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Help! Very Frustrated! Taming My Kitten!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My husband and I adopted our first cat, Cricket (female), about 8 months ago. She's been a great cat and relatively calm. Her kitten phase was short and she's well behaved. Then about 2 months ago my husband wanted another kitten. We adopted a male siamese mix, Yeti, and he's been nothing but a pain in the rear. I know he's still a kitten and that they're hyper non-stop, but he won't react to any kind of punishment and I've had it with him. And to top it off, he's brought out the worst in Cricket. They get along just fine to the point where they're partners in crime. Yeti loves to knock things done and climb. He doesn't jump, but instead climbs to get on the couch, digging every single claw in. That's why he's not allowed in the bedroom. Our bedspread would be in ruins. Anyway he's just a pain. Adorable, but a pain. He doesn't react to spray bottles at all. He hates them, but then within 10 seconds he's doing the exact same thing he got sprayed for. One several occasions, we've even held him under a running sink, and again, he's doing the same thing. We've blown in his face, and again, the same thing. I've taken a newspaper and smacked him on the nose and rear, and again, the same thing. This morning I woke up to my Christmas tree on the floor and every ornament scattered around the house. Then I went to the kitchen and found where they knocked crackers to the ground and ripped them to shreads. I'm so tired of him and I don't know what do to. What's this scat-mat or whatever I've been hearing about.

PLEASE someone tell me what to do. I'm sure this is just his kitten phase, but he's tearing up my house. I just need a form of punishment that he'll react to!
post #2 of 16
Most folks on this forum will tell you that cats don't react to punishment the way dogs do, so really you're just doing mean things that they don't understand. There's a cause and effect relationship that he's obviously not getting because he's a baby and a cat. You can try startling him with a can of pennies, or something that makes a loud unpleasant noise when he gets up on a counter to set up an unpleasant association, but you have to be very precise with the timing or he won't make a connection.

He will grow out of some of this, also sounds to me like he's got an awful lot of energy to burn, you might try giving him more interactive play time. Get some kitten toys (things he can chase, hunt, etc) or "da bird" and take the edge off of some of that energy.

I've also had some luck with giving "time out" in the bathroom when Stan is bothering Bella. In my understanding the "Scat Mat" gives a mild electrical charge, but you'd have to buy an awful lot of them unless you're just interested in keeping him out of one particular place.
post #3 of 16
Firstly, sorry this post got really long...
I can relate to this thread completely!!! I swear our kitten has a hollow head sometimes. Not only does she not respond to any kind of shouting/water spraying, but she runs full pelt into things head first and doesnt even seem to feel it.
She has destroyed most of the plants in my house, I've ended up feeding her on the counter because she just will NOT stay on the floor for more than 10 seconds. She chews wires, knocks over water, rips up anything she can find, and is the total opposite of our 1 year old 'sensible' cat.
Her one outlet for energy is her older brother, they place chase for a good hour or more every morning and evening. She doesn't seem to have much interest in toys, but she will sit for hours watching my fishtank. These are the hours the rest of us can get some sleep!! The only punishment that has ever worked for me with her is just locking her in the bathroom and walking away and screaming into a pillow
I love my cats, I love kittens, but some are deffinatly more annoying than others and you need to just save your own sanity and get them out of your hair once in a while. We havnt got a Christmas tree this year because I just KNOW it will cause me more trouble than its worth!! Im hoping by next year she'll have settled a bit, as I'm sure your kitty will do too.
A last word of advice would be to get a scratching post if you dont have one. Its about the only 'toy' that interests my kitten. The other thing is throwing a balled up sheet of newspaper to her, so she can spread it out, tear it into teeny pieces and make lots of noise. But at least she isnt tearing up something expensive!!! Good luck x
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
When I lock him in the bathroom it just upsets me more. He scratches on the door nonstop and whines and whines. So all that's doing is ruining my door.

I don't want to be cruel to him and I know that it's just a phase. He's just got to get out of it really soon because I just can't keep up with this cat.
post #5 of 16
Do you clip his nails regularly? That might help with the shredding. Also there are nail caps called "Soft Claws" that might help, too.

You could also try putting double-sided tape on the bathroom door; many cats don't like the feel of it. I've also heard that cats don't like aluminum foil, so you could try putting that on some surfaces.

