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Any ideas for our psycho Stumpy??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Stumpy is nutso. She's almost 2 and we've had her since she was 7 months old. We were fostering her after she'd been injured then decided to keep her. She was a nice, quiet, sweet cat - perfect for us. Then she healed and became psycho kitty after we did the adoption paperwork.

She walks around the house bored and looking for things to do, which usually means causing mischief. She's ruined our couple of thousand dollar dining suite (table and chairs) from racing all over them, ruined so many cables from chewing them, damaged walls from leaping up them and hanging on with her claws, and keeps trying to jump onto our flat screen tv which I'm pretty sure will fall over if she jumps up or down from too big a distance.

We have tried Soft Claws, we have double sided tape everywhere she shouldn't be, she knows she's not allowed on the table and races off when she gets caught, but keeps getting up there anyway, we even have Contact paper sticky side out to stop her leaping up the walls. We've tried Feliway, we've tried bitter spray to try and keep her off things and it does nothing.

Whenever she's going through a naughty mood I wear her out with the laser pointer, and we try to play with her regularly, and she goes on supervised walks outside to chew the grass and explore.

With a baby on the way I'm worried about her. She's chewing all the baby stuff for a start - we can't but the mobile up because she tries to chew the animals off. We're borrowing a friends big swing and she's tried to play with those dangly toys.

Realistically, when the baby comes we'll have less time for her. She gets on well with our other 2 cats, but won't play with them, and she won't play with toys independently like the other 2 do.

I'm getting sick and tired of constantly replacing things she damages, and frankly I hate the fact that she's bored to the point of destruction. It's horrible to see her look so bored, and I am getting down to drastic solutions. I am not a new cat owner, and I feel like I know enough about cats and am responsible enough to know if it's me doing something wrong or if the kitty is incompatible.

I spoke to the vet about drugs, but the vet said since she's not aggressive (she's a sweet cat with a big purr, and doesn't have a mean bone in her body), she doesn't think drugs will make a difference - we just have a very energetic kitty.

So these are my 2 options (keep in mind she has lots of toys, we play with her regularly, and will soon have less time to keep her constantly occupied):

Option a) Let her outside during the day. She's very scared of cars, but we're in a quiet townhouse complex where there's not much traffic, and not many roads nearby. Upside - she'll have more space to run around. Downside - I hate the idea of letting on e of my kitties outside - there's too many dangers out there.

Option b) Rehome her. I honestly think she's just bored here and would be a much happier cat in a larger home - especially if there's kids aged 6+ who could play with her regularly. Upside - she'll hopefully be happier and less destructive. It feels like we're keeping a lion in a cat cage. Downside - I am very against rehoming kitties - a cat is for life. But if the situation is incompatible with the cat, can I make an exception? Could I live with myself? I am pretty sure she'd be happier elsewhere, but what if she was still destructive and went home to home for the rest of her life? I would be constantly fretting not knowing what happened to her.

Any thoughts? We are getting very frustrated and angry with her, which I know is unfair on her - I know it's not her fault, she's just a very active cat living in too small a space.
post #2 of 6
Hi, she sounds like she definitely needs a lot more exercise, and some dedicated play time. Is there a cat tree in the house - a lot of cats love to run up and down on those and if they're interesting enough (high, with lots of places to hang out, lots of toys attached) can make a difference in energy being dissipated there rather than on your stuff. But you say that you'll have less time for her after the baby (of course!) and you might want to think about finding a home for her where she'll have a lot more space to play, maybe people with more time and energy, etc. and you still have the time to look for the right place. It's not wrong at all if it's in the best interests of both of you after all, and cats adapt well as long as they're fed and happy in new places.
post #3 of 6
I would re-home her, your going to be too busy! She should have learned by now not to chew wires, destroy furniture, you've tried everything.

If she goes outside, who knows what she'll get into and bring home.

Or you could re-train her by using a vinegar spray bottle and spray all areas where she is not allowed.

Or maybe she needs to be in a room by herself with her toys when she in being a bad kitty for punishment. Maybe she is getting away with a little too much.
post #4 of 6
My girl Koko is the same way. What has saved my sanity is 1) we have a very large house with lots of cat trees for her to race through and 2) she has focused most of her energy at the other cats in the house. Those cats got very tired of her antics. Because of these things, she wasn't destructive, but I could see if you put Koko in a cramped quarters, she would have done the same. She turned 4 this past spring and has finally settled down.

