I got my kitten Niles back in early February when he was 6.5 months old, and he turned 10 months today.
I have never had a problem with him scratching my furniture. In his first couple of months with me he would sometimes scratch at doorways, but now he only scratches his many scratching posts and mats. I consider myself VERY lucky to not have a furniture-clawer! I also trim his nails on a very regular basis.
However, I have different problem--he bites at and chews on everything, except for humans. He is the least aggressive cat I've ever met--he has never bitten or tried to bite me or anyone else, and he's never hissed once--but I have to be careful not to leave any paperback books lying around lest he tears them apart with his teeth. There are few things he won't try to chew on or tear apart by biting. I have tried to give him TONS of allowable things to chew and bite. There's always at least one paper bag on the floor for him to play with, and at least one cardboard box. There are always bits of paper bag and boxes all over the place, but I would have no problem with that if he would stick to those things. I easily spend an at least an hour every day (throughout the day) playing with him with Da Bird and similar interactive toys. His absolute favorite toy is the
, and generally have to replace it every 2-3 weeks because he has pulled apart the little mouse to the point where wire inside the mouse will soon be or already is exposed.
The thing is, while he loves his toys, makeshift and otherwise, he loves finding new things to chew on. I even have a gnaw marks on the corners of my laptop!
I do try to train him and use the closest tactics to "discipline" I feel comfortable with. Mostly just sternly saying "NO" (though I never yell, of course), and then redirecting him to something he's allowed to chew on. But of course, I'm not always there to catch him. I'm 26 and a full time college student and VERY busy this summer semester with 12 credits (which would be like 24 credits during a regular semester), plus I do try to maintain a tiny semblance of a social life. And, of course, I do sleep. He is such a happy, wonderful little cat, and perfectly well behaved except for his love to investigate everything with his teeth. I've been spending more time doing schoolwork and research at my apartment rather than at the library, which before I had a cat, I sometimes spent the majority of my waking hours. But honestly, even if were here all day every day and didn't sleep, redirecting him only works for a few minutes before his curiosity and adventurousness kicks in.
So----hm. I guess I'm not even sure what I am really asking. I have always been against the use of spray bottles, but would doing that when I see him chewing on something possibly help at all? Is there any chance he could make the connection and associate the spray bottle with chewing and not just with me? I just don't find that very likely, and it just seems cruel. He's just a cat for goodness sake. However, I'm at my wits end! Giving him alternatives doesn't seem to be working to keep him chewing and biting things he isn't allowed to chew or bite. I live in a one bedroom apartment and the only door inside is the one into my bedroom, so I can't even confine him to a smaller area while I'm gone (litter box is not and will not ever be in my bedroom), not that I'd want to do that to my little guy anyway because my apartment is small enough as it is. Is there any chance he will grow out of it? I simply cannot keep everything he could destroy out of his reach--that would mean keeping all of my things in my tiny bedroom closet and never accidentally leaving the door open for a moment!
Also, getting another cat is completely not an option for me. I can just barely afford Niles right now, plus there are a plethora of other reasons that it would be an impossibility for me to have a second cat with my life situation right now, and it could be several years before that changes.
I also tested one of those cat scratching deterrent sprays, just to see what would happen, and the cardboard box that I sprayed is now his favorite box to play with. Way to be normal, Niles, haha.
I think this turned into more of a vent thread than anything--sorry about that! Everyone I know with indoor-only cats seem to have the clawing problem, but not the problem with the teeth. At least I hope someone can commiserate with me.