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Summary:

My old iBook’s power adapter has been the unfortunate victim of my feline friend’s wire-chewing habits, which I cannot figure out how to stop. Of course, this was after the original Apple-designed adapter was replaced with a much less expensive one. The Apple adapter suffered the […]

My old iBook’s power adapter has been the unfortunate victim of my feline friend’s wire-chewing habits, which I cannot figure out how to stop. Of course, this was after the original Apple-designed adapter was replaced with a much less expensive one. The Apple adapter suffered the very popular problem of fraying and burning from the inside out after casual use, before the cat could even get to it. The 3rd party one worked well, until furball made it lunch. I am glad that the 3rd party adapters that smalldog.com sells for iBooks and Powerbooks only cost $35, while Apple’s are an outrageous price, sometimes $80!

Apple has patented their new MagSafe design, and it’s really cool, but what will this mean for 3rd party adapters? Can other companies copy the design to make replacement power adapters for Apple’s computers? If the MagSafe adapters are just as bad as mine was, will it fray after a year of use, just out of standard warranty? I want to be able to buy a $35 adapter someday, if my cat chews on the existing one. Apple would be wise to not prevent that. The adapter is $80 on the store online, and there are reports of the same kinds of damage (fraying, weakening, breaking) as the old power adapters. There aren’t any 3rd party adaptors yet, as far as I can tell. Is Apple trying to make sure it stays that way?

(And, no, I will not be replacing or getting rid of the cat. Not an option. Any suggestions, short of hurting her, to get her to stop the wire chewing?)

  1. Have you tried bitter sprays on your cords, such as Bitter Apple or Fooey? (I’ve used Fooey myself in the past, and it is, in fact, horrific-tasting.)

    The downside to doing this is that if you have to touch it all the time too (which you will), it’ll get on your fingers and then possibly into your mouth.

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  2. I’ve heard you can white the cord with white vinegar, the cat can smell it and you can’t. You can also mix a little white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and squirt the pesky feline when you see it gnawing…great cat training tool.

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  3. I too hope that 3rd party manufacturers can make MagSafe adapters. However, I doubt Apple was aiming to keep them out of the game by patenting the design. I think it’s more likely they were aiming to make sure only Apple laptops have the MagSafe feature.

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  4. I had a cat chew through the power cord to one of my AirPort Extreme base stations… cat must have used at least one life in that… there was a big pile of burned black plastic on the tiles when i found it.. lucky it didn’t take the house down with it..

    But to your question regarding stopping your cat from doing it, I coated the new cord on the base station with a liquid (Sorry, I can’t remember what it was, maybe Google can help you?) that tastes and smells really bad to cats. They never tried it again.

    (Obvious I know, but…)Keep the cord coiled around the little tabs on the power brick, and keep the plastic cap on the plug (I don’t have a MagSafe laptop so I dont know if the magsafe cables have that cap). That way the cat can’t chew it while you aren’t using it (while you are is a different story)

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  5. ONe thing that works well, at least on rodents in NYC was cayene peppper on the cords. Plus they learn the lesson one and for all…

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  6. I have to try out some of these suggestions. My cats love cords for some reason. They’ve gnawed their way through at least 3 cellphone chargers, a handful of telephone cords, a number of ethernet cables, and have certainly left toothmarks on a number of power cables…

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  7. Haha, of these first 6 comments…only one acknowledges the topic of the article (Apple’s Magsafe Patent). Interesting.

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  8. Any idea why cats really like to chew on cords (I’ve heard that dogs like them, too)? I’ve googled the topic, but all of the answers I get are different, and many don’t make sense.

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  9. Roland Dobbins Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Cats hate citrus – your local pet store should have some pet-safe citrus spray available for just this purpose.

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  10. Jason: I’ve heard that cats like all rubber and plastic products because there’s animal material (lard, I think?) involved in the manufacture. Our cats go after plastic bags all the time.

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