Does your cat like to chew on plants, cords, and other inedible things in your home? Are you worried about your cat's safety and looking for an appropriate outlet for this chewing behavior? Then I have a solution for you. It’s called the BiteyBox.
This post is in collaboration with BiteyBox for which I received compensation in the form of a product for the creation of this content. In this article, I'll be sharing my honest experience using their product.
What We Loved:
- A safe chewing alternative for your cat to chew on
- Positive training tool you can use to redirect your cat
- Easy to set up
- Removable and replaceable natural oak and poplar sticks
- Holes also accommodate some silver vine and matatabi sticks
- Handmade without paints, glues or stains
- Supports a small business
- Cats who have a strong desire to bite cords, plants, etc.
- Cats with Pica
- Cats who are teething
- Those who use positive reinforcement to redirect undesired behavior
- Use under supervision and regular maintenance of the sticks
- Indoor use
What does BiteyBox cost?
The BiteyBox is reasonably priced for what you get. It’s a high quality handmade product that ranges in price from $40.00 - $56.00 depending on the product and options you choose.
It’s important to note that to maintain the effectiveness of the product you will need to purchase replacement sticks every 2 months or so. This pack of 15 sticks retail for $6.00 - $10.00 depending on your choice of wood.
There are two versions of the product when purchasing. There’s the original BiteyBox and the BiteyBox Wall. Both have two options of wood for the 15 sticks that come with it.
For the original BiteyBox, there’s the option to have a mix of both poplar and oak sticks which retails currently for $40.00. Then there’s the option with just oak sticks for $45.00. And similarly for the BiteyBox Wall there’s an option for a mix of both woods retailing at $48.00 and all oak sticks for a value of $56.00.
Why Cats Chew
There are a number of reasons cats have a desire to chew, whether it be anxiety, Pica, boredom, or, in my cat’s case, attention. Luna has developed a habit that when she needs or wants something from me, she’ll go to the nearest cord, plant stem, or piece of paper to chew on it. She has learned through trial and error that I don’t like this behavior and it normally gets me to stop what I’m doing and give her attention, food, etc.
It’s a really bad habit of hers that I haven’t been able to break until I got a BiteyBox. I’ll explain later on in the post, how I was able to redirect her with the BiteyBox and positive reinforcement.
Overview of the BiteyBox
Who created BiteyBox?
When I was searching for solutions for my chewy cat, I thought I was the only one having this problem. Turns out I’m not alone. Brett and Bodie Reider — the creators of BiteyBox — have a cat named Luki who has a propensity for chewing dishwasher prongs. They have created a product that mimics what their cat was looking for in the prongs as a more appropriate outlet.
What is a BiteyBox?
The BiteyBox is essentially a wood chew toy for your cat. It has a wood base which is securely nailed together. The nail holes are then filled with a non toxic water based filler. The holes are drilled into the base for the poplar or oak pegs to fit snuggly. No paints, glues or stains are used, making it safe for your cat to chew.
The BiteyBox is 8.75 inches wide by 12 inches long and 6 inches deep with the sticks installed. It comes with 15 sticks in both or either poplar or oak wood. These sticks are about 6 inches tall and 5/16 inches in diameter.
Setting up the BiteyBox
To set up the BiteyBox for your cat, face it right-side-up with the logo facing up. If the box has a lip it’s upside down and the sticks will not be as secure and function as well.
The stick system is pretty self explanatory, however I just wanted to note that you don’t have to use all the sticks at once. In fact, when I was getting Luna used to chewing on the sticks she preferred to not have all the holes filled so that there were gaps where she could chew on the base of the sticks.
Another feature I want to point out is that the sticks are “friction fit” for the holes which means your cat is less likely to be able to pull them out of the slots, but they’re still loose enough that you can remove them.
How do I know which type of wood sticks to get?
I would recommend getting a mix to start with to see which hardness your cat prefers. Poplar is a softer wood and the one my cat prefers, but oak is a tougher wood so some aggressive chewers may prefer those.
How durable are the sticks?
This will depend on how frequently and how aggressively your cats chew. My cat, Luna, chews both the middle and the ends of the sticks. She is a moderate chewer so she’s just now starting to shred the ends of the poplar sticks after about two months of use. Luna has not managed to shred the oak ones yet but she doesn’t like to chew on those as much.
To get longer use out of the sticks, once an end is worn, remove it from the board and flip it over for a fresh end. Once both ends are sufficiently worn you’ll need to order replacement sticks here.
Who the BiteyBox is for?
BiteyBox can fulfill a cat’s habitual chewing desire if they already have the behavior. But let me be clear, if your cat is not currently biting cords, plants, or other inedible objects frequently, then the BiteyBox is not for you and your cat. It may look like a toy, but it’s not interesting to cats who don’t have a desire to chew.
My other cat, Leon, could care less about the BiteyBox and I’d like to keep it that way. Instead of a toy, I would view BiteyBox as a positive training tool for redirecting your cat’s chewing needs to a more appropriate and safer outlet.
How to get your cat to use the BiteyBox?
Luna had some difficulty learning how to use the box at first. Once she figured it out though, she was hooked. Here are some tips for introducing the BiteyBox to your cat.
Using fish oil or catnip to attract
When I first introduced the BiteyBox to Luna, I sprinkled catnip on the box to attract her to it and get her in a chewing mood. Brett from BiteyBox has used salmon oil in moderation to attract his cat, Luki, to the sticks.
Using positive reinforcement with praise and treats
While the cat nip did work initially to teach Luna to bite the sticks, what worked long term to increase her interest in chewing the sticks rather than my plants and cords was positive reinforcement.
What I would do was place the BiteyBox in my line of sight. Whenever Luna would go up to the BiteyBox, and especially when she would use it, I would get up and immediately start praising her and then run to get the treats out of the cabinet to reward her on top of the BiteyBox.
After a week or so, she started associating the thing I wanted her to chew as a positive and rewarding way to ask for what she needs and wants. It’s essentially throwing her a big party.
Using silvervine or matatabi sticks to entice nibbling
While I have not personally tried this, fellow content creator leo.maincoon used matatabi sticks to get her cats to bite. She filmed a video of them here. Just make sure the diameter of these sticks closely matches the diameter of the sticks that BiteyBox uses or you might have problems with fit.
Here’s an option from another Etsy seller:
Choosing where to place the Bitey Box
One thing I learned with Luna is that placement is just as important in encouraging usage as positive reinforcement. If your cat is continuing to choose the cords or plants over the BiteyBox, then maybe the issue is where it’s placed.
Try putting the BiteyBox right next to the object you don’t want them to chew on and when you see them chew on that object go over and encourage them with treats and praise to use the BiteyBox instead.
For example, I noticed that Luna really started to use her BiteyBox when I placed it next to a door stopper that she had been chewing on. It’s in my line of sight to my office and the box blocks her from using the door stopper instead.
Where to Buy BiteyBox
At the time of writing this post, BiteyBox is sold exclusively on Etsy. Be warned that there may be fakes on other sites.
Chew On This
I hope this review was helpful in determining whether the BiteyBox would be a good tool for your chewy cat.
If you have any questions or thoughts, comment below and I’ll answer them.