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Cat in BIG trouble...please help

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi. My cat Scooter is in big trouble with hubby. I tried all suggestions to keep her off the counter and none worked. I was shocked!! Now she is getting worse. She will jump right up on the table and drink right out of you milk glass while you are right there. Hubby and it were watching a movie the other night and he had his full glass of milk sitting beside him on the end table and she jumped up and started drinking away and he caught her and was instantly irrate. You can't turn your back on any kind of food or drink or she is right there stealing it. This has become a very big problem and hubby say's it stops or she goes. She is well fed and does not have to compete with the other cats for food since she the dominant female she always eats first. I had chicken thawing on the stove for dinner one night and she got up there and tore open the package and then drug it down off the stove and under the table and proceeded to eat it. Thankfully I caught her before she ate too much but this ruined our dinner and I had to find something else.

I have had Scooter(now 4 years old) since I caught her as a feral 5 wk. old kitten. She knows no one else and is very fearful of strangers. I don't want to have to give her up so I've got to find a cure for this problem. Can anyone help?

post #2 of 24
Kyttin, I could tell you to clap your hands or yell or drop a can of stones, etc., but to be honest, I don't leave food sitting around a cat and leave the room! It's like putting a dish of candy in front of a child and saying "Don't touch." I think most animals will eventually fall prey to temptation. When I have kittens, I say no, no, and, if necessary tap their little noses. If I'm going to be gone for just a second, I point to the food and tell the grown cats, "That's a no no," but I don't leave the room and hope!
post #3 of 24
My cat will drink your water so we tend to drink out of water bottles and we don't leave glasses unattended although it is just water so if we leave a cup out unattended we don't drink from it knowing he probably already did. He doesn't steal food because we never leave food or other beverages unattended. He tries to get to your plate or cup while you are eating, and we just shoo him away.
post #4 of 24
We also drink out of covered glasses. To many kitties with curiousity have taught us that leaving food and drink unattended for even five seconds is hazardous around here.
post #5 of 24
Spray Bottle! My cats used to have the habit of going up on the counters, table etc. I sprayed them with water everytime they did it and told them NO! They dislike water so much that this solved the problem. Make sure that your counters never have food items lying around on them. A cat that finds food there once in a while will keep on looking for more. Also, try spraying white vinegar on your counter tops, or washing them with a citrus cleaner. Cats dislike the citrus smell. I use a citrus spray on my furniture and I clean the counters with Orange Clean before I leave the house. You can also pyramid empty pop cans on a counter with food attached to the end of a string taped to a "key" can so that when she pulls on the baited string the cans come tumbling down. These are some of the things I've done. I was most succesful with the water bottle. Try these things out. After a couple of times she won't jump up anywhere you put these "booby traps". Good luck!
post #6 of 24
Spray bottles are unnecessary and often create more problems than they solve. Especially if you have to bathe kitty down the road, you will find that if you have used a spray bottle on her, you will have quite a battle on your hands. Not to mention if you inadvertently spray water at a moving cat you can get water in her ears or eyes, so it is not a good option.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
It doesn't matter if you're there or not, she will do it right in front of you. She will jump up in your lap and steal right off your plate. I have a small kitchen and the sink is across from the stove and if I take something out of the oven and put it on the stove top and then turn around to do something at the sink she right up there. You have to guard it, meaning with your life. The spray bottle doesn't work, she's learned that it's not so bad getting sprayed. The soda cans with money in them didn't scare her for long, she realized that they just make a lot of noise and don't really hurt her. Double sided tape didn't work. She'd get on the counter to her thing and then get down taking the tape with her and then pull it off and it'd be laying around the house. The more it try to stop her the more she does it like she saying "Ha Ha you can try anything and it's not gonna stop me. All these methods have worked on my other cats but she continues to do it. I don't leave food unattended but what do you do when your cat does it no matter what right in front of you??

This is why it is sooooo frusterating...

post #8 of 24
keep her in a room with the door closed at meal time and while you are cooking. Move her food water and litter box into that room from now on.Feed her whan you get ready to make your meal. Never feed your cat people food as it encourages them to steal off your plate. You have to take control of her as she will not control herself. (I have 10 cats in my home at this time. I haven't had any trouble with them stealing food or drink.) If you need to thaw food place it into the refrigerator the night before or in cool water in the sink. This keeps it out of her reach. or you could place the dish rack upsidedown over it as it thaws.

