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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi -

I'm new here, so hello to everyone.

I have 3 cats. 2 boys, one girl. The oldest, Sherman, is 2.5 years, and the other boy Paco is 1.5 years, and the girl Katy is 1.5 years. Got them from the shelter, they are all spayed/neutered.

I'm having issues mostly with my older cat, who was a year when I adopted him. Probably already harboring bad habits, and I'm guessing he was an outdoor cat partially, who had no rules from whomever (if anyone) owned him before.

He is driving me nuts. In the past week (and this kind of stuff has been going on for the over 1.5 years I've had him) he has knocked off and broken off my counters: a $60 handmade piece of pottery, a cookie jar, a shell jar, 4 glasses, papers, food, and other assorted items. He is NOT allowed on my counters, but he gets on them all the time. Him and Paco, my other cat. My girl cat doesn't do this. He leaves cat hair all over my counters, and in my food which is the smallest of the problems. He has been sprayed with water, I've used bitter apple, I've used light taps on the butt, I've yelled at him, said "no" (which he recognizes), put him in a separate room, put him in a kennel, tried to reinforce good behavior with treats, but NONE of this matters to him, he simply continues doing what he wants.

I can't leave anything on my counters. IF I leave a dinner glass, he pushes it on the floor until it breaks. It usually does break. Same thing for papers, mail, HOT PEPPERS from my pepper plant, tomatoes, anything he can manage to push. Last night, I spent 2 hours making baklava and cut the squares and put them into a tupperware tin. It weighed a good 5 pounds. He pushed this onto the floor at about 11pm last night, waking me up. I went down to see what happened, and my baklava was all broken up. I was not happy. The other morning, I woke up to a loud crash at 6am and found some of my good crystal stemware (THAT IS IN A STEMWARE HOLDER UP HIGH) shattered on the floor.

I can't have any plants anywhere in my house. He will find them, and eat them until he pukes everywhere. I tried bitter apple on this, and thought that eventually he'd realize that the plants are why he pukes. He doesn't care. I can't sleep between the hours of 4am and 7am. He comes into my bedroom, and goes into the spare bathroom next door and bats whatever he can find around the floor. If that doesn't get him attention, he comes into the bedroom and starts knocking, one by one, each of my perfume bottles off my dresser to the floor. Then any jewelry that I might have inadvertently left out, is on the floor. Left a tube of lipstick once, it was under my dresser. Same with the mascara, with anything. If those things don't wake me up, he goes over to the venetian blinds and jams his head and paws through it repeatedly until I get up and yell at him. If that doesn't work, he goes into the master bath and puts his paws under the toilet seat and lifts it up as high as he can, then lets it drop. THUD. that one guarantees I'll be up. He knocks my glasses, any drinking glass, a tylenol bottle, remote control, anything like that, on the floor. If these fail to roust me, he starts chasing the other animals all over the place. I've tried ignoring him, becuase I thought what he wanted was my reaction. I tried ignoring him for a week, nothing stopped. I tried shutting him out of the bedroom. He shoves his 20 pounds of cat self so hard into the door that unless I lock it, he can bust in. If it's locked, he'll just keep slamming himself against the door making as much noise as possible, until I let him in. He will also whine and scratch the carpet by the door as loudly as possible. I've tried spraying him with water, whatever...nothing works. Yelling, chucking shoes, nothing works. Tried quarantining him to a spare bedroom - Oh no, you can hear him throwing himself at the door which he has done for NO LESS THAN 8 hours straight.

I have taken him to the vet. The vet says nothing is wrong. All the things he recommended, I tried. He has clean litter always, 2 boxes to choose from, lots of toys, fresh water and food daily, 2 other playmates, and free roam of the house. My other 2 cats behave for the most part, but he has finally got my other boy folllowing in his bad pawsteps.

I would just like to sit down one night to watch tv, and not have to get up every 5 minutes to see what got broken in the kitchen, or to yell at a cat for being up on a counter top. I would like to be able to sleep through one night and not have Sherman play the wake up game with me. I would like to be able to have some &*%^$ plants in my house! I would like to be able to go on vacation next month, and not be worreid about what was going to be broken when I come home, or how much of my stuff I have to hide away so they can't get to it.

I am at my wits end. Taking him back to the shelter has never been an option, but I am genuinely sick of him and this crap. My girl cat listens, doesn't get on the counters and I know this is true, because she's always sleeping on my lap or in my bed when those 2 start their crap!

I am thinking about getting an invisible indoor cat fence and a collar for both the boy cats. This should take care of keeping them out of my kitchen all together. If it works, I may eventually buy a receiver for my bedroom to keep them out of there so I can get some SLEEP for once. I have not made a whole 8 hours of sleep without being woken up once in probably 8-10 months, maybe ever since I got them!

