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Old January 5th, 2009, 09:13 AM
afxwinter afxwinter is offline
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My Cat Will Not Learn!

I don't know what's wrong with my cat, but I do know he's not unintelligent.

He is just extremely persistent and obstinate with certain behaviors that I've been trying to train him to stop doing. He used to crawl into my entertainment unit which my tv sits on top of and rummage around where the wires are which could be dangerous and damage things, so I blocked it off so he can't get back there and now he will jump up on top of it in front of the tv over and over again. He also bites ankles and hands when he's not in a docile mood even though we've never used our limbs as toys, he has enough actual toys that we always felt he doesn't need human flesh toys He also chews on wires occasionally which worries me greatly. I have used the bitter taste spray on any wires I see teeth marks in.

I spray him with a water bottle as punishment or I'll put him in solitary (give him a timeout in the bathroom where his litter is) for a few minutes. I also speak harshly to him while I'm spraying or putting him in the bathroom with a stern voice saying NO or STOP GOING UP THERE or BAD CAT! I refuse to strike my cat because I want to keep a strong bond between the two of us. I do however pick him up by the scruff of his neck any time I need to take him away from something bad he's done.

I can't think of what I'm doing wrong, it just seems like negative reinforcement will not work on this cat. I'm pretty sure he's doing it to get my attention, but I don't want to give him attention as a response to something negative he's doing. I'll give him attention when he does something positive like bring me one of his toys that he likes me to throw for him to play fetch or when he wants to lay in my arms and be pet. He is extremely sweet when he's not full of beans. I love him dearly and appreciate his energy, but I need to somehow control where he expends it, be it his scratching post or playing with his toys.
Am I doing everything right and is there more I can do to stop any undesirable behavior he's doing? He's recently learned how to open cupboards and can get in where my cleaning supplies are which I want to put a stop to. He's our one and only indoor cat with all shots and bloodwork completed and passed with flying colors. He's a year old now and I'm not sure if this is behavior he'll grow out of when he's not a kitten anymore. Any help would be appreciated!

Last edited by afxwinter; January 5th, 2009 at 09:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old January 5th, 2009, 09:29 AM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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ok so two things why is he trying to get your attention ? what does he want? and whhy does he like the entertianment center maybe its warm ?

os for the cup boards sounds like a trip to tje jearware store is in order for some lock downs

lol cats can be such pErsistant little buggers

whats his name btw/?
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  #3  
Old January 5th, 2009, 09:38 AM
afxwinter afxwinter is offline
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His name's Dexter.

I think he is trying to distract me from the tv for sure. As for why? I think he needs a LOT of attention. If he trots over with one of his toys I'll always toss it for him so he can fetch it and bring it back and he knows the way that works, but as for getting my attention by jumping in front of the tv? I've tried picking him up and petting him when he does that but he's not in a docile mood at that point, so it's hard to tell what he wants. He's always got fresh food and water so I know that's not the issue, it just seems that he wants to be the center of attention regardless of if he gets positive or negative attention unfortunately.
Can I get locks for cupboards that have no handles?
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Old January 5th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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He may not look like a kitten anymore, but he is. He has reached his "teenage years" , and you know what those are like. Full of the devil. .

The water bottle and bitter spray is a good idea, picking him up by the scruff could hurt him, though, you could pull his shoulder muscles.

It sounds like he is bored and has a lot of energy to spend, so you have two choices that may help him "behave".

1. Play with him a lot to tire him out, or;
2. Get him a playmate that is about the same age as him to keep him occupied.

BTW male cats at this age are very social.
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Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:02 AM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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lol l4 good points you got to wear him out
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  #6  
Old January 5th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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badger badger is offline
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I feel your pain

Your cat is a brat. It is comparable to adolescence and yes, in a way he is testing you, but it is probably not as deliberate as it seems. At that age, they are absolutely driven to play and explore the limits of their universe.

I'm not big on negative reinforcement, beyond the loud NO and the bum's rush. Unless there is a fight brewing, I never time-out my cats because I honestly don't think it works (except for me ). And I disagree that distracting him in the moment with a toy will only invite the same behaviour. On the contrary, you would be re-directing his attention to activities you encourage. Correct quickly, and then distract.

There's also an element of boredom. Is he alone all day? Since he is young and foolish, the best antidote is play, as exhausting as possible. Are there places he can climb, such as one of those cat trees? You've probably noticed that they love to climb. Can you hang a bird feeder near a window? Provide him with distractions that are acceptable and cat-proof the rest. If he jumps on the TV, is it likely to fall? Sometimes if you let them explore safely, they eventually lose interest (counter-intuitive, I know).

I recently I put hook-and-eye latches on the kitchen cupboards. Problem solved. Closet doors are kept closed. They love closets - I almost wish I had a spare one just for the cats - but it's too risky.

One of those big tubes that accommodate as many loose electric wires as needed would be a good investment.

