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I Need Your Help . . . Can Kitty Be Obsessive and Compulsive?

These two curled up cutie cats are Olivia and Reese but turns out the lil gray one recently did something not so cute: she clawed up this duvet cover (see evidence at right) . . . and she's a repeat offender!
Olivia likes to pick at things, then go back to them – taking lil nibbles at a time on normal curtains and shower curtains, pooping in plants, and then this comforter. Not so comforting. She certainly likes to make some mischief – do any of you also own pets that selectively seek and destroy items in your home? Let's put our heads together and come up with some tips to help this Sugar staffer reclaim the space, and redirect kitty's energy before she goes back for more!

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SanaKhan SanaKhan 7 years
My cat is 3 year old and she has this habit of waking me up early in the morning because she wants breakfast then. She tears up newspapers or throws off my books from the bookshelf if i don't wake up early morning and give in to her request of food. She understands that ripping up stuff will wake me up coz i usually do wake up most time telling her to stop. I really wish she would stop trying to wake me up so early. I tried changing her eating schedule. Even gave her snacks late at night so that she wouldn't wake me up early morning but she still does. And its true that when ever she is stressed out she rips off at my blanket or any clothing available. I have tried squirting water at her when she does that and it works but she is so clever, now when ever she would rip something, she would know that she has done something wrong and as soon as she would see me she would run and hide. It's become more like a game to her :( She is so lazy, doesn't even like playing much despite all the toys i've bought for her or the time we try to give her. How can I make her stop ripping stuff and make her stop asking for food so early in the morning? Any suggestions?
Spectra Spectra 7 years
That's interesting about the wool-sucking thing. My old cat was found orphaned as a kitten when she was very little and she had a lot of strange behaviors that probably came about because of being separated from her mother too early. We had a lamb's skin that she used to suck on and knead with her paws while purring...it was the CUTEST thing! It was like she was nursing, except that she was an adult. She would also randomly chew on sweaters that were made of wool...very weird indeed. I think most cats do weird things...it's part of being a cat! My cat likes to attack my husband's boots with his paws. He also likes to rub his paws on the heat register vents (we think he does that because he likes the texture and he probably likes the sound it makes too).
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 7 years
Oh Jude, as for "wierd stuff"..with my cat its not paper, but tape. I have to keep all kinds of tape (especially hanging off opened parcels/boxes) away from him..he WILL pull it off and eat it. Wierdo. :D
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 7 years
As far as citrus goes, my cat doesn't mind lemon but he HATES bergamot. So you might try that. As for my cat, I just make sure he has adequate things that are "his"... he has two places to scratch instead of one, and though I still have to occasionally admonish him and keep a certain chair and oriental rug sprayed with the bergamot, for the most part, he uses his own. Cats usually like some routines, and you can use this to your advantage if you find a way to create a new one for him, and get him following it naturally. For instance, my kitty stays in the bathroom at night because he's clumsy as an ox. (He likes it too, for some reason, likes dark cozy spots. ) Anyway...when I first let him out in the morning, I would pick him up, carry him straight to his scratching post and scratch it with my fingers to make the sound. (Just putting him there wasn't enough. I think the sound sort of triggered something in his brain.) Sure enough he would start using it. Now every morning when I let him out, he goes straight to that post without any prompting and has his "morning claw". While my cat isn't really destructive, he IS very much a "routine follower" and somewhat clumsy, so it was good to get him out of any bad habits asap. If you can find some way to use this psychology on your own cat, it might help. Declawing is something I chose not to do, though I have had a declawed cat in the past, I think its not necessary if you spend time properly training him. (Also, declawing doesn't help pooping in the wrong place, incessant meowing, or knocking stuff over, etc.) I hope you can work it out!
tammibree tammibree 7 years
PS: dunno why there is a "shocked" face on my comment. Sorry!!
tammibree tammibree 7 years
I work with an animal rescue group so I've fostered lots of kitties... and some have been mischievous little devils! It is important that when you use the spray bottle or pop a balloon, that you do so where the kitty cannot see you--you want her to associate the punishment primarily with the action, not with you. :o)
lawchick lawchick 7 years
lol Jude
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Thanks, flyingroo :) I asked my vet about Mikey's weird habit (also his weird penchant for bacon and ham), and the vet checked him over and pronounced him healthy but maybe a little bit weird :ROTFL: He doesn't eat the paper or anything else, luckily.
