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Femi's Addition - Can This Family Be Saved?
What's Eating This Cat, and Can Carole Help?
By Carole Wilbourn, The Cat Therapist

Dear Carole:

I am a computer repairman with a wife and three beautiful cats-Heidi, Femi and Dollar-and our family needs some serious help.

Femi is a pure black cat whom I've had since he was a kitten; Heidi is his mother. Dollar is so named because I found him wandering around a "Dollar" store and the owners encouraged me to take him home. I love them all, and Femi is the most amazing cat I've ever seen or had as my pet. I love him with all my heart and more.

But Femi's addiction is costing our family quite a bit of money.

Let me explain. I'm a computer repairman, and I often take often my work home when customers ask for their computers to be returned the next day. Many times I use what is called a 'Cat-5 Cable', a cable that connects to a computer to allow high-speed Internet connectivity. This wire is rather thick and has a plastic coating which encases five smaller wires entwined within.

It seems Femi enjoys the crunchy feel of chewing through my Cat-5 Cables (and, yes, I see the irony in the name!) and has eaten through approximately 20 of my brand-new cables so far. They cost roughly $10.00 to $40.00 apiece (depending on the length) and he's even chewed through several 50-foot cables which cost a bit more. I get so mad when I see that a cable has been bitten through, but I love this cat dearly, and he's a part of our family. But he's driving us crazy.

Is there something out I can apply or rub on these cables that would emit some odor or foul taste so Femi would dread them? I am so hopeful that someone knows of some remedy for this situation.

Hoping strong..
Gerard and Monkia
New Rochelle, New York

Dear Gerard & Monika,

Try lacing the wires with Tabasco sauce. Unless Femi has a passion for "the sting", he will lose his attraction for the texture and taste of the wires. Maybe a pot of wheat grass will fill the gap.

Good luck Gerry! Let us know how it turns out. -- Carole

(Gerard and Monkia took Carole's advice-here's what happened.)

Femi the Cat
Gerard & Monika demonstrate Femi's former addiction

Dear Carole:

We can't thank you enough. Tabasco sauce did the trick. Femi has forgotten about the cable wires!

But he has found a new snack to bite on now that all my cables are dressed with Tabasco sauce. Femi is now biting at the rug by the door to the hallway.

Is it true that when a cat is spayed or neutered he or she loses the desire to mate? I ask because it seems that for the last two months Femi has been behaving as though he is in heat, meowing at the door for hours, and I think this is what is leading him to bite through the carpet now. Maybe he's trying to dig a hole to escape through!

We could put Tabasco on the carpet too, I guess, but we live in a very strict co-op where there are more rules than there are bricks in the building. If there was an odor emitting from my apartment, we'd get a memo about it with the threat of a fine.

What I've done for the time being is to put one of my sneakers over the area Femi seems to enjoy snacking on, and it does work. But it is unsightly and behaves like doorstop when someone comes through the door, which can be irksome.

Sorry to write you again-but you helped us so much before. May I ask for your help one more time?

Once again, in gratitude,
Gerard and Monkia

Dear Gerard & Monika:

I'm so glad to hear the Tabasco sauce worked insofar as the cables.

As far as the carpet chewing is concerned, let me first answer your question about spayed and neutered cats. A neutered or spayed cat can still be sensual and sexual. So it's not unusual for a male cat to go through the mating motions, even with a spayed female. It's a release of energy.

However, it sounds like Femi's howling by the door and scratching wants to go for a walk, but not because he's playing the mating game. It may be that he's bored or frustrated and these anxiety attacks lead to the carpet chewing. You could try taking him for walk in the hallway, but this may upset the coop board and possibly, add to his (and your) angst. My book, THE TOTAL CAT, and CD may be of help to you in finding ways to keep Femi calm and occupied. Please visit my site,, for more information.

It sounds like all of your kitties are in a good place, and I do hope that Femi finds a more acceptable past time!

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Most recent update: 3/15/07
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