Does anyone have any advice at all? I'm hoping there's something I haven't tried yet. If not, it's on to the invisible fence system. Has anyone tried these? They have a 60 day money back guarantee, so I figure I have nothing to lose. Any opinions on the indoor fence? This is the one I'm considering: http://radiofence.com/cat_fence_indoor.htm

I love my cats, but these 2 are driving me absolutely freaking insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HELLLLPP

Amy
 

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WOW... first off welcome to the forum :) We love helping out, and you've come to the right place to get plenty of excellent advice. :)

Sherman and Paco sound pretty destructive, especially Sherman. My car Marsh, who's a total mush who soundly sleeps with me on my pillow at night, will get in these destructive moods too sometimes [once a week maybe]! ;) It usually means he needs to be exercised. Which is not the same as having a ton of toys around. I have about $50 worth of toys like small mice, balls, etc he doesn't touch 90% of the time and only few toys he constantly plays with because I PLAY with him. Those being the laser pointer and DaBird.

He's some cat psychology for you ;) :D ----> Maybe the other two cats are not INTO HIM or playing with him??? If your girl doesn't care and Paco hasn't cared, he needed a playmate anyway. You’re not there, so he tried to change and influence Paco to at least do SOMETHING with him? ... Does it even make sense? LOL :)

Let's get back to the destructive moods. I'd suggest a minimum of 1 hour a day of rough play with him, broken into 2 sessions. Rough = panting :D If he's an indoor cat, he'll need to get the 'play' out of his system somehow. Marsh will go on my table and start playing with everything, which will drive me nuts! - Which means he needs attention! ... It doesn't mean he wants to make you nuts, he just needs you. So i get up, grab one of his favorite toys - lately it's been DaBird and play till he's panting and you can see total happiness in his eyes.

If you're on the couch anyway watching tv, grab a laser pointer and play in commercials, you'll see how he'll love it to death :)

In any case, after reading this, tell us more :)

BTW, in my opinion letting them outside and buying shock collars is not a good solution. :( You only have one problem cat [if it’s even a problem, not two].
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think what I've noticed is - he plays SO rough with the other cats, and myself included, that no one wants to play with him that much! He literally bites, kicks, grabs, and he's 20+ pounds of muscular cat.... it HURTS to get your hand anywhere near his mouth. Toys work well, but sometiems he will just bite your ankles!

Paco is scared of him because Sherman is twice his size. I do see them playing, and Paco does stand up to him, but a lot of times he just isn't interested. My girl cat is even smaller, and Sherman just scares her to death. He basically corners her and bites her until she cries. THe thing is, if he would just ease up, they'd both play with him...

So it's left to me. He has tons of toys he plays with ... but that is never enough. I have a busy schedule this time of year and I try to play with him alot - but an hour a day - the only time I really have a full hour is from 10-11 when I'm falling asleep on my couch! Of course, that's when he's most hyper.

I have put toys out for them when I'm gone during the day...but maybe I'll make a trip to the toystore today and pick up some new things for him. Probably a lot cheaper, but I guess I'm just SO frustrated this past week... and him breaking things only brings him negative attention.

Even when I play with him, he still goes up there and knocks stuff over... I can tire him out for 2 hours, but come 5am, he's knocking things off the counters again. I can't keep up with this animal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
oh, and the fence system was an indoor fencing system that would just prevent them from being in my kitchen. The collars would give a beep warning if they came into the kitchen, and then a small zap if they continued. I wasn't going to let them outside.

I am rethinking the fence...I am going to see if they chill out after a good playtime tonight. I'm sure it's a good deal my fault for being so busy...and not having all the time I used to have. Although it seemed even when I played with them all the time...they still were obnoxious like this.
 

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DO NOT EVER "play rough" with cats, especially not with your hands/feet!!! You will just get hurt, and you'll create bad habits in the cats. A cat that is habituated to biting people is dangerous.

Play therapy is the best method of dealing with excess energy:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... w&item=012

I'd also recommend reading the articles on Play Aggression, Overstimulation Agression, and Squirt Bottles/Punishment.

An indoor fence is an exceedingly bad idea for cats. For ideas on keeping them off the counter, the punishment article goes over the options.

Cheers
Dr Jean
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have always played with my cats with hands and feet. Always. I've had over 10 cats in my lifetime, and it has never created any problems. So I would say the "DO NOT" part is not always true. My 2 out of 3 play very gentile when you use your hands to play with them. My largest doesn't know his own strength. I have never heard anyone (including the vet I worked for for years) say that playing that way with an animal is bad. I've never seen any such proof myself, though it may well be for others.

As far as play therapy, well that is something they get on a regular basis. It keeps the other 2 happy, but not the oldest. I have a laser pointer, I have feathers on poles, fuzzy mice, a toy that hangs over the back of the door (which they love) and a battery operated toy that they love. They have a large scratching post they can climb, and I retrieve lost toys frequently. I pull toys back and forth across the floor until they pant in exhaustion. They will keep doing it until their tongues hang out.

This is why I was considering the indoor fence. What would you have me do when the 'play therapy' isn't working? I don't have 5 hours a day to play with my one cat. He has been getting an hour up until the last few days due to workload. BUT on a whole, he has acted the same behaviorally when he gets 2 hours a day weekly, 1 hour a day weekly, or less. I haven't had this problem with my other 2 cats.

