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Help! At wits end. Destructive Cat

Snugglebug
December 7th, 2008, 12:03 AM
(first off im SO sorry its a long read, im so close to cracking, i need advice badly...)

I know I know you are probably thinking "he must pee on the bed or scratch the sofa..."

I wish it was that simple, im at wits end, I seriously am starting to despise even catching a glimpse of this cat in the house...and hes our indoor cat.

Well. some info... hes 1yr old DSH, neutered, all shots. I have taken him for full bloodwork, urine and fecal tests to rule out any health problems (the vet now thinks im paranoid for wasting so much money on a healthy cat) he is perfectly healthy.

I dont know whats wrong, or what we are doing wrong. He has done well over $3000+ of property damage in the 9 months we have had him. he has destroyed our couch, the walls from clawing, torn apart multiple pairs of expensive shoes, chewed apart the legs on both our computer desks/coffee table/dining room table, destroyed most the books on our bookshelf (have you ever seen a cat tear into a book with a vendetta like a starved rottweiler) he has also pulled apart the zippers on our clothing, uprooted our plants, ripped holes in cardboard storage boxes we bought to hide stuff from him, chewwed up the backs and armrests of our expensive computer chairs, broken all the balls on our christmas tree, torn apart the garlands, and even pulled a pack of new coffee filters off the counter and tore them up...that doesnt even include the food damage

to this day we have lost over a dozen loaves of bread, an entire flat of kraft dinner (what kind of cat shredds a crate and then the individual boxes?), multiple boxes of cereal, a 40 box of granola bars, bags of chips, bags of candy, a bowl of apples (and broke the bowl), a jug of fresh milk between our trips to the car, so much stuff i cant even remember...OH and that time he discovered he could get into the cupboards and we came home to everything imagineable torn up around the house from packets of gravy, to waffle mix, cake mix, chocolate chips...and bags of rice and potatoes...Did i mention he will even pull food off our plates or out of the frying pan if im not watching for a split second...

there is actually so much stuff i have forgotten...and he never eats any of it surprisingly...he just tears it up and spreads it around the house. We had to clean up cheese and noodles for a week after he got into the flat of kraft dinner, there is still cheese stains on the walls.

What kind of cat has to destroy everything that his teeth can sink into...just because he can? without even trying to eat any of it? what are we doing wrong?

we dont have any extra closet space in our condo from all the stuff we have had to hide from him so we have to stack our clothing in neat piles on a shelving unit in our room, if he gets in there he pulls all the clothing out and rips holes into it. so at night when we lock him out (the other cats dont complain at being locked out) he will yowl all night...4-6 hours straight, like we are trying to kill him. we dont get any sleep from that. when he does get quiet hubby finally falls asleep and thats when i CANT sleep cause it means hes into something...and 9-10 times he is finding something he can tear up (even if its a new newspaper) I havent slept more than an hour or two at a time in all the months we have had him and my health is really starting to fall apart because of it. my husband works 12 hour shifts, half days, half nights.

it has gotten so bad that I have had to start sleeping on the couch/awake on the computer when hes about to start a day shift (he starts at 5am) just so i can keep "baby" quiet and out of trouble long enough for hubby to get atleast 4 hours sleep...

my health is getting so bad im sick alot, hot sweats, fevers, woozy in the head, doc put me on antidepressants and anxiety meds cause i was so terrified of him getting us evicted...

oh and the monkey wrench in all this is we took him to a behaviorist last month and the lady said he was "probably bored"...bored? he has two massive expensive cat trees, hundreds of toys, 2 other cats that love to play and windows he can sit in all day to watch the people and the birds...how else am i supposed to make him "not bored"

PLEASE HELP ME!

im trying to be a good kitty mommy and hold out...but im so close to losing it. hubby and i are even fighting alot about him and our relationship used to be so good...

ADVICE PLEASE!

Snugglebug
December 7th, 2008, 12:11 AM
oh yeah and i forgot to add hes also extremely cruel to one of our cats who is mentally handicapped, shes covered in scabs and scars from him attacking her, yet when hes not attacking her he will sleep beside her...

i just dont know what to do, hes so sweet and loving to everyone, even strangers.