Is he neutered? That will help calm him downn a bit as well.

My Loki is very, um, curious. He's nearly 3. He likes to try to move the pictures on my walls. A lot of what has worked for me is hissing at him like a Mama cat would when he does something wrong. It gets his attention immediately and he stops what he's doing!

You probably don't want to hold him under the sink as punishment ever again. That seems kind of cruel. Also, it's seriously going to backfire on you if you ever need to give him a bath because he's going to be terrified of the water.

Also, sometimes you just have to live with the destructiveness since you adopted him, and he's your responsibility now. My dog, Lady, was incredibly destructive for about 12 years. She lived until 16. She had anxiety problems which would send her into extreme panics where she'd tear up anything near her, without concern for her own safety. We never considered gving her up because she was ours and our responsibility.

I really hope he mellows out, soon.

Tricia
post #6 of 16
My kitten is WAY too busy dismantling the cabinets and the cosmetics to be scratching on the door I wouldnt want to lock her in the bathroom if if it made her cry either.
Maybe try and meet your kitten half way on some of the things he/she pushes for. Like my kitten always wants to drink out of my glass of water, so now I have a glass on the table thats for her. Its silly, but it stops me having to replace my own drink all the time. Or like I said before I feed her on the counter now she she stops spending so much time on the table. Or Ive 'given' her one of my last house plants, in the room without carpet, on the floor, so its her easiest target and also my easiest place to clean up after her. I painted my wires with that nail varnish you put on to stop you chewing your nails... She doesnt chew them anymore.
All just ideas, I know what you're going through. I find its easier if you try and ween them off 1 habit at a time. Its making me realize how easy my older kitty was when he was young!
post #7 of 16
Please don't hold him under water and don't use water spray bottles. If you get water in their ears they can develop a serious ear infection and I'm sure you don't want that. As others have said, hissing at them as their mom would do or blowing in their face will have much more effect and be less harmful.

Kittens are like children - you need to re-direct their energy. When Bijou was a kitten he wasn't destructive but he was rough and playful. My legs, feet and ankles were a mess for awhile but the hissing worked. Now he and Mika are 2 of the most laid-back cats you'll find. Most folks can't believe they are Siamese because they don't "act" like they expect Siamese to behave.

Put things away that you treasure until he gets older and settles down. As one poster also said, if he hasn't been neutered, he will calm somewhat after neutering.

Also, get him used to having his claws clipped every week. This will help all of you.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice, but I've tried all of it and it doesn't do anything. I clip his nails every week, but I swear he only uses the scratching post to sharpen them. I put soft claws on him and he just chews them off. Our other cat is declawed and she adjusted just fine to it, but I can't afford to do that again right now. I've sprayed him, I've hissed, I blew in his face, I've done everything. He chews on everything, he hangs onto the couch, and he runs around all day long. I don't know where all the energy comes from! The only time I see that cat sleep is when my husband gets home and he curls up his lap, so of course my husband thinks he's a little angel, but I swear he's a demon cat.

We have a lot of animals at our home. We have 2 cats, 2 lovebirds, and 9 snakes, so needless to say, I don't have time to keep the house in perfect shape. Otherwise I would and there wouldn't be as much trouble for him to get into. I just want him to know when he's doing something wrong. He doesn't get it. Our other cat Cricket knows when she's being bad. All we have to do is look at her and stand up and she stops what she's doing. It's like he has no clue that he's not supposed to be doing something. He's not very bright.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by amandajensen87 View Post
Thanks for all the advice, but I've tried all of it and it doesn't do anything. I clip his nails every week, but I swear he only uses the scratching post to sharpen them. I put soft claws on him and he just chews them off. Our other cat is declawed and she adjusted just fine to it, but I can't afford to do that again right now. I've sprayed him, I've hissed, I blew in his face, I've done everything. He chews on everything, he hangs onto the couch, and he runs around all day long. I don't know where all the energy comes from! The only time I see that cat sleep is when my husband gets home and he curls up his lap, so of course my husband thinks he's a little angel, but I swear he's a demon cat.

