Another great idea is to feed him using a treat ball, meaning that he needs to spend a lot of time rolling the ball around to achieve his normal quantity of food.

If your cat is actually ingesting the material, it is possible that his behavior has some dietary basis. Some nutritionists think that certain breeds of cats are more prone to ingesting non-food items because specific breeds sometimes have dietary deficiencies. For example, there are some dog breeds that commonly have iron deficiencies and are often found to ingest soil with a high iron content for this reason. While there’s no reason to think that cats require any constituent of upholstery, it might be worth giving your cat more fiber and vegetables in his diet.