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Discussion Starter #1
Our recently adopted 8 month old kitten, Emma, has started being very energetic, which includes some destructive behavior and biting. She had a cold which she is almost completely recovered from. As she gets better, her energy level increases. She's our only pet.

When she bites (almost always at night, such as biting feet), shreds toilet paper, scratches chairs, launches off furniture, etc., we usually do some or all of telling her NO, blowing in her face, water gun, moving her away, trying to ignore her and distracting her. We tried putting her out of the bedroom when she attacks at night, but the last time we tried she meowed loudly, shredded a roll of toilet paper, tried to tear up some towels, etc.

I'm hoping this is just adolescent behavior and she'll calm down eventually.

I do many play sessions each day by having her chase a small toy mouse, which she does with great enthusiasm.

She relates more to my wife, both sleeping on her, asking to be petted and biting. She won't sit on me at all, but will let me pet her. I'm her primary feeder.

She's also developed the habit of running to the sink when we run the water. She'll stare at the stream of water and try to bit it and swat at it. If nothing else, this provides a way of distracting her.

Please tell me she's likely to outgrow the aggressive and destructive parts of her behavior (which I realize isn't entirely unusual). As that's probably too much to ask, are there any other suggestions for dealing with her behavior?
 

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The only thing I would recommend (in my opinion) would be to tucker her out by having "play time" with her. Designate specific playing times - like maybe shortly after her feedings, and maybe an hour before you and your wife go to sleep. That way, she gets out that energy and is able to release it in a positive way.
As for the biting - give her things to bite on. When she does bite you, say NO in a firm voice and allow her to realize that biting is a no-no.

The water thing? Normal. My cat is fascinated with water and LOVES it when I leave the faucets dripping in the winter. He goes nuts! Haha!
 

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What you call aggressive and destructive behavior I call owning a kitten. ;)

Shepherd Book definitely tries my patience and I've had to make adjustments to living with him. I learned that I almost always have to close the bathroom door at night or he trashes the room. I have to make sure I never leave *ANY* foodstuffs on the counter. Even things I wouldn't think are appealing to him, he still seems to want to rip them apart to be SURE he doesn't want to eat them.

We struggled a lot with the scratching as well. Trimming his nails every other week and praising him to the heavens when he uses an appropriate scratching device helped wonders. I also noticed that he got obsessed with a sisal welcome mat so I leave that down and let him scratch the crap out of it. It's replaceable and he prefers it to chairs/rug.

All in all it's not so bad. It's all just 'stuff' and can be replaced :)
 

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I've found having more than one scratching post really helped eliminate my cats scratching on the furniture. Also try different kinds of scratching posts - some cats prefer upright ones to ones that lie flat, some prefer flat ones, some like sisal, some like carpet... I recently purchased something from PetSmart called a 'Dream Curl' for my cats, and they both LOVE using it.

Also, if your cat mostly bites at night I wonder if she's just trying to chase your feet under the covers. Cats seem to love that game, where there's something under a blanket they have to chase. My cat Moxie is so very gentle when we play, but the only time she gets carried away enough to bite is when she thinks she has to catch something under a blanket. She never bites if she knows it's my hand, but sometimes she just doesn't realize the thing under the blanket is my hand/foot/whatever. I'd continue putting her outside your room when she attacks your feet (maybe even consider bedding her down in her own room, where she can't do much damage? But only after she attacks your feet).

Playtime before bed to wear her out is another good idea. Other than toy mice you could see if she'll chase a laser pointer (which is GREAT exercise, and doesn't require much effort from you), or any kind of wand toy you can wave around. I play 'chase the kibble' with my own cat occasionally, where I toss pieces of kibble down the hallway and let her chase after them. She loves that game too, and it's good to mix things up so they playtime doesn't become boring.
 

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I agree with MowMow, it's just typical kitten behaviour. Mine do the same things, especially biting the feet. We let her play in the evening and give her toys and let her run around to try and tucker her out. Last night it worked, around 4am she decided to come up to snuggle in our bed. No feet attacking this time :)
 

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She's in her terrible teens and at that age kitties are usually very energetic, boisterous, and can be destructive. This is mostly adolescent behavior and she should calm down around about 1 yr.

I would confine her at night, say in a bathroom or large dog crate, and make it a routine. If you start feeding her meals and treats in those places she will have better association with them. You may also read the thread under Behavior--- "This One May Be Difficult" to read of some solutions to biting.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The only thing I would recommend (in my opinion) would be to tucker her out by having "play time" with her.
We already do that. Alas, the effects wear off after a few hours.