We have a lot of animals at our home. We have 2 cats, 2 lovebirds, and 9 snakes, so needless to say, I don't have time to keep the house in perfect shape. Otherwise I would and there wouldn't be as much trouble for him to get into. I just want him to know when he's doing something wrong. He doesn't get it. Our other cat Cricket knows when she's being bad. All we have to do is look at her and stand up and she stops what she's doing. It's like he has no clue that he's not supposed to be doing something. He's not very bright.
Ah, but Siamese are very bright. Perhaps this is just not the cat for you. Maybe re-homing him and getting yourself an older cat would be a better choice. If you decide to keep him you really need to stop punishing him for beng a cat and try to work with him on his behaviour.
post #10 of 16
First of all, don't ever get a Bengal cat. They're pretty much guaranteed to act quite a bit like your terror or worse.

Living with a Bengal of my own it all sounds pretty familiar and normal to me. I like it though, Nikita makes me laugh every day so I put up with her antics without any hesitation. So yeah your cat is not wrong or a bad cat or anything, he's just a higher energy feline than you're used to.

To curb the most annoying things it really helps to realise that your cat is a cat, and a baby one at that so the way you deal with him is different than you would with human babies or puppies.

First of all like has been mentioned cat's don't really do negative reinforcement. Holding him under the sink or spraying on him all the time won't make him realise he's doing a bad thing. Their brain often just isn't wired that way. They don't connect those dots.

Basically he thinks that randomly you do nasty things to him and doesn't really figure out why, or if he does make the association it's associated with you more than the thing he was doing. So he might figure out that for example climbing the drapes is a bad idea but only if you can see him do it.

Hissing on them can work though, that's something mother cats and other cats do to communicate so then you're speaking his language and he's a lot more likely to understand.

The urge to please their "pack" leaders or members isn't there in cats since they're not really pack animals. So they don't really get the concept of you being unhappy about anything they do. The urge to submit a bit to mama cat is there though, especially when they're young and since domestic cats are in some ways always eternal kittens (even when they grow up into big lazy cats) correcting them like that can work.

To get through that hyper kitten stage redirection and physically blocking things off is vital. It sounds like he's filled with energy and playing lots with him should help you a lot.

I needed to play with my cat for over 2 solid hours a day when she was a kitten. Often cats who are destructive do so because they don't have a constructive outlet for their energy. The Da Bird toy is absolutely fantastic and well worth buying, Cricket should love it as well. Get your meezer tired enough from play and he should zonk out and give you a time out.

Another thing is giving him paper boxes to explore and a nice big cat tree to climb and play around on. Basically try to make the allowable places more intersting for him than the not allowed parts.

If he likes digging things up you could hide food treats in toys like the Peek a prize one: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=10239

And also maybe get puzzle balls to put the dry food in if you feed them dry food. It means he'll have to work a bit for his food which should leak some energy from him.

Here's the Da Bird toy http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...3&pcatid=11643

It's an absolutely fantastic toy, the head spins and whirrs when you make it move which drives the cats absolutely nuts. If you get it you'll have to hide it away when you're not using it to play because otherwise the head will be torn to shreds immediately. I have actually bought 24 da bird refiller heads for my cat now (she's only been through around 7 so far, the rest are still in storage)
Another example of what I had to do, I had to remove all curtains from my house because Nikita climbed up them, I used the wooden shutters instead and got a wooden board to put in front of the window that didn't have a wooden shutter.

She also used to unplug my laptop but has fortunately grown out of that, or she has made piece with the computer, I don't know! heh

Anyway good luck with your cat and please let me know if you have any more questions and also just to update with how it goes.

My cat has full claws (fairly visible from the signature) and I want to thank you for not having declawed your kitten. There are other ways of dealing with 'problem' kitties, fortunately since declawing is defined as animal abuse and is illegal in most of Europe, including where I live.
post #11 of 16
See above. Read. This is good advice!!

Siamese are very high-energy cats--they are famous for it! The more energy you can get the kitten to spend on play, the less it'll spend on mischief.

Have you tried turning a plastic carpet runner upside down (pointy ends up) and putting it where the cat isn't supposed to be? Many cats hate stepping on the pointy ends.

