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Should I punish them?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
DH and I are catsitting two older cats for a friend of ours that's TDY in the Phillipines for a month and I've already caught one of them clawing at our furniture! They have plenty of things to claw on with catnip (which they absolutely love). Thing is, it's been only their 4th day with us and they still hate us. They're two adult males and have camped out in a little makeshift tent that I had made out of two chairs and a sheet on the far side of the apartment to make them feel comfortable.
I know, this isn't really the best situation for them but the owner didn't really have much of a choice since it was a family matter and she needed to be there ASAP. At least they have their own food and water bowls and litter box with them and thank god that they're using it!
Angel is very curious about them and hasn't hissed once. She continuely stalks up to them like a little kid and when they hiss she bounces back! It's quite entertaining to watch becuase we call the two adults Old Grumps. They're getting more adventurous though and coming out more but Tiger doesn't care for them much. He tries to avoid them unless they come between me and him, which he will hiss.
So, back to the clawing furniture. Should I use the spray bottle on them like I had to do with Tiger and Angel to train them not the claw it? Snapping my fingers seem to work for now since they're still fraidy cats but I'm wondering about in the future when they start to ignore it but I also worry about them hating us even more. I've just now got them to the point that they'll let me pet them a bit. Help?
post #2 of 10
Although surface clawing is part of a cat's way of marking territory, you should discourage it (after all it's your property being damaged). It is also a good idea to inform your friend.
post #3 of 10
I would get some double sided tape. Whats to say when you aren't looking and ready with the spray bottle that they won't scratch? I think were they are temporary in your house and it's hard for them to be in a different place the less thats done to upset them the better. I would be upset if someone sprayed me with water!

Or you can attempt to do those nail caps? I don't know how easy it would be to do that though.
post #4 of 10
How kind of you to help out by keeping them. I know that the cats have no clue what has happened to their world so, to them this is their "new home". Like being rehomed. Going through an introduction process (if possible) with the resident cats and learning the rules would be part of the process.

Did they send the new cats scratching post with them? You could put that in front of where they scratch. Double sided tape, aluminum foil, feliway spray the area, etc.

Best info I have used.... http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...threadid=20568

Hope they settle down soon.
post #5 of 10
My ideas
Cover up the couch with sticky tape or something else. Confine them in another room. Put soft paws on them.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, can't really do the soft paws on them. They bite. Found that out the hard way trying to see if their nails needed clipping.
The owner did bring their old scratch board but I think it's too small and too few, lol. So, I put one of the scratch posts where the tabby was scratching to try to encourage him to use -that-. (With catnip!) We have Frebreeze that I'm using as well. May not be lemon but I'm hoping it's better than nothing.

Good news though! Last night, Angel and the orange tabby were nose to nose without hissing! Thanks to catnip of course but still, a very welcomed gesture. Makes me more relieved when we have to leave them alone for work.
post #7 of 10
Vets here are very much against clipping claws especially if the cats go outdoors at all. They need their claws for climbing and catching prey. I've seen those cap things on the market but many cats, like mine, actually bite their claws to clean them. Clipping is only done by my vet if the claws are actually posing a problem for the animal.

I'm lucky in that Thingy doesn't go in for clawing the furniture too much. She gets shouted at loudly (but non-verbally) if she does and that seems to inhibit her as she doesn't like loud noises. I have also used a water spray on her once but I don't always have it to hand so, generally if she wants to go feral for a bit, I just put her out in the garden for a bit so she can work it off out there. It's worked so far.

If she digs her claws into me, on the other hand, I let her do it so long as it doesn't hurt too much. If it does, I just yelp very loudly and tap her toes with my finger.

If none of this works, I hear that citrus smells work a treat. I don't think you can talk in terms of cats hating. They aren't human. They don't bear grudges. Moderate physicality is normal in the animal world. I've watched a lot of Cesar Millan's programmes. I know he does dogs and cats are a bit different but I fully take on board his dictum that you mustn't anthropomorphise animals. They don't understand words, only sounds and they don't sulk or do any of the human things plus you need to be physical (but not vicious) with your discipline so light hitting (as light as a cat might do with its paw to another cat) is permissible as is scruffing, and non-verbal shouts, and natural deterrents like citrus smells.

I have to say that Thingy for a very old, opinionated old puss with attitude is incredibly well behaved. She's never put out a claw in anger and my furniture, in spite of a few desultory attempts at clawing, is unmarked. And she's certainly shown no animus at being disciplined.
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by StacyD1987 View Post
The owner did bring their old scratch board but I think it's too small and too few, lol. So, I put one of the scratch posts where the tabby was scratching to try to encourage him to use -that-. (With catnip!) .
Good idea. I was already assuming you had posts all over the place If not, get a bunch. Do you have cat trees?
Have you heard of Feliway? That would help you with the kitties getting along, at least some.
post #9 of 10
We had barn cats at our other house. Every once in awhile I'd clip the nails of the cats and they still can catch prey and climb with no problems. I cannot stand the sharp nails.

I'd use plastic cover or tape on the furniture and I would clip those nails on the cats.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, good news again, the orange tabby has clawed the post and not the couch! And with that same tabby, I finally got him out of his shell for a bit in the kitchen. He's such a love and has a cute light meow. That lasted for about 5 minutes before DH came to cook. -.- I told him to walk lightly.
As for a cat tree, we have a small one and a 'jungle gym' but they're not interested in them. Probably because they're scented with Angel and Tiger fur, lol. We do have about 4 scratch boards lying around, counting theirs. Cat trees are a bit out of our budget at the moment. First thing first, a Dyson Animal.
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