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Sammee chewing blankets, clothes etc.

#1
Hello,
I have an F3 Savannah. He was born 10.06.16 I got my boy from Exotico Savannah’s. When I first got him as a kitten he sucked on the fleece blankets. Then I noticed he started chewing and then eating the blankets. He would throw the blanket pieces up but I was terrified he would get a blockage I had called my breeder and she advised to take anything of that material away. I did that. He moved on to socks, towels, other blanket material, quilts,eating and chewing her dog sisters beds, THEIR cat beds, shoelaces, corners of our brand new couch and the ultimate was when he chewed my baby daughters baby blanket who passed away at birth on Valentine’s Day of this year. I called my breeder again and heard more bad news that she was in a coma. I had no where to turn to. I tried looking online and the vet for answers. The vet I took him to was clueless and had no idea. I looked online and haven’t found much advice that I haven’t already tried. Obviously I took everything away that was possible and haven’t left anything out for him to chew. However I can’t remove my couch from the living room and I refuse to keep him in a cage or outside. I do have a catio for all the cats to hang out on which they love. I have tried bitter lemon spray, lemon juice, pepper with water (on areas of the couch), more toys, raw chicken (he wanted nothing to do with it)calming sprays, calming treats, dog chew toys, cat chew toys, dehydrated chicken to chew (which he does really enjoy) dog toys like a stuffed animal that he can drag around but he always ends up finding a way to chew it and then eat it so I have not given him anymore stuffed animal type toys. I’m sure I have tried other things but those are just the ones I remember right now. I feed the boys Blue Buffalo indoor fish flavor food, grain free. They have food out at all times and I also feed them the wet food version of it. Does anyone have any suggestions? He is a very sweet boy with a few problems (will post my other problem with him in another thread) I love him so much and don’t understand why he is doing this... it tears me apart because I am always stressed out when waking up in the morning to look at the couch to see if he has chewed it. It’s a constant worry 24/7. I am always afraid he will get a blockage by eating these fabrics. I am always making sure nothing is left out for him to chew. Any suggestions/ advice/experience with this would be GREATLY appreciated. I’m sure there is more info you may need to ask me to get more of a feel for what’s going on so please just ask. All of the boys get along, I am usually home all day and they have many things to keep them occupied. Thank you all for reading.
 
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David Z

Site Supporter
#2
Sounds like Sammee might have case of PIKA. Which is a compulsive disorder.
Does he chew on the couch or things while you are awake? If so redirect him with a wand toy or something he likes to play with.
If it's just while your asleep try to exhaust him before bed(play hard get him extremely tired) and switch his dinner time right before bed(switch to meal feedings for Sammee), goal being is to get Sammee on your sleep schedule.
If you can get him on your sleep schedule you might try keeping him in your bedroom all night so if Sammee does wake he doesn't go out to chew on the couch.
If it's a particular spot on the couch u could try double sided sticky tape, which might deter him as long as he doesnt decide to eat it.
If you still can't get it under control you might consult a cat behaviorist.
 

Ninja-n-Bear

Site Supporter
#3
Have you ever offered him wheat or oat grass? Both kinds are marketed as 'cat grass'. Bear had a chewing problem, though his deal is/was anything plastic. Since I started offering grass daily, he hasn't chewed on things nearly as much. I don't know if cat grass will also help your chewing problem, but it is at least inexpensive. Avoid the kind that grows in the jelly medium - it made both my guys vomit even after washing. I bought seeds and grow my own (no fertilizer!). Hope you find something that works, I'd be worried sick 24/7, too.
 

MM3

Site Supporter
#6
Sounds like Pica to me. My girl has Pica. An extreme case. It’s an on going detective job! In regard to the couch using shipping tape ( sticky side out) works great. For myself the double sided tape wasn’t wide enough and I needed to cover a large area. If you give any stuffed toys. They are stuffed with batting which is a death trap if they were to chew through the toy. I had to preform surgery on all her toys. Remove batting and replace batting with pieces of light fabrics that was cut into pieces ( not too small ) and restuff them all. Emma Mae was eating her litter. I discovered it because I always look at her feces. And it was a good thing that I did that. Had it gone undetected I would of lost her. Between the dehydration and blockage being such a young kitten. Been through a lot of different litters until i found one that works for her. I’ve researched Pica and informed myself so 8 could move forward in knowing how to keep her safe from herself. It’s a 24/7 job on top of everything else. Now as she’s older it’s not quite as bad, but can’t ever let your guard down. Best defense is inform yourself.
 

MorganDax

Savannah Super Cat
#7
Both my Savannahs have pica. One goes for fluffy stuff like yours. She's eaten holes in at least 3 of my sweaters, and I've taken I don't know how many toys away from her. And my other girl goes for soft plastic bags and rubber bands, which is at least easier to keep her away from, but I definitely worry about them getting blockages because I missed something, or my boyfriend left the closet door open or a bag out or something.

Other than small kittens eating litter who grew out of it, I've never had cats with pica like this. I'm starting to think it's a problem quite particular to Savannahs. If it is, I hope breeders catch on and start watching for it in their lines.
 

MorganDax

Savannah Super Cat
#8
Oh, forgot to mention! Lol. Mine also tries to chew the couch. She hasn't torn it yet, but I do spray stuff occasionally with Bitter Apple spray. I think the bottle says it's for dogs, but it's safe for cats too, and it does work!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Other than small kittens eating litter who grew out of it, I've never had cats with pica like this. I'm starting to think it's a problem quite particular to Savannahs. If it is, I hope breeders catch on and start watching for it in their lines.
I have known plenty friends with domestic shorthairs with pica. If you do internet research it is associated with the siamese cat breed, but it's also regularly seen in plain domestic shorthairs/longhairs. I have five Savannahs in my house that do not chew (although my deceased Nina liked to chew the faces off stuffed toys I'm not sure if that was really pica as the rest of the toy was safe, only the faces were destroyed).

If your kittens are related, maybe it is specific to that line. Especially given the siamese link, as the Oriental Shorthair (same breed group as the Siamese) was used in the development of the Savannah. I'd also note that F1s can be a different ball game, and for most behaviors I would consider them not the breed norm. But as a scientist, I would really caution against assuming that my one or two cats are what an entire breed is. My first Savannah had a mitral valve defect (heart defect) but not one of the dozens of Savannahs I've subsequently had (as I have bred Savannahs for 15 years now as well as rescued for 14 of those also) has had that same issue. Consider that over 10,000 Savannahs are registered with TICA (and most aren't registered by their pet owners), but the people that post on forums and groups often are seeking advice. The ones with trouble-free kitties aren't posting here all the time.