Inappropriate chewing and crazy leaping

sarahp

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Hi Kerry - great to have you here!!


I'd love to get an opinion on our kitty Stumpy. She's getting close to 2 years old now, and we've had her for a little over a year now - she came to us after she'd been living outdoors and was hit by a car and brought to the shelter I volunteer at.

Once she recovered from her injuries, she became very hyperactive, so we got her another kitty friend which helped. We now have 3 girls who all get along really well, play well together and never have any aggression issues or anything like that.

She's now a purely inside cat, and we live in a townhouse of approx. 1000 sq feet, and she occasionally tries to get outside to chew the grass, which we let her do supervised, and within about 5 minutes she wants to come back inside again - she's scared of cars and general outside noises.

Stumpy though is just a little odd... She loves to chew cords - mainly electrical cords. Pretty much every single cord in our house is covered in her teeth marks. We've got convoluted cable (plastic cable covering) that we've put over as much as we can, but she'll still chew on any bit of cabling that's not covered as well as chewing on anything long, thin and plasticy. We have a can of compressed air for cleaning inside computers, and it has a long plastic nozzle - it was chewed to bits the first night we left it out.

She's also just very high energy and leaps on and up everything. She regularly crawls her way up our leather dining chairs, and leaps on and off our nice wooden dining table, so we now have claw marks all over our nice furniture and have to now keep it covered at all times to try and lessen the damage. She has Soft Claws on, which helps but doesn't stop or discourage the behaviour, and we can't keep every claw covered all the time.

She also leaps up our walls - particular the one to the right of this pic:



She tears up the stairs, and leaps up it as high as she can and grabs on with all 4 paws and jumps down again. We've just discovered huge gouges taken out of the wall from her back claws - even when they're clipped, they're pointy enough to damage the soft walls.

They have heaps of toys that she loves to play with, they play lots together, and we try to give her laser pointer time (which she LOVES) at least once a day until she's exhausted.

I have no idea what else to do to try and calm down her hyperactive behaviour. I wouldn't mind so much if she didn't cause so much damage... It seems we're constantly discovering more damage she's caused which is going to cost us. And of course our other big fear is that she's going to chew through a power cord and kill herself. She's already chewed through one which zapped her.

Any advice or help would be REALLY appreciated.
 

catpsych

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Hi Sarah,
Thanks so much for the Welcome.

Let see, I would use as much as possible of the convoluted cable as you can to cover all exposed cords, use the 1 inch or 1.5 inch thickness, that way she can't get her mouth around it. Then lather tabasco sauce on the convoluted cable and all exposed wires.....yup, you'll need to reapply it each day.
But trust me, she'll get the point quickly and once she stops chewing for at least 2 weeks then you can stop reapplying the tabasco. The faint smell of the tabasco will keep her at bay after the fact. Another thing to also try since she is a chewer and likes long wirely things to chew, at your local pet store pick up a pack of long twisted straw shaped rawhide, made for small dogs. Try to get the chicken flavored ones, if they do not have any you can purchase the regular ones and boil them in a pot of chicken broth at home, let dry, then serve one a day to keep her chompers busy. You can also start a kitty garden in a window sill, growing cat grass, wheat grass, catnip, and parsely...all safe plants for cats.
As for the furniture, I sympathize with you, my kitty Puna took a bad fall when he was young and had 2 surgeries on his back legs, so he's not much of a jumper either, he prefers to climb up my leather couches and what not, which I don't mind because the furniture is there to be used, not like I can keep it looking new forever. I just keep his claws trimmed and provide him with one heack of a scratching post, (taller than me with 6+ perches.) I hiss at him if he ever decides to use my couch as a scratching post, he can climb it, but not scratch on it like it's a tree or something. You didn't mention if you had a large scratching post or not, if you don't I highly recommend getting one, place it by a window and compliment it with a bird/squirrel feeder just outside the window. Then place all of the cat toys on and around the cat post, also run the post down with catnip you crushed up with your fingers, this will let them know it is all theirs.
When you see them using the post, reward them with praise, attention, and tasty treats right away. If you see them clawing your furniture or the wall, stomp on the ground and hiss at them, once they stop gently carry them to the scrathing post and act as if you are pawing at the post, show 'em how it's done.
They will get the picture after a few rounds of this, just remember to be consistant with your retraining. I hope this information helps you guys. Have a great weekend!
Take care,
Kerry




Originally Posted by sarahp

Hi Kerry - great to have you here!!


