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Long list of cat behaviors - time to fix them

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We've got two cats who are both two years old and get along great. They are indoor only cats and were both rescued at the age of 3 months old. They do have some behavior issues but both my wife and I have been so busy with work and training a new dog that we've let most of them slip.

Well it's now time for us to move in to our first house and we would like to take the time to correct these issues. What follows is a laundry list of behavioral issues, if anyone has had any success in correcting any of these in the past please let me know. Thank you!

1) Our cats both eat their dinner on the counter. They like to graze at their food, so if we put it on the ground our dog will eat it up.

2) Scratching. We're going to buy a few scratching posts and encourage them to play on these. If anyone has any other tips it would be greatly appreciated.

3) Climbing. One of our cats is a serious climber. What he likes to do is get a running start and jump onto the doorframe, digging his claws in and hanging on as long as he can. As a result many of our doorframes are torn up and require repair.

4) Not covering up in their litterbox. Neither of our cats cover up after themselves after they go, which is unpleasant if we go more than an hour without re-cleaning their litter box. One of our cats will make a scratching motion, but won't cover anything up. The other cat does not even bother.

Once again, I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone could give.
post #2 of 7
1. I personally have no problem with Persi being on the counter since I feel he is the cleanest body in the house.

2. and 3. You can pay a wide variety of prices (or build your own) cat condo with built in scratching post. I have seen many posts on this site that this has done the trick for. Also try the cheap, corrugate carboard shoe box size ones that just lay on the floor, Persi actually likes to use these better than the post.

4. Sombody will be along to answer this one, I am sure. I was told once this could be a sign of taking the kitten away from its mother before properly trained but I have no experience. I will say I got Persi too young, at age seven weeks, but he always covers everything. I have seen other responses to this question that solved the problem by actually "showing" the cat what to do, which is exactly what I did with Persi concerning his scratchers. I am talking here of actually taking their feet and showing them. Cats are a lot smarter than some think and they can learn in this manner.

post #3 of 7
Not covering their mess in the litter box isn't a behavioural problem - lots of cats just choose not to cover! It's perfectly normal. Covering their mess is something that most are taught to do by their mothers but it's also related to leaving (or not leaving) a signal for other animals. A dominant animal may not cover if s/he wants to leave a strong signal for another cat, or sometimes an only cat wont bother covering because there isn't another cat to communicate with. You can try to show them what to do by covering it for them, but I wouldnt worry about it from a behavioural point of view (a smell point of view maybe!).

I don't have a problem with my cats going on the counters either, but if you dont want them eating up there how about creating a feeding area that's accessible only by a cat door that the dogs can't get through?
post #4 of 7
1) is there a reason you can't continue to feed them on the counter in the new house? They will go up there anyways I'm sure becuase you fed them there all this time. Other thing you can do is if you will have a bathroom or laundry room, you could keep the door shut and install a cat flap so the cats can go in to eat but the dog can't.

2) 3) SOFT PAWS!!! They will not be ABLE to climb anything. But I would buy scratching pads too. The cardboard ones that sit on the ground are GREAT!! And CHEAP!!

4) Some cats just don't. Not much you can do about it. You can buy covered boxes, completely enclosed boxes, build your own (can build one that looks like a cabinet even) add scented things to the box, but uncovered poo is just going to smell no matter what. I use Feline Pine because it smells like fresh pine even a week after it has been used. Some of my cats don't cover their poo either but after a little bit the smell goes away and the pine smell comes back.
post #5 of 7
Well, the scratching and jumping are covered by one thing my husband made for our (then) 4-5 mo. old kitten who thinks he's a cougar - he got a sonotube from the hardware (cheap), covered it with indoor/outdoor carpet (cheaper) and using some kind of 2" pegs, attached it to a wall 'end' (doesn't go the length of the open plan hallway area). There's a beat-up old tub chair at the bottom (for softer, extended-outward landings than the straight-down hardwood floor) and Goblin flies to the 18 x 15" padded perch on top to sleep, and/or just scratches at the bottom, and it's so far held up for two years now. And stick with counters, much easier all around than the floor.
post #6 of 7
Well for the litter box, Bella and Stormie share a litter box and stormie who I got a 10 weeks uses it and scratches in there but she never covers it my Bella if it smells Bella would actually go in there and cover it This is bellas room and she dont want it smelling lol, but for the feeding on counters well midnight and willie eat on our breakfast nook(sp sorry) and it is alot less messier than the floor, stormie and bella eat on the floor, so it is alot easier to clean the counter than messes on the floor! Scratching posts, those are cheap I have a few around my house well in my room at least there is a total of 2 and one I got from my grandma to hang on the door ones, and then I got one thats a post and then I got one of those carboard boxes and that was $3 and Bella 's that one the most now she is starting to use the other ones, she is a climber too lol!
post #7 of 7
I'd keep the dog in another room while feeding the cats, if you want to put their food on the floor;

If one cat insists on messing up the doorjambs, there are wall mounted scratching pads that you can put around the corner that might prove more tempting than the wall itself. I use one for Gizmo (a declawed cat!) and she loves it.

You might try a new brand of litter in the box. Perhaps they don't like the one you use now. I know that Gizmo refused to cover her litter when we tried one brand she detested--she'd perch on the edge of the box to do her business, miaowing piteously, and then just rush out of the bathroom. She's fine now that we have a different brand.
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