I hope this helps you.
post #9 of 24
try this link then....... There are excellent websites listed that will help you. Even a Cat Behavior Hotline number!

post #10 of 24
I sounds calloused and cruel but your cat must learn that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. You don't need to hit or yell at the animal but have you tried a spray bottle? You could also try putting the cat in another room and closing the door for five or ten minutes as a sort of punishment if your cat likes to be in the same room with you. As long as I don't leave food on the floor, my cat won't touch it because he knows he's toast if he does. Maybe even your husband needs to lighten up a bit, after all, a little cat spit never hurt anybody.
post #11 of 24

Big trouble indeed....

Since your kitty doesn't know that you don't like it when she jumps up to take your food. You might just have to separate kitty from you when you're preparing food and eating. You also might like to put kitty down at her food when she tries for yours. Or try feeding her evening meal while you start to prepare food or eat dinner depending on the time. Another trick is buy a lemon scented dish washing detergent and use that to wash your dishes. And wipe down the benches with something that is lemon scented. Cats don't like lemon scents. Another idea is to perhaps wipe any cupboards below the benches with a spray that has Bitter Apple or Lemon scent. I've seen that suggested in the forums to deter cats from playing with the curtains and favourite sofas.

With her taking your food in front of you. If you feel that it is a big no no, then you'll have to let your kitty know that. Try putting her in a different room after a firm no. And you must do this straight away. The both of you must do this so that she doesn't associate it with being the one person. You have to be consistent otherwise it will not work. In the meantime, no people food for kitty. And above all, give it time to work.

post #12 of 24
When our cat, Snowball, was a kitten we had the same problem and I agree with those who said you should put Scooter in another room with the door closed whenever food is around. Also purchase some covered cups and glasses and tell hubby that he can either drink his beverages out of one of these when Scooter is present, or he can take her to another room and close the door.
post #13 of 24
That's too bad that the spray bottle didn't work. I know when I was living with three cats they definitely learned to fear and respect the spray bottle but they didn't cease with unwanted behaviour, they merely bolted for the door as soon as anyone made a grab for the bottle.
post #14 of 24
That's rather sad. We want our cats to obey, but also love us, don't we? It sounds as if they are traumatized and terrified. I'm sure that's not what you intend.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
I guess I don't understand how stealing food is an indication of being traumatized and terrified. She does not act that way. She is only afraid of people she doesn't know. We do not get company very often so she is used to being around us only. We are all she knows. And further more what does this have to do with the fact that she steals food? She is loving with us and very forgiving when we yell at her she just continues to carry on with her behavior. My other cats don't do this anymore and they are also very loving. We do not physically abuse our animals or try to make them fear us. We have successfully trained our other cats that this is an unacceptable behavior. She is turning out to be a little obstinant and refuses to get the point.

post #16 of 24
Hi Kytten,

Actually your cat is quite smart, because she knows that food arrives on plates, and if she is quick enough, she gets a neat treat. You really have several options here. You can keep putting her down everytime she gets on the table, though she will probably wear you out, sort of like a toddler with new toys he throws out of his crib. Or, you can simply shut her into another room when you eat. You can keep a can of dry beans on the table with something taped over the top, and when she jumps up you can rattle the can to get her attention and see if she splits. You can have someone try and wear her out with interactive play while you are fixing meals.

When we eat, we have a very captive audience. About five cats and one attentive dog are watching our every bite. But, in the beginning, except for the dog, all the cats would be coming up on the table to steal food. I would say "NO" loudly, put them down on the floor and sometimes, that would go on for long minutes at a time. It is the matter of persistence and patience. Good luck!
post #17 of 24
Kyttin, I was responding to the post about the cats who were so frightened when they saw a bottle that they ran out of the room. I'm sure that's not what their owner intended! When I pictured it, it seemed sad. I was not responding to your post, just reinforcing what had already been said about spraying cats.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
I guess maybe I should into more detail so maybe you all can understand the magnitude of this problem.

I have tried ALL the things that have been suggested, putting her down when she jumps up, telling her no, rattling a can full of beans/pennies at her, stringing them together on the counter/table to trap her, spraying her with water, and putting her in another room. All of these have failed time and time again.

Putting her in a room was the worst as it made her behavior much worse. When let out of the room she would bolt to the kitchen get on the counter/table as if looking for anything she might have missed. If I put her down she got right back up no matter what I did she would get right back up there and "search" until she was satisfied there was nothing up there. Keeping the counters clean doesn't help either. She can't seem to get the point that there is nothing up there. Putting her in another room became very stressful. She got quite smart about it and would hide or refuse to be caught putting up a serious fight if she had to. I quit doing this because I felt it made things worse and stressed her and made her feel insecure and even more fearful. I did not want her to feel threatened whenever we went to pick her up.

Everything I try either makes her bahavior worse or creates a new unwanted behavior.