I really feel for your dilemna. Do NOT put her outside. Many many years ago I tried doing that with a cat with behavior problems and she disappeared one day. I have never forgiven myself and never will. You love Stumpy enough that if something happened to her, you would do the same. It's not a good feeling to live with.

I know the thought of rehoming her is foreign to you. But you do need to think of what is the best for Stumpy also. Is she being destructive because her needs are not being fulfilled in your house? Is this going to get worse when the baby comes? Honestly, I look at my Koko and know that she would be miserable in a cramped house without other cats to engage her. From what you are describing, Stumpy needs more room to roam and she needs young playmates to work out her energy.

Think what is best for Stumpy and do your best to keep your personal emotion out of it. The answer will come to you. But I will be very frank. If you think your hormone levels from the pregnancy are going to cloud your decision, then wait to make a decision until after your baby is born. Hormones have a way of interfering with reason some times.

post #5 of 6
I'm going to make a few suggestions.

1. Please don't put her outside. It's a big scarey world for someone who's been an inside cat.

2. Have you tried bitter apple spray? If not, try it. Put it on all items that are inappropriate to chew (especially baby stuff so she gets the idea that chewing baby stuff is BAD). If bitter apple doesn't work, you could also try a vinegar/water solution. I think my MIL used that years ago when they adopted Felix.

3. Here's a link to a product we almost bought when Stimpy was going through a similar phase. Cord Protector.

We adopted Stimpy when he was almost 2 years old. All of my cats were adopted at 1 1/2 yrs old or a little past that approximately. I won't lie. They can be AWFUL at that age. But they do grow out of it. Stimpy stopped chewing cords. (of course, a phone cord, internet cable, and fish tank hood light were casualties) He still occasionally takes a bite on a book or other paper, but I can live with that. My other 2 cats are buds with him, but don't always play with him. Stimpy is 17 lbs and when he wants to wrestle, they head for the hills.

He loves laser pointers. Wand toys. Have you bought Stumpy any puzzle or track toys? Stimpy likes this one and this one and this one too. He also likes the Turbo Scratcher, but we replaced the ball with a wiggly eyeball-ball. So maybe Stumpy would like the one that comes with a flashing laser ball in it. Stumpy sounds an awful lot like Stimpy. Stimpy is a very smart cat, which is why I think he gets into as much mischief as he does. We don't have huge cat condos, but we do have a couple 2-story and 1-story cat condos. Those are great and you can get them at Wal-Mart for cheap.

I also highly recommend glitter balls and yarn poofs. They are favorites at our house. Both Stimpy and Raven will play with those by themselves. Raven brings them to us sometimes too.

Also, is it possible to put a screen door on the new baby's room? Or even just close the door? That would keep Stumpy out and leaving the baby's toys/stuff alone.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
To answer all the suggestions - yes we have a large cat tree and no room for any more, Stumpy is the oldest cat - the other girls are younger but much more settled than her, she loves the laser pointer but it's not enough to wear her out, we have a "Kitty Entertainment Center" and a track mouse thing, but she doesn't like playhing on her own. We have tried bitter spray, not only does it not work, but it doesn't fix the CAUSE of the problem - a screen on the baby room will be the same - it'll just be less room for her to play in.

We have a number of toys for her to bat around which she loves to play with, but they're not enough still. Every cable in the house is covered with convoluted cabling to protect it already, but she'll look for bits of uncovered cable to chew when she's being ignored or we've been away for a weekend and get home (attention seeking behaviour - she always does it in the room we're in).

And no, this is not a hormonal decision, it's something we've been trying to correct for a while, and discussed many times before. We hoped she'd get better as she got older, but she's getting worse With a baby on the way (due in 4 weeks), I've realised we need to do something now before she completely acts out once the baby is here.

And you are all right - letting her outside is not something I can do, I'd NEVER forgive myself if something happened.

I guess rehoming is my best option I'll just make sure I have a contract saying her new people need to return her to me if they cannot keep her for any reason...
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