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Old 07-28-2008, 05:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Central Central Florida
Need some kitty discipline advice

So the grandkitties are approaching 16 weeks. My girls are actually doing what they promised. They feed them, brush them, play with them, scoop and clean the litter.

I've had two cats, one at a time, in the past and don't recall the issues we have with these. Perhaps because there are two in cahoots?

They've become extremely playful and insane. Throughout the day, they chase and fly and find annoying places to climb and ridiculously crazy things to do.

They climb the drapes, they walk on my desk, they've even found a way to the kitchen countertops. After they've eaten, if they're full, they pounce on the food, pull pawfuls to the floor and scoot and chase their food around the kitchen. They will shred the plastic liner in their litterbox after it's just been changed. They knock down wastebaskets in bathrooms, anything placed on the dining room table will be found on the floor ... the list goes on and on.

I had tried, when they began to misbehave, the firm voice, hoping they'd react like children and stop the mischief. When that didn't work, I brought out the heavy artillery. Since I couldn't find one of those old-fashioned little squirt guns, I have a relatively small "soaker" pistol that I'm not afraid to use.

This will get them to leave the site, but no matter how many times I've chased them down, they always go back. I think they think it's a game.

Bring it on, please. What's worked for you? At this point, I'm open to any new insight anyone can offer. HELP!
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm at my wits end with the two charges we have.

We are about to purchase a scat mat.

Contech Scat Mat Automatic Indoor Cat Training Mat - Repellents - PetSmart
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It seemed a little cruel at first, after watching the little video, but amazon reviewers seemed happy with it. Definitely something to consider, cyn.

Just one thing, though. What about the curtains? I don't want to keep them away from the floor nearby since I don't have a problem with them hanging by the sliders there.
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Last edited by jewels; 07-28-2008 at 06:05 AM..
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would have never considered it had I not seen a friend have one in their house and they explained what it was and how it was used.

I'm not sure what to do about the curtains. Our cats leave our curtains alone...
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There's a pet repellent spray that works pretty well. (The more mischievous one hates it while the calm one doesn't seem to care... but that's fine, he's not a bad kitty!)

Also, loud noises are a good one. I use a soda can with pennies in it. Scares the bejeesus out of them.

Perhaps a combo of punishment? Loud + squirt = sad kitties?

Also, remember, you just need to be consistent now. They are at their worst as kittens, and will be trying for quite some time until they settle down.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll second Jess's loud noises.

We're fortunate enough to have a small sunroom that has turned into the kitty room. If they're naughty when they're out and about in the house, they get put in the kitty room and lose their exploratory privileges for a while.

Also, play with them MORE. To the point of exhaustion. Our cats go crazy for a peacock feather I got at the pet store for 99 cents. It's really hard to do this, but sometimes you've got to in order to channel their energy--they're kittens, and so a lot of what they are doing is natural.

Oh, and cats HATE HATE HATE sticky things on their feet, so try lining some of the places you don't want them to go with double-sided tape. Works like a charm, I promise you. Cardboard/paperboard pieces sprayed with Craftbond spray adhesive will also keep cats off of larger surfaces you don't want to line with tape. They'll jump up there once, get sticky, hate it, and not go back for seconds. Couple this with your other reinforcement tactics, and you should see an improvement.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onesnowyowl View Post
Oh, and cats HATE HATE HATE sticky things on their feet, so try lining some of the places you don't want them to go with double-sided tape. Works like a charm, I promise you. Cardboard/paperboard pieces sprayed with Craftbond spray adhesive will also keep cats off of larger surfaces you don't want to line with tape. They'll jump up there once, get sticky, hate it, and not go back for seconds. Couple this with your other reinforcement tactics, and you should see an improvement.
my cats like to eat the tape. strange but true. they open up packages we recieve and boxes that have tape on them.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
my cats like to eat the tape. strange but true. they open up packages we recieve and boxes that have tape on them.
Weird!!!
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJess View Post
Also, remember, you just need to be consistent now. They are at their worst as kittens, and will be trying for quite some time until they settle down.
I've tried all the above. Each gets them down, but they seem to sneak back up. They know it's wrong 'cause they jump when they see me coming and I've been as consistent as possible. If I see it, I'm squirting, making noise, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by onesnowyowl
Oh, and cats HATE HATE HATE sticky things on their feet, so try lining some of the places you don't want them to go with double-sided tape. Works like a charm, I promise you. Cardboard/paperboard pieces sprayed with Craftbond spray adhesive will also keep cats off of larger surfaces you don't want to line with tape. They'll jump up there once, get sticky, hate it, and not go back for seconds. Couple this with your other reinforcement tactics, and you should see an improvement.
That sounds like something that might work. Haven't heard of that or tried it yet. I will be picking up some of that tape tomorrow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
my cats like to eat the tape. strange but true. they open up packages we recieve and boxes that have tape on them.
I have about a half-dozen open boxes here in the "office". The cats are forever chewing and pulling on the tape. I find pieces of it throughout the house.

