He keeps getting in the trashcan, and we've tried everything! Getting desperate!

auphe

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My girlfriend and I have had our second cat, Alfons, for about six months now, and he's about one year old. He's so sweet, and very affectionate--he has FIV, but we're caring for him and getting him regular checkups to make sure he's staying healthy. C: Unfortunately, for the last four months he's developed a really, really bad habit of getting into the trash. 

We had a cheaper, plastic step-to-open trashcan, but the bag hung out over the edge and he would dig his claws into that as leverage to pull it over, so I went out and bought a nice large stainless steel version that hides away the bag and makes it inaccessible. The only problem is, the top is made of plastic, and he's still clawing at it to get it open and get in! We've tried spraying him with water, spraying the can with nasty-smelling scents that are cat-safe, and distracting him with other toys that contain treats, but none of that stops him forever. He'll even do it in the middle of the night while we're sleeping, getting loud enough that we both wake up repeatedly and are tired the next AM.

At this point, I'm having to literally tape the can shut with packing tape, but he's chewing through it now and continuing to fight with the lid! Short of literally duct-taping our trashcan shut, what can we do?

Before anyone suggests some obvious tips, I just want to say that we cannot put the trashcan in a cabinet or in a closet/pantry--they're all too small (we would need the tiniest kitchen trashcan I'd ever heard of to succeed at this), and if possible I'd like to avoid buying yet another  trashcan considering this one was somewhat expensive and really is very nice.

Any behavioral/training tips you all can offer?
 

mani

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Goodness, Alfons really likes the trash, doesn't he!

The only think I can think of is similar to the things that are used to keep cats off counters.  Wrapping it in things like aluminium foil or double sided tape or any surface that he really doesn't like.

It's really a case of breaking the habit.. it's become a fixation, by the sound of it.
 

handsome kitty

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What if you cleaned out the old trashcan and put some toys in it for him to open and play with?   People put scratching posts near furniture so the cats will scratch that instead.  Maybe that theory would work with the trash can.
 
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auphe

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@Mani, both of those sound like solutions that might work that we haven't tried yet! Doing so right now, I suppose the next couple of days will tell as to its success.

As far as @Handsome Kitty's suggestion of  cleaning out the old trashcan... we don't have it anymore. Whoops! Unfortunately, small studios lead to a habit of quickly getting rid of not-in-use items. 
 

moayad albluwe

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Make it harder or impossible for him to open the trash can, try putting some weights on the top to prevent him from opening the trash can (warning: the weight might fall on him, so make sure it doesn't fall), another thing you can do: as he probably puts his claws in the gap between the trash can body and the top to open the can, you can block him from opening it by hiding that gap, tape is good but thin, so try getting something like hard paper or a cardboard make it hide the gap by putting it like we put the pet cone on his neck to hide his head from his legs, do the same thing and he won't be able to reach that spot and open the top.
 

LTS3

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Here's a small affordable trash can that you can hang on the inside of a cabinet door (under sink maybe?): http://www.simplehuman.com/in-cabinet-can There are much smaller trash cans out there but obviously they don't hold very much.

Is your cat getting enough food and playtime? Sometimes cats who are bored or hungry will seek out things to do / eat.
 

Caspers Human

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I had a cat that liked to dig in the garbage can. He used to scatter trash all over the kitchen. I tried all sorts of things like you did but to no avail.

Finally, I got a garbage can with a swinging cover and balanced a Dixie cup full of water on the top. Whenever the cat would try to push the cover open he would douse himself with water.

It only took two, maybe three, repeats before he stopped trying to get into the trash.
 

cinqchats

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Motion-detecting air spraying egg. Works like a charm. 
 
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