As for the biting - give her things to bite on.
What might be a good thing for her to bite on? At the moment, the main thing I've seen her repeatedly bite/chew is the carpet on her scratching post, which she attacks rather vigorously. She sometimes chews on a metal faucet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've found having more than one scratching post really helped eliminate my cats scratching on the furniture.
We have two sisal rope scratching posts which she uses a fair amount.

Also, if your cat mostly bites at night I wonder if she's just trying to chase your feet under the covers.
Exactly.

I'd continue putting her outside your room when she attacks your feet (maybe even consider bedding her down in her own room, where she can't do much damage?
She does not like being confined. Even if there's nothing to damage, she meows loudly until released.


Playtime before bed to wear her out is another good idea. Other than toy mice you could see if she'll chase a laser pointer (which is GREAT exercise, and doesn't require much effort from you), or any kind of wand toy you can wave around. I play 'chase the kibble' with my own cat occasionally, where I toss pieces of kibble down the hallway and let her chase after them. She loves that game too, and it's good to mix things up so they playtime doesn't become boring.
She won't play much with a laser pointer or a wand toy (we recently were looking after a kitten which would jump rather high and twist in the air for a wand toy).

She gets lots of playtime before bed, and many other times during the day. She has lots of youthful energy, although she sleeps a normal amount for a cat.
 

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I wouldn't blow in her face or use a water sprayer....that usually just antagonizes them.
 

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She may be a little stubborn but she sounds pretty normal. My little one can be that way most of the time. Sometimes the only way to get her to stop running around is to put food in front of her!
 

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She does not like being confined. Even if there's nothing to damage, she meows loudly until released.
Well, that's the thing...you have to stand firm and not release her. The first couple of nights you will lose some sleep and it may even last for a few weeks if she's particularly stubborn. My most stubborn cat went 3 weeks howling at the door or you can try the vacuum trick, which has been quite successful for others. But, if you ignore the meowing, she will stop. If you cave, she will learn all she has to do is meow and she will be let out. It's all about what you are reinforcing.

You should also get into the habit of trimming her nails every other week now. That will save a lot of your stuff and aggravation later.

I do agree that all the other stuff is typical kitten behavior, but some of it is you guys modifying your behavior. If you know she trashes the toilet paper or the towels, then remove them while she's being confined or close the bathroom door at night. For a few months, all the toilet paper in the bathroom was kept in drawers inside the vanity next to the sink because our 6 month old kitten loved to tear it to shreds.

The feet under the blanket will also be solved once you train her that she sleeps outside the bedroom. I lock out all my cats except for one at night. They have free reign of the house at night and run around like wild stallions all over the place. They don't destroy anything, but they do have plenty of places that are for them like a 6 tiered cat shelving system that is carpeted (they can climb and scratch), several scratching posts, a window perch, and a cat tree. I can't not expect them to be cats so I give them plenty of places they can release their playfulness and need to mark, scratch, tear at, etc.

She will calm down in a few months, but you need to teach her now what is acceptable and what is not, or else she will continue the same behavior into adulthood since she won't know any better....baby steps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Reviving this thread, she was better behaved for a while and is now getting worse. She has become very fond of batting objects off of tables, then chasing them if they roll, often at high speed. Sometimes she just runs at high speed. I try to stop her each time, but it's not easy. I also try to tire her out with play.

Recently, she's broken a few dishes, some picture frames and last night a rather nice lamp. She also leaves scratch marks on wood furniture as she runs over or jumps on them.

What would you suggest?

1) Time outs. Would you suggest consistently confining her to a small room when she misbehaves? If so, for just five minutes or longer? How long

She makes a lot of noise when confined and I'm concerned that letting her out after five minutes will make her think we're reacting to the noise.

2) Yelling, spraying with water, moving her away from things she's attacking.

3) More play to burn off energy. Her favorite play is chasing balls or toy mice. We leave toys out and she seems happy to play herself, so I'm not sure what more we can do

4) More positive reinforcement. She only wants to be petted when she asks for it by stretching out on the floor. At other times, she resists being petted or held.

She does like to eat cat treats.

5) More play areas. We don't really have room for a 6 tiered carpeted cat shelving system. She has scratching posts and window sills. When she's in crazed mode she zooms over everything. When she's calmer she seems to have enough areas to jump on.

6) Other?
 

