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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Do your cats do this?

Okay a couple of things my boys do that I find strange and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to stop or reduce the behavior and why they do this.

First, Mo likes to scoop his hard food out of the dish, play with it, then eat it. So when I wake up in the morning there is cat food all over the floor and the food is pretty expensive so I hate wasting it.

Both Mica and Mo drink funny. They don't let their noses get close enough to the water so they have to stick their tongues pretty far down to get water when they're drinking and it splashes and flings water, not too much but it gets wet around the water and food bowl.

They also make a mess with their canned food... very messy eaters.

Mica is obsessed with the litter box. He watches me very closely when I scoop it, goes almost everytime I go, and when he's done going he will paw at the insides of the litter box for like 5 minutes. Mo does this sometimes too. I thought maybe they were trying to wipe their paws and maybe that's what they're doing so I got them a mat and put it outside the box and they don't use it at all.

Last, I'm sure most of you go through this but I have a small apartment so I can't put the boys in another room at night or close them out of the bedroom because they'll just cry outside the door until I open it, but at 4:30 or 5 every morning they wake me up, mostly Mica because he is bound and determined to wash and style my hair for me in the morning (I can't stand it) and no matter how many times I push him off he just jumps back up and continues and sometimes bites (not hard, more like "mouthing") my hands and stuff and it's just obnoxious, any way I can keep them quiet?

I know that was quite a bit!
Thanks guys!

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 02:38 AM
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Re: Do your cats do this?

Well, you've got several things going on, and with as many cats as I've had, I've experienced most of those. Hopefully, some of my ideas will be helpful.

The food. I have had several cats that did not like eating dry food out of a bowl, so they would fish the food out with their paw and happily eat it off the floor. They didn't play with it, so I never had that problem. You could maybe change this behavior ...though if they are kittens or young-adults, they may grow out of it with maturity... by using a flat-ish plate for their dry food. I've seen some different shaped plates (rectangle and square) with slightly raised edges that could keep the food in.
If the floor is clean, I'd just pick the dry food up and put it back in their bowl. No reason to waste it unless it has got dirty or contaminated.
Do they need more toys to play with to keep them from playing with their food?

Canned food. Mine are messy, too. Some lick the plate clean, others sort of push the canned food to the edge of the plate and little chunks fall off the edge. You could try a different shaped plate (like the ones I described above) to help keep the food in the serving dish. I also only give them enough canned food that they will eat right then. I leave it down for about a half an hour and the most I have left-over are a few scatterd bits I wipe up with a paper-towel or the Swiffer. Usually the kitties clean it all up w/in 15min if its a favorite flavor.

The water bowl. Squirely-Jo won't drink normally. S-Jo dips a furry foot in the water, shakes off the excess (spalshes Ev-Er-Y-Where!) and licks her foot when she drinks. I keep a folded paper towel under the ceramic bowl. When I see splashes, I lift the bowl, rub the paper towel around on the floor to sop up the wet and set the bowl back down. Change the paper towel every few days so it won't mildew under the bowl. For your kitties, you could maybe try a taller bowl and only keep it half to one-third filled with water, to help keep their heads deeper in the bowl and less chances of splashing the water over the sides. If the water is getting the food wet, it is too close so move them apart. I keep mine at least 12" apart.

The litterbox scratching. Some kitties have a stronger bury-the-waste instinct than others. I have several cats who bury nicely. Several who paw and scratch around forever and one who paws and scratches forever on the SIDES of the litterbox (never the litter) and doesn't bury her poo. Luckily the litterbox is vented to the outside so I don't ever smell it and sometimes, other kitties will bury it when they go in to do their business. You can *sometimes* redirect a wall-scratching-bury-er by giving them a larger litterbox whose sides are further the hopes they will paw the litter and not the sides...but my wall-pawing kitty *still* paws the walls of the 2'x2'x4' litterchest I use. I can't get much bigger than that! I think it is just a habit some cats get into and it is just 'normal' for that cat to take care of it that way. It is instinctual and it is difficult, if not impossible to change instinctual behavior. We may modify and redirect it (scratching posts) but I think we can never fully change or eliminate it.

Waking you early in the morning. Any reaction from you, even a negative one, is a reward. You can try to Wear. Them. Out. with a rousing good play session before you go to bed, but cats really don't take that long to re-charge and they'll be back to their early morning habits AND will be more fit with the longer play sessions. We really *need* our sleep to function well. Close your door. If they cry or bother the door, park your vacuum outside the door. If they *still* approach and bother the door, turn the vacuum on and unwind the cord so it is under the door and near a plug outlet in your room. When the kitties bother the door, get up and poke the plug into the outlet (vacuum is already turned 'on') and let it start up and then immediately unplug it. The kitties should run away and then respect the vacuum if you ever need to park it outside your closed bedroom door again. I only have to do this maybe twice a year.
Also, do not forget the vacuum is out there so you don't stub your toe on it! I speak from experience.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 09:21 AM
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Re: Do your cats do this?

Not much to add after Heidi's excellent comments! But with the wet food, I end up with food all over as well if it's a favorite and very wet food because Fern tends to shake her head a lot as she eats. I've learned not to put the bowl in front of a wall or I'll end up with food spatter all over the wall! Eww! Anyway, when I serve a food that I know will get this messy reaction, I have sometimes double-bowled it. I'll put Fern's normal cat bowl inside a shallow but large human food serving bowl, with a piece of rubber shelf-liner under it to keep it from sliding around in the bigger bowl. I'll set her bowl close to the edge of the larger bowl, where she's going to be sitting and eating, so as the food flings out it ends up in the bigger bowl and not on a wall, the fridge, or her sister. This works pretty well, and since hubby and I rarely use the serving bowl I just wipe it out and if we're actually going to use it for food we wash it at that point!

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Do your cats do this?

Thanks for the replies, I like the vacuum one lol. Mica did my hair for me this morning and for once I just laid there and let him do it and I couldn't be mad because afterwards he laid his head on top of mine and fell asleep, it was just precious lol. I'll definitely have to invest in flatter food bowls.

Thanks again.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 05:23 PM
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Re: Do your cats do this?

My cats are messy eaters as well - and they don't need to play with their food to get it absolutely everywhere. What I do is put a placemat down where they eat. You can either purchase a special pet one from a store OR buy a human one at a walmart or target for much cheaper. I got a cute plastic cafe mat for my dog and two long cloth beaded fringed mats for my cats. I either toss them in the washer and dryer or wipe them down with a rag every so often. It keeps them from ruining the carpet or floor underneith them.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 11:48 AM
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Re: Do your cats do this?

haha mine are messy eaters as well pull it out of the foodbowl and put it on the ground, missy always gets it in her fur
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