flyingroo flyingroo 7 years
Oops, sorry, here it is: There are medical as well as behavioral reasons why cats chew, lick, or eat non-food objects. A kitten, just like a baby, will take everything into her mouth just out of curiosity. A swallowed marble, paper clip, poisonous plant, or rubber balloon can be lethal for a kitten. And, just like a baby, items that tempt a kitten must be put out of her reach, and she must be watched carefully. It is thought, though not scientifically proven, that an adult cat who persists on chewing and eating a non-food item may be lacking certain nutrients in her diet. It may be a vitamin imbalance. As a precaution, always choose a quality food for your cat, one recommended by your veterinarian. A cat who chews and eats paper, wood, or leather may have internal prasites who are sucking certain nutrients out of her system. A cat who licks window panes, walls, or cement walkways may be anemic. Chronic intestinal problems and liver and kidney disease will sometimes cause a cat to eat non-food items. In all these situations, see your veterinarian immediately. Some cats chew and eat non-food objects because they are just simply bored and need something to do. Provide more playtime. A cat that chews or sucks on clothing—wool is a favorite of some cats, especially Siamese—may have been weaned too early. The wool sucking produces a smell similar to the wet fur around the mother’s nipple. As long as this material is not being swallowed, let this cat have her security blanket. She may break herself one day or she may not. She can still be a wonderful companion. Cats who chew electrical cords are flirting with danger. Cover these cords with duct tape. Coat them with one of the commercial bitter products or tabasco sauce to discourage chewing. A number of household plants are poisonous to cats. The worst among them are dieffenbachia which can cause temporary paralysis of the throat, and philodendron which can make a cat’s throat and tongue swell enough to cause asphyxiation. Among the many varieties of other plants, some found outside, are azaleas, ivy, mistletoe, most bulbs, buttercups, chrysanthemums, crocus, holly, lily of the valley, marigold, potato, rhubarb, sweet peas, and wisteria. You can discourage your cat from eating your household plants by baiting a leaf or two with tabasco sauce. You might try popping a balloon near your cat followed by hanging a few balloons from the plant she has been chewing. The best thing to do for your inside cat is to grow a garden for her to chew on. Plant catnip or wheat and parsley. You can purchase "ready-to-grow" gardens from your local pet supply store. In the long run, the best way to train your cat is by giving her a verbal "NO" for chewing and swallowing anything but her food. Follow this reprimand with a food treat and praise: "Good Kitty!"
flyingroo flyingroo 7 years
JudeC, when my kitties were tiny I was searching for some answers to their behaviour myself. This is one of the best I found and it might provide an answer to your cat's behaviour too. << There are medical as well as behavioral reasons why cats chew, lick, or eat non-food objects. A kitten, just like a baby, will take everything into her mouth just out of curiosity. A swallowed marble, paper clip, poisonous plant, or rubber balloon can be lethal for a kitten. And, just like a baby, items that tempt a kitten must be put out of her reach, and she must be watched carefully. It is thought, though not scientifically proven, that an adult cat who persists on chewing and eating a non-food item may be lacking certain nutrients in her diet. It may be a vitamin imbalance. As a precaution, always choose a quality food for your cat, one recommended by your veterinarian. A cat who chews and eats paper, wood, or leather may have internal prasites who are sucking certain nutrients out of her system. A cat who licks window panes, walls, or cement walkways may be anemic. Chronic intestinal problems and liver and kidney disease will sometimes cause a cat to eat non-food items. In all these situations, see your veterinarian immediately. Some cats chew and eat non-food objects because they are just simply bored and need something to do. Provide more playtime. A cat that chews or sucks on clothing—wool is a favorite of some cats, especially Siamese—may have been weaned too early. The wool sucking produces a smell similar to the wet fur around the mother’s nipple. As long as this material is not being swallowed, let this cat have her security blanket. She may break herself one day or she may not. She can still be a wonderful companion. Cats who chew electrical cords are flirting with danger. Cover these cords with duct tape. Coat them with one of the commercial bitter products or tabasco sauce to discourage chewing. A number of household plants are poisonous to cats. The worst among them are dieffenbachia which can cause temporary paralysis of the throat, and philodendron which can make a cat’s throat and tongue swell enough to cause asphyxiation. Among the many varieties of other plants, some found outside, are azaleas, ivy, mistletoe, most bulbs, buttercups, chrysanthemums, crocus, holly, lily of the valley, marigold, potato, rhubarb, sweet peas, and wisteria. You can discourage your cat from eating your household plants by baiting a leaf or two with tabasco sauce. You might try popping a balloon near your cat followed by hanging a few balloons from the plant she has been chewing. The best thing to do for your inside cat is to grow a garden for her to chew on. Plant catnip or wheat and parsley. You can purchase "ready-to-grow" gardens from your local pet supply store. In the long run, the best way to train your cat is by giving her a verbal "NO" for chewing and swallowing anything but her food. Follow this reprimand with a food treat and praise: "Good Kitty!" >>
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Sometimes he wakes me up in the night with all the rustling and chomping on paper, lawchick. It's the weirdest thing.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
good luck Jaime!! Jude, that is hilarious. Sometimes my cats do things that would make me really mad if I wasn't laughing hysterically.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Mikey chews paper sometimes, and will even steal receipts and bills out of my purse to chew on.
