Chewing on plastic dangerous for both cat and owner

Q. I have a two-year-old cat, “Annie,” who loves to chew on anything plastic—particularly my wife’s oxygen hose. How can I stop her from doing this? It gets costly. – Dave F., via email

A. It’s not just costly in terms of replacing medical equipment; there’s also the risk of Annie having to endure a costly surgery to remove bits of plastic lodged in her digestive tract.

However, it can be tough to break a cat of certain habits, and many cats love to gnaw at certain textures and shapes.

If possible, you or your wife should come up with ways to move the oxygen hose (or hoses) out of Annie’s reach, either by attaching to the chair with a strip or two of medical tape or, if carrying oxygen around, by looping the excess length of hose around the top of the tank or over one’s shoulder.
Another method to consider is spraying the exposed length of hose with a cat repellent. Several types are available at pet stores and are used to deter cats from clawing or gnawing things like furniture or other fascinating protuberances.

In either case, constant vigilance is still required, as Annie will continue to try to bite the hose if she can get close enough (despite the presence of any stinky spray). When she makes a move toward the hose, distract her with a toy or by calling her. Or, by gently picking her up and placing her in another part of the room, ideally facing a favorite toy or scratching post on which she can take out her energy.

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