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Cat + Tables + Doors

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok I need some help.
Miikka seems to think that jumping on the kitchen table and running around (be it during dinner, while I am working there, or just randomly) is fun. This behaviour is getting "aggrevating" for me and the other members of the family.
When she goes onto the table we:
a) scold her
b) if "bad cat water bottle" is around we spray her
c) we put her in her room for a time out

What else can I do. As I type she has just jumped on the table again and run across knocking papers all over. She is in her room for a time out. Nothing seems to work.

Secondly, every time a door opens Miikka is RIGHT there. This is starting to worry me. I dont want her around the front door when it opens (she might get hit by the door or be inclined to run out). This is also the case for the fridge and any closet/cupboard that I open. She will immediately be inside.

What can I do. Its beginning to be a larger problem as she is getting bigger, stronger and more mature.
post #2 of 8
It sounds like Miikka is four months old from what your signature says. She's still a kitten and she will still have kitten energy.

And, being four months, if she hasn't been spayed, her first heat cycle is fast approaching. Even though she is an indoor cat, when she enters that heat cycle, she will begin calling for a male cat and be wanting to get outside. If you aren't planning to breed her, please spay her.

I currently have a three month old kitten in the house so I can relate to some of the frustration felt by you at this moment.

I have trained Menchi not to jump onto the dining room table, or onto my desk especially when I am studying or typing.

I've done this by at each instance that he is spotted on the table, he is picked up and told a firm No! and placed on the floor a small distance away from the table and ignored. We have also used the spray bottle but not to spray directly at him but near him to distract him from the table. We use it when he looks up at the table judging distance and contemplating a jump. Sometimes we'll throw a favourite toy near him to distract him and encourage him to play with the toy, again to distract him.

As we also have two other cats in the house, we are always careful when opening any door. All our cats are indoors.

By having indoor cats you do need to provide plenty of toys made of different materials and those that make different sounds. A scratching post or material is a must! This will allow them to play and encourage excercise while using up some excess energy. We have also dedicated the front window to the cats for viewing the outside world. We have placed a bird feeder and birdbath in our front yard for the birds and for our cats to watch.

We also have scheduled play time in our house. This is where us humans play with the cats encouraging them to stalk and pounce on a toy, or to scratch the scratching pole by playing on the pole. Another is to run around the house after a favourite toy. Or with my oldest catm Russell, he plays fetch with a rattly mouse. Menchi will chase a light from a torch. Esper loves to scratch. This play time allows excess energy used up. It also means that during this time your kitty is getting your undivided attention in a positive manner. So when the time for punishment comes, a difference between the two is made.

As for Miikka potentially escaping, make the area around the front door uninviting. Use a citrus scented spray and spray asound the area. Most cats don't like the smell of citrus. Also when you enter or leave and Miikka is there, have an can half full uncooked rice, dried beans or coins to rattle to startle her. Cats do not like sudden loud noises. Be sure that Miikka doesn't see you doing this, otherwise she will associate the noise with you rather than the front door area.

Cats, by nature are inquisitive and kittens more so especially when there are so many things to explore. It's our job to tell them where it is they can explore and where they can't. Each time that you do go to open a cupboard door or fridge door and Miikka is there, you can open it and when she goes in, push her out as a mother cat would do in order to keep kittens away from something. And a firm No! to follow.

If this doesn't work, you may wish to keep that can of uncooked rice, beans or coins handy.

Manners during dinner time? Try feeding Miikka before you sit down to eat. That way she's had something to eat and isn't hungry and wanting the nearest food source and usually after a meal, cats have a short nap, hopefully long enough for you to have dinner. If tidbits are given to Mikka during meal times, this needs to stop immediately as you will be sending mixed messages to her and end up confusing her.

Tidbits should be considered as treats, not as part of a daily diet. Offer them to Miikka after you have finished dinner, not before or during as this will seem like an invitation to join you during dinner.

Get the entire family involved with training Miikka and be consistent. Have a family meeting and agree to what punishments are given for what. And when Miikka does the right thing, remember to reward her and give plenty of praise.
post #3 of 8
Mags has given you great advice! Thanks Mags!

I am one of those who also believes spraying cats with water is a no-win situation. Instead, I direct the spray towards a potted plant in the corner of the room. Cat thinks a mouse is in the plant and goes to investigate and the plant gets wet not the cat.
post #4 of 8
Because of the alarm, and the fact that my parents dont want their possessions destroyed Miik spends her days while no one is around and the evenings when everyone is sleeping in our laundry room.

