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Biting furniture and running on walls

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have an unusual little girl that might smoke crack when we are not home. She has always been crazy but she has now taken it to the next level. She has started biting holes into my $1,800 leather couch and $800 recliner. She doesn't scratch at all, she just bites. Also she has taken up the new game of trying to run sideways on the walls. In turn, she is scratching up the paint on the walls!!!

What to do?

Here is my original thread about her.
post #2 of 12
Get the vet to check out her thyroid, if it's hyperactive she may need treatment. How old is she and is she spayed?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
She is 9 months old and she is spayed. We have been to the vet twice and they see nothing wrong with her. All they said is some cats are high strung.
post #4 of 12
She is still young, she should calm down soon. Is there anyway to get another cat? She sounds very bored.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Pami View Post
She is still young, she should calm down soon. Is there anyway to get another cat? She sounds very bored.
Here is my clan.

post #6 of 12
What a beautiful family you have. Ok then bored is not the problem.

Ok this is my couch. You can see the damage my bunch did to my couch. As off the wall as this sounds, I put that cat statue by the couch and they have never scratched it again. Thats the only advise I can give, sorry.

post #7 of 12
Hi pjrocco:

I read through the link you provided to your original thread. Either I'm tired, or I didn't see it anywhere - when you rescued this kitty, where her front paws declawed?

Have you had a blood panel done on her? If so, I'd still recommend another one from a different vet. Get a second opinion.

Our cat was eating litter, and the vet said "Oh, that doesn't mean anything." We got a second opinion. The second vet said "oh, that doesn't mean anything." A few months later, our cat was almost dead. He had to have a blood transfusion, and a billion things.... but when he was CLEARLY sick, and the vet(s) couldn't figure it out, they referred us to a cat specialist. We went through the list of things... and the minute we said he'd been eating litter, the vet said "and he's anemic?" Of course, the answer was yes.

This is very strange behavior. It sounds like a mixture of crazy, kitty, behavior typical of a declawed cat (strange if not), and potentially some kind of health problem.

There are a number of things you can do to help calm a hyper cat. There are herbal remedies out there (Flower essences):

You can also try Feliway. This is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "Friendly" markers in cats' cheeks. People use it for various things - retraining scratching, calming cats in a multi-cat household, etc. The spray does NOT stain (not anything in our house), but the plug-in room defuser is an option.

As to the leather couch. This can be a problem with some cats. Leather is often processed with animal renderings, and this scent is just an attractant to some cats. Some scratch it, some bite it... to prevent her biting the couch, you need to either purchase a cat repellant that won't damage it (I'm not sure what, but Apple bitters is often used as a cat repellant - I just don't know if it's safe on leather). OR you can try spraying the Feliway on it.

You can conduct an internet search to see if there are any cat behaviorists in your area. They really can sometimes help - it's not always a crock though it depends upon the person.

And although people on TCS are generally very anti-medication, it is possible to consider some type of medication for the cat (which really should be a last resort). Animals, just like people, are sometimes hyperactive or depressed or stressed. Who knows why? Often it's genetics.

We had a kitty that started peeing outside the box (after we moved ). 85% of the time when this happens it's medical. Well, it wasn't. We did everything - and I mean everything - to help. Nothing worked. As a last resort, we went for retraining. We confined her to one room with litterbox, water, toys, and I spent a lot of time in there. After the first night, the next morning she had bare spots all over her body. She started obsessively licking.

So as a last, last resort, we put her on Elavil. It's the same as the human drug - it's an antidepressant. She was on Elavil for several months. She calmed down. She stopped obsessively licking. At first, she slept a lot, and I wondered if we'd have our "old" Spooky back. But she started playing &etc. again. But she wasn't freaking out - or peeing outside of the box. We weaned her off the Elavil (you don't stop it right away), and she's fine now.

Sometimes you need that medical boost to break the cycle.

But I'm really curious to find out if your kitty had her front paws declawed. That would explain a lot, and has different answers for helping her behavior.

post #8 of 12
Oh - forgot to say - your kitty family is beautiful, but your crazy cat is a total doll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #9 of 12
I forgot to mention - cats often bite when they are in pain (another reason to have a vet check). But remembering this made me remember that this thread existed:

Please read through that thread.

Also, I don't know if this works for biting, but people often have problems with cats scratching inappropriately. It is natural for cats to scratch - but it needs to be directed.

If it turns out that your cat is play biting, apart from the retraining that will be necessary to get her to stop biting you and your family (addressed in the thread to which I provided a link), you'll need to provide appropriate things for her to bite, so you can redirect her attention on your couch - like those rawhide chews for dogs.

When our cats were teething, we provided them straws. They LOVED to bite and chew on these (and they still play with them - and our youngest is now almost 3 years old).

No matter what, you need to address her biting people first. This is NOT acceptable, but you have to let her know this in a language she understands and NOT in a way that makes her feel more aggressive (like squirting water at her).

