My cat, Sweet Pea, and I used to have a clearly choreographed morning routine: I’d try to sleep in for as long as possible, and she’d chew on the electrical cord next to my bed until I, after swatting her away like a snooze button, finally got out of bed. She would do this as a cry for attention (and food), and for that I cannot be lastingly angry. But what was lasting was the damage this has caused to the electrical cord — not the first cord she has chewed — that was now riddled with hundreds of tiny teeth marks.
Sweet Pea has rendered many a cord unusable in her spry nine years, and her chewing has only gotten worse as we’ve continued to work from home. Now, phone chargers, laptop chargers, table lamps, and extension cords — plugged into any outlet in the house — have been thrown into the mix. Her favorites happen to be the soft cords, the ones that are apparently the most expensive to replace. (An Apple laptop charger will set you back an eye-watering $79.)
I spent the first few months at home combating her cord-chewing obsession by covering or hiding the cords from her when not in use — under blankets, in my dresser, in a tote bag. I then became a little too good at hiding them and would have to search through every drawer, blanket, and tote bag to find a USB cord or phone charger.
After Sweet Pea started to expose some of the wire in my lamp’s electrical cord, I knew it was becoming a safety hazard: Exposed electrical wires can cause fatal shocks and electrical fires, and no amount of swatting was going to stop her from chewing. So I did what any resourceful pet owner would do: I typed “pet safety electrical cord” into Google and found this lo-fi yet genius invention: a clear petproof cord cover from PetCords.
The cord protector, made from clear and unscented PVC tubing, is cut down the center, so you simply wrap the cover around the cord like a jacket, nestling it safely inside the plastic tubing. It fits 14-gauge-width cords (think lamps, table fans), but PetCords also sells a mini version for iPhone and laptop chargers (and an extra-large version for serious cords). It’s a simple solution that works. My cat no longer even so much as looks at any of my PetCords-wrapped electrical cords. Her initial reaction was (amusingly) fear, as though I’d turned all of the electrical cords into snakes.
I regularly inspect the plastic tubes for teeth marks, and, in the month or so that I’ve been using them, I have found none. Because of the tough plastic, they don’t give in easily when bitten, which diminishes the teeth-sinking mouthfeel that my cat so desperately craves. And while some cats may still find the cover enticing, it at least provides a second layer of (virtually invisible) protection and can be, unlike a lamp cord, easily replaced.
While the cord cover stays on all of my cords without any problems, I have found that it’s best for cords that are kept somewhat straight and aren’t constantly moved throughout the house. If the cord is wrapped or bent in a sharp angle, the covers, which are not quite as flexible as the cord, do start to pop off. I use the regular size on my lamp and desk fan and am currently eyeing the mini for the laptop charger I like to keep at my kitchen-table-slash-workstation. And while some may find the cord cover pricey for what it is (you could technically make your own out of PVC tubing), it’s a whopping ten feet long and easy to cut in half, which means it’s really two (or even three) cord covers in one.
I have noticed since using them that my cat has taken a newfound interest in chewing on the corner of my open laptop while I work (revenge?), but at least she can’t do that while I’m sleeping — or, you know, burn down the house.
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