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Shredding boxes, paper and plastic bags. Gah!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
First, sorry for the long post here. I'm sort of at my wit's end with this and figured I should put as many details as possible here to find the root of the issue.

I own two cats. One cat, Theo, is a 2 year old male that we adopted just a year ago (today even, I think). He has all kinds of behavioral problems. He's a big, sweet, orange and white cat that loves a lot of attention but plays a bit too roughly. As a result, my other cat seems to alternate from thinking he's OK to flat out hating him.

My other cat is a black, 3 year old female cat named Moon. While Theo's behavior is always bad, we've come to expect it from him. It's Moon's recent behavior that is bothering me. When she was just a year old she was diagnosed as having recurring UTIs. This has been a real problem for us and for poor Moon and she has to go to the vet regularly for it because her body keeps making painful crystals. She also just recently was diagnosed as having kitty asthma. Poor kitty! The vet suggested that we try to make her lose some weight because cats who are overweight tend to be more at risk for things like UTIs and asthma. She was 12 pounds and we've got her at about 10 now.

The way we've been feeding them is that we give them about a cup of the dry food in the morning and we split a big can of wet food at night.

Now here comes the problems. For the past three weeks our usually well-behaved Moon cat has outdone herself in being bad! She has been scratching at doors to get them open (I rent a place so this is not good), but doesn't want to go through them. She just wants them open. She finds boxes and rips them to shreds. If one of my roommates leaves out a bag of chips or the bread, she tears through the plastic with her teeth and leaves bits of the plastic remains all over the apartment- but she doesn't eat the food at all. She does the same thing with the trashcan. She'll knock it over after we're asleep (she NEVER does this when we're awake- and I know it's her because I've caught her twice when I got up to go to the bathroom). Then, instead of eating food inside it like you'd think she'd do... she starts ripping apart the trash bag and pulls out boxes and other plastic bags from the trash can and starts ripping those up too. I woke up this morning to the trash can spilling out all kinds of gross food all over the kitchen floor and the trash bag ripped to shreds- and a Poptart box completely destroyed.

Does anyone have any idea why she's doing this?? She's usually so well-behaved!
post #2 of 6
She could be feeling better and bored, getting into whatever she can looking for entertainment.......
post #3 of 6
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
She could be feeling better and bored, getting into whatever she can looking for entertainment.......
My thoughts exactly. That or she has been talking to my Jordan. He is 6 now, and has always been this way. Unfortunatly, I can't offer any help to stop the behavior because nothing i've tried with the J.Noah man has worked. If anything all he's done is manage to teach the others his naughty tricks!
post #4 of 6
Sophie hates the door to the kitchen closed so it gets left open. Sometimes she'll cry at a door and i'll open it for her just so she can walk around to see that everythings ok, because once she's done that she comes straight back out.

As for ripping things apart, do you set some time aside to play with them yourself?
post #5 of 6
I have a paper/box shredder boy at my house, but mine has always done this.

Cats are notorious for hiding health issues so often the first sign is a behavior change. Theo can sense when Moon is ill long before she shows any symptoms. That may account for the intermittent bouts of like/dislike. Also, when Moon goes to the vet she will come home 'not smelling right'. This could cause some discord between the two until everything smells normal again.

Has the vet offered any suggestions as to why she may be into the garbage and packages? I have dog with Cushing's Syndrome and this is a warning sign for some. Not sure if that will relate to your situation, just thought to mention it because of the similarities.

For the door scratching, can you put a scratching post at that spot. They leave a scent behind when they scratch so maybe an enzyme cleaner used there then place a scratching post.

Another thought would be if there is another cat that comes around outside.

Sorry, I'm just throwing out anything I can think of in hopes that something might help. Best to you and for Moon to feel better.
post #6 of 6
Our cats are feral rescues and believed garbage was food (cats are opportunistic feeders naturally), so we bought an aluminum can with a top operated by a foot pedal, and it's heavy on the bottom so it can't be knocked over.

We have a plastic eater. We no longer leave any bags of any kind out anywhere. Food goes in cabinets, plastic bags go into a container in a cabinet. She also likes to chew on headsets, so we can't leave those out anymore.

We have a paper shredder. We no longer leave papers we don't want shredded out anywhere. We intentionally put out boxes for them to play in/on and chew/shred.

Billy, after being with us about five months, decided he didn't like any closed doors. We have a handicapped cat that falls over a lot, so we couldn't leave the bathroom door open and leave the house without worrying that she'd flop on it with a kitty in there, trapping someone in the bathroom. So we put a shoe inbetween the door and door frame. This way if it closes, it doesn't close all the way, and anyone in there can get out.

Some of these behaviors developed after the kitties were older - they didn't always do this.

So... either her behavior has changed because she's sick with something and she's doing what she can to let you know (have you had a blood test recently? Is she anemic? Perhaps it's time for a second opinion from a different vet about what's up with her health?)....

....or.... you need to adapt to her behavior.

Skimble had some good suggestions.

Of couse - Cheylink, Angie and Susan may be right. Perhaps all she needs is about 20 minutes of hard, active play time from you each morning and evening?

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