Can or should we buy chews or bones for our cats? I wanted to buy some to help their teeth but they all say they are for dogs.
"There are cats who do like to chew; if yours is one of them, you’ll want to provide an acceptable alternative to wires, shoelaces, leather, and other tempting items."
In cats, chewing on things that aren't food is generally considered to be an abnormal condition called "pica." Siamese cats who chew or suck on wool fall into this category. Pica can be a sign of dental disease or abdominal pain, so get your cat checked by the vet if your cat suddenly starts this behavior or does it excessively. Teething kittens (between 4-7 months of age) will often chew anything in sight, but this is usually temporary.
Lots of cats lick or chew plastic or styrofoam, which is sometimes attributed to the animal by-products in those items. (My personal theory is that they like the noise it makes!) However, it’s best to keep those items out of reach. Many cats chew on plants. The stiff, crunchy leaves of a spider plant, for instance, seem to be irresistible! Kitty's Garden cat grass would be a big hit with them.
Not many cats like to chew on toys, and in general it's not necessary to buy them for an adult cat.
But there are cats who do like to chew; if yours is one of them, you’ll want to provide an acceptable alternative to wires, shoelaces, leather, and other tempting items. Try a Catnip Chew Ring; it’s one of the only chew toys designed for cats. Teething kittens may also appreciate the satisfying feel of this toy.
Because cats are sensitive to carbs, chewy, jerky-type treats rather than biscuits are most appropriate. Also remember that these edible chews will add calories (mostly fat), so you may need to adjust your cat's food intake accordingly.
By the way, you can't rely on treats or chews for your pet's dental health. Talk to your vet about how to truly keep your pet's mouth healthy.
Healthy regards, Jean Hofve, DVM