There are several reasons for an adult cat to bite or chew on household items, according to veterinarian Dr. Michael Richards. Cat owners may find it annoying that their pets are biting everything, but this behavior can also be dangerous if untreated.
According to Dr. Richards, an adult cat that bites or chews everything may have a condition known as generalized pica, or a compulsion to eat non-food items.
Marilyn Krieger, a behavioral expert at CatChannel.com, explains that pica has a variety of causes that may be medical, dietary or behavioral. Cats with symptoms of pica should be taken to a veterinarian for a full diagnosis.
Medical causes of feline pica include such conditions as hyperthyroidism, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV/FAIDS), neurological disorders and anemia caused by immune system disorders and pancreatic disease.
According to Dr. Richards, dietary factors that can cause pica in a cat include a lack of dietary fiber or other nutrients.
If the biting or chewing is behavioral, the cat may simply be bored. It may also have obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to Dr. Richards. According to Krieger, treatment of this type of pica usually involves a course of medication and a consultation with a cat behaviorist.
As Krieger notes, this condition can turn serious if the cat chews on things like electrical cords. The animal may also develop an intestinal blockage if it swallows items after biting or chewing them.