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Old 03-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat is knocking EVERYTHING off of tables and shelves

I have a cat (only a year) that knocks everything off of every surface he comes across. He does it deliberately and knows, or at least should know by now, that it is not OK. He just broke another glass this morning that was left on the kitchen counter by the sink. I know that the answer is to not keep anything on table tops or counters but that is just unrealistic with children. My friends do not have trouble with this.

Is there any way to train him to stop? He also cries very loud. He will do it in the middle of the night when he has food, water and a clean litter box. I am not sure what he wants. Between the constant banging of items falling on the ground and the crying, it is really interferring with our normal way of life. He is very big already, so it is not small things and kitten crying. He is knocking down heavy items and howling at times. Do you have any suggestions?
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, the obvious is to not provide him with things to knock over.
As for the crying, it sounds like he is lonely and is looking for company. If you could give him more attention during your waking hours he may stop his night crying. By attention, I mean a rousing-good play session where you get him racing and leaping around after a controllable toy (da bird, laser light) for 5-15 minutes before a snack and bedtime. You could also consider getting a kitten to occupy his attention and keep him company.
A cat's usual routine is play, eat, sleep. It is also possible that he is knocking things off flat surfaces because he is under-stimulated. Or he could just like to watch them fall...my cat Mister did the same thing. I learned to not keep anything breakable within his reach.
If you cannot change the habits of your children, perhaps you can purchase them unbreakable plastic cups to use instead of glass ones.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like he needs some attention IMO. Not saying that you're not giving him any of course, but some need more than others.

Get a few toys you can use to interact with him. You don't need to spend vast amounts of money (I have a washer on a bootlace that peggy LOVES), just something that he can expend his energy on.

Hope that is of help.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Has your kitty been fixed? If not, that could also be the reason for the crying.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My twins will look me straight in the eye, sitting inches from me, and reach down and start knocking things off of my printer stand. Same thing on my headboard on my bed. They just LOVE to do that. Every night before I go to bed, I have to make sure there's nothing breakable (or that can hurt them) on the kitchen counter. Yes, it's very annoying because I'm making all the compromises, but I also knew the risks when I took the job. Plus, they're adorable and they get away with a lot.

I have realized lately that they're knocking some the items off so they can jump down and play with them.
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Pretty much, if I don't want Wyn to play with something, I have to be conscious of where I put it. It's like having a toddler: they'll grab at anything. Cat-proofing your house is much like baby-proofing it and, unfortunately, it needs to be done regardless of inconvenience.

Just this past weekend I had to move a 6'+ bookshelf because Wyn discovered how to get onto the tv and then onto the shelf. Then she couldn't get back down from the shelf. As much as it sucked (and the shelf is heavy) I saw no other option.

Your cat is young. He's still a kitten. He's going to try and knock things down. I know that probably doesn't make you feel better about it and it makes this difficult, but it's kind of just how it is, I think.

And I don't mean to sound harsh, because I know that this is upsetting to you, but pets change a person's normal way of life. When you take a pet into your home, you really have to expect anything to come up and I admire that you've taken the steps (asking on this forum) to try and understand your cat. That's important. A lot of folks just get rid of "problem" animals and that's hard on the pet.

I agree with others that have said that your baby might be a little lonely and that's why he's crying, especially since he does it at night. Cats are nocturnal animals (as I found out the hard way, myself) and that's usually when they're the most active. Humans have to help a kitty adapt to sleeping at night and playing during the day.

I hope the forum helps you. I know it's been invaluable to me. Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My bridge kitty, Checkers (who disliked me!) often slept on my bed, and used to get up on the dresser and knock things off, one at a time, until I got upset enough to let him out of the room. He lost his "sleeping on the bed "privileges eventually.
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Agree with all the above. At a year old, he's still really a baby and, for a reason unknown to us, many cats like to knock things off surfaces and watch them fall. It's just plain fun. I know no way of teaching them not to do it and I'm absolutely sure he has no idea, and never will, that it's not okay. The only way to avoid it is not to leave them there. He will, for the most part anyway, grow out of it. Although I've had several adult cats that have certain things (like pens) that they just couldn't resist.
It really does sound like he needs a little more stimulation. Interactive playtime. I would try a really good play session at night (20 min) right before you go to bed and then a snack. That routine will usually help a lot. I know it's hard when you have two legged children and you're busy but, it is what your 4 legged baby needs.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat is knocking EVERYTHING off of tables and shelves

Cats don't care if they knock things over. They don't understand the importance of not breaking things. I doubt you can make him understand that. It's just beyond cats to care about material things that way, unless it's their fav toy of course, and they still wouldn't understand it's not a good idea to tear it apart.

Just don't leave stuff on shelves.

As for the howling, some cats are just more talkative, or he could have something physically wrong with him. A checkup might be a good idea. And if he's not fixed that's prolly the reason for howling.
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Since we have earthquakes in California, most of our breakables were already stuck down with tacky putty before Gracie arrived. (Of course, if the whole building falls who cares about the lamps and knick-knacks...!)

Anyway, it seems to deter purposeful crashing of nicer objects in the living room , although she still nibbles on edges, etc. The kitchen issue you just have to be diligent about..."Stik-Tak" is one brand from the hardware store...

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