Metal chewing! Should I be concerned?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


I gotcha wrapped- around my paw.

Purred: Wed Apr 11, '07 12:49pm PST 
Duffy's latest crazy escapade! *eyeroll*

He has an obsession for chewing on metal. He'll get into the recycling and chew up tinfoil. He LOVES zippers, especially the tab on the end. He likes the metal parts on belts and purses.

Potential property damage (and the fact that it's hard to wear clothes with him around) aside, I'm worried he'll harm his teeth. What on earth could be provoking this weird behavior? Why metal? Anyone else ever face this? I never thought of cats as animals that did much chewing to begin with... the Duffster breaks all the rules! shrug

What should I do?


I gotcha wrapped- around my paw.

Purred: Wed Apr 11, '07 4:05pm PST 
kitty kitty bump! kitty

Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

Purred: Wed Apr 11, '07 4:57pm PST 
I found this article about cats eating or licking strange things.


Sounds like a visit to the vet is probably in order.


Where are my- tummy rubs huh?
Purred: Wed Apr 11, '07 8:13pm PST 
in humans that can be anemia or lacking in other key nutrients (called pica I believe) I would talk to the vet.


I gotcha wrapped- around my paw.

Purred: Thu Apr 12, '07 9:08am PST 
Hmm, with the way he was acting about it I thought it was a sort of play behavior (he's not actually ingesting, just chewing... then again perhaps if he COULD bite a hunk off a piece of metal maybe he WOULD eat it). I'm glad I asked you guys... I'll call and ask the vet for advice.

There's a lot of batting/playacting element to this problem too but yes, once he grabs the object with his teeth the focus becomes chewing. So you're right, maybe it's a physical need. I know that puppies chew and teethe, but he's a cat, and too old for teething besides! XD

Thank goodness I've got the vet on speed dial, heh.

Spice- (1988-May- 27, 2005)

And I resent the- accusation...
Purred: Thu Apr 12, '07 9:30pm PST 
I used to lick on the old brass fixtures on a vanity desk.

Emma- (2006-2008)

It's all about- MEEEEEEEEE!!!!
Purred: Mon Apr 16, '07 6:14am PST 
My Mommy was going to post about this very thing -- she and Dad are perplexed by my own (similar) behavior. See, they have this really cool wrought-iron (metal) dining room set, and I LOVE to gnaw on the metal. They took me to the vet to rule out teething (when I was about 11 months old) -- the vet didn't see any back molars that were still breaking through (Duffy -- since you're still only 10 months old, maybe that is your reason for wanting to chew on metal -- our vet said that it wasn't impossibleand that some cats DO teeth a little until almost a year old, but I'm not teething anymore). Now Mom and Dad are starting to think that it's behavioral since it has started up again since Galena joined our family. Duffy, you might want to go to the vet and get your gums/teeth checked out just to make sure. Pica (and the nutritional deficit that causes it) usually involves licking or eating clay, dirt, etc., and not so much metal, but maybe let your vet know what you eat in the event that you might need a supplement. There are cats who love tin foil (which is not good for them), so it might just be a "thing" that you're going through that (hopefully) you'll grow out of. Good luck -- and keep us posted!