You can make your own wand toy--just take a wooden dowel, tie a very strong string to it (nylon, upholstery thread, fishing line, etc.) and tie some scraps of cloth to the end of the string. My two go crazy for it, and they're still in the crazy stage so it works! You have to put it away when you're not playing with it, though; otherwise they'll eat the cloth or get the string wrapped around them or whatnot. Baby mews at me whenever I get near the drawer where she knows I keep it!
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by amandajensen87 View Post
He's not very bright.
Actually if I had to take a guess, he's smart. Too smart for his own good.
Not much to suggest here that hasn't already been suggested. Kittens are just "kittens" until they grow out of it. (And some never do!)
post #13 of 16
You've been getting very good advice. Unfortunately, it might come down to:

Quote:
Maybe re-homing him and getting yourself an older cat would be a better choice.
He sounds like the kind of cat who doesn't calm down.

The long, thin, Oriental types are like this. They are bright, high energy, and retain these traits.

We got a wonderful kitten who turned out to be like this. We have a small apartment and someone with a chronic illness. We could play him into the ground and he'd come back for more.

Reluctantly, we concluded we were not the right house for him. I found him a new home where he is both adored and is very happy.

It's been seven years... and he still leaps from the center of the stairs, clings to the stair drapes, swings out into the living room like Tarzan, and drops on the couch.

His new person loves that, and she has the house for that.

It's sometimes better to find them a place where they will be happier.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
He has plenty of toys. I will try the da bird. But he has everything from balls to mice to wands and feathers. And he plays with the other cat all day long. We just put tape all over the kitchen and he definitely hates it.
post #15 of 16
Just a couple of thoughts on what I've experienced lately.

Bingley was (and is) the calm and gentle one. Pippin lived up to his name all too well, I'm afraid. I noticed that when he would do things I didn't like and I tried the disciplining, he did not respond. In fact, it seemed to egg him on. I think it was an attention thing, just like children. ANY attention (even bad attention) is better than NO attention. When I arrive home from work, the two run to the door to greet me. Bingley goes to his cardboard box scratching thing and tears it up. Pippin would head for the sofa (or carpet) and do the same. I started ignoring Pippin and rushing over to Bingley and making a big loving fuss over him for being such a good kitty. Pippin began to immediately run over and mimic Bingley's actions at which time he would then also get the "reward" of being petted and coo'd over. This has carried over to other things. When he is doing something I don't like, I simply say (in a deep voice), "Pippin, no!" and he'll usually (not always) stop. If he doesn't stop, I just ignore him. This is VERY difficult to do when he is doing something that I do not like, but I'm trying to not give him the attention he so obviously craves. The opposite is true as well. When I find him using the scratching post all on his own, I use my highest and sweetest voice to tell him what a good, sweet kitty he is and go to wherever he is to give him a couple of pets.

I also did the bathroom thing for a while. I read somewhere (on this board, I'm sure) that you should only put him in for a few minutes (just like a time out with a child). The maximum I did was 5 minutes. I would put him in the bathroom and start the oven timer. Even though he would cry, I would not open the bathroom door until that timer had gone off. I wanted him to hear that ding to know that he had to wait for that. After a while, he stopped crying since he seemed to realize that he would only be in for a short time. I noticed that the time-out did in fact calm him down. I haven't had to use the bathroom in close to a month now.

I know it can be frustrating, but keep trying non-harmful things until something works. One night recently he would not settle down at bed time, so I took him in the living room and got out the laser pointer and ran him ragged around that room. After 15 minutes or so, HE was the one ready for bed.

Good luck and just remember to breath deeply!
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by amandajensen87 View Post
He has plenty of toys. I will try the da bird. But he has everything from balls to mice to wands and feathers. And he plays with the other cat all day long. We just put tape all over the kitchen and he definitely hates it.

It's not just having toys or chasing the other cat, it's also interactive play with you. At least half an hour. For some reason, this is like a sleeping pill for my two (who chase each other all day). A lazer pointer might be a good toy. It's not so much work for you, but most cat's go nuts chasing it. Da Bird is a great toy, my two do running leaps to get at it and sleep like a log afterwards.

I'm sure you want to provide him with a happy loving home, or you wouldn't have come here looking for advice, but there's unfortunately no "kitten off button" (although we've all dreamed of it ). Good luck.
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