In other words, rather than waiting around for him to get it, make your living space as cat-friendly as possible. This is his space, too, one he cannot leave.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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Tundra_Queen Tundra_Queen is offline
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It does sound like he needs a place to climb. I have a couple of cat trees in our house and also have one room that has wide shelves with outdoor carpeting on them so my two 8 month olds can get up there and run around. It wasn't hard to set them up and the carpeting on them is so they don't slip.

Also, sounds like u need to get an interactive toy to play with him, not just throwing a toy. He needs mental simulus like "hunting" a interactive toy will give him.You need to move the toy like it is prey.

I have heard that first they hunt, (interactive toy) then they eat, then they sleep.

A good book to read is Think Like a Cat by Pam Bennett Johnson...or Pam Johnson Bennett. Can never remember the order of her name, but she is a cat behaviourlist that has written quite a few books about cats and has good tips.

Good luck!

Debbie
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  #8  
Old March 14th, 2009, 12:58 PM
cell cell is offline
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I agree with Tundra when I saw this I immediately thought about a TV show I saw once with a family with unruly cats, so they created a cat room with climing apparatus and even carpetted the walls, although wall carpet might not be a great idea you could consider getting a big board and putting carpet on it and attaching it to the wall for stratching and climbing on and also adding a cat climbing apparatus with a up high area and bed for kitty to enjoy, some cats like to be up high so they can observe their surroundings, you could also hang some springy toys and crinkly things and other things like that to play with. It would not be expensive to get the small ammount of carpet that would be needed for a project like this and it could be lots of fun!
A window perch may also be appreciated by kitty so he has the oppertunity to look outside, and putting a bird feeder outside the window could add additional stimulation, its better then kitty TV.

Lazer pointers also = fun, good for lazy people

Last edited by cell; March 14th, 2009 at 01:08 PM.
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  #9  
Old March 14th, 2009, 01:17 PM
pattymac pattymac is offline
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Ah yes the typical young male kitty...I've had a few of those. My 8 year old still has kitten moments. He has a thing for cupboard doors and I have elastics on most of them. He knows he can't open them but likes to bang them and be annoying. I found one of the best cat entertainment toys is one of those wands with the toy on the end. You can sit and fling it around and get him chasing and leaping. Better at tiring them out a bit then throwing a ball for him. My guys all love boxes and paper bags to hide in and sleep in. Still do, if I get a fairly large box pretty much as soon as I take whatever was in it out, I have a cat in it. Grow him some cat grass (oats) that will give him something to chew on. My one cat really enjoys the real chicken jerky you can get for dogs, he used to be a wire chewer before I got him. I think it was boredom, too much going on here for him to be bored.

My one cat also had a bit of an attitude and he loved fairly large stuffed toys and would attack and shred them..better that than my arms! Put some catnip on it and let him play with it. See if that helps. Give him something else to take his kitty aggression out on.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 09:44 PM
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Luvmypitgirls Luvmypitgirls is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
He may not look like a kitten anymore, but he is. He has reached his "teenage years" , and you know what those are like. Full of the devil. .

The water bottle and bitter spray is a good idea, picking him up by the scruff could hurt him, though, you could pull his shoulder muscles.

It sounds like he is bored and has a lot of energy to spend, so you have two choices that may help him "behave".

1. Play with him a lot to tire him out, or;
2. Get him a playmate that is about the same age as him to keep him occupied.

BTW male cats at this age are very social.
I agree with the picking him up by the scruff of the neck, it's not a good idea. I was told by my vet that not only could it hurt his shoulder muscles, but you can actually tear tissue under the skin.
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  #11  
Old March 17th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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catlover2 catlover2 is offline
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This thread was started on Jan. 5th, so I imagine OP (afxwinter)has solved her problems?

I just wish OP's would report back with an update on whether suggestions worked or not---that way everyone learns. Some do give an update, but a lot don't.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 03:56 PM
afxwinter afxwinter is offline
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Sorry it took me so long to update!
To be honest, he hasn't really improved very much.
I never leave anything with thin wires out anymore as it's guaranteed he'll chew through them.
He still jumps in front of the tv and actually scratches at the screen now.
The worst habit he now has is that he will meow at my bedroom door to try to wake me up at the same time I usually wake up for work on the weekends or if I'm on holidays so sleeping in is never an option.
He'll actually throw himself at the door or the nearby closet door to make even louder noises and jolt me up from sleep.
I'm trying to be consistant with my punishment by yelling NO and spraying him with a water bottle every time he does this but it's clearly not going to work with him.
I'm now thinking of getting a second cat in hopes that he won't be as bored or reliant on me as he currently is.
What do you think?
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  #13  
Old July 9th, 2012, 04:18 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by badger View Post
I feel your pain

Your cat is a brat. It is comparable to adolescence and yes, in a way he is testing you, but it is probably not as deliberate as it seems. At that age, they are absolutely driven to play and explore the limits of their universe.