She has been doing this since the day she was brought home. She has her litter, food, bed, toys and items to climb on in this room. During the day the light is always on for her, and during the evening the lights stay off, but a night light gives her enough light that she can still play/move around.

We are able to sleep just fine, but as soon as she hears me put one foot on the floor at 6:00am, she is a meowin to get out and say hi!
This does change a things a bit.

I'm not sure how large your laundry is and by what I am saying, I am not saying that this room is too small to confine Miikka in when necessary such as when the security alarm is activated and no one is in the house. I do hope that this isn't for extended periods of times and I do hope that there is plenty of ventilation of air.

I do feel the need to point out that cats do not like eating near their litter tray. By doing this, it is creating a potential for Miikka to possibly pee or poop somewhere outside of the tray in another area of the house when she is allowed out. Litter and food need to be in separate rooms.

How long does she spend in the laundry alone? Kittens and cats need to socialise with people so that appropriate behaviour can be taught to them and they can learn which areas get busy and learn when not to venture in those areas of the house when it becomes busy. And because she has been isolated, she will tend to be more clingy and want to be around you or your parents a whole lot more. And yes, this can mean being in your face like jumping onto the table when you're busy working on other projects that need your time and devotion.

It seems like there isn't a window in the laundry for Miikka to look out of when she tires of her toys during the day. A bored kitty is going to have lots of energy to unleash when let out.

I'm not sure that Miikka would be content to spend most of her time in the laundry. To be sure of this. Place her in there as you would normally when no one is home, then walk away a small distance. Does she scratch at the door wanting to get out? Does she meow to be let out? If so, these are not signs of a happy kitty and in time she may learn to resent the laundry which will lead to more problems.

And lastly, while I do understand that your parents and you have possessions that you do not want Miikka to break. I cannot emphasise this strogly enough. To accept Miikka into your home, you must also make changes. No animal can fit into your lifestyle, not even a goldfish. Your home should be kitten proofed, cat proofed at the very least. This means moving breakables out of reach of Miikka, tying up loose cords or even placing them in PVC pipes placed along the wall to prevent her from chewing on them and electrocuting herself.

Please have a read of the links that I provide. I am not attacking you as to how you keep your cat.

Bringing Home a New Cat - By Anne Moss TCS Article

Tips for Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy - By Anne Moss TCS Article
post #5 of 8
Mags is absolutely right, if you are confining this cat in a small room I would also hope there is a window (opened with secure screen) and that the cat is not eating near her litter pan (promotes illness) Even just putting her in your bedroom where your scent will comfort her, will work. Make sure the windows are opened and the screens intact so she can't escape, but it does make it a lot clearer why she is in your face so much, she wants her freedom in the house, and she deserves it as well. Cats are very social creatures, and they love to be with the family and if the family is gone, they love to be out where they know the family will be.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I do feel bad for having to put her in the room.
Although her food is quite far from her litter, as is her bed.
Unfortunately until I am in my own house in a few weeks we have to abide by my parents rules.
When she is in my own house I will let her roam freely.
Whenever someone is home (I am a student, my mom is home usually during the mornings and my dad is usually home during the afternoons as they both work from home) she is never in the room (although she willingly goes there to eat crunchies, use the box, or to sleep (if she isnt sleeping on someone's bed). I would say that for the most part she isnt in her room very much.
post #7 of 8
After the settling in stage of your new place, you should start to see a gradual change in her bahaviour. And since it will be a new environment for you an Miikka, take it as an opportunity to define the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable in Miikka's freedom.

Please feel free to post of any problems that you encounter before the move, during the move and after the move.
post #8 of 8
You've gotten some really good advice.

One of the things I started to do with my cats when they were still quite young was clicker training. We all love it, and it has many great uses. It's not a quick fix, but often eventually does fix some problem behavior.

You can learn more about clicker training thru the Yahoo Cat Clicker list, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cat-Clicker/

Does she have somewhere to get up onto in the kitchen? If you can give her an alternative to the table - a chair, a stool, a tree that's higher than the table - you can train her to go there rather than the table.

The problem with the spray bottle is that it's attention. It may be negative attention, but some cats will figure any attention is better than no attention at all. And if she manages to get up on the table without being sprayed even one time, it encourages her to keep trying.

The same thing can go for the front door. Give her something to go to - a bed, a pill, a mat. Keep some toys near the door to throw out & distract her. Try a laser pointer (you can get ones that clip to your keyring) to distract her.

Kittens are a lot of fun, but they're work too!
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