(i also forgot to mention im an at home wife, he has my undivided attention when im home)

badger
December 7th, 2008, 12:20 AM
So when you do interact with him, how does he do? Does he rip into either of you or the other cats? Will he cuddle? Was he like this from the beginning?
I must say this is beyond me. I admire your patience, if he were mine he might just find himself in a snowbank :laughing:
Did the vet ever suggest medication? because if everything else comes up healthy perhaps he has a neurological problem which can't be fixed but only mitigated.

So he's sweet and loving when he has your undivided attention and then when you turn your back he loses it?

Snugglebug
December 7th, 2008, 12:33 AM
So when you do interact with him, how does he do? Does he rip into either of you or the other cats? Will he cuddle? Was he like this from the beginning?
I must say this is beyond me. I admire your patience, if he were mine he might just find himself in a snowbank :laughing:
Did the vet ever suggest medication? because if everything else comes up healthy perhaps he has a neurological problem which can't be fixed but only mitigated.

So he's sweet and loving when he has your undivided attention and then when you turn your back he loses it?


Hes very gentle with my husband and myself and all our guests. he is very good to our alpha female only beats up badly on our handicapped female. hes a huge mushbucket and if he sees an open lap he will suck up to you with his big eyes until you let him up. he has always been this way.

the Vet said that if a cat suffers from neurological or mental problems it will show in other ways, cleanliness or lack of it...strange behavior, seperation anxieties etc...and we have a mentally handicapped cat, we are very familiar with the symptoms of neurological issues.

but needless to say, he sold me some Feliway and i tried it for awhile and nothing changed.

we try hard not to be cruel, to bite our tongues because a hard hand doesnt teach anyone anything. but im so close to just snapping and dropping him off at the shelter...the only thing holding me back is im afraid he would be PTS...and as much as I hate him at this point, i could never live with myself if i found out no one wanted him and he was PTS...

I just want to come home with all my stuff in one piece...and i want to be able to sleep at night, its all i ask

badger
December 7th, 2008, 02:28 AM
I'm not sure if I agree with your vet. Why not try a mild tranquilizer and see if there is any change. One of our members (ancientgirl) used a transdermal medication which you apply to the inside of the cat's ear, no need for pilling and I have heard it delivers the medication more effectively. If it has a positive effect, at least you would know you were on the right track.
Also, you might try separating him from the other cats, if only to give the handicapped one a little peace of mind. Could this be simple jealousy? maybe he just needs to be an only 'child' :D
Feliway doesn't work for everyone so I wouldn't take that as any kind of proof.
Rescue Remedy (a herbal calmant in the Bach herbal remedies line, available at health food stores and some grocery chains) can be added to the communal water bowl. Some people have good results from this.
Unless you were lucky enough to find an extremely patient and resourceful rescue group, I doubt if he would be considered adoptable in his current 'state' and might therefore be at risk.

Snugglebug
December 7th, 2008, 02:47 AM
thanks for the heads up. im going to go look for this "rescue remedy" tommorow, maybe that will help things. this little boy has cost us so much money in vet bills and the expensive visit to the behaviorist (not to mention having to replace all the stuff he has destroyed) that we cant really be affording many more vet visits or expensive vet prescriptions...

heres crossing our fingers and hoping this rescue remedy will work.

how many drops do you suppose i should add to their 1L water bowl?

chico2
December 7th, 2008, 08:08 AM
WOW,I have never heard anything like this before about a kitty,at first I thought you were talking bout a Jack Russel:laughing:
I know,it's not a laughing matter,I think he is one kitty that would need some kind of calming meds.
I use Feli-Way for spraying cats and it works,it however took a long time to take effect and your kitty does not do that.
He sounds like a wonderful cat otherwise,so I can understand your dilemma.
I too have a problem(at times)kitty whom I love very much,giving up on him,is just not an option.
I sincerely hope you will find a solution:pray:

krdahmer
December 7th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Wow... this sounds aweful for you all. Only one thing came to mind when reading all this, odd man out. I know some of us joke about always having cats in pairs but I really believe there is something too it. My inlaws had three kittens, and two would gang up on the third... until they added another or subtracted the third. Would trying a new addition be a possible for you? And have you tried any of the pheramone products like Feliway yet?

