At wits end.... considering returning cats - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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At wits end.... considering returning cats

My two girls know they aren't allowed on counters or tables, and this isn't a problem when we're at home and downstairs. However, we know they're on the counters and tables at night and when we're gone, since we constantly find things moved around or knocked on the floor. I know it's pointless to yell at them after the fact, since they won't understand what they've done wrong. The problem is that they've now broken hundreds of dollars worth of our things, and I can't take much more of this. They have an obsession with my cabinets - they can open the doors, and then Fergie jumps into the upper cabinets and knocks things out. After a couple of shattered glasses we started clamping shut the cabinets with breakable things. Then they jumped onto the console table and knocked down the lamp that was there and a number of my winter decorations. I didn't think I had to worry about the speakers, but they've also jumped onto those and knocked down/broken a couple of houses in my treasured collection of Thomas Kinkade buildings. Then this morning I was upstairs getting dressed when I heard a crash from downstairs, and went running down to the kitchen to find half of my cereal bowls shattered and Fergie sitting nearby looking at the mess. We unclamp the cabinets in the morning and leave them until we go to bed, since it was only a nighttime problem before, but apparently the problem is growing.

This behavior has gotten worse in the last couple of weeks, quite possibly in connection with us being gone a lot more all of a sudden. My mom had surgery at the end of January and was in the hospital for a week, and the day she came home my niece went into the hospital for surgery and will probably not come home for another two weeks. Since we both lost our jobs in December, we've been able to make our hospital visits during the day, and we haven't been gone any longer than we would have been if we were working. I'm sure they've gotten used to us being home most of the time, but sooner or later we will both be working again and gone during the day, so they're going to have to deal with it at some point anyway.

My hubby is going to try to find some magnetic latches for the cabinets, so hopefully that will solve the problem with the dishes in the upper cabinets. But if I can't find a way to keep them from jumping onto tables and speakers and breaking things they're not going to be living here much longer. I realize cats jump on things, but I know they can be taught. I absolutely REFUSE to pack away everything breakable and live in a house with no decorations. Even if I did, that doesn't solve the problem of them knocking over and breaking lamps. (three so far)

They're adorable and we love them very much, but I won't let them destroy my home! We've been making sure to spend time playing with them, probably about an hour a day, but between our hectic lives and their energy level, they're still running all over the place when we turn out the lights at night. We could shut them in our guest bedroom at night, but as I found out this morning, that's not going to solve the problem. My husband is so angry with them that he's already talked about returning them to the shelter where we got them, and if I can't find a solution to their behavior soon that's what will happen. This is starting to affect my marriage too, and the cats are going to lose if I have to choose between them and my husband!

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:15 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

I think the problem may lie in rivalry between your 2 girls. One "claims" something,and the other contests the claim,violently. "This dvd player is M-I-N-E!" It doesn't matter that it dropped flat on the hardwood floor,and the components are shot,"It's MY whirry,hummy,blinky thing !" See if you can get 5-or at LEAST 3 free hrs or so,with them,observe 'em,then make a plan to modify their behavior.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:16 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

When you choose to have children and pets, you have to learn to compromise.
Just like you have to child proof your house, you have to pet proof your house. Breakables are the first to go. I gave up putting out some of my favorite Christmas decorations - the pain of possibly having them broken outweighed the pleasure of seeing them out.

Since the issues seem to be when you are not at home, or are asleep, what about putting them in a kitten-proofed room when you are gone? Bring them into your bedroom at night and close the door.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:03 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

Perhaps I missed this in an earlier thread, but how old are they?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:24 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

Alas, no matter how trained your cats are not to go on counters and tables and other forbidden surfaces, they will always sneak and do it anyways. I can't even count how many times I've caught Rusty snooping around on the dining room table, and when I catch him he KNOWS he's been caught. The look on his face is priceless.

Here are some things to try. Some of the suggestions might be a pain, but they could help keep your cats off of stuff.

You know those rolls of plastic walk-ways that protect your carpet with the little grippers on the bottom? A piece of this upside down laid over your counter-tops and tables might prevent the girls from walking on them. The grippers are prickly and uncomfortable to their feet, and it might deter them from going up there while you are gone.

You could try lining the edges of your tables and counters with soda cans with pennies inside. That way, there is no way that they can jump up without knocking over the cans, which creates a loud clattering scary sound. Of course, if they are destroyers, they might be used to such sounds.

I was searching and found a product called "CatScram" that you could try using while you are gone. ... ts=froogle
" When the CatScram electronic cat repellent detects motion, it emits a high-pitched electronic squeal (inaudible to humans and dogs) that frightens cats away quickly. And unlike most cat repellent devices, the CatScram cat repellent is completely inaudible to humans!"
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

Bethany, they are a year and a half old. Their foster mom had 35 cats and never tried to keep any of them off of things, which is probably not helping me now.

RachandNito, thanks for the suggestions - I will probably try the CatScram and the carpet protector thing.

Bluemilk, I've never noticed problems with them 'claiming' items. They play together quite well, and they generally like completely different toys. If they're interested in the same toy, they take turns playing with it.

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:40 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

There is no way that I would let myself suffer like this , and please im not digging at you , we are all just different.

My home is strictly for pets , with 16 cats and 5 parrots I have long since given up on expensive breakable items.
Its comfortable but pet friendly , it suits my nerves better , especially now my grandaughter is walking .... one thing less to worry about.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 02:09 PM
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Re: At wits end.... considering returning cats

Their age definitely plays a part in this, while they're not baby kittens, they're at one of the most active stages of their life. Plus there are two of them to feed off of each other. So this activity level will decrease as they age and become more jaded. In the meantime though, there does need to be compromise on your part.

First, it sounds like you need baby locks on the cabinets. They're relatively inexpensive and will do the job. I gave up keeping cats off the counter a long time ago, sometime you get one who isn't very interested, but the majority like to be up there because in general cats prefer high places. There's also interesting stuff on the try to make it less interesting, remove all but the necessities. You can try the carpet runner and the scat device, reports are generally mixed.

Move valuable knick knacks to places they can't get to...I have a curio cabinet or they're behind glass doors on my entertainment center or wall mounted shelves. Leaving them on any surface that is easily accessible to a cat is not a good idea. If lamps are being knocked over I would either relocate it, try and stick it down (there's a material sold for this purpose in earthquake prone areas) or replace with a heavier lamp that they can't knock over.

I've owned cats for over 20 years, during that time, my house has evolved to accommodate both the cats and my needs. Whenever I make a purchase I consider how the cats are going to respond. The reality is that it's easier to accommodate than it is to ask a cat to change it's nature....that's usually a battle you're never going to win.

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