Thank you all for the input. The tacky tape does sound promising. Both kitties are prissier than any cat I've had before. If that doesn't do it, I may have to go for the scat mat.
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you want to slow them down put a piece of tape on their backs. A little cruel, but they move at a crawl. Literally.

I should note I'm not being serious.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This might be useful:

Counter-Surfing Cats - How to Keep Cats off Your Counters

You can also try "Scruffing"

"'Scruff Him' - This is one of the most effective forms of discipline of cats. It mimics the punishment given a kitten by his mother when he became unruly. Grasp him by the scruff of the neck and firmly push him groundward, while saying "No!" in a firm tone of voice. Hold him in this position for only three or four seconds and release. Chances are, he'll slink away, thoroughly chastened, to bathe and recover his dignity. But he'll remember this lesson for a long time."
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Last edited by LoganSnake; 07-28-2008 at 02:17 PM..
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Try spanking or crating.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganSnake View Post
This might be useful:

Counter-Surfing Cats - How to Keep Cats off Your Counters

You can also try "Scruffing"

"'Scruff Him' - This is one of the most effective forms of discipline of cats. It mimics the punishment given a kitten by his mother when he became unruly. Grasp him by the scruff of the neck and firmly push him groundward, while saying "No!" in a firm tone of voice. Hold him in this position for only three or four seconds and release. Chances are, he'll slink away, thoroughly chastened, to bathe and recover his dignity. But he'll remember this lesson for a long time."
This is what I do to my cat and to Crompsin's cat when they've been bad. Chrissy tends to get pissed and run away, but her behavior is definitely modified afterward: she usually gets punished for biting, and when she wants to bite later instead she freezes or runs away. If she's on top of the counter where she doesn't belong, she gets picked up by the scruff (like a kitten) and placed where she's allowed to be. It tends to work.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganSnake View Post
"'Scruff Him' - This is one of the most effective forms of discipline of cats. It mimics the punishment given a kitten by his mother when he became unruly. Grasp him by the scruff of the neck and firmly push him groundward, while saying "No!" in a firm tone of voice. Hold him in this position for only three or four seconds and release. Chances are, he'll slink away, thoroughly chastened, to bathe and recover his dignity. But he'll remember this lesson for a long time."
Funny, my little one scruffs him with love. I'm not sure if I can handle scruffing them, but I'll definitely have her try that.

Jorge, I'm not too keen on crating them as punishment at this time and I'd never hit them.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Correction: Edit spanking to mean "scruffing". Thanks.

I stand by crating though (not as punishment but as a practical matter). You will save yourself a lot of hassle and damage if you crate your cats when you are away or unable to supervise them.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito View Post
I stand by crating though (not as punishment but as a practical matter). You will save yourself a lot of hassle and damage if you crate your cats when you are away or unable to supervise them.
I've done this with dogs and do believe it can be a good training tool.

As for the kitties, when we first rescued them, we were in an apartment, trying to keep them from damaging carpeting etc, they were kept locked in a bathroom all day long. They were still young enough that they spent most of the day sleeping, but I still didn't like having to do that.

We moved to the house when they were maybe close to eight weeks old and I was so glad they finally had some freedom. I can't see crating them, especially when they've been successfully taught to only use the kitty litter. They've only used a soft-sided crate the one time (so far) that they went to the vet. But I can't see them being forced to wait until someone gets home to use the litter.

