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Cat scratching at door despite all efforts to deter

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a 2 year old cat named Pickle who until our recent move into a house with two other cats, didn't bother me at night at all. Every night/early morning he's scratching at the door, waking my boyfriend and I up in the process. At first I thought it was because he was hungry, since the other two cats will eat his food if there's any in his bowl. But at night they sleep in our roommates bedroom with them so he has food all throughout the night.

I've tried playing with him before bed, no-scratching sprays, squirting him with water to try and fix his behavior, and even fixing him a blanket to sleep on out in our living room.

My boyfriend is growing extremely impatient and I can't take the stress it causes anymore. We rent and my cat has already torn most of the paint off the doors in our room and a third room we have where his litter and food are. I'm about at my wits end and am considering declawing him even though I'm very against it. Please, any advice would help tremendously!
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by withabrick View Post

I have a 2 year old cat named Pickle who until our recent move into a house with two other cats, didn't bother me at night at all. Every night/early morning he's scratching at the door, waking my boyfriend and I up in the process. At first I thought it was because he was hungry, since the other two cats will eat his food if there's any in his bowl. But at night they sleep in our roommates bedroom with them so he has food all throughout the night.

I've tried playing with him before bed, no-scratching sprays, squirting him with water to try and fix his behavior, and even fixing him a blanket to sleep on out in our living room.

My boyfriend is growing extremely impatient and I can't take the stress it causes anymore. We rent and my cat has already torn most of the paint off the doors in our room and a third room we have where his litter and food are. I'm about at my wits end and am considering declawing him even though I'm very against it. Please, any advice would help tremendously!

First do NOT declaw.

 

It is horribly cruel, like removing your fingers. It also will cause other behaviors worse than the cat scratching at the door.  Since they lack claws to defend themselves, they will resort to biting instead.  And, many cats become litter box adverse because it's so painful to step in the box.  They also can wind up with arthritis.  Seriously, NOT a good or humane idea at all.  

 

The Cat Site is seriously against declawing so don't be surprised if others comment about the dangers of doing this.  I urge you to read these articles which detail the problems and give alternative solutions:

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/why-cats-should-not-be-declawed

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/declawing-and-alternatives

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/a/how-to-stop-your-cat-from-scratching-the-furniture

 

Second, stop with the water bottle.  This does not curb the behavior and if misdirected can injure their eyes and ears.  Plus it destroys the bond between you and the cat.  Why would you want your loved pet to be fearful of you?  Last, it won't teach the cat not to scratch. Cats just don't work that way.  

 

Why not just allow him access to your bedroom? That would solve the problem of the door scratching.  It sound like he wants your company.  I know some people don't like having cats in their rooms when sleeping but overall, since you rent, it's a better choice than having the cat ruin items which you'll lose your deposit over. I can assure you, it's less annoying to be woken by a purring cat on your bed than to hear it tearing at a door.

 

Cats notoriously hate closed doors, nearly all will try to get into them at some point (our basement door is the one our cats focus on since it's the only one they aren't allowed access into).  

post #3 of 9
Declawing is never the answer. Honestly, the better solution if you are at that point is to find a rescue group willing to take him. Most no-kills will require you to pay something but it would be less than the declaw surgery so that should be a non-issue. Obviously, you're not happy, your boyfriend is not happy, and the cat is not happy so why disfigure the cat to make the cat more unhappy in hope you will maybe be happy?

If that is not an option and you want things to work out you should stop thinking like a person and see it from his perspective. Try to treat the cause of the problem not the behaviors caused by the problem.

You recently moved into a new hone with two new cats, if I am reading that right. I can't tell if the goal is to keep him in your room at night or keep him out. Cats don't like closed doors and will want to get through them. Some cats with training or habit will accept that their boundaries don't go beyond a certain point but your cat recently had his whole universe change with no knowledge of why. He is living with two intruders and can't keep an eye on them. He is leaving his territory (if he is in with you) or his family (if he is not in the room with you) undefended and must get out to protect what little he has left. Just to give you an idea of what is probably his thought process.