He was over a year when I got him, so I suspect a lot of his behavioral problems are related to whatever lack of training or attention he got before me. He is the first and only 'non-kitten' cat I have adopted, and I can only attribute a lot of his problems to that. When play fails, other cats as friends fail (because he's a bully), treats, toys, spraying, and all other vet recommendations fail - I have to make a choice between a last resort feature like an indoor fence, and the only other choice which is to give him back to a shelter. Don't get me wrong, that's not even an option for me - I'm just trying to express where I am as far as between a rock and a hard place. I just can't deal with the being woken up and kept up between 4-7am every morning. This has been going on for the better part since I got him over a year and a half ago. Like I said, there's no rhyme or reason to it. I could play with him 8 hours a day, and he'd behave the same. I've proven this in the past.

I'm soliciting for other types of advice besides play, which I'm going to try to do even more of anyways (I've tried more play in the past, and things are the same). I was curious as to anyone's experience with the indoor fences, or even some of the ultrasonic sound trainers.
 

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A cat who has been "trained" to bite and is surrendered for aggression is not adoptable and will be euthanized at a shelter. That's just one good reason *not* to teach them that it's okay to play with your bare skin. When you have had to recommend euthanasia for a biting cat who was taught by a previous owner to "play rough", as I have, you might re-think the wisdom of doing so.

This same advice is all over the internet, don't know why you haven't come across it before. Most vets know little to nothing about behavior, particularly feline behavior, since it is not taught in vet school. Most vets are not capable of dealing with a complex behavior situation.

If you had actually read the articles I suggested, you would know that play therapy takes about half an hour a day. Play therapy is a very specific form of play using a very specific type of toy; and it is very effective.

However, it doesn't appear that you are interested in my advice, so I won't waste any more time giving it to you.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
DrJane - I read those articles, and I think they will help. Like I said, it's frustrating because I *do* play with him so MUCH. Thanks for the links though, I also found some info for Paco who has feline herpes (mostly conjunctivitis). He comes and goes with it, but I may ask my vet about trying the lysine in his food. My only problem is keeping the other kitties away from it. Hard to separate 3 cats during dinner time.

But I think maybe along with some new toys and more play, i wil try one of those Scraminals that was recommended in the water bottle article. I hate that danged water bottle anyways. But it would just be nice to have something as backup for my kitchen counters. Hopefully some new toys and more play time will chill him out a bit. At least for a day so I can have some peace.

How did I get such a danged needy and hyper cat? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yes, I did read the play therapy article, and the others you recommended. And if you read my other reply, it states that I have averaged up until the past few days (I was away on work travel until yesterday) that I played with my cats on average an hour a day, sometimes much more. Sherman still exhibited the same behavior to the same extent when I played with him alot vs. when I didn't play with him as much. That is why I am at the end of my rope.

Also, the shelter I got him at was a no-kill shelter, where all the animals shared one large room. I'm not saying they wouldn't euthanize due to bad habits or whatever (I don't know if they do or don't), just telling you that where I got him is a bit different from a lot of county and city shelters.

I did notice my cat was chasing the other 2 kittens around from day 1 when I got him...jumping them, grabbing around the neck and biting on their backs. He literally did that from the day I brought him home. But other than doing that here and there, he would leave them alone, even sleep with them and even play nicely. Could this be because he was in an open type cat room with about 30 other adults and kittens for the past year? Maybe one of them or more was acting this way with him? This is why I said I think he may have learned some of this behavior prior to my adopting him.
 

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I definately agree about not playing with your hands or feet. This can result in a dangerous situation for you. It will take a lot of time and effort to "unteach" him. Always keep a toy between you and the cat. If he bites/scratches/grabs you, then say "Ouch" and redirect him to his toys and scratching post. This will take a lot of effort from you and you *must* be consistant! As for play therapy, have you been consistant with the time that you play with him? Maybe he needs more 'structure' :wink: . Have you tried DaBird yet?
 

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Hiya badkitties!

Welcome to the forum, but sorry the reason you're here is so problematic.

Have you considered putting something sticky on the counter? I've seen references to a product that you can buy (not sure what it's called though). A few years ago I had a problem with cats on the countertop, and a friend told me to put duct tape in strategic spots where I thought they might be jumping up, but with the sticky side out. I just folded a tiny bit over at one end, stuck it to the counter, stretched it out and then repeated that at the other end. If they're still getting up there, I don't see evidence of it; so they're either more careful up there now, or they decided they didn't like it when their feet felt like they were getting "stuck."

I wish I had some ideas for the other problems you're having, but I don't. I've left my cats outside the bedroom door and they fuss for a while and give up, so the only thing I can suggest for that is to keep ignoring him and NEVER give in... might take some time but perhaps he'll eventually get the idea?

Hope you find a solution soon! Good luck! :D

lops
 
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