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Old 06-10-2009, 08:34 AM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Default Help! Evil Cat!

I need some enrichment activities for Ticheli. He's driving me insane! I know that "evil" is probably a bit harsh a word, but as much as I LOVE this cat... some of this nonsense has just GOT TO STOP!!


To give a small idea of his recent antics...

-dragging dirty laundry out of the upstairs hamper and scattering the clothes all over the downstairs (at which point Morgan typically tries to eat them)

-knocking over our metal, heavy, lidded kitchen trashcan and shredding the liner, spreading trash all over the house

-jumping on the counter, knocking things off the counter, trying to eat things on the counter

-yanked down one potted plant that was HANGING FROM THE CEILING

-scratching on furniture

-SCREAMING to be fed, and not just at mealtimes

-etc.


I know it's the season for cabin fever, but SERIOUSLY!!

I know how help Morgan entertain himself, but I am completely out of ideas for this cat. He has about a gajillion toys (not to mention Morgan's toys that he likes to play with), a post to scratch on, a birdfeeder outside the window he can watch, another cat and a dog to play with... what else can I do??

He's always been a bit of a terror, but he has never been THIS destructive/insane before. Usually when he's doing something he's not supposed to, a simple "leave it", "get down", or "quit it!" is plenty to get him to stop. Nowadays he just ignores us, and the stunts are getting worse (example: the ceiling plant).

What kind of fun things can I set up for him?!? Or even some training tips/tricks to redirect his behavior... Anything! Help!
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:43 AM
mjb mjb is offline
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One of our cats does similar things.....dirty socks, etc. dragged all over the house, knocking things off dressers, counters.

Yesterday I took my son's saxophone for a repair. He had knocked it off its stand off the table and majorly bent one of the keys.

My only suggestion is if you have a screened porch. Charles loves to go on the screen porch and chase lizards. He will spend hours on the screen porch.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:06 AM
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skittledoo skittledoo is offline
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Ahhh... sounds a bit like Goober... when you find out how to cure this let me know...
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:39 PM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb View Post
One of our cats does similar things.....dirty socks, etc. dragged all over the house, knocking things off dressers, counters.

Yesterday I took my son's saxophone for a repair. He had knocked it off its stand off the table and majorly bent one of the keys.

My only suggestion is if you have a screened porch. Charles loves to go on the screen porch and chase lizards. He will spend hours on the screen porch.
Sadly, I do not have a screened porch. We do have a new fence around the backyard, so I might harness him up and run him around sometime when it isn't raining, but I don't know how much of his energy that will really burn!


Quote:
Originally Posted by skittledoo View Post
Ahhh... sounds a bit like Goober... when you find out how to cure this let me know...
Aw man! I was hoping you would have SOME idea! LOL!
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:49 PM
babymomma babymomma is offline
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Tin foil on the places you dont want him to be might work.. Most cats are scared of it and will stay away..
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:01 PM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Originally Posted by babymomma View Post
Tin foil on the places you dont want him to be might work.. Most cats are scared of it and will stay away..
I have tried that before. He thinks tin foil is the second greatest cat toy ever (first greatest toy being anything with a feather on it).

We've also tried squirting him with water, but this is a cat that likes to sit in the shower, so being wet doesn't phase him hardly at all.

This cat is seriously too smart/stubborn for his own good!

Thanks for the suggestion, though. If he were any other cat it would be a marvelous tip!
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:53 PM
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Wow, your cat has skills.

I was gonna say get a laundry basket with a lid but judging by the trash can that won't stop him. Perhaps put it in a closet. You could also spray citrus air freshener in the hamper (and on the clothes, since they are dirty), most cats don't like citrus.

With the trash can, again if you have a cabinet it can go in that would be the simplest thing. Otherwise you could try the citrus smell and eat a lot of oranges to throw the peels in there. If there is a specific place he touches when pushing the can over you can put double sided tape (or looped duck tape) on that spot, kitties don't like to stick (don't do this if he touches anything other than his paws to it, you don't want his body sticking and him ripping out hair or getting the tape stuck to him which would cause him to panic).

