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I can’t keep my cat off of my stuff!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My cat Spooky has an obsession with knocking things over. No, seriously. If he sees a cup or bottle on an end table or a shelf or a nightstand – he HAS to knock it over. It’s NOT allowed to stay there. He will run from the other side of the house to knock something over when you set it down. And it’s not just cups either. He kept pushing my alarm clock, cell phone and LAMP off the nightstand so many times I eventually fastened the lamp and clock down with Velcro, and installed a plastic silverware basket on the side of the nightstand to keep my cell phone in.

Thankfully somehow or another I’ve trained him to stay off the kitchen and bathroom counters, and for the most part he stays off the dining table if somebody is sitting there. But if you leave anything (even a centerpiece!) on the table while its not in use, he’s up there pushing it off the side. If you are eating and you get up for even a second, he’s on the table knocking the food, plates, silverware, condiments, etc. off onto the floor.

I just got my own apartment and I can’t risk burning a candle because he’ll kill us all if he knocks that over. The tops of my dressers and nightstands are all bare (except what is already Velcro-d down) and I just think it looks kind of funny. I got rid of a whole box of picture frames the other day because they were all the tabletop kind and those are pointless to keep around if I can’t display them! He hates picture frames, by the way. I tried putting a bunch on top of a shelf and he got up there and “flopped down” knocking them all down at one time then looked at me all triumphant like.

He won’t be dissuaded either. Telling him no and spraying with a water bottle does not work. Well, I mean it works to make him get down from wherever he is, but he just waits until I stop looking. Or when I’m asleep. I’ve found he does it most often when he wants attention – which of course he gets because I have to run over to catch whatever it is he’s trying to break now. When he wants attention he’ll look at me and meow, then if I don’t immediately come cuddle him, he starts knocking things over.

So far I have been able to cope with this behavior. Fastening things down, leaving all the tabletops etc. empty, always keeping somebody at the table when there is food there. Only drinking bottled/re-sealable beverages. But seriously – is this normal? Do everybody’s cats get into their stuff all the time and knock things over? I mean its not a HUGE problem, but its annoying! Is there anything I can do to make him stop?

It’s just me, him and his buddy Mulder (15 weeks) in the apartment, and my boyfriend Scott comes over a lot. I play with the cats for at least a couple of hours every day when I get home, and they're always with me wherever I am in the apartment, so I don’t think he’s lonely! Just figured I’d post and ask!
post #2 of 5
It's a cat's sworn duty to knock things over.

How old is he? They outgrow some of these "get into everything" behaviors as they age. And you're very wise about the attention thing. Maybe leave some stuff unbreakable stuff out that he can knock over and you can ignore until he realizes it doesn't work any more? My old cat used to pull things down from kitchen shelves when he was bored and wanted attention.

Leaving candles even momentarily unattended isn't such a good idea even with cats who aren't knocker-overers. They can walk by it and just brush it with their tail and catch fire.
post #3 of 5
For a long time we had a basket full of things for Jack to push off the dresser. He knew that was what they were for too. A combo of things, things I knew would bounce when they fell, would make silly noises etc...things he knew were his to push off and only his. He finally grew out of the habit and now very rarely feels the need to test gravity. Meowmy's keys are a favorite.

post #4 of 5
The suggestion about letting him knock non-breakable things down while you ignore him was a great one. He knows he can get your attention by knocking stuff down. If he's young he'll probably outgrow it.

A friend of mine has a pet crow. To keep the crow from knocking things down she uses clear caulk on the bottoms of her items and sticks them on her glass shelves. Your post reminded me of that and I thought maybe you could use it too. The caulk will peel off the glass and off ceramic and metal items so your things won't be damaged by it.
post #5 of 5
I was also going to say that I think you are and have been giving him attention when he does this. He doesn't care what kind as long as you are paying attention when he does this, he will continue. I know it is hard but you have to completely ignore it. Even punishing him is a form of attention.
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