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post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've been away from TCS for awhile, but my frustration with an ongoing issue has brought me back.

Cotton is our little rascal, the one who jumps up on counters and tables just to knock things off for the heck of it, the one who pounces my feet incessantly when I'm trying to sleep (during the day, I work nights - he's quiet when in bed with my hubby at night) the one who has broken many, many things, thankfully none of them expensive or irreplaceable. Pretty much the only thing he hasn't destroyed is the couch, we've been very fortunate with both boys with regards to scratching - they both love the scratching posts and cat trees we've provided. The old leather couch that dates back to my husband's bachelor days has some little pinpricks in it from where their claws caught on the surface when jumping up but they don't deliberately scratch. (Not yet, we're getting a new couch in a couple of weeks and we plan to do a better job with trimming their nails.)

Spike is our mellow cat, the cowardly lion who hides under the bed when the pizza guy rings the doorbell, but who will lay on your lap and purr for hours and who makes friends with anyone who comes in the house and stays awhile. Cotton, of course, is totally fearless.

But enough background. Ever since Cotton's been big enough to jump on any surface higher than my knee, we've had to put away all breakable knick-knacks and decorative items. I have a baker's rack in the kitchen which once had some pretty decorative plates and pottery - I had to box it all up and put it away. My baker's rack looks very bare now. ^^;; He jumps on counters, tables, my dresser, I've lost count of the things he's broken because I wasn't careful enough about putting things away. I know I have to take that responsibility and I don't blame him for, well, being a cat!

The problem is that we're getting ready to put our house up on the market and to aid in selling it successfully we want it to look nice - I'd like to unpack some of the decorations. I gave up on finding a way to train him to stay off the surfaces where I didn't want him to go, I just removed the items that could be dangerous to him or that could be broken. Now of course, hubby and I can find some non-breakable items to make the house look nice to be sold, but it's only a band-aid - I'd like to find a way to encourage better habits on Cotton's part so that in our new home, we can actually have it decorated nicely, since it's a pretty new house.

Cotton's deaf, so airhorns, whistles, clapping, coins in a coffee can, etc, are a no go. I admit, we tried the squirt bottle method. I know a lot of people hear oppose it, but we felt that since it wouldn't cause him harm (just a light spritz on the hindquarters, we avoided his face and ears) it was worth a try. The problem is, that while that light spritz on the hindquarters will get him to jump down from the countertop or whatnot, it does nothing to deter him permanently. He knows he's not supposed to be up there - if we walk in the room and catch him on the kitchen counter or my dresser, he jumps down. The problem is when we're sleeping our out of the house.

I figure the best approach is to find ways to make these areas unappealing to him. We've tried citrus and menthol sprays with no luck. Sticky stuff doesn't seem to bother him much, so we're now looking at the x-mats advertised on Dr. Foster & Smith - they're plastic mats with raised nubby things that won't hurt cats, the texture just isn't pleasing to them.

What I'm looking for are other safe, effective deterrents - things we can set up on the surfaces that we want off-limits that will make them less appealing. We provide plenty of toys, cat-trees and other appropriate play spaces, and we both spend time with the boys every day to make sure they're getting plenty of attention. They both eat well and drink well, so I don't think it's a cry for help or anything. They also both have excellent litter box habits. *knocks on wood* (I'm hoping the move doesn't stress them into having litter box issues.)

Thanks for the input!
post #2 of 3
Double sided sticky tape, and/or tin foil.
post #3 of 3
I wonder if the main problem behavior is occurring when you are asleep, or not at home -- could you put Cotton in a 'safe room' (with a litter box and food/water/toys to keep him occupied), when you're not around to supervise?

That could help at least for the short term, while you have your house on the market.

Good luck!
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