Kitten keeps climbing the bird cage. Help!

Jean Howard

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Hello! So we've had our kitten Marie for about 2 months now, and its been great! She's very good about using the litter box and proper scratching posts. Her and our cat Rex (8 year old male) have adjusted to each other well and can be in the same space without trying to murder each other. They're in the playfighting to figure out what boundries are there stage, so lots of claws in wrestling and low growls that have been less and less frequent. They shall be besties yet!

Shes still learning when to not bite, since she seems to love nibbling fingers (a nursing habit shes kept) and occasionally biting your knees or feet if there's fabric over them. Thankfully shes been very good at learning not to do this, and has never drawn blood or anything. We think its probably a teething thing as well, as she hasnt lost her baby teeth yet.

The one issue has been climbing. She loves trying to get into shelves and higher surfaces. We've been curbing her table sitting habits, and it has become less and less frequent. But one surface seems much too tempting.

The bird cage.

We have a African Senegal parrot named Sig. Hes a very good boy, who screams a lot. Rex and our late Boodle have both been very good with him, theres never been any attack attempts. Rex will ignore him and his cage, even when hes out. Sig does get plenty of outside cage time, but this is only ever while there's someone home to keep an eye on things. When we're away, he stays in his cage to hang out and watch his bird TV.

I don't think Marie got the memo about him. Shes entranced by his birdy ways, and enjoys just sitting and staring at him. Now this is fine, but the issue comes in when she starts to paw at him or jumps up onto the front of his cage. Shes also managed to clamber on top of his cage and sit atop it once or twice. Theres never been an incident of her trying to attack him, and any time theyve been out together has been highly monitored. Shes dashed towards him once, but stopped on a chair and stared at him while we moved to get him off the ground.

She is very playful, and highly energetic. Im pretty sure this is a matter of new interesting thing to play with, but im concerned about her using the cage like a jungle gym. It only takes one bad moment, and either she gets bitten or he gets injured. Even if she bit him and didn't kill him, cat saliva is highly toxic to birds and that would do him in anyways.

We've been using water guns as a discipline method, but I'm afraid shes only getting used to it. Making loud sounds and telling her no is also only affective sometimes, and it feels like she doesn't listen very well. Obviously shes a cat so you cant explain it to her, but I'm running out of ideas to keep her from jumping up there.

Im considering getting a taller cat tree for her, the only issue being where we would put it in the house. It could be used as a jumping pad to get to other forbidden spots. The attic might work as we're renovating it into a master bedroom, but that will be some time away and I'd rather make a more permanent solution now. Does anyone have ideas for curbing this behaviour?
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The bird cage (tall, tempting. Bird included.)
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The criminal on trial (heathen. Adorable, but very very naughty.)
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I really can't come up with much given your set up, but I suppose you could try a blockade that has been suggested as part of the cat-to-cat introduction process. It is essentially a DIY barrier made from shelving that you can usually get at home improvement stores. I've included below a pic for illustration of what this shelving looks like when it is set up. Set the shelving on its side and zip tie each segment of the shelving together to make a 'foldable' enclosure that can wrap around the entire bird cage. The shelving can be cut to most any height that you want or need. All you have to do gain access to the bird cage is to pull back one section of the shelving (like a door). To help with preventing the kitten from climbing it, plexi glass can be affixed to the lower portion of the shelving blockade. You can make this blockade as large as you need so that there is space between the cage and the shelving so that the kitten can't really get all that close to the bird. Because the shelving is wire, it does not obscure your bird's view.

As far as spraying the kitten with water - you might find this article interesting.
5 Reasons To Never Spray Water On Your Cat [Or otherwise punish them] – TheCatSite Articles

Shelving blockade.png
 

susanm9006

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Probably crazy ideas but…Build a plexiglass enclosure a couple feet high around the cage? How about setting the cage in a baby pool with a couple inches of water? Build a screen room around the whole cage?
 

Nebaug

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Hi, and welcome. Cats fall in couple different categories when it comes to the hight. Some of them like ground and low perches and almost never climb or jump, some of them are hight lovers and would climb up to the sky, and then the others that fall anywhere in between. Not much you can about that. For the pray I noticed that each of my cats prefers different animals. One likes low to the ground
pray (mice gecko …) One likes flying prey (birds, butterfl, bugs…) and the third … well, that one doesn’t discriminate likes them all.
For all who wonder how I know … Da Bird!! When I exchange lures depending what I put on and how high I play with it different cat will take interest and the others will give space and watch from the distance . Same cat reacts to the same lure without fail.
You can consider your self lucky so far that none of your previous cats took interest in the bird… before. Now you got girl that is very into it. Once you have that they are never safe (neither one)Never ever leave them together unsupervised or you will cry. Punishing cats doesn’t work!!! For a matter of fact doesn’t work for majority of animals. It just teaches them not to do it in front of …you!!! Next best thing (for me) was to make it a ‘scary thing ‘ to approach. Surfing dinning room table is a big no no in my home and well aimed light weight flying object (not hitting the cat)without me saying a word, sends them running to me looking for reassurance and support. :D
They never connect scary sound with me so, it’s worth a try. The other option would be motion sensor air spray (pet store carries it )
Instead of discouraging your cat from high places I would provide her with more options and she just may leave the bird alone. (Highly doubt that ;). Cats are like box of chocolate …… you never know what you will get ……
 

goingpostal

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You aren't going to curb her natural instinct, you need to have the bird cage inaccessible entirely if you want safety. Don't get complacent with thinking because they haven't gone after the bird yet, that it won't happen because it will end badly when it does.
 

LTS3

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It's a curious kitten so, no, she hasn't learned that the bird cage is off limits. That comes with time and proper discipline. To a kitten, everything that moves is a toy or at least something to check out.

Spraying cats with water doesn't work and can even encourage bad behavior because the cat knows that if she does X, it gets a response out of you. 5 Reasons To Never Spray Water On Your Cat [Or otherwise punish them] – TheCatSite Articles

TCS has articles on how to discourage bad behavior:


You'll need to completely block off access to the bird cage, if that's possible. Is there a room with a door you can move the cage into? Or close off the cage with something like this Solid Hardwood Indoor Pet Enclosure - CatsPlay Superstore ?
 
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