Behavior Problem ---Need Advice - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Behavior Problem ---Need Advice

Sorry this might be long winded.
Hi. I have 5 cats. I am having a problem with one particular cat and it is starting to rub off on two others.

OK my cat, Meeka, she never used to try to do this until about 2 years ago. Anyway, she tries to eat plastic. It can be anything. It started with the plastic bags you get a the grocery store. She would try chewing on them while I was putting stuff away. Well I use those bags in my little trash cans in the bathrooms, she sits in there and not chews but eats it bites pieces off and swallows chunks. I have since stopped using those in my trashcans. She then moved onto chewing ziploc baggies if you left them on the counter, and thru the plastic bread bags at night. (All my cats know they are not allowed on the counter so she would get up there while everyone slept). Since then I make sure ziplocs with snacks are in a cabinet along with bread. She has now moved onto chewing the trashbag in the big kitchen garbage can at night. I just don't know what to do. She never used to do this and now she tries chewing on anything plastic. The bad thing is two of my others are starting to try to do it now too. The latest thing she has done (which was last night) was chew the plastic on my son's inflatiable little ball pit and blow up dolphin that goes with it last night. I now have to find a patch kit because she put about 30 teeth marks in both pieces and deflated them. I just don't know WHY she does it or does anyone have any advice on how to make her stop. I am concerned becaue if she gets a chunk it can get stuck in her throat and suffocate her or get too much in her belly and get her sick or worse kill her but I am also tired of her ruinning things. PLEASE HELP!!!!!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 03:56 PM
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I don't think there's really any way you can guarantee to stop this, esp when she's out of your sight, other than removing all opportunities to do so.

Mellie likes to chew cables and wires, and the only way I can prevent it is to put cat deterrents near the wires likely to be chewed. I don't see how you can do this with bags.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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Hmm. This is going to require my knowledge of psychology (all 18 weeks of it).

What if you associate chewing plastic with something unpleasant like a water gun hit? Leave some plastic out and give the cat a squirt (without letting him see the gun) when he chews on it?

At the same time, find something else he likes to chews and encourage that to re-direct the behavior.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishkumen
give the cat a squirt (without letting him see the gun) when he chews on it?
it's unfortunate that this is mentioned in so many cat behavioral articles, but it plain and simply works....once. you can't squirt the cat without the cat seeing the gun, and after the first time the cat associates the squirt with the gun and the squirter, not with the behavior or the object under deterrence. almost everybody who uses this technique gives it up sooner rather than later. I've used this, and after a few squirts, the cats would see me pick up the gun and run away....and then do the behavior again when I put it down

deterrence and diversion really work better over the longer term.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 02:26 PM
 
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I don't think a water squirt is going to do any good.

My Pixie loves to chew, and was doing the same kind of things. I bought several types of dog chews, cat chew sticks, and put them in various places where I saw her chewing. Then when I saw her chewing on something bad, I'd say "NO, NO, please" and give her the rawhides instead. It's working fairly well now, I see her chewing away on one of the sticks when she gets the urge to gnaw on something. I also rub some of the treats on the hides to make them more attractive.

She's a little slow (bless her soul), things don't click as fast in her head, so it took several months of consistent training for her to "get it".
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 04:53 PM
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Have you tried to spray some bitter apple spray onto the areas you don't want her to put her mouth? Bitter apple is supposed to be a deterrant and taste nasty to them. Or put some tabasco on it. Good luck
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