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Counter Surfer

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello All!

New to the Forum here. Also first time cat owner. Here is a little background that may be helpful.

I rescued a Kitten from a live trap (I work at a pest control Company) The Kitten was caught at a target Store and was believed to have traveled on a truck from another state.

So I took in this kitten. I kept him in the bathroom for about a week (I took him out to play in the other room). I wanted to make sure all was well and he wouldn't destroy anything and to see if he was nice.

He turned out to be really sweet and a normal Kitten. We took him to the vet and got all the shots and yadda yadda yadda. Now that we have been letting him have a little more leg room he is getting in to more trouble (naturally). When we are not home and at night he stays in the office. I have been able to train him to sit and walk on a leash (trying to get some energy out). There are 3 things that I have not been able to stop or figure out.

#1: Food Obsessed. He is crazy over food. Our vet recommended about 3/4 cup food per day (he gets fed 3 times a day - the 3/4 cup spread out). I just figured that since he was on the street he doesn't know when he will get his next meal. It has been 3 months since we got him and he is still crazy. He begs us for food. He has jumped up on us and swatted food off of our forks before. He jumps in the fridge and the cupboards. He has chewed through bags of food to get to it (i left his food bag out and he got into it, also a bag of greenies). Leading into #2 is Jumping on the counter...

#2: Jumping on the counter. He will only do this when we are not looking or are in the other room (of course). We try to keep all food away but he knows we have/make food up there. He cannot jump from the floor to the counter (yet) so he uses the kitchen table as a platform. Or just recently he uses the trash can (tipped it over a few times). I have tried sticky tape. He first didn't like it but then would quick jump on it and then over it. Pennies in the can. Doesn't bother him. He love water so the squirt gun didn't work. Yelling and clapping, no go. Put in time out under laundry basket. Didn't work. I am going to try mouse traps but I don't think it will work. Any other ideas? I really dont want to get the mat that shocks them. I live in an apartment so I don't think my neighbors will like the one that makes the loud noise.

#3: Biting. He loves to hand attack. We have tried yelling, ignoring, walking away, squirt gun, I would put my finger in his mouth while he would bite it and hold his bottom jaw down. He will just be sitting there and then ATTACK! so its not over stimulation. He has toys galore and loves to fight and bite some stuffed animals witch I let him do and encourage. I just don't understand the random act of attack. My husband was putting him to bed and went to give him a kiss and he bit it cheek and wouldn't let go. He had to put his fingers in his mouth to make him let go, and then he bit his finger and ripped it open. He was very calm before the incident and it was our usual evening. I'm worried that they are getting progressively move violent/intense. I have also brought him to a neighbors to play with another kitten and he really enjoys that.

Any help on correcting these behaviors is greatly appreciated. So Far the only thing that calms him down is watching the fish tank! Oh also he was afraid of men/boys if that means anything. He is much better with them now. Thanks!
post #2 of 10
Well I think you azre right on when you say he's not sure when he'll get his next meal. I brought two kittens in from the outdoors when they were 8 weeks old. They were definitely eating themselves silly, but I always left food out all day long. I know some will disagree with that approach, but it hasn't been a problem and they are almost 10 months old.

Counters? OY!!! I gave up on that one. It didn't matter what I did, they would always find a way up there. When I'm preparing food and they get up there, I always help them down off the counter, but I didn't have enough energy to fight that fight! LOL

How old is the kitten? Any idea? Mine did bite a lot when they were younger, but now that they are older that has subsided quite a bit.
post #3 of 10
1: most cats that overeat because they had to eat at every opportunity and starve will act like that for a while. Most grow out of it in time once they are totally secure in the knowledge that food will come to them at regular intervals. Always feed at exactly the same time every day so that you build a solid routine.

2: Give him an alternative to the counter. I keep a cat tree that is about 6 inches taller than the counter in the kitchen and will redirect my cats to that post when I catch them on the counter. Place things on that tree that are of interest to your kitten. And be absolutely consistent with him - the moment you see him on the counter, pick him up with a firm NO, place him on the tree and pet the heck out of him. Just saying no to a cat rarely works as they don't always know what you really want them to do.

3: could be partly due to an oral fixation. Some cats separated from their mothers too young are compulsive about this. See if you can find more ideas in this thread:
post #4 of 10
Are you sure that the amount you're feeding is enough? Some cats need more than others. I'm a believer in free feeding dry food. I give wet in the AM and PM and always leave dry available. As far as counters and the kitchen table, one of my babies thinks the table is her playground. I've given up because its a lost battle. I live alone so its not a problem for others. I do always clean the surfaces with sanitizing wipes. I know many of us cat owners have the same problem. Its not food she's after. I think she just wants to be near me when I'm reading the paper or drinking coffee. Good Luck.
post #5 of 10
It sounds like your kitty was weaned too early; kittens learn proper play from their moms and siblings, and the biting you are describing sounds to me like he simply just doesn't know that it's not acceptable play.

As far as the food; he is a kitten...ignore your vet's advice for the time being and offer him free choice; This may also help stop some of his counter surfing, because he won't feel the need to go searching for food all the time. With all my rescues I offer free choice, simply because of their 'anxiety' over where their next meal may come; as they get older, they realize that food will always be available, and you can eventually start feeding the cat in 2 meals a day. I rehab dogs too, and for the real 'food driven ones' free choice can really help stop the scarfing and searching for food all the time, because they learn that it's always there.
post #6 of 10
Oh you do have a little bundle of energy there! About the biting, remember she is a baby and could be teething. All of my cats I got as kittens, and they all were biters when they were little but they grew out of it. That probably doesn't help right now though, and biting your husband's cheek is kind of wierd. If she starts biting, just put her down and ignore her.

I usually free feed my cats, as in always have a little bit in the bowls to munch on when ever they feel hungry. Honestly, 3/4 cups a day seems a little low to me, especially since kitten have such high energy. But, I think he is "food crazy" for what you eat because YOU are eating it! Have you tried feeding him the same time as your dinner time? Maybe give him a little extra special from you plate. Not hand feeding, but give him a little treat so he will leave you alone.

The counter thing....with my cat's its a lost cause. With only 1 cat, you could try putting alumimium foil on the counters when you aren't there. Supposedly, cats hate the feeling of it under their paws and will deter them. I had that work with 1 cat, but it depends on the cat (kind of like the water thing).

One think I would suggest is getting another cat. It sounds strange, but honestly if there are 2 cats in the house (that get along and play together) they are much happier becuase they can "play fight" with each other. That may be what she is trying to do when she bites. It doesn't cost much more in food or litter, and watching them play together is great!

Oh, and welcome to TCS!!!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say thanks for all the great advice!

Willson (the counter surfer) Is doing much better over the past week. I have changed a few things and it seams for the better!

First I gave him a ton of food one day and since I did that he has not tried to get on the counter once! I also put a booby trap up there but he hasnt even looked at the counter! I put some towels on the edges and it seams to be working for what ever reason.

For the biting I started to yowl when he bit me. He would stop, look up at me, and then wonder off, or I will then give him a toy to dismember. He is much more cuddly and seams to understand our boundaries.

A few other things I have been doing is letting him walk the hallways in our apartment on his leash. He likes to smell and wonder around and is getting some energy out. He will try to run down the hall then realizes hes attached it me! I have also been taking him places with me, to my parents and to friends houses. He loves the car, always looking out the window and trying to see whats going by, and then playing and exploring at someone else's house seams to be enjoyable for him. He acts like he owns the place!

I just wanted to say thanks again and I will come back when I have more questions! Thanks!

Megan and Willson
post #8 of 10
In response to #1.
it's fantastic that with increased food he is improving on his food stealing behavior. I do have a few questions.
1. Have you looked at the feeding guide on the bag of food? Are you feeding withing the parameters of what the food manufacturer reccomends?
2. What food are you feeding? not all foods are created equal, and his rav behavior could be due to nutritional imbalances.

*If you are feeding more than what is reccomended to keep hungry kitty at bay, i would start looking into a different food.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hes getting Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care Kitten. I know this is a good food. I would never feed any of my pets "Grocery Brand" Foods. The bag says for his age and weight 1/2 to 3/4 cups a day. He does seam to be better with a increase of food. I put a about cup of food in his bowl and he ate it all in about 5 min or less. So I dont think free feeding will work. He will just eat himself to death. Just now as I am typing this I brought the bag of food over here and put it on my desk. He just had his lunch and some cooked chicken and he is trying th rip open the bag of food. He is an addict! The vet says he is growing just fine and is healthy. I'm not starving him but I dont want him to get fat either. He is getting Neutered on Valentines day so maybe that will help with some behaviors. Thanks for the help!
post #10 of 10
About tearing open the bags of food, my cats do that even when they still have the exact same food left in their dish. I think it is more the "well, it's there" mentality than really being hungry. They even tear open bags of dog food if they are left out then just leave it spread all over the floor! It's like "mission accomplished" then move on the the next adventure. Little brats!
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