If you can keep the counters entirely clean for a few weeks and be absolutely anal about removing him immediately (and without emotion, don't hold him up to you or say anything other than a one word "off" before taking him down). If he sees it as a game you might place him in a bathroom for a minute after removing him (only a minute). It will get frustrating, sorry. You can't duct tape your counters without YOU sticking to it. Supervision is key for this one so if you can keep him out of the kitchen when you are not around it would help. Also, giving him somewhere BETTER to sit in the kitchen would probably be the best thing. A cat tree, small end table or a large window perch (you can make them pretty easily) for him to lay on would be nice, put some empty pill bottles, milk rings, catnip etc. on them for him to sniff and knock down. randomly place people food on them that he likes to eat (don't show him, if he chooses to go there he gets rewarded without knowing it was coming). At the same time be very sure he never gets rewarded for going on the counters so keep them clean in the training phase.

Did he just want to knock the plant down or did he want to eat it? Again if you can tape the pot or whatever he touched to knock it down (I don't know how he could do this lol) that could work. A replacement hanging cat toy to redirect to might help (some people hand them from ceiling fans). If he eats the plants then cat grass to redirect would help. Is there a path of stuff he climbed on to get the plant? If you can move any of that it might help.

I used citrus spray on the areas they scratched and made sure they had posts that they LIKED. A lot of people get posts, say they don't use them and get angry when they go for the couch. They work like every other animal and do what is most rewarding, if they like the couch more than the post they are going to use the couch. Look at horizontal and vertical posts, look at carpet, sisal and cardboard and if all those are rejected make one by getting some fabric that is similar to your furniture and wrap it around a piece of wood (wide enough for him to comfortably stand on it and scratch) and staple gun it on. Lots of interruption and redirection. Again you will get frustrated, sorry. I'm lucky in that if my cats like their posts and I interrupt and redirect a few times they stop and use the posts.

Don't know any way to train them not to scream to be fed, I mean other than not giving in.

Now that's dealing with the behaviors. As far as enrichment that might help:
What kind of toys do you use? My cats don't play with independent toys, they play with each other and with me using wand type toys.
Try training some commands, like dogs the mind needs to be stimulated as much as the body. Don't be anal about them being good at it, just work with them consistently. Use healthy treats like some chicken or other meat if he'll eat it.

Also feeding food (if you feed dry food) in a food dispensing ball, hiding kibbles all over a cat tree, putting some kibbles under plastic cups, in paper towel tubes, in the grooves of an egg carton etc. so he has to work at it can stimulate the mind and slow down eating which may help him stay fuller (something about enzymes not being released in time when cats eat food fast so they don't digest it as well, I don't know if it'll really help but it's worth a try).

It's also stimulating to bring in new stuff. If you can find boxes (show boxes, pizza boxes, packages, styrafoam boxes etc.) throw them on the floor for a little while and let the cat explore them. Even just bringing in sticks and leaves and grass and rocks of different sizes and letting them sniff and touch is stimulating. If it snows get a pan of it and see what they do. Things you consider garbage may be fun or at least interesting for your cat to check out and can make his mind and senses work.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:11 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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My heavy metal can has a lid that can only be opened by stepping on a pedal. My dog nor cat have figured it oug.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:59 AM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Yay Maxy! I knew you'd have some ideas!

Let me kinda separate out your post here... just to keep things straight:



Wow, your cat has skills.

Yes, yes he does...

I was gonna say get a laundry basket with a lid but judging by the trash can that won't stop him. Perhaps put it in a closet. You could also spray citrus air freshener in the hamper (and on the clothes, since they are dirty), most cats don't like citrus.

We have two hampers, one with a lid and one without. True, he is much more interested in the lidless hamper, but when that one is empty he has no trouble opening the lid on the other one.

I have never heard of the citrus air freshener being used to thwart cats! I'll have to give that a try. In the past we've tried bitter apple and watered down tabasco sauce... the bitter apple does not last nearly long enough, and the tabasco sauce was enough to keep US away (we only used it on the old trashcan, but still!)

