Is It Safe For Cats Eating Wood?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this blog post, we will explore the safety of cats eating wood and provide valuable information for concerned pet parents.

As pet owners, we always want what is best for our furry friends. We make sure they have a comfortable home, nutritious food, and plenty of love and attention. But when it comes to their diet, things can get a bit tricky. There are so many conflicting opinions on what cats should or shouldn’t eat, especially when it comes to wood. Some say that chewing on wood can be beneficial for cats’ dental health while others warn against potential dangers. So the question remains: is it safe for cats to eat wood? In this blog post, we will delve into this topic with a professional perspective and provide all the necessary information you need as a responsible cat owner.

Is It Safe For Cats Eating Wood?

While some cats may show a strange interest in chewing on wood, it’s important to note that this behavior is not safe or healthy. Wood is not digestible for cats and eating it can lead to a variety of health problems. Splinters can cause physical damage to the mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines. Furthermore, if the wood is treated or painted, it may contain toxins harmful to cats. Hence, it’s always advisable to deter your feline friends from this behavior and provide safer chewing alternatives.

Royalty-Free photo: Brown cat peeping outside wood | PickPik

Why Do Cats Eat Wood?

There are several reasons why cats might show an interest in eating wood:

  • Pica: This is a medical condition where cats are driven to eat non-food items. It could be due to dietary deficiencies, anxiety, or boredom.
  • Teething: Kittens, like human babies, go through a teething phase where their gums can be sore and itchy. Chewing on hard objects like wood can provide some relief.
  • Boredom and Stress: Cats may start chewing on wood out of boredom, stress, or lack of stimulation in their environment.
  • Dental Issues: If a cat has dental problems, it might chew on wood as a way to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Attraction to Certain Smells or Textures: Some cats may be attracted to the scent or texture of certain types of wood.

Related: What Is Cat Eating Hair Syndrome?

Can Eating Wood Be A Sign Of A Health Issue In Cats?

Yes, eating wood can indeed be a sign of health issues in cats. In certain cases, a cat’s desire to gnaw on wood may stem from underlying medical conditions such as nutritional deficiencies or gastrointestinal disorders. For example, cats lacking in certain nutrients may resort to eating wood in an attempt to compensate for their nutritional shortfall. Alternatively, a cat suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort may chew on wood in an attempt to induce vomiting and relieve their discomfort. It’s crucial for cat owners to monitor their pet’s behavior closely and consult a veterinarian if their cat exhibits a persistent interest in chewing or consuming wood.

Are There Any Potential Dangers For Cats If They Eat A Lot Of Wood?

Yes, there are indeed several potential dangers for cats if they consume large amounts of wood. The ingestion of wood can lead to various health complications, some of which may be serious and even life-threatening. One such issue is the risk of physical harm to the cat’s internal organs. Wood splinters can puncture the mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines, causing severe internal injuries. Another danger is the potential for gastrointestinal blockages. If large pieces of wood are ingested, they can become lodged in the cat’s digestive tract, leading to constipation, discomfort, and in severe cases, a need for surgical intervention. Additionally, if the wood is chemically treated, painted, or varnished, toxic substances may be ingested, leading to poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or more serious neurological signs like seizures. Therefore, to ensure the welfare and health of cats, it is advisable for owners to prevent their cats from chewing or eating wood.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Wood?

Preventing your cat from eating wood involves a combination of providing alternatives and enriching your cat’s environment. Here are some strategies you can adopt:

Provide Chewing Alternatives: Offer your cat safe objects to chew on such as cat chew toys, dental sticks, or rawhide alternatives designed specifically for cats. 

Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups can help identify any oral discomfort your cat is experiencing and address it appropriately, thus curbing the need to chew on wood.

Dietary Supplements: If your cat’s wood-chewing habit is due to dietary deficiencies, your vet may recommend appropriate nutritional supplements.

Behavioral Enrichment: Provide plenty of interactive playtime and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and stress. Consider introducing puzzle feeders, cat trees, or window perches.

Use Deterrents: You can make wood unappealing to your cat by using safe deterrents like bitter apple sprays or citrus scents on wooden objects.

Keep Wood Out of Reach: As much as possible, try to keep wooden items out of your cat’s reach.

Training: With patience and consistency, you can train your cat to avoid chewing on wood. Reward your cat with cat treats for positive behavior to reinforce the training.

Are There Any Alternative Materials I Can Give My Cat To Chew On Instead Of Wood?

Absolutely, there are multiple safe alternatives that you can provide to your cat for chewing instead of wood. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Cat Chew Toys: These are designed specifically for cats to safely chew on. They come in various shapes, sizes, and textures to keep your cat interested. Some even have compartments for catnip or treats to further entice your cat.
  • Dental Sticks for Cats: Dental chews or sticks are not only safe for your cat to chew on, but also promote dental health by helping to remove plaque and tartar.
  • Rawhide Alternatives: These are edible chew toys that can satisfy your cat’s urge to chew. Make sure to opt for products specifically designed for cats and avoid dog-specific rawhide, as it can be too tough for cats.
  • Cat Grass: Cat grass (wheatgrass or oat grass) can be a safe alternative for cats that like to chew on plants. It’s easy to grow and can keep your cat entertained.
  • Feather Toys: Feather toys can be a great distraction and a safe choice for cats who like to chew on things.


In conclusion, the topic of whether it is safe for cats to eat wood is a complex and intriguing one. While some types of wood may be safe for consumption by cats, others can be harmful or even toxic. It is important for cat owners to do their research and consult with their veterinarian before allowing their feline friends to chew on or ingest any type of wood. Additionally, providing enough appropriate toys and scratching posts can help satisfy your cat’s natural desire to chew and scratch without resorting to potentially dangerous materials. Ultimately, as animal lovers and responsible pet owners, it is our duty to ensure the safety and well-being of our beloved furry companions.