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Safely Deterring Cats? (Please help!)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We have done our best to cat-proof our house as much as possible, to the extent that surfaces that once held various decorative items and knick-knacks are now totally bare. We are also working on training the boys to keep them out of things that will hurt them, and we've taken preventative measures like installing child safety latches on the cabinets since they've been pulling them open.

I work nights, and my husband works days, so he leaves early in the morning and I sleep 'til about 1PM before it's time for me to get up and get ready to go myself. That means that the boys are unsupervised from the time that he leaves until I get up, and then for another couple of hours after I leave, before DH gets home from work. They tend to sleep with us at night, so they don't seem to get into much while we're sleeping.

This afternoon when I got up, I found that they had apparently gotten to a very high shelf that I didn't think they could reach, and they knocked over a decorative bottle, you know those that have peppers and things in them with oil and vinegar and they're really colorful? Not suitable for consumption, of course.

I was...horrified. Not so much about the bottle, because it only cost $5 and is easily replaced, but because there was oily-vinegary stuff all over the floor, shattered glass all over the floor (and I felt sick at the thought that they might have glass in their paws or that they might've eaten some if it) as well as the not-suitable-for-consumption vegetable-type things. I put them in the guest bath long enough to clean it up, and then I inspected their paws for glass, but if they did manage to escape unscathed, it'll be sheer luck, I'm thinking.

I'm going to clear off that shelf, but my DH is very angry because when the bottle fell, it chipped the kitchen tile which will be expensive to repair/replace. He said that we need to find a way to keep them out of stuff or we'll have to get rid of them. I will NOT allow that to happen, but for the sake of marital harmony, I need to find a way to make certain shelves and surfaces totally uninteresting to them without hurting or scaring them (which I would never do). I know that some cats dislike the scent of citrus, but it doesn't bother them at all. What can I do to discourage them from getting on some of these shelves and things? I'd like to be able to actually use the shelves to hold stuff again at some point, rather than having to keep them totally bare for however many years we have our boys. I'll do it if necessary, but it's not the preferred option, heh.

So please help, and please don't worry about the boys, they're be staying right where they are, being loved and receiving all the care they need.

ETA: We are working on training them on where it is and is not acceptable to go, but for that to work, we have to catch them in the act. Obviously, during the periods where they are unsupervised, this isn't possible. Also, their litterbox area is sort of central to the house, so we can only close off certain areas to them. (We don't allow them in the office, guest bedroom, or master bedroom without our supervision.)
post #2 of 4
I have a couple of suggestions. First, invest in some "Quake hold" or a similar product that keeps valuables from falling over during earthquakes (and kitty attacks). That will help prevent further destruction while the kitties are trained not to go up on surfaces.

Some cats are repelled by the smell of citrus. If your cats are, you can try using products with citrus oil on the surfaces you want them to stay off of. For larger surfaces, you can get one of those floor mats designed for offices. They are smooth on one side and spikey on the other. Putting the spikey side up can help deter the cats from that area.

Also, double-sided sticky tape can be a good deterrent. Putting it along the edges of the surfaces you don't want the cats on can also teach them they don't really want to be up there.

Good luck!
post #3 of 4
When one of my cats was a kitten he started chewing on electrical cords. I sprayed them with the bitter apple spray for hot spots on dogs. The smell deterred him and I could only smell it when I was actually spraying it so it didn't bother me.
post #4 of 4
Firstly, are your kitties; cats or kittens?

Would it not be possible to designate a cat room for them - with a litter tray, food, water and toys? This way they could be confined to one area during the times without supervision.

Do you have a cat tree/condo for them? Do they get enough entertainment? I ask this, as when cats are bored, they will find something to play with and they will also take a liking to your shelves as they enjoy high places. They car climbers by nature, only nature doesn't have bottles and knick knacks!!

I'm sure there will be many more suggestions for you!
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