Snugglebug
December 7th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Yeah ill probably go grab some more feliway today and try it out again as well...heres hoping...

think i can use both the feliway and rescue remedy?

he isnt really an odd man out, id say him and my alpha female clicked. if anything my handicapped girl got excluded...but she doesnt realise much so it doesnt bother her. she just kinda exists in her own dreamy la-la land where everything is butterflies and buttercups with her

sugarcatmom
December 7th, 2008, 02:14 PM
think i can use both the feliway and rescue remedy?


Yup, no problem there. Did you use the Feliway spray or diffuser before? The diffuser might be more effective overall, but it might also take up to a month before you notice it working. I would get both the spray and a couple of diffusers for the 2 rooms he spends the most time in. Spray the Feliway everyday on the surfaces that you don't want him scratching, like walls, furniture, etc. You can also use stuff like tinfoil or Sticky Paws to (hopefully) deter him from jumping on/in to things you don't want him to.

Something else to think about is establishing a routine. Regularly scheduled meals, set play-times (especially just before you go to bed to try to tire him out - laser pointers and feather wands can be good for that), grooming sessions at the same time every day. Many cats thrive on predictability and perhaps your husband working shift work is causing him some stress. Plus, he is at a typically hooligan age in his life, it's very likely that he will grow out of it eventually.
http://cats.about.com/od/attentionseeking/a/meow_attention.htm
http://www.purrfectcatbehavior.com/over_attachement.html

This might sound crazy, but what does he eat?

catlover2
December 7th, 2008, 03:49 PM
This is a bizarre story, I can't honestly say I've ever heard of a cat being so utterly destructive as your guy. At a year old he should be growing out of this kind of behaviour, but it seems he's developed an appetite for tearing stuff apart. The suggestion to keep him in a schedule is good. Most animals like a routine and cats are no exception. Always feed him at the same time. Discourage his bad behaviour if you catch him in the act of tearing something apart with a squirt from a water gun or spray bottle. Doing this after the act won't help. This is a very serious situation for you! Your health is more important than this cat, believe me, so I would get a large dog crate, and that's where he stays at night, or if you have to go out and he's unsupervised. You've got to be the "alpha cat" in the household! Get him used to the crate by always feeding him in it, or giving him a little treat in it, so he associates it with something good. Make a big fuss over him in the crate, petting him & talking to him sweetly, so that he thinks this is his "special place". Put in a small litter pan at night with him, and an old towel or blanket that you don't care about on some newspapers. Make sure the cage is not in a draft and is in a room where he would normally sleep, like living room, preferably not anywhere near your bedroom. He may fuss for a while, but just ignore him. Hopefully he'll get the message that his tearing up stuff is only tolerated in the crate, and he'll be happy enough with this arrangement. Hopes this works. Good luck!

catlover2
December 8th, 2008, 05:07 PM
Snugglebug, some additional thoughts on "Conan the Destroyer" as I'll call him. You have done nothing wrong. Do not beat yourself up over this cat! You have done waay more than most people would put up with. You had him thoroughly checked out by the vet. I think it's just his personality. Some cats are sneaky, like snatching something off your plate, when you're not looking. Maybe he was never reprimanded for bad behaviour when he was a kitten? I think his tearing up of stuff is an obsession with him and his way of amusing and playing by himself. This is something that probably won't change immediately, but as he grows older he'll likely grow out of it. I suggest you give him a few things you approve that he can tear up, e.g. empty cardboard egg carton. But he should get a strong reprimand "NO!" when he goes after anything else you don't approve of. In spite of all this he sounds like a very nice lovemush of a cat. He's very attention seeking and he demands this, and when he's behaving well you should give him lots of attention and sweet talk. If you have to reprimand him, never give him attention right afterwards. Cats are intelligent and I really do think they like their owner to be happy with them. Your health and wellbeing, and that of your husband's is of utmost importance. If it comes to the point that you can't put up with "Conan" 's destructiveness any more, remember there are no-kill shelters that will take him, and he wouldn't be PST (put to sleep) as you say, I prefer the word "euthanized." Do let us know what works and what doesn't with this unusual cat, and I still think "crating" him is a good idea at night and when you're not at home.