Whenever you want to train a cat to not do something, blowing a short, sharp puff of air in her face or hissing at her (or both) are usually very effective within a short period of time.

I also want to mention that for hyperactivity or aggression problems, if, after consultation with a vet, you decide to go ahead with some type of drug, I doubt Elavil is the correct one. It can't be obtained without a prescription anyway, but I just wanted to make sure I made that clear. My only point is that in the very last instance, some type of drug therapy may be an option.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for all the info. To answer your question, yes, she is front declawed. After doing some research I found our little girl was found on the side of a road at the age of 3 - 4 weeks. I finally got to speak with her foster mother. After doing a little more research I see cats that are taken from their mothers at an early age are prone to biting. So I'm not 100% where to go from here, if that is true. As for the wall running, I have no clue at all. My wife and I have agreed to not use medication.
post #11 of 12
Some cats, if separated from moms up to 2 weeks of age, can develop biting behavior (they never learned that being bitten hurts). Your kitty's problem is far more likely to be a result of the declaw that the owners who dumped her performed.

If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend the Feliway plug-ins for all large rooms in your home that she's in. Or just go for the rooms she spends the most time in. This will help provide a "calm" environment in which to do everything else.

I would also recommend the Flower Essences. It can't hurt, and it does sometimes help:

Biting (unfortunately) is natural for declawed cats, however, this activity needs to be redirected, and biting people needs to very clearly be defined as an unacceptable activity:

1) When she bites a person,

a) If she's got a hold of a hand or wrist, push it IN to release the grip, do not pull.

b) The whole family needs to be instructed to blow a short, sharp puff of air in her face and then even hiss at her. Say "NO" firmly - do not shout. Then walk away and ignore her. She needs to learn that biting will NOT get her attention - in fact, the opposite happens.

c) Someone on this site had a cat that would NOT stop biting. When the cat bit her, she leaned down and bit the cat. This stopped the behavior. I'm not recommending this, but giving you something to consider.

d) If the puff of air and the face and the hiss with a firm "NO" then walking away and ignoring her don't work, start using "time-outs." Pick her up, put her in the bathroom, and leave her there for five mintues, no more. Apart from learning that the biting people doesn't get her attention, it gets her isolation. But it also gives her "hunter-prey" attack mode time to turn off.

2) For biting the couch or other furniture. Just like with scratching, as I wrote above, this needs to be redirected. Her natural instinct is to scratch - but not having claws, she needs to bite:

a) Purchase apple bitters or cream, test a patch, and if it doesn't harm the leather, put it on the couch.

b) Consider using throw blankets to cover the couch for a month or two while you focus on getting her to bite on appropriate things. Try a number of things to see what works. Get rawhide chews. A chamois cloth. Bendy straws. Nothing rubber or hard plastic that could harm her if pieces come off.

c) If she's biting at the bottom or back of the couch, consider covering it with aluminum foil for a month or two. Again, this forces her to redirect the behavior and after that amount of time the "habit" of using the couch as her biting post (so to speak) will have been redirected elsewhere.

You may not know: cats actually walk on their toes. So when they are declawed, they have to change the way they walk. For some, this distorts their natural movement, and it is actually painful. Others are fine - but they do have a tendency to develop arthritis. She's probably too young to have arthritis (unless she already has a genetic predisposition for it). But just keep this in mind, get her checked regularly, and at some point in her life you'll probably want to introduce Cosequin (basically glucosamine for cats). This will help prevent the development or progression of the arthritis.

OK. I read through lotsocats thread (this one:

Apart from the info I've included, I'd read through that thread - especially scrolling down to this part: "For the Rare Cat Whose Attacks are Unprovoked and Extremely Violent."

As to the other nutty behaviors? I would have her checked to make sure it isn't a thyroid problem. Double-check the arthritis, even though she's so young.

Also, as she seems to have a lot of energy, one of the things that might help the most is to have everyone in the home spend 10 minutes of their day playing with her. Interactive wand toys would be best - something she's got to chase down, run around, leap around - use that energy, but direct it into activities that don't harm your furniture or walls.

Do you have any cat furniture? If not, consider purchasing a cat tree or two. A combo of carpet and sisal would be appropriate - gives your other cats something to scratch on too. And then she's got her own "furniture." If you've already got cat trees, try purchasing some catnip spray and giving a good squirt or two to one or two places on the tree to help attract the kitties to it. Bear in mind that cats develop "immunity" to catnip, so do this only once every few weeks. And if you have catnip toys, don't leave them out. Pick them up, put them away, and only put them out for a day at a time every few weeks, or they become insensitive to it.

Hope some of these ideas help.

post #12 of 12
OH - also consider purchasing the Feliway spray in addition to the plug-ins. Spraying the couch (it hasn't harmed any of our furniture at all) with Feliway may help stop the biting of the couch. It is used, often successfully, to help retrain cats scratching inappropriately. I've never read of anyone using it to help retrain cats biting inappropriately, but as her biting the couch is a replacement for scratching the couch, giving it a try sure won't hurt and just may work.

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