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Destructive Cat

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Help! One of our two cats keeps jumping on kitchen shelves and intentionally throws glasses, bowls, mugs on the floor. He already destroyed more than a dozen of them over the last three weeks. We tried doublesided tape, but he is not disturbed by it, we tried squirting him with water when caught, but to no avail. We tried locking him up, we tried shouting at him, we tried ignoring him. What is there left to try?
There is no other place to put the glasses etc. and we can't re-do our kitchen for the cat. He started suddenly with this new hobby some three weeks ago and apparently enjoys destroying stuff. Sometime it might be connected with getting attention, sometimes it appears to be curiosity and sometimes boredom. We are at the end of our wits and don't know what to do with the cat.
Thanks for any suggestions.
post #2 of 12
Is there a way to ban him from the kitchen unless you are in there to supervise?
post #3 of 12
I suggest trying a "discouragement" such as a cheap motion detector that emits a loud noise, either at the entry to the kitchen, or somehow in front of the shelves. I found a "spy kids" entry-detector (similar to the one at the doorway of our local feedstore) at KMart for only $1.28 on clearance; my grandson used it to discourage JC from entering my mom's kitchen - JC gets very annoyed with the noise. JC is very strong, and very destructive in just the way that you describe; he usu. wants to go outside or wants the attention; sometimes a game of chase will relieve his frustration, sometimes an extra can of wet food. Or I follow him with grooming tools & he goes off to hide I'll keep checking this post for more suggestions as I could use some, too!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by stampit3d
Is there a way to ban him from the kitchen unless you are in there to supervise?
unfortunately not, the kitchen is directly connected to living/dinner room which is at the centre of the flat, so locking out is no option.
post #5 of 12
BTW, Welcome to TCS! I'm a little slow right now - I'm only up cuz coons raided my hencoop about an hour ago, and made off with my copper-colored hen, Peggy Tried going back to sleep, but I'm still upset, as is Joey, he can't relax either...
post #6 of 12
No, of course you can't redo your whole kitchen -- but maybe an easy adjustment would be enough to stop the destruction. What if you applied a sort of "fence" across the front of each shelf? You could nail a one-inch-wide strip of thin wood across with a one-inch gap below. This would make it much more difficult for him to knock the glasses off, but you'd still be able to remove them easily.

If you're renting and don't want to use nails, maybe a simple cafe-style tension rod would work -- just wedge one in between the sides of each shelf. When your kitty realizes he can't make big noisy messes anymore, he'll probably lose interest in the shelves.

Good luck!
post #7 of 12
It sounds like you have a bored cat who's found himself an unusual way to keep occupied. Besides detering him from the shelves, I'd work on making sure he has more acceptable outlets for his playful energy and attention seeking. Cats like to sit up high so maybe he'd like a cat tree of his own to climb so he doesn't need to climb your your shelves. Can you get him interested in other toys? Get him to chase a feather on a stick or a ping pong ball in a bathtub. One of mine likes the turbo scratcher type ball in a track toy and doesn't seem to get tired of it.
post #8 of 12
Would a temporary (til he forgets about the new playground) hook & eye latch on that one (or more) cupboard work? A pain for you, but better than the other mess.
post #9 of 12
It is very hard to change cats behaviour and my suggestion is the easist way to avoid this problem is by changing yours. dont leave anything heavy or breakable on your countertops that the cat can knock off. My cat does the same thing/Loves to knock over glasses of water or anything with liquid in it. I have learned that I must not leave glasses around or he will just knock them off the table.
post #10 of 12
The cat is not doing it intentionally that is the first thing. He doesn't look up at your shelves and contemplate just how much breakage he can do to upset you. He is active, energetic and he is playing. You do not say where you got him, how old he is, or give us much to go on. Does he have cat condos? Cat tunnels, Katwallks? Window perches? How much are you feeding him and what are you feeding him? When does he do this, the middle of the night, the early part of the day? Do you have a one-on-one interaction with him as far as playtime goes?

Stop squirting him, yelling at him, putting him in time out- make him alternate places he can go that are different levels in the home and see if that helps. But the more frustrated you become over this, the more he will do it, because he will feed off your stress.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. To answer your questions: He joined the household on a cold winter day some 9 months ago after he turned up in our house from the street. He's about 1-1 1/2 years old. He has the habit of meowing in the middle of the night and is generally very vocal. he's got a big book shelf to climb around in.
Although we have play time with him, we are expanding it now in the hope of giving him some better ideas for playing than just glass breaking.
post #12 of 12
My cat likes to climb around in the kitchen, though she's not as destructive as your's. I should count my blessings! I try not to leave cups and dishes out - Maisey won't knock them over, but she'll peer into them and lick them if they're wet or contain milk. She has the habit of meowing (more like howling) at night, too. She started it recently. I think something's wrong, but she'll meet me downstairs with a toy, like she just wants to play.

I would try to keep the dishes away from the cat, if possible - even if you "teach" him some new tricks, he still may not be swayed from the dishes. You shouldn't re-design your kitchen, but if it's valuable stuff at all, I'd put it away, at least temporarily. Good luck - my cat was found as a stray, too, and she's a little wild thing sometimes.
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