I'm not big on negative reinforcement, beyond the loud NO and the bum's rush. Unless there is a fight brewing, I never time-out my cats because I honestly don't think it works (except for me ). And I disagree that distracting him in the moment with a toy will only invite the same behaviour. On the contrary, you would be re-directing his attention to activities you encourage. Correct quickly, and then distract.

There's also an element of boredom. Is he alone all day? Since he is young and foolish, the best antidote is play, as exhausting as possible. Are there places he can climb, such as one of those cat trees? You've probably noticed that they love to climb. Can you hang a bird feeder near a window? Provide him with distractions that are acceptable and cat-proof the rest. If he jumps on the TV, is it likely to fall? Sometimes if you let them explore safely, they eventually lose interest (counter-intuitive, I know).

I recently I put hook-and-eye latches on the kitchen cupboards. Problem solved. Closet doors are kept closed. They love closets - I almost wish I had a spare one just for the cats - but it's too risky.

One of those big tubes that accommodate as many loose electric wires as needed would be a good investment.

In other words, rather than waiting around for him to get it, make your living space as cat-friendly as possible. This is his space, too, one he cannot leave.
Animals do not act like brat, they act like animals. Cats loves to climb into small spaces and take a nap. The OP could get a cat some boxes or a cat cubby house to play and sleep in . It does not help to yell at animals or give them time out by putting them in a room . They do not know why you're doing this. They're not furry little kids , they're animals.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:53 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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Have you ever tried taking packing tape and making a long loop with it and sticking it in front of the tv or anywhere you don't want him to jump? Duct tape would be good, too. My cats won't step on it once it is in place because its too sticky. Doesn't look too good, but might be worth a try. As far as him waking you up too early, could it be hes hungry, and if you left a big plate of food out before you go to bed that would satisfy him?
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Old July 10th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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ownedbycats ownedbycats is offline
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Another cat might help. There are some steps to take to make sure they get along, though.
1) Find a cat who has a similar energy level to the one you already have, and is close in age. A cat too much older and slower, or younger and more fragile, could get hurt or annoyed by a rambunctious cat, even if he isn't trying to hurt.
2) set up a separate room for the new cat, wiith food and litter. Don't introduce the two cats immediately. Let them spend time sniffing each other under the door, possibly feeding one on one side, and one on the other, so they associate each other with good things. pet on cat and then go out and pet the other, mingling scents. It may take several days before the cats are calm enough to introduce to each other. Be patient and don't rush. If the cats are rushed into meeting, and an argument ocurrs it will be much harder to get them to get along later.
On a happier note, if you do find a compatible companion for your cat, they can have great fun together. My two boys occasionally look like they are fighting for real, but they are never injured and the "fights" usually begin or end with one or the other getting a lick on the head. They chase each other and wrestle, and wear each other out.
They will always want some attention from you, but it may be a more reasonable amount and not "Every moment you are here must be spent entertaining me"
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Old July 10th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afxwinter View Post
Sorry it took me so long to update!
To be honest, he hasn't really improved very much.
I never leave anything with thin wires out anymore as it's guaranteed he'll chew through them.
He still jumps in front of the tv and actually scratches at the screen now.
The worst habit he now has is that he will meow at my bedroom door to try to wake me up at the same time I usually wake up for work on the weekends or if I'm on holidays so sleeping in is never an option.
He'll actually throw himself at the door or the nearby closet door to make even louder noises and jolt me up from sleep.
I'm trying to be consistant with my punishment by yelling NO and spraying him with a water bottle every time he does this but it's clearly not going to work with him.
I'm now thinking of getting a second cat in hopes that he won't be as bored or reliant on me as he currently is.
What do you think?
I like the idea as long as they are well suited to each other, in other words both high energy cats, or "brats" as badger calls them . Perhaps a male between 9 & 18 months. You will find they will occupy each other and tire themselves out.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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Old July 10th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingdog View Post
Animals do not act like brat, they act like animals. Cats loves to climb into small spaces and take a nap. The OP could get a cat some boxes or a cat cubby house to play and sleep in . It does not help to yell at animals or give them time out by putting them in a room . They do not know why you're doing this. They're not furry little kids , they're animals.
Oh, badger is very, very well aware of cat personalities. She is a wonderful cat rescuer that has done so much for so many homeless cats. . Sadly she moved out west and has not come back to the forum
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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Old July 10th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ownedbycats View Post
My two boys occasionally look like they are fighting for real, but they are never injured and the "fights" usually begin or end with one or the other getting a lick on the head. They chase each other and wrestle, and wear each other out.
That is how my Jasper and Sweet Pea "play". Holy smokes you would think Jasper was killing her the way she reacts (lots of hissing & growling) , then when he turns his back she attacks him .
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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