With the trash can, again if you have a cabinet it can go in that would be the simplest thing. Otherwise you could try the citrus smell and eat a lot of oranges to throw the peels in there. If there is a specific place he touches when pushing the can over you can put double sided tape (or looped duck tape) on that spot, kitties don't like to stick (don't do this if he touches anything other than his paws to it, you don't want his body sticking and him ripping out hair or getting the tape stuck to him which would cause him to panic).

Sadly, we do not have any cabinet, and with the way the pantry is built it cannot even fit in there. Since we don't have anyplace to "hide" the trashcan, we went out and bought the heavy-duty metal trashcan with spring-loaded lid. Our old plastic trashcan was just never going to stop him.

Holy moley, Maxy! You just reminded me that I actually bought sticky-strips specifically made for cats! I bought them ages ago, and completely forgot about them until this second! *goes rummaging through closets to find stick strips* I bet I can use those to deter him from the arm of the sofa, too!

If you can keep the counters entirely clean for a few weeks and be absolutely anal about removing him immediately (and without emotion, don't hold him up to you or say anything other than a one word "off" before taking him down). If he sees it as a game you might place him in a bathroom for a minute after removing him (only a minute). It will get frustrating, sorry. You can't duct tape your counters without YOU sticking to it. Supervision is key for this one so if you can keep him out of the kitchen when you are not around it would help.

We started the "solitary confinement" treatment last night... it doesn't work to simply remove him from the counter, because he will jump down as soon as he sees us coming. Supervision is the tough part, because we have an open floorplan, which makes it impossible to barricade him out of the kitchen. I am usually pretty anal about keeping the counters clean as it is, but maybe there is a residual smell up there or something... a thorough scrubbing may be in order here soon...

Also, giving him somewhere BETTER to sit in the kitchen would probably be the best thing. A cat tree, small end table or a large window perch (you can make them pretty easily) for him to lay on would be nice, put some empty pill bottles, milk rings, catnip etc. on them for him to sniff and knock down. randomly place people food on them that he likes to eat (don't show him, if he chooses to go there he gets rewarded without knowing it was coming). At the same time be very sure he never gets rewarded for going on the counters so keep them clean in the training phase.

Again, with the open floorplan, there isn't really a better place to sit IN the kitchen. In fact, there is only one tiny window over the counter, and he doesn't ever seem very interested in it. Just next to the kitchen area is a big sliding glass door to look out, and then next to that is another window with a shelf that we specifically bought to be a kitty look-out (this is the window where the birdfeeder is set up outside, too).

We don't have a cat tree yet, but we have plans to build one later this summer (as long as funds allow it). I am hesitant to leave "surprise" food for Ticheli on the window shelf and near his scratch post, because I'm afraid that Morgan will get into it before the cat finds it. :/ I'll have to ponder some way to work around this...

Did he just want to knock the plant down or did he want to eat it? Again if you can tape the pot or whatever he touched to knock it down (I don't know how he could do this lol) that could work. A replacement hanging cat toy to redirect to might help (some people hand them from ceiling fans). If he eats the plants then cat grass to redirect would help. Is there a path of stuff he climbed on to get the plant? If you can move any of that it might help.

Oh, he wants to eat it. LOL! The reason I had it hanging from the ceiling is that I figured it was the ONE place he would NOT be able to reach it! There really is no path leading up to it... there is a low turntable cabinet nearby, but not directly below it at all. He really had to WORK to get this thing down.

He used to have a hanging cat toy (the kind that fits over a door), but he completely destroyed it. Blargh! I'll have to try the ceiling fan idea, though. I hadn't thought of that one!

I hadn't thought about cat grass being used to redirect, either. I've always avoided it because I figured that having cat grass available would inadvertantly encourage him to eat my plants... but now that you mention it, it makes a lot more sense to give him a plant to eat since he is SO DETERMINED to eat plants. Haha! Thanks!