The best way to solve your problem is stop closing doors. Or be consistant in keeping him in a specific range of rooms all the time so he isn't confused. If you have to shut him into a specific area at night his toys, litter box' food and water should be in the same area with him and the shutting in should happen at the same time every day regardless of whatever else is going on. Cats are creatures of habit and will adjust to routine but they need a specific routine to follow for that to happen. If doors have to be closed you can help limit the damage by getting carpet scraps (even cardboard boxes would work) and attaching them to the problem doors so that he stops destroying the doors themseleves.
post #4 of 9

Before declawing you should really try claw caps. These are plastic items that go over the claws to keep a cat from scratching. 

post #5 of 9

We had the same problem with our female cat when she first arrived. We also went through a terrible time during which we tried everything (double-sided tape, claw trimming, playing before bed time, etc.) but didn't work. We also rent and she pulled out most of the carpet thread before the door (in fact, every door that has been closed at one point) with teeth. This together with her various other issues made us almost return her to the shelter. But it worked out in the end with us consistently ignoring her scratching. She scratched to seek attention (weirdly our real-attention-seeking male cat never scratched, just wait outside for the door to open to rush in). If we made a little sound so that she knew we were awaken by her, she would stop for a few seconds. If we came to her, either to tell her to get away, or to pet her or play with her, she got the attention she wanted and this would positively reinforce her scratching. So we decided to not make any sound at all when she scratched and just let her do it for a while. To let her know we still love her, we gave her more attention in the day (unfortunately she's not interested in too much attention in the day sweat.gif). After a few days, the frequency and time of scratching decreased and now it only happens very occasionally. Also, we now shut the bedroom door even in the daytime so she knows it's not her territory which has to be visited during nights. At last, to prevent her from pulling out the carpet thread we bought some wood board to put under the door. Now except a few scratches on the board or on the door everything is fine. So in order to protect your door, you could use something to cover it up - just prevent him from make physical contact with it (and also trim his nails).

 

I know people on this forum mostly advocate finding the causes of problematic behaviors and treat them first - in this case, the cause is that your cat wants to get in your room and it can be solved by letting him in. It's the best way to stop it, but unfortunately not everyone feels comfortable with letting their cats in their bedroom, especially at night. Ignoring them when they're doing the undesired things is the next best solution I can think of to treat this problem. It has the potential to harm your relationship -  so pet him and play with him more in the day time to let him know you still love him. I guess the lesson I learned from this is you need to find an effective while non-harming (to them and to your relationship with them) solution to train your cat and be consistent about it.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewYork1303 View Post
 

Before declawing you should really try claw caps. These are plastic items that go over the claws to keep a cat from scratching. 

There is no "before declawing" only NOT declawing.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivyaleah View Post
 

There is no "before declawing" only NOT declawing.

I agree that no one should declaw their cats. But unfortunately declawing is legal in this country and veterinarians will perform it which means people will do it if they are not provided with good options to the contrary.

 

After thinking more about this situation, I'm wondering about the other cats and the amount of scratching posts and other options in the home. Does the cat have a lot of places that they can scratch? Scratching on the bathroom door sounds unrelated to the being closed out of a room. Cats must scratch which means that if scratching posts aren't provided they will find somewhere else to scratch. 

post #8 of 9
@withabrick Is there a reason your cat cannot sleep in the room with you?
post #9 of 9
I eventually just left something in the door to let my cat in and out because of similar issues and I have in out of desperation go sleep... but I also want to keep her out of my bedroom for allergy purposes. So for everyone saying just let the cat in, understand there are sometimes really valid reasons for not wanting your cat on your sleeping area no matter how much you love it.
I'm thinking about getting one of those door hanger scratchers. Anyone have luck with that?
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