Jaime-not-Jamie Jaime-not-Jamie 7 years
That little kitty there is mine! Thanks for all of your awesome comments. I will definitely be using your tips. She's still technically a kitten, so I am sure some of it is due to that, but I can't afford to keep buying new linens all the time ;-), so your advice is most appreciated!!
starangel82 starangel82 7 years
I found that the citrus spray worked for me. Also, I don't want to declaw my cat (not after I read about the procedure). So I use SoftPaws on her claws. She didn't like them for the first three weeks, but after that, she is completely used to them. She can still use her scratching post, but if she tries to scratch my furniture, she can't.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
I agree with flyingroo that these issues often arise because a pet is stressed in some way. My cat that ate the sweater was cooped up in a room (long story) and not happy with the arrangement -- he also dragged socks into his water bowl and knocked things off the counters. Those behaviors disappeared when his living situation got better (more space, other pets to play with)
flyingroo flyingroo 7 years
De-clawing should be banned...just my opinion. It's mutilation no matter how you put it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
Animals do this, marking territory, out of boredom. All mine are declawed so that doesnt happen. I also give them plenty of toys to occupy their time.
flyingroo flyingroo 7 years
Cats do these kind of things when they are stressed about something, it's their way of telling you "I'm not happy with this or that". She might not like the litter you are using or she doesn't like the location of the box or you have only one box, or she might feel she gets less attention from you than the other cat, or you changed some things in your house or from their routine...think of all things new in your cats' life... or maybe you have less time to spend with them, any of these can affect a sensitive cat. Not all cats react the same. I have 2 cats, and they react to different things. My boy was stressed so much when we had to evacuate last year because of the fires that he was licking himself bald...it took months of paying more attention to him, playing and showing him love until he stopped. My girl reacts by peeing the comforter every single time I move furniture around, or change their food, or litter etc..she simply dislikes changes. With her too, spending a bit more time petting her, playing with her, loving her has proved to "heal" her.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
Also if you don't have two litterboxes, get another one. They are much less likely to use the bathroom in inappropriate places if they each have a litter box (even if they use each other's)
lawchick lawchick 7 years
One of my cats ate a hole in a cashmere sweater, so I sympathize. The other cat used to pee in plants -- that is fixable by putting a layer of decorative rocks on top of the soil (I used larger black river rocks from Home Depot --- she kicked out the pea gravel I tried first). Is your cat still a kitten? Both of mine grew out of tearing things up. Good luck!
DarlingDA DarlingDA 7 years
My puppy was ripping up the carpet, and I couldn't figure out why until I realized all her toys were hard plastic and she didn't have any cloth or rope ones. I picked up a couple, and she rarely ever goes after nontoys now as long as I keep a variety of textures around. I don't know if that would help with the duvet clawing, it obviously won't with the plant pooping :)
GKitty GKitty 7 years
Some cats CHEW/CLAW cloth of comfort...nothing personal.
otaku otaku 7 years
they also make sprays that you can get at pet stores as well. ...i don't think they citrus thing is fool proof though, as my last cat ate oranges with me. O.o also, when training my cats, i use small water bottles to give them a little squirt in the bum if they're doing something bad. it doesn't hurt them of course, but works to get them to stop bad behaviour. that's how i trained my cats to stay off counter tops and tables. :}
StefaPie StefaPie 7 years
When my cat starts destroying something, I spray it down with a mix of a little lemon juice and water. Cats hate citrus, and it's never failed.
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