I just do not understand why she continues to do this. As I said before she is well fed and doesn't have to compete for food w/ the other cats. She is given plenty of positive attention.

Maybe these extra details will help.

post #19 of 24

Retract the claws a bit because I believe that Jeanie was referring to me. Keep in mind Jeanie that I used the term "fear and respect" very loosely. Our cats(there were two of us living in the house at the time with our two cats and a third cat that we were temporarily keeping for a friend)were overall extremely well behaved and by no means were they afraid of us. I was merely referring to the fact that they didn't learn that some behavior was "bad", they learned instead that some behavior is only "bad" if you get caught. Believe me, my cat is very affectionate and is not at all afraid of me or anyone else. He's like a teenager really, even when I do get mad at him, he doesn't get scared he just gets that kind of blank look of complete disdain and ignores me. I would never physically or emotionally traumatize an animal. I spent many years around farm animals and working in an animal rescue centre and if there's one thing I've learned it's that animals make better friends than people and quite frankly, I prefer their company over that of my own kind. There's nothing I enjoy more than an evening at home watching tv and hangin' out with my cat even if he is a little :censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor: every now and then.
post #20 of 24
Nishtha, I'm sorry I offended you. My cats acted just that way after I treated them for fleas. Every time I opened something with a cap on it, they ran in terror. I decided the whole thing was a bad idea. They were very cautious around me for about a week. Yet, they are probably the most loving cats I've ever had. We can disagree about the spray bottle. It just reminded me of my own cats with the flea spray. We both want what's best for our pets. That's what's important. Have a great holiday.
post #21 of 24

Scroll up in the post and catch that link on behavior. If I were you I would contact a professional cat behaviorist and go from there. Good luck!
post #22 of 24
May I suggest something I haven't seen yet? The counter behavior can be controlled by putting double faced tape on periodic spots on the counter. Not the heavy duty type, but just light enough so that the cat gets up on the counter and the sticky feeling on her paws will not be appealing. Also, try putting a glass of milk on the table like you usually do, but put a bit of hot pepper around the rim. You will have to be very patient, but after awhile she should associate all glasses with this terrible taste. The key is PATIENCE, PATIENCE AND PATIENCE. I have had many strays that other's have tossed away like yesterday's trash just because of bad behavior. If you have the patience and stamina, you will succeed. Don't let hubby give you an ultimatime. You will find that if you try this, the cat will associate your food and drinks with a bad taste and hopefully just go her own only. Good Luck.
post #23 of 24
Maybe this is her way of getting extra attention? It sounds like u have more than one cat and maybe she feels the other cats are getting more attention than she does?
Try separating her into another room like others suggested AND maybe spend a bit more time with her one on one and see how that goes.
Good luck! Keep us posted!
post #24 of 24

I have read all your posts. I too have a kitten who ate from our plates. Me and my husband are mostly alone too, so we didn't mind at first. But it was annoying. Our kitten does not jump on counters yet he is to small, but we solved the plate thing. When he would try to eat off our plate we would say no! not yell, just no, and push him gently a little bit a way. Now, he only went after foods cats would like, milk, chicken.... if it was chicken, I would give him a piece away from our plates (very tiny) and each time he would come to our plates, I'd do the same thing, say no, when he backs away give him a tiny piece. Now he will no longer come to our plates, but waits to see if we will give him anything. When he comes after something I know he will not like, I let him snif it, he realizes it is not what he wants and goes away. When he was really bad in the begining we gave him cat treats/food while we ate, little by little.
The best advice I want to offer is that for your kitten it seems, distraction and attention would be the best solution. I toss little scrunched up papers on the kitchen floor to keep kitty busy while I cook, I even take out some plastic bowls, put them on the floor, he jumps and crawls in them. OR which will entice most kitties, tie a toy your kittie likes to the end of you belt (on a string) and let it drag on the floor so kittie can chase it while you move around the kitchen and cook. If kitty bugs or gets bord I give him a treat and play a bit with him before going back to cooking. If your kitty learn to associate palying while you cook instead of eating what you are cooking she will eventually learn and enjoy herself! Best of all, remember the easiest way to teach a kitten not to do something is to avoid it. Therefore do not punish her (in a room) but distract her as soon as you see her about to start the bad behavior, distract her with anything, a toy, cat treat, a hug, I even sometimes put a stool near the tv a let him watch animal planet, eventually she will shift her focus when she realizes how much more pleasure there are in these things the the food!It will require alot of repetition to get here to understand, but she seems very smart and may surprise you so don't give up! The reward will be well worth it!
good-luck let me know how things are going! She sound like a cat with a big personality!
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