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Chewed Cords/Cables

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am a single man who took in 2 abandoned cats (sisters) just over a year ago although I have always considered myself a "dog" person. I am often not home until late due to work, etc... and thought that cats would be a good option for me since dogs require so much attention. However, regarding this situation, most of the time I feel as if I am trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I have several "problems" so I'll just start...
1) They shed an incredible amount. I try to brush them every day but after buying new furniture last summer I have been forced to keep sheets on my new couch all the time or spend "forever" using tape rollers trying to get cat hair out of the nooks in the furniture. Every Saturday I wash the sheets and get a lint filter full of cat hair. Of course no one else's cats seem to shed this much or so they say...
2) I gave them a bath in June because they had gotten so dirty crawling up in my duct work in the basement (no idea how they got up there but I have tried blocking everything since...) that I had no choice. Actually one of them had been stuck up there and couldn't get down. Unfortunately they went crazy and started hissing at each other shortly thereafter and in subsequent days I found that they had peed all over my living room (under the couch, on the molding all around the room, etc... while continuing there hissing and dislike for each other. I got enzyme cleaners and did what I could to get rid of that awful smell. Friends tell me it was because they lost the smell of each other from the bath and let me know how stupid I was to ever give a cat a bath. I feel that it was the trauma of being stuck in the duct work all day combined with a change in food, but who knows? After a few weeks they calmed down and I would just find traces of pee...
3) There is a neighbor tomcat who comes up to my front window and totally freaks them out. They hiss at each other and my vet tells me that's why they continue to pee in my living room to mark territory. Not much I can do about the tomcat.
4) Now this weekend after making a huge effort to totally re-enzyme my carpet and mop the hard wood floor attempting to get rid of the pee smell again I found an even bigger problem. They have been eating my lamp cords and, worse for me, ate through about $300 worth of cables connecting my stereo system/DVD/TV. I am not wealthy by any means and cannot continue paying to replace all the things they keep ruining, not to mention the danger of their electrocution or causing a fire. I just got a new oak coffee table and it's already ruined because they take off chasing each other through it and their back claws have it all scratched up.
5) They constantly get up on my kitchen counter when I am not home even though I have sprayed them with the water bottle, put tin foil up, etc... whenever I can catch them. However, unlike so many other "cat people" the thought of their paws fresh from the litter box full of feces all over my kitchen counters is very unpleasant to me.
6) I have to keep my computer room door closed at all times (that is probably all that saved the cords/wires there) since this is the room where I have plants and they dig them up if I'm not around. If I had plants anywhere else there would be dirt and dug up plants everywhere.

my question to all of you is this. Should I try to give them up? I don't know how realistic this is since there are so many unwanted pets already and a spot check of shelters today indicates there's no room anywhere. Or do you all think it would
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
sorry - I hit submit by accident...

so would it be better to
1) give then up
2) Buy a cage to set in front of the window and put them in it for 12 hours a day plus while I'm sleeping where they can't eat my cables, climb on the sink, pee under the couch
3) Lock them in the basement for 12 hours a day plus while I'm sleeping where they would have more room but no window access? Just glass block.

I know I must sound like an awful person but I am at my wit's end. I enjoy their company but they are by no means lap cats or ones that like to cuddle/be held. They like to be in the same area as me when I am home but other than that they aren't overly affectionate. I am not home enough to give them alot of attention but I will not give them up to be killed either. What can I do.

Hold on, as I write this there's a big crash from the basement. Guess what they knocked over my ironing board smashing my iron into pieces on the floor. More cleaning up. There's just no way to cat-proof even the basement. UGH!! What more can one person take? PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!! It's either a cage for the majority of the rest of their lives or give them to someone who can give then all the attention they so obviously require.

I hope I have not offended every cat lover out there. I am just crazy now with what I can do with them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #3 of 11
Sounds to me like you have a pair of rascals there and you are trying hard to accomodate them.

First, please don't give them up. They have little chance of finding another home if you give them to a shelter and will probably be put down. Let's see if we can help you at least with some of the problems...

How old are the cats? A lot of this sounds like kitten behavior. Were they checked by a vet for possible UTI, and also for the excessive shedding (which could be related to the type of nutrition they get). Are they both spayed? Are they longhaired?

We need to get these answers before we can think of solutions. I would also like you to read the following articles:

http://www.thecatsite.com/behavior/spraying.html - about they're urine marking.

http://www.thecatsite.com/behavior/scratching.html - about their scratching the furniture

I'm sure at least most of your problems if not all are solvable and I hope we can help you and the cats.

By the way, I've merged your two threads into one. Please reply to this thread and don't start a new one (use the "post reply" button rather than the "new thread" one).
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Anne, for responding. I got them in early September 2000. Since they were abandoned the best guess was they were 6-8 months old at that time. I had them spayed in late November 2000. They have not been to a vet since that time. Actually I was considering taking them in to the vet in July when they went through the marking/hissing period but from talking to some people decided that it would only stress them out more at that point. They started out on Purina Kitten Chow up til the beginning of 2001 when I got them Meow Mix. Now that's all they will eat. Due to the shedding I had heard that I should get them on some other foods such as Eukanuba or Iams. One of them is much more dominant than the other and will eat everything I put down. The more timid one (which is the one I suspect of the most mischief actually) refuses to eat anything new. That's one of the events along with being stuck in the duct work last summer which I think started the hissing/marking. Too much stress for them but I just wanted to give them a little variety. I have tried canned tuna for treats as well as other canned food, most recently Fancy Feast. I give them separate bowls but the dominant one always tries to eat both bowls and the timid one never seems to want anything new anyway except when I put out the Meow Mix. I would consider them long-haired but I don't know the true definition. There hairs are probably around 1.5 inches long. They are both a black/white mix. After their latest episode of eating my cords one of my friends suggested taking them to the vet for a checkup but unless I get some support from someone for locking them in the basement or in a cage while I'm at work I'm afraid to risk them getting that "vet smell" and peeing even more in my living room. At least at this point they haven't peed directly on my couch/chair, only under them. Thanks again for helping and I look forward to your response...
post #5 of 11
Please take the cats to the vet and tell the vet what they are doing. You need to specify that the cat is urinating outside the box so that the vet knows what to look for. Peeing outside the litter box is the #1 symptom of urinary tract problems!