14+kitties
December 8th, 2008, 06:09 PM
While I do agree with catlover about the crate I do not agree with putting newspapers in there with him to let him rip them up. He will still think it is ok for him to rip up other papers and items when he is not crated.
Do you give him catnip? It is possible he may settle a little if he got some nip. Some cats love it and it sometimes has a calming affect on them. Sometimes, not all the time.

I always have at least one crate set up in the house at all times. It contains a litter box, blankets, and a couple of small toys. The youngest kitties spend their nights in the crate. They know when it's bedtime and head in willingly. Give it a shot. You never know, it may be enough to calm him.

I would also still go with the Feliway spray and diffuser.

Snugglebug
December 9th, 2008, 12:55 PM
Well today I woke up to find our big metal garbage can knocked over in our kitchen, something he has never done before. the garbage bag was shredded and Sunomono noodles were spread all over the house as well as other gross trash. as well as him having gotten into my purse and tearing up all my papers and reciepts.

I couldnt find any feliway when I went hunting for it today, the place that carried it before isnt carrying it anymore. Not noticing a huge improvement with the Rescue Remedy yet but that could take some time i suppose.

We are going to get him a crate today, i hope that helps a little bit...well i would imagine it would help alot actually LOL.

but on a depressing note, hubby leapt out of bed the other night to deal with him at like 3am and tripped over said cat and wrenched his back...its been 3 days and his back still makes it impossible for him to lift or bend without pain...poor guy. i think hes finally starting to realise just what i have to deal with day and night (i just hope his back feels better in time for work...)

phoozles
December 9th, 2008, 02:49 PM
Wow :eek: You have a lot to deal with. I have an extraordinarily hyper cat as well (about the same age as yours as well), but while she'll rip into any type of food you can think of (including food in your own hand), as long as it is locked away, she's fine. You should really commend yourself for your patience - a lot of people in your position would have ditched the cat long ago. :grouphug:

If you are thinking of going the medicated route, I have to tell you that it's not that expensive.. I have another cat (a stray mother we took in), who's on a drug called Clomicalm and it only costs around $25 a month. She's halfway through her second month, and the change has been remarkable (this was an aggressive cat, not the one that rips food apart). We also keep her separate from the other two cats - and will until we feel comfortable.

You really need to have Feliway for at least a month and a half before you give up on it - it takes at least four weeks to kick in, as others have mentioned.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

chico2
December 9th, 2008, 03:55 PM
Snugglebug,Feli-Way is not available here in any store,I don't know where you are,the vet used to sell it,but at incredible prices,maybe they still do.For some reason,all of a sudden it's not FDA approved,so I have to get mine off a lady at E-Bay.
Pet-Smart,Pet Value etc..sell something similar,but it does not work on spraying cats,maybe it would still help in your case.
It is really strange the way he behaves,I've never head anything like it,in all my 100yrs:laughing:of having cats.
Good Luck with the crate!!

Snugglebug
December 10th, 2008, 02:24 AM
hahaha thanks for the support guys! big time!

so we picked him up a medium sized dog crate today and have been putting him in it for brief periods of time all day with the support of treat rewards when he does well as well as leaving it open when he isnt in it. the other cats think its like this amazing new home and wont let him in it when the door is open so he acts all "special" when he gets to go in AND gets treats.

Lets see how tonight goes, my hope is that (like dinner) with positive reinforcement he will put himself in the crate at night when we start getting ready for bed so that he can get his "treat"...

