Hi Dr. Neely,
I am at my wits end with this kitty....she is 5 years old and has had this problem for some time. She was fine as a kitten and we thought it was hormones but it continued after she was spayed, we tried everything from herbs, homeopathic, behavior therapy, force feeding.....not feeding, drugs, but she is getting worse every day and has chewed many things in our home. She has been in the emergency vets with bowel obstruction and I worry she will get a blockage that doesn't "come through" some day. She has had blood workups and everything is normal, she is healthy and happy and I adore her but I would love to find something that would help her.
Any thoughts would be appreciated...I would consider bringing her for a visit also if you think you could come up with a solution.
Your beautiful kitty sounds like she's a handful.
Her behavior is certainly not typical Birman. Do you know for a fact that she is pure Birman? She looks it, but I'm wondering if you have papers or know absolutely.
I have lived with a couple of cats that behaved in the same way and it is scary and frustrating.
She appears to be, from your description and her picture and her visits to the vet, a healthy, happy kitty. Therefore, her behavior is most certainly psychological, not medical in origin.
The only medically related question I would have for you is regarding her teeth and mouth in general. Have they been examined very thoroughly? Are her gums normal, not irritated, and are all teeth healthy and her bite normal?
If all is well there, then what I have done with my cats is learn to live with a really "child-proof" (chewing cat - proof) home.
Hide all wires.
Train everyone that lives in your house and anyone that comes to visit to keep everything that is dangerous in a particular room with the door closed.
Put all dirty clothes, socks, towels, etc. in a closed hamper or special room immediately.
If necessary, limit her living space to certain "safer" rooms instead of your entire home. Cats can be happy in amazingly small spaces.
Make sure she has plenty of safe toys that she can play with, but not eat.
Give her as much attention as humanly possible.
Get a kitten to keep her company.
In essence, create your environment to fit her, not the other way around. Obviously, the other way hasn't worked and I don't believe you can change her if she hasn't changed in 5 years. Sometimes drugs work and if you want to go that route, write to me with all the drugs that have been tried and I will respond to you.
Also, I assume you have used a spray bottle of water to discourage her actions when she is doing something undesirable?
Yelling, stomping, throwing something, tapping her on the nose, ....those things don't work with cats. They only get worse.
I know this all sounds like you have to give in to the cat and train yourself instead and do some sacrificing, and it's true. But it has worked for me and kept my cat healthy which makes me happy and keeps my house a whole lot neater also!
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about her eating food. She's five and healthy and happy and has had a perfect vet check-up, so obviously she eats enough cat food.
Feel free to write back,
P.S. She is gorgeous!