I'd love to get an opinion on our kitty Stumpy. She's getting close to 2 years old now, and we've had her for a little over a year now - she came to us after she'd been living outdoors and was hit by a car and brought to the shelter I volunteer at.

Once she recovered from her injuries, she became very hyperactive, so we got her another kitty friend which helped. We now have 3 girls who all get along really well, play well together and never have any aggression issues or anything like that.

She's now a purely inside cat, and we live in a townhouse of approx. 1000 sq feet, and she occasionally tries to get outside to chew the grass, which we let her do supervised, and within about 5 minutes she wants to come back inside again - she's scared of cars and general outside noises.

Stumpy though is just a little odd... She loves to chew cords - mainly electrical cords. Pretty much every single cord in our house is covered in her teeth marks. We've got convoluted cable (plastic cable covering) that we've put over as much as we can, but she'll still chew on any bit of cabling that's not covered as well as chewing on anything long, thin and plasticy. We have a can of compressed air for cleaning inside computers, and it has a long plastic nozzle - it was chewed to bits the first night we left it out.

She's also just very high energy and leaps on and up everything. She regularly crawls her way up our leather dining chairs, and leaps on and off our nice wooden dining table, so we now have claw marks all over our nice furniture and have to now keep it covered at all times to try and lessen the damage. She has Soft Claws on, which helps but doesn't stop or discourage the behaviour, and we can't keep every claw covered all the time.

She also leaps up our walls - particular the one to the right of this pic:



She tears up the stairs, and leaps up it as high as she can and grabs on with all 4 paws and jumps down again. We've just discovered huge gouges taken out of the wall from her back claws - even when they're clipped, they're pointy enough to damage the soft walls.

They have heaps of toys that she loves to play with, they play lots together, and we try to give her laser pointer time (which she LOVES) at least once a day until she's exhausted.

I have no idea what else to do to try and calm down her hyperactive behaviour. I wouldn't mind so much if she didn't cause so much damage... It seems we're constantly discovering more damage she's caused which is going to cost us. And of course our other big fear is that she's going to chew through a power cord and kill herself. She's already chewed through one which zapped her.

Any advice or help would be REALLY appreciated.
 
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sarahp

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Thanks so much for your advice! I'll go around this weekend and make sure all cables are covered, and apply tabasco sauce to any new cables that come into the house or I notice her hanging around.

I also went out today and bought some chew treats for them. She ignored the long straw like one (but our other kitty thought it was fun to lick and play with), but she loved the beef chews - so much that she scoffed down hers and the other kitties then threw up for eating them all so fast... So next time I'll put out a little bit at a time!

I also let her out once a day at the moment while I have time so she can go outside and chew on her favourite grassy spot that's not far from our front door (we're in a quiet townhouse complex). Once she's had a good chew, I bring her back in and she's pretty happy. Potted grass always dies in our house, and I'm assured the grass she chews on isn't treated with any chemicals.

We do have a large cat tree they love to play on, but I'll make more of an effort to cover it with catnip and redirect her attention to that whenever she plays crazy kitty on the leather dining chairs.

Thanks again for the advice!
 

catpsych

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Sounds great!

~Kerry

Originally Posted by sarahp

Thanks so much for your advice! I'll go around this weekend and make sure all cables are covered, and apply tabasco sauce to any new cables that come into the house or I notice her hanging around.

I also went out today and bought some chew treats for them. She ignored the long straw like one (but our other kitty thought it was fun to lick and play with), but she loved the beef chews - so much that she scoffed down hers and the other kitties then threw up for eating them all so fast... So next time I'll put out a little bit at a time!

I also let her out once a day at the moment while I have time so she can go outside and chew on her favourite grassy spot that's not far from our front door (we're in a quiet townhouse complex). Once she's had a good chew, I bring her back in and she's pretty happy. Potted grass always dies in our house, and I'm assured the grass she chews on isn't treated with any chemicals.

We do have a large cat tree they love to play on, but I'll make more of an effort to cover it with catnip and redirect her attention to that whenever she plays crazy kitty on the leather dining chairs.

Thanks again for the advice!
 

epona

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Tabasco is a fantastic suggestion and may well work for the vast majority of cats, but as someone who has a cat that willingly eats chillis if he can possibly get hold of one (guess which cat
) may I suggest that if the tabasco doesn't work, try some plain dish-soap smeared over any cables that are at risk. This was suggested by my vet for my cable-chewer (yup, the same one that likes chillis
) and it worked a treat because he didn't like the smell. He doesn't try it now at all on any cable after consistent use when he was younger
 
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