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The absolute last thing I would try would be timeouts, followed by squirt guns. This really is normal behavior. In fact my 2 (7 mos) are going through the same stuff. It seems like the louder the bang of something falling the more they enjoy it. It really is far more effective to use positive reinforcement if at all possible to extinguish a negative behavior. It does take time (sometimes a lot of it), persistance, and creativity to alter what we consider bad behavior but what the cat sees as play or attention receiveing. Moving her away is good and giving her an accptable toy (redirection), &/or more play is probably best. Try getting her to play until she stops, then wait 3-5 min and play again. Cats usually will play 3-4 times with the little breaks in between the play time getting longer and play time shorter. The kitty will finally refuse play and usually remove itself from the situation. Now you have a tired cat! Cat treats are great to reinforce good behavior. How about leash training her? Taking her for a walk right before bed followed by play might do the trick. Remember that cats are nocturnal and if you're gone during the day there is probably a lot of sleep going on during those hours of the day. She does want to interact with you and not just play by herself. GL B
 

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I am so glad I have more then one cat, Gypsy can be energetic.. she will wrestle with one cat til thy tire just to turn around and wrestle with another til they tire out. THEN still wants to chase the laser pointer. She is now 11 months old and is taking longer naps :D She has yet to actually break anything but she carries stuff off.

If it is possible maybe you can consider fostering a like high energy kitten for a short time to help bleed off the excess energy? I know you said you don't have a lot of room, but its a thought with all the rescues and shelters about to be swamped with kitten season.

Remember that cats are nocturnal
Actually most cats are crepuscular. being most active at dawn and dusk. :eek:rcat
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I'm concerned that distracting her with toys teaches her that one way to get attention and play is to do something "bad."

The main concern is breaking things. Some of what she tries to knock over or does bat to the floor is fragile, such as lamps, small dishes, assorted decorative stuff.

We spend a fair amount of time playing with her when she's awake during the day (there's usually someone with her most of the day). As I mentioned, she likes chasing balls or toy mice (I just ordered 60 zanies rainbow mice, as she's managed to lose a fair number), so we throw those around for her to chase.

Timeouts are losing effectiveness. Initially she screamed and tore things up. Now she often takes a nap or stays long after the door is open. Timeouts have the advantage of distracting her - after four or five rounds of her doing something untowards, removing her, etc., a timeout seems to make her forget what she was doing.

She's very fond of treats. The question is what behavior deserves a treat. I don't want her to learn (1) do something bad, (2) ..., (3) get a treat.

I'm also concerned with her biting cords (which I realize is normal). She recently chewed through a plugged-in phone charging cord when no one was around. Electricity and cats does not seem the best mix.
 

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we're having a problem with our kitties jumping up on the counter and biting up my plants. So i've researched this thoroughly and we're going to be using Grannick's bitter apple, a non toxic bitter apple spray that kitties do NOT like the taste of. you can spray it on hands if she's a nipper, i'm going to spray it on the house plants. I've seen many reviews of people who have sprayed it on their children's hands, arms, on their furniture, their plants and of course dangerous cords, so that kitties don't bite up your favorite things. Try that...
 

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So in light of this, I have a year old cat that does a lot of the same things. Since she was a shelter cat, I can only assume that her previous owners were not disciplined enough to train a kitten NOT to do things. Our biggest problem with her is my chair, when someone sits in it she likes to scratch at it and bite the hand that's sitting in it. When we say no, or snap at her (I've trained plenty of kittens with the snap and no) she just jumps up at the hand. -_-. I love Pinky to death, but this has caused me so much trouble.
Feliway (or whatever that stuff is called) is about the only thing I can think of at this point, but I cannot afford it. How do you train a grown up cat to behave?
Also, some of it is her personality, she's young at heart, and really has not stopped growing. She's like a teenaged adult :p.
 

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There is a 100% foolproof answer to her breaking things. Put them away. I know, I know. We all love having our pretty candles and crystal decorations and pictures out for everyone to see, but until she settles down, they must go into the black hole your cat cannot get into. I even had to take my favorite painting off the wall because one of the bratz could stand on the back of my sofa and scratch at it.

They still break things once in a great while, but it's my fault. I left a bowl out on the counter and they were running through the house after I went to bed. It's weird how you can be lying in bed, sound asleep, and know the difference between hearing something break and hearing something shatter into thousands of tiny shards you know you'll still be finding pieces of in six months.

I would actually prefer my little monkeys flying through the house than having cats who just sit around.
 

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Snickers likes to play at 4 am she will bite my fingers. I found if i just hold them still and don't play along she will quit.
 
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