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Kitty Problems

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
We (my wife and I) have two cats. One of them, Puppy, was left by her feral mother when she was only hours old, and my wife and her ex rescued the other, Fifi, from the shelter when Puppy was about 8 weeks old. Both are female, spayed before their first heat, and healthy.

We're having a whole host of behavior problems with Puppy. Puppy was bonded to my wife's ex, who told us we had to take them when she got a new pet. We're happy to have them, but Puppy was a lot happier with my wife's ex.

Puppy likes my wife ok, and will allow her to brush her (she has long hair so that's a relief), pet her, etc. Puppy can scarcely tolerate me, however. She hisses at me whenever I come in the room, and will growl at me. She does a little better if I talk to her in a high-pitched voice when I come in, although it makes no difference if she's not feeling well. Puppy also has a habit of hissing at Fifi for no "good" reason (in our opinion...it's usually because Fifi has a toy Puppy wants or because my wife is petting Fifi and Puppy wants attention).

While the problems with Fifi and myself are annoying, the biggest behavior problem we're having with Puppy right now is her habit of consuming all sorts of things that simply are not food...or can hardly be construed as food. There're only so many times we can reasonably have the vet operate on intestinal obstructions, and it can't be easy on her, either.

At different times, Puppy has chewed on blankets, comforters, my wife's clothing, electrical cords, every type of string and ribbon imaginable. Puppy has eaten the tails off of Fifi's mice, rubber bands, the little plastic rings from around milk jug tops, portions of blankets.

What really put us over the top with this was discovering a spot of vomit last night that contained a bunch of chewed-off plastic bristles from the broom (which she's had access to for more than two weeks with no issues). We're at a total loss when it comes to anticipating what Puppy is going to eat next and how to prevent it. We have to keep her in our bedroom because our roommate cannot be trusted to not leave out any of the things we know of that Puppy eats, and we simply cannot Puppy-proof the entire apartment.

My wife says that over the years, she's tried a variety of things to keep Puppy from eating EVERYTHING she can sink her teeth into, including the Bitter Apple spray (which both cats like, so it actually encourages them to chew on stuff), hot sauce, and red pepper powder.

Has anyone dealt with a similar problem? How do we guess what she's going to "try" next?

Any help is greatly appreciated...
post #2 of 3
I have adopted a few very young female "best friend" kittens over time, the reason for this behavior is kittens this young need extreme nurturing and because of this becomes very attached to who or what is "mom" in the time of extreme physical development. This is why it is essential for kittens to stay with mom kitty till 10-12 weeks. Obviously sometimes this is unavoidable, but these kittens who are separated at such young ages need so much more attention, nurturing, and through their lives will always need that extra encouragement, devotion, and have been my best friend!
Maia was supposedly 7 weeks when I found her, adopted her from someone out of a duffel bag! She could barely walk, eyes still blue, bald tummy, but the moment I picked her up, I knew she was the one! Fed her mil;k replacement for 1 and 1/2 weeks and had to carry her in an arm sling every where I went for 3 weeks, otherwise she cried and screamed! So much noise out of such a tiny thing! Today, 1 year 2 months, she doesn't let any one pick her up, except me, and I can flip her upside down, roll around with her, just about anything!
Back to your situation, often cats/kittens ,especially orphaned, will do something such as chewing/eating things, to get attention they so desperately need. And it works, often not in their favor.....If this behavior is not stopped early enough, it shifts from trying to get attention to something they do normally, a behavioral pattern. This is much harder to break/stop. It takes a lot of dedication to them, eyes in the back of your head, always alert to the action of.....As soon as Puppy even hints that she is going to start chewing or playing with something she will put in her mouth, clap your hands, firm voice "no", hand from where she is and slowly bring arm out and point away from, telling her to get away from that. Most importantly, play time, undecided playtime with them, cats need that one on one, they will get it no matter what it takes, so just give it to them and things are so much easier!
post #3 of 3
I don't have any suggestions because I haven't had to deal with anything like this yet. Sending good vibes your way. Sounds like you and your wife are very devoted to your animals
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