But my fear is that some of his habits have gotten in to my handicapped girl. she is FOOD OBSESSED but was too dumb to realise that she could tear into things to get it so i could basically leave a loosly rolled bag of chips lying out and she would sit by it and stare but coule never figure out why it smelled so good like food. since "Baby" has been tearing into everything she has started to realise that "Tearing into" results in "food showing up infront of her"

I came home from renting a movie about 4 hours ago, Baby was asleep locked in his crate but my unopened mars bar was sitting torn up on the floor completely devoid of chocolate >.<

i can just imagine it now...us having three identical crates lined up in our living room for each of our three cats :rolleyes: just to keep them out of trouble...

but that would never happen with our alpha cat Sophie... she is FAAARRR to sophisticated to touch anything that might go in our mouths. She has stuck up her nose at any human food we have tried to see if she would eat (thank gawd for her...where did i go wrong with him and so right with her...)

chico2
December 10th, 2008, 06:46 AM
Hmmmmm,maybe Baby has an accomplice or someone who aims to get him in trouble,to make up for what he's done to her:cat:

14+kitties
December 10th, 2008, 07:00 AM
Just a warning...... chocolate is poisonous to cats. Please keep an eye on the one you think ate that bar. Also, Ms. Sophisticated........ don't put anything past her.
Good luck!
I will see if I can track down my pics of my set up in the kitchen.

Love4himies
December 10th, 2008, 07:10 AM
How did the crating work? My Jasper is an extremely hyper cat and would NOT do well in a crate, it would make him very agitated (he is about 6 years old) and IMO would be cruel to do to him.

Your kitty is still young and in his "teenage" years, he will settle as he gets older. I DO agree with your vet, he is bored and has lots of pent up energy. Although you have toys, they may not stimulate him enough. With Jasper, I have to "run" him everyday, like a dog, lol. I take him outside the same time every day (like sugarcatmom states, routine is soooo important for cats) and he runs and climbs trees. I actually chase him, then he will chase me. He zooms up and down trees. We do this for about 15 minutes, then he calms right down for the rest of the day.

I would also like to know what you are feeding your kitty. I personally think he would do very well on a raw diet that is not ground, but full chicken backs with bones that he can chew through, that would also help release some of his energy.

If my Sweet Pea eats cat food with carbs in it, even Wellness, she gets very aggitated with Puddles, she is on a potato and grain free diet (Nature's Variety Instinct). Made a world of difference in her personality ;).

Good luck.

catlover2
December 10th, 2008, 07:14 AM
snugglebug, you've done the right thing with getting "Baby" to go willingly in the crate. Good! :thumbs up I would not think a medium size one big enough to also have a small litter pan, that's why I suggested a large crate. So hope the size works out for you.
But it seems your handicapped girl isn't as much of a dim bulb as you thought. Cat-proof your house, as you would for a toddler, and make a habit of putting away any food items, or anything else you don't want cats to get into, that are lying around. :fingerscr and hope the chocolate doesn't make her sick. :pray: Keep us posted.

Snugglebug
December 10th, 2008, 01:41 PM
update since last night.

so he was great in his crate all night and i left out various "food items" to see if anyone would go after them to see if i had anyone else i needed to handle...

well all the food items were untouched exactly where i left them and he was quiet all night...i actually just woke up and i slept till.....11:30... WOW

(and the crate size was a medium DOG crate not a cat travel carrier, so its quite large)

thanks so much for the help guys! i hope this keeps up

badger
December 10th, 2008, 02:08 PM
I never would have thought of crating a cat on a regular basis but :thumbs up to you for trying it. I hope this is just the beginning of more long sleeps for everyone. The new arrangement could have a beneficial effect on your other cats as well. Peace will reign!
Rescue remedy tends to be pretty subtle so don't expect anything dramatic. But I'm convinced it works.

catlover2
December 10th, 2008, 04:25 PM
Gr8 news! let's hope "Baby" continues being a good boy in his crate. I'm glad you are able to get some good sleep now. :sleepy: