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Fearless, misbehaving kitten

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We lost a cat in January, and went out right away to get a new kitten to keep our other cat company. Well, the two get along great, but the new kitten is a nightmare - except when he's asleep, of course. He gets into everything. He jumps on our plates when we're eating and steals food, knocks over glasses of water, attacks papers, eats plants, plays with and chews on cords, etc. In the month that he's been here he has caused about $2000 worth of damage, including a somewhat new laptop. He ignores getting yelled at, loud noises, a tap on the backside, and the spray bottles of water. He's not afraid of anything enough to make him stop what he's doing. He's not even afraid of the vacuum cleaner. I'm really at a loss as for what to try next. Any ideas?
post #2 of 17
How old is the new kitten?

Young cats can be very rambunctious. It sounds like you might need to create crazy-kitten-safe parts of the house, and keep the kitten out of non-safe areas. Remove all plants and all expensive things that can be knocked over from the places your kitten will be. Get cord covers to cover all electrical cords were the kitten is allowed to be. Play with your kitten in order to give the kitten excitement and tire him out. Do not allow the kitten to get anywhere near your food. You can do this: you are bigger than the kitten and you can move the kitten. Make sure that the kitten has plenty of kitten-food available at all times.

In all likelihood, the kitten will mellow out somewhat with age. However, I still have to either drink any water in a glass I'm leaving around, or expect that water to be spilled when I'm not looking. And my cats are over three years old. Some cats are just more playful/destructive than others.

When my cats were kittens, I was teaching high school. I had to tell some students that my cats had eaten their homework.

Now, papers are safe if they are on the table, but if any paper is on the floor or on my bed, it does get torn up. Just this morning I brought an article to a meeting that had a missing corner, because I was reading it in bed and fell asleep with it beside me.

How did the cat ruin the laptop? That sounds pretty terrible.
post #3 of 17
Put breakable things away. Put mail out of reach.

He's obviously a VERY energetic kitty - though he will mellow with age, you've got to get there. Play with him as much as you can - I'd say at LEAST half an hour in the morning and as many hours at night as you can to help use up that energy. Get a laser light - hopefully he goes for that.

We've never had success with water. We hiss at them, blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in their face and say "No" firmly. If they're up on something we don't want them to be, we hiss, blow in their face, and say "No" as we're setting them down (and then we walk away). It's a language they understand and one their mom would use. It may not stop the activity at first, but he will learn VERY quickly what the word "No" means and he'll learn that bad behavior gets him ignored. But you must be consistent about it.

You may also want to consider getting an air can. Do NOT blow that air in his face - it will freeze his face. Just use it NEAR him - make sure the air is NOT pointing at him. But the sound will startle him.

The problem with cats is that as Momofmany so frequently points out, they're all about "what's in it for me?" That is just SO true. So you may also want to work on "redirection." The laser toy is great for this, and that's why I suggest you use up as much of that energy as you can in directed play.

Also, it's important for kitties - just like children - to understand what you want them to do as much as it is important for them to understand what we don't want them to do. So praise him to high heaven for playing appropriately or whenever he's being a good kitty.

Cats can get bored very easily with their toys. Make sure you only put a few out at a time, and rotate them frequently. We take toys out of circulation for at least a week, and usually two.

Look into interactive toys that will grab his attention.

The Cat Dancer Compleat (you attach to a wall or a bookcase or something) is a good one: http://www.catdancer.com/products.htm. We've never tried the mouse in the house - but for a kitten, that could be a good one.

Try the Peek-a-Play box or the Tick Tock Teaser here: http://www.esmartcat.com/

This is an advanced version of the ball in the ring: http://www.cattoys.com/mousecattoys.html

Buy one of those motorized toys that rolls around weirdly and buzzes - and stick it in a paper bag that you then fold over a couple of times to close it and put it on its side.

If he likes to jump and climb, consider a cat tree (or a couple of cat trees)/condos - and check out this stuff:


And here's a great article with more ideas: http://maxshouse.com/Healthy+Happy_Indoors.htm

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

I was working on something on the computer while eating dinner one night, and Gus dove onto the table and ran straight into a huge glass of water and knocked it directly onto the laptop keyboard.

Also, I have kitten proofed. All of the plants are now located on the top of the entertainment center - it looks like a small jungle up there. All the cords are taped to the walls. He gets enough food to last throughout the day. Also, they do have about 50 toys in rotation, a 4 foot tall cat house, and he gets play time with "mom and dad" a few times a day. Plus he has another cat to play with!

In a one bedroom apartment it's hard to separate the cats from everything that can turn into a mess. But I guess we're going crazy mostly because the other cats were not like this.
post #5 of 17
Yeah - sometime they can be just the tiniest balls of the most gigantic energy. You just have to do your best to protect your stuff and your home, to help him use up that energy, and pray you can make it through until he mellows out. Thank god you lost all that money on stuff and not on his health.

Try some of those interactive cat toys that don't require your participation.

Also, if you've got the space, build box condos. We get them sprawling - we cut holes in them - usually three or four entrances to each box - and we tape them together. You can get them going three stories high if stable enough - we've had up to 20 boxes or so going. We change the configurations - hide treats in different boxes inside the 3D maze every day. There's little more that most cats love than boxes.

Sometimes you've just got to get creative about keeping them busy.

post #6 of 17
Is the new kitten orange?
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
He's not orange, solid black. My grandmother used to have an orange cat though, and she ended up calling him Beast.

By the way, he's being an angel right now. Just laying on my shoulder, purring and licking my cheek!
post #8 of 17
Well, those moments make it all worth it, don't they?

post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
But I guess we're going crazy mostly because the other cats were not like this.
I feel for you! That is sad about the laptop.
I have a fearless misbehaving adult cat. Talks all the time and won't shut up either. You learn to accept kitty and make huge adjustments in your decorating and in your life.
My cat doesn't have hair and requires a heated bed, these are expensive yet to get warmer she tears them up to get inside both the pads and donut beds.
My dogs are angels all things considered, the cat is
But we love her anyway, that is why she is so darn cute and loveable, cuz she is sooooo bad!!!!
post #10 of 17
I used to think Blossom was wild. When she was particularly bad, biting our legs & feet I would give her time out in her crate. She calmed down with age & still has the occasional zoomy attack.
post #11 of 17
Did it actually ruin the laptop? There are places that can fix "spilled" laptops.

And for anyone else who's interested, the easy solution if your keyboard gets spilled on is to put it in the automatic dishwasher, but be sure to turn off the heated drying. Take it out, shake all the water out of it, and let it dry a few days.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
It was going to cost $750 to fix, or $999 for a brand new laptop! Also, I use Mac, and the new compact size of the MacBook means everything was reached almost instantly. And the keyboards don't really detach either, unfortunately. I just flipped it upside down and left it open to dry but even he next night it wouldn't turn on.
post #13 of 17
yikes! he sounds like a mini tornado!

i have milo 13 months, and shinobi 9 months, and when they decide to play 'chase' then we all grab anything that could be in their path! they literally run into and up anything in their way.

my husband had to get large pebbles to put in the floorstanding plantpots as shinobi would regularly tip them over and scrap out all the soil.

milo has pulled my spider plants off a high shelf causing an almighty mess and following the theme i have learnt not to have a vase of flowers within their reach as they knock the whole lot over, water all over the carpet.

one or both of them have bitten my aluminum venetian blinds in the lounge leaving teeth marks for all to see.

they have destroyed some of my daughters precious music magazines that she has been religiously collecting for the last 2 and a half years.

and we still love them!
post #14 of 17
Forrest was a tornado of energy when he was younger. He's 9 months old now and finally starting to mellow out a bit. We adopted him when he was 3 months old and I was horrified about how much energy he had. Occasionally he would damage something, but my husband and I both work out of our home and we were able to keep our eye on him at all times. At night while we slept we put Forrest into a room that was kitten proofed so that he would be safe.

One thing that worked for me (in fact I've only had to use it a few times) is getting a small unused empty pint paint can (you can get them at most places paint is sold) and put in a handful of coins and seal the lid on. The noise from this is VERY loud. For some reason this is louder than any other metal container I've tried.

There are two places in our home that Forrest is not allowed - one of them is on the center island of our kitchen where our cooktop is located. He started jumping up there and it is too dangerous. One time of shaking that can stopped him from jumping up there again. I've used it for a few other behaviors I wanted to stop and I've only had to shake it once.

I was totally unprepared as to how much energy a kitten can have but fortunately that crazy kitten stage didn't last forever. Your boy will eventually grow up and sleep more and be less active. Enjoy your little one.
post #15 of 17
Just wanted to say thanks to all the replies/advise and for whiteforest for starting this thread. So many useful info here to help my kitten too. She's not that high strung but she has her moments.

I live in a studio apartment and she practically have the run of the house. She knows that the dining table, the entertainment center and the kitchen counter top s off limit. You have to let them know when they are very young and be consistent. Don't think it's cute that your kitty is hanging upside down by the TV stand one day and scold her the next day.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
He doesn't even have that many things he can't do.

-No eating plants
-No eating or drinking from human dishes
-No jumping on the counter (because of the stove top)
-No playing with laptops

It couldn't get any easier for him. He has free run to do as he pleases beyond that!
post #17 of 17
You might try laying the laptop open under a warm lamp overnight. I've seen that bring wet electronics back to life. If all that was spilled was water, you have a good chance.

But that's why I've always bought a couple years worth of insurance with my laptop.
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