If the vet says she is okay, then consider making a few changes.

If you use a covered litter box, take off the lid. Many cats refuse to use covered boxes.

Cats prefer fine grained unscented litter. So, you might try changing litter.

Make sure you have at least one litter box per cat.

Make sure you scoop the litter box daily, and with multiple cats, scoop twice daily. Cats often refuse to use dirty boxes.

If your litter boxes are real old, they may have absorbed odors even if you regularly clean them. So, try buying new boxes.

Make sure your litter boxes are in a place where the cat feels safe while going potty. If she is
disturbed by you or your kids(?) or the other cat while she is trying to potty, she will choose to use a safer location. So, move the litter box to a location where she can see the comings and goings of the other people & animals in the house.

Put a litter box on each level (floor) of the house.

Make sure you thoroughly clean all old urine spots on the rug and elsewhere. If she can smell the old urine she will think that place is a good place to pee. Use a flourescent black light to find old urine and treat all old spots with an enzymatic cleanser.

Try putting a plastic carpet runner upside down on the places they like to pee....most cats don't like to walk on the "spikes" so they will avoid the covered spots.

Put something real smelly where she likes to pee...most cats hate the smell of citrus, so try putting citrus scented air freshener or orange peels or citrus potpourri where she pees.
post #6 of 11
You can buy thick plastic tubes and put all cords inside the tube.

Spray the cords with Bitter Apple which you can find at WalMart or at animal supply stores.
post #7 of 11
Try introducing new food a little at a time. Just sprinkle a few bits of new food in a bowl that is full of old food, adding a little more new food daily.

Try feeding the cats in different rooms so the more timid one gets a chance to eat without the bully taking over.

Get lots of toys for the cats to play with. Also, build or buy them something fun to climb. This can be a cat tree (pretty expensive) or you can simply get a bunch of cardboard boxes, cut cat-sized holes in the top and sides and then stack them on top of each other (aligning the holes and taping the boxes together). The cats will have many hours of fun with these boxes.

Try combing the cats daily. I too have medium length haired cats. They shed a lot in the summer -- we joke that we should shellack them to control the shedding! But, combing and a good diet really helps cut down on shedding.

Keep your chin up! I have faith that you can get these wild ones under control!
post #8 of 11
Jerry, have you tried the bitter apple spray or the Stay off! Spray? You can put it on the cables and cords.
post #9 of 11
I can attest that better quality food helps with the shedding. My kitty Loco has an amazign amount of fur and we were always finding clumps of it everywhere, as well as tons of stray hairs on furniture. We switched him from eating Purina Cat Chow to Iams Original Formula Adult mixed half and half with Iams Kitten Formula (because hes only 6 months old) and he hardly sheds at all now! His fur is in excellent condition. We also built a cat tree for our kitties (its just a round tunnel made from concrete formwork cardboard tubing on two posts, with another post beside it covered in Sisal Rope to be used as a scratching post. We hang toys from it, switching them occasionally, and it entertains the cats for hours each day.)and that has kept them (especially Loco) from scratching the furniture. Cats love those furry mice you can buy, they have kept my little kitten Missy from chewing on cords. Everytime I'd catch her chewing on something undesirable, I'd say No and give her the mouse. She made the connection pretty quickly. Good luck with your kitties!!!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone who has posted replies. So far keeping the cats in the basement during the day has worked out OK I think. I still feel bad about it but keeping that neighborhood tomcat who comes to my front window from riling them up is pretty important to me right now. If they can't see that cat then they have no reason to mark up my living room. I did get some Bitter Apple for the cords but have been reluctant to leave them alone with any of the cables to test out whether it will work. One thing I have noticed is that they do seem to be eating less. Should I be concerned about this or is it just an adjustment to being in the basement all day? They also seem to be pretty hesitant each evening when I come home to let them come upstairso. Once they've been out for a little while they seem OK and hop up on the couch/chair as usual. I am hoping to get them on a better food also to help with the shedding. Do you think I should attempt to change their food right now or wait to see if they start eating more again? I picked up some Nutro Natural Choice Cat food at PetSmart that was recommended for all sorts of problems from shedding to hairballs but I'm concerned about whether they would consider eating it at this point when they seem reluctant to even eat their Meow Mix. I'm working on trying to think of a way to let them look out the side door window instead of keeping the basement door shut all day. So hopefully things are looking up...
post #11 of 11
I know they sell it at Radio Shack, and most large A/V stores (HH Gregg, BestBuy, etc) but get enough of the plastic, flexible wire covers (look like rigged plastic pipes with a slit down the middle). That is what I use behind my entertainment center and in my computer room. Granted, I never had much trouble with Shadow chewing on wires, but I was not going to take the chance.

Hope that helps...
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