It's more than that, though. Maybe it's me, but it just doesn't feel right to crate a cat.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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When it comes to crating cats.. yeah, to me it seems odd, too. But what might be helpful is getting a dog-sized crate that you can fit a small litterbox in. They can go in and use the litter inside the crate (every time they use it) and there's enough space in the rest of the crate for you to provide blankets/towels, toys, and a water bowl and food bowl for them if they've been bad and need a "time out." Keep them in there just long enough to regain your sanity.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:26 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
my cats like to eat the tape. strange but true. they open up packages we recieve and boxes that have tape on them.

One of my cats chews on the tape on packages, and another chews on the tape in tape dispensers and also eats postage stamps. The cat trained me by leaving many half-eaten sheets of stamps laying around.

Cats will get through this stage, but it can be infuriating. And some cats are much worse than others. The water pistol worked for me, but this only works if you are right there when the cat is misbehaving. The double-sided tape never worked because the cat would eat it. When the curtain climbing started I opened the curtains and pulled them to the side. If there are any cords hanging down I loop them over the top of the window. (This is to protect the cat from getting caught in the cord if the cat tries to jump or climb) To stop a behavior I use hand-clapping and a firm no. (Two or three loud claps with a firm No at the same time) My cats who are older now still respect this. Scruffing is used when male cats try to dominate each other. This is not really a discipline for kitten misbehavior. Young cats benefit from you playing with them every day until they collapse from exhaustion. This will prevent some of the bad behavior. I also have a couple of pieces of furniture that the cats know they can scratch and play on at their will. They know this, and they leave the other furniture alone. Cats trees are great, and the kittens love them. Of course, these things work for my cats and may not for yours. You have to experiment, but I do know and understand your frustrations at the moment. One of my cats was threatened repeatedly of being "returned". Now he is a bundle of love, but when he was a kitten it was monster time.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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We got kittens a year ago. My one line answer is: Be concise and firm when they're doing something wrong and extra supportive/loving when they're doing the things you like.

Don't ever punish them post-incident; they will link you with the bad feeling rather than whatever they did a while ago. You said they are rambunctious, your girls need to play with them until the kittens are tuckered out. If that's not possible make sure there are toys to play with! Store bought toys aren't necessary, string, twist-ties, cardboard boxes, and other things found around the house work really well.

A lot of monitoring will be needed at first, but with positive reinforcement for good things and a sharp NO! combined with stomping your foot really hard, at least with my kittens they now behave themselves the vast majority of the time.
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Old 08-24-2008, 03:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
my cats like to eat the tape. strange but true. they open up packages we recieve and boxes that have tape on them.
My kitty used to LOVE Scotch tape, he would smell it or hear it and come running. I thought my cat was the only goofball who did that. Aww I miss my Midnight R.I.P.

I used to spray a water bottle at him, that seemed to work sometimes. The times it didn't work was when he was really intent on scratching at something. He didn't care about loud noises he would lay in front of the vacuum. I also used to throw a tennis ball in his general direction, it would distract him and he'd start playing with it. But then again I had an unusual kitty, he would just lay there while my dad would sprinkle dirt on him.

He started as a feral kitten and then spent the first couple years of his life roaming my grams 2 acre yard. So by the time he came to live in my room there was really no enforcing of rules. He was a good kitty for his ~16 years of life.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The only thing that I have not seen covered on here yet is declawing. If you are against declawing your cats as many people are concerned about their cats getting out and defending themselves I can certainly understand.

You can also try either clipping their nails or buying the little caps for the nail tips. It is my understanding that the nail tips are a real pain and have to be replaced frequently and that can add up quickly. Little kittens have the sharpest claws and they grow pretty fast so you will have to trim them regularly to keep up with it. It will not solve all of your issues but it should keep them off of your drapes.

Clipping cats nails are really easy. You do not really even need a special trimmer to do so, a simple pair of sharp fingernail clippers should do just fine. Generally the vein is very clearly seen through their nails and easy to avoid. If you do end up nicking it by accident which can happen, just be sure to have some of the quick-stop handy. If you can't find quick-stop or similar products a simple application of flour or corn starch and pressure on the bleeding nail will stop any bleeding.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:44 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The problem I had when I had a kitten was that my dog would try to get into the covered, igloo-type litter pans, and eat the turds inside. Also she'd eat all the kitty's food...anyone know a way to stop this? That scat mat looks like it would be handy - only problem is it would deter the cat from those places as well.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:51 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Perhaps you can keep the litter box in a place the dog cannot access. On top of an end-table in the corner of a room?
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