I used citrus spray on the areas they scratched and made sure they had posts that they LIKED. A lot of people get posts, say they don't use them and get angry when they go for the couch. They work like every other animal and do what is most rewarding, if they like the couch more than the post they are going to use the couch. Look at horizontal and vertical posts, look at carpet, sisal and cardboard and if all those are rejected make one by getting some fabric that is similar to your furniture and wrap it around a piece of wood (wide enough for him to comfortably stand on it and scratch) and staple gun it on. Lots of interruption and redirection. Again you will get frustrated, sorry. I'm lucky in that if my cats like their posts and I interrupt and redirect a few times they stop and use the posts.

We built our scratch post when we first brought Ticheli and Whitacre home as kittens. (We can't use store-bought cat stuff because so many things are catnip treated, and sugar gliders + catnip = death.) Anyways, I'm looking at it now, and I'm realizing that it is probably to short for them now that they are full grown. *headdesk* I've turned it on it's side for now, to simulate the arm of the couch next to it, and put those sticky strips on the couch to deter them from that. I'll still have to look for citrus spray, but hopefully the sticky will help for now.

Don't know any way to train them not to scream to be fed, I mean other than not giving in.

Yeah, that one is more annoying than anything. I don't mind them "talking" for dinner. (Whitacre will actually say "mama" as I make their food, which is adorable.) But the screaming and wailing is new and frustrating. I wait for him to shut up before I give it to him (like NILIF), but it doesn't seem to phase him much from meal to meal.


*more in next post*
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:59 AM
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maxfox426 maxfox426 is offline
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Now that's dealing with the behaviors. As far as enrichment that might help:
What kind of toys do you use? My cats don't play with independent toys, they play with each other and with me using wand type toys.
Try training some commands, like dogs the mind needs to be stimulated as much as the body. Don't be anal about them being good at it, just work with them consistently. Use healthy treats like some chicken or other meat if he'll eat it.


Because of the catnip issue, I usually make or buy small dog toys for them. They have a few of the itty-bitty stuffies that Kong makes for toy breeds. Both cats will carry them around and play with them independently. Honestly they are their favorite toys. I have also make them toys from fleece... little pom-pom balls and long strips of fleece tied to plastic shower curtain rings in various ways. I also bring home for them a lot of "garbage" toys, like big plastic spools, plastic easter eggs with different things inside, foil balls, etc. Really, when it comes to toys, they are pretty spoiled. They also wrestle with each other a lot, and we have some interactive wand toys and a laser pointer to use playing with us.

Plus, they have Morgan. Dogs are awesome cat toys!

I actually do train with them. Nothing fancy, but they do know a few fun commands. Sit, roll over, shake hands, beg, etc. And they do them fairly often just because guests always like to so the amazing trick cats.

Also feeding food (if you feed dry food) in a food dispensing ball, hiding kibbles all over a cat tree, putting some kibbles under plastic cups, in paper towel tubes, in the grooves of an egg carton etc. so he has to work at it can stimulate the mind and slow down eating which may help him stay fuller (something about enzymes not being released in time when cats eat food fast so they don't digest it as well, I don't know if it'll really help but it's worth a try).

Hmmm, I hadn't thought of hiding food as part of their feeding process... they eat primarily wet with some kibble mixed in for crunch. Again, I will have to figure out a way to be sure that Morgan doesn't end up eating their treats out of a treat ball or similar, but if I put my head to it I'm sure I'll think of something.

It's also stimulating to bring in new stuff. If you can find boxes (show boxes, pizza boxes, packages, styrafoam boxes etc.) throw them on the floor for a little while and let the cat explore them. Even just bringing in sticks and leaves and grass and rocks of different sizes and letting them sniff and touch is stimulating. If it snows get a pan of it and see what they do. Things you consider garbage may be fun or at least interesting for your cat to check out and can make his mind and senses work.

They get to play with the boxes that come in the mail and with paper bags after buying groceries. They used to have a giant TV box that was set up as their kitty fort, but it just got old and we finally threw it out. I hadn't thought about sticks and rocks, that could be fun! We usually try to give them different things to do with opportunity arises, but I've never really thought of it as being a specific benefit before, so I will make a point to keep a more open eye out for fun stuff like that.



THANK YOU, MAXY!!!!!
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