Outdoor Cats Don't Seem To Housebreak Very Easily

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by voyager, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. voyager

    voyager Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 12, 2017
    Pahoa, HI
    Our outdoor cats, now allowed indoors, are showing uncouth behavior that signifies a lack of respect for our property rights.
    They are clawing on the furniture.
    We were pretty sure that it would become a problem sooner or later.

    I have looked up some reupholsterers for when they get too badly clawed.
    But, in the meantime, is there any way to discourage their clawing the furniture short of skinning and stuffing the cats?

    We do supply them with a large honeycomb cardboard type scratching post/pad out on the lanai.
    They both use it numerous times every day.
    They consider the tires on my vehicle, our banana and other trees around the yard also to be fair game.
    That we can live with.
    Why do they need the furniture too?
    They are really pushing their luck by clawing the furniture.

    I've read that bad smelling sprays and double back tapes can discourage clawing.
    But, I'm not spraying bad smells on and/or covering the furniture with double back tape.
    That would discourage me from using them also.
    I'd rather skin and stuff the little darlin's first.

    What are our options for civilizing these barbarians?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  2. kat0121

    kat0121 Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    They need more scratchers. A cat tree would be a good option as they have sissal covered posts that cats cannot resist scratching. My cats do not scratch my furniture at all. They have lots of other options. Amazon has a good variety of cat trees at different prices. I have this one on my Amazon wish list for when DD moves out and her room becomes the cats' new play room. The big cat tree in the living room is an Armarkat. They make good quality trees.

    www.amazon.com/dp/B003BYQ100/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2YZC871YA34F8&colid=1FB1RH8W72WX9&psc=1
     
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  3. jamescalifornia

    jamescalifornia TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    ~ As far as I know heavy plastic slip covers for furniture is the only way to save the upholstery .
    Cats like carpeted towers to play and scratch .
    • Taxidermy does not work . The cats can come back to haunt you and the furniture ! :bawling2::lovecat2:
     
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  4. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    You can buy a roll of double sided tape at your local Walmart, (or on Amazon) you don't apply it to where YOU, sit you apply it to the corners of the furniture and where they are scratching. It DOES work, it is the only thing that saved my couch. Those corrugated cardboard scratchers work well too, my cats use them all the time. Remember you can pull the cardboard rectangle out of the box and turn it over for double the use. Cats can be frustrating at times, but they will bring you entertainment and unimaginable joy to your soul, a couch can be replaced, but the love they bring to you is priceless!
     
  5. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

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    A quick fix is to immediately cover the chairs with sheets. That will at least protect the front and top part with the stuffing. Sheets are really easy to wash. Then get a sisal cat scratching post. My cats won't use those cardboard ones.
     
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  6. voyager

    voyager Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    We went with a cardboard scratching pad because they preferred it over a carpeted pad.
    they have gone through two of them so far.
    They went through the first one so fast that I bought a larger one so that they can stand up and stretch as they scratch on it.
    It has a small cylinder with a sisal type covering on it.
    They never use it, maybe because it is not as easy to use as the larger cardboard surface.

    I may try a sisal type post.
    We'll see.
    We will not place scratching post all over the house.
    It is our house not theirs.
    Then I think:
    That's like saying we own them.
    They don't own us, which we know is not true.

    I'm of the opinion that this clawing is probably an expression of territoriality.
    That makes it much more problematical.

    As a kid, still in elementary school, we had an assembly where a guy with a traveling trained cat act gave a performance.
    He said something I've never forgotten and a lifetime of having cats for pets has born out:

    "People say that cats cannot be trained.
    They are wrong.
    Cats can be trained, within limitations.
    You cannot train a cat to not do something it wants to do."

    I think that and territoriality are what complicate this problem.

    EDIT:
    It's the faux leather dining chairs they're finding to be irresistible, kinda like the tires on my truck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  7. kat0121

    kat0121 Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    They are part of the family so it is their house too. :wink:

    My living room furniture is leather and the cats don't touch it. They have not been "taught" not to. They simply have another outlet to do what they do naturally- scratch. I go with sissal covered posts because they give them the opportunity to stretch while they scratch and they are quite sturdy. The sissal can be replaced as well. The cat trees that we have do not really take up that much room because most of the room they do use is vertical space.

    This cardboard scratcher has been a huge hit not only as a scratcher but as a lounge chair as well. This is one of Lily's favorite things.
    www.amazon.com/Onlypets-Scratcher-Catnip-Kittens-Scratching/dp/B01H1RHS72/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512696604&sr=8-1&keywords=onlypet+scratcher
     
  8. sabian

    sabian TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Have you looked at Chewy.com? They have a Frisco tree that looks just like the one in your link for $44. I think the only difference is it's cream instead of ivory. I bought this Frisco tree Frisco 72-Inch Cat Tree, Cream and it's really well made for the money. I think comparable to Armarkat if not better. They also make one just like this with a large base for a few dollars more.
     
  9. sabian

    sabian TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I agree with @kat0121 You should get a tall cat tree and put it in front of a window. You can always try scruffing them when they claw the furniture as a last resort. I've seen cats claw car tires before. Maybe you should put a tire in the house! Mount it on a poll or something! Dang! I might try that myself. I should have thought of that along time ago! :lol:
     
  10. voyager

    voyager Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 12, 2017
    Pahoa, HI
    I think I may be coming up with a plan.
    Perusing around the i-net for cat repellants, I see citrus odors [orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, etc] mentioned a lot.
    Vinegar comes in close to 2nd place.
    Then a variety of herbs and others [peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, etc] get honorable mentions.

    I'm thinking of a citrus oil with dilute vinegar, a bit of soap as a surfactant and maybe an herb added just for spite, then spray it onto the dining chairs where they're clawing.
    Make it so that they do not want to claw the chairs.

    I've mentioned elsewhere that Dexter doesn't like to be picked up or sit on laps.
    He is changing his habits.
    He now comes into my office and climbs up into my lap while I'm on the computer and stays there until I toss him off when I am done.
    He's been coming in to get on my lap the last 5 nights for a few hours, almost 4 hours last night.

    The biggest problem is that he is our hyperactive ADD cat.
    He is a wiggle worm all the time he is in my lap.
    Then , he'll start licking my arm until the skin gets sore and I have to stop him.
    He lays on his back between my legs with his feet in the air so's I can rub his belly.
    He doesn't like to be in a lap any other place or time of day.
     
  11. voyager

    voyager Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 12, 2017
    Pahoa, HI
    I have found a very informative website on cat behavior.
    It seems to have given answers to several of my questions posted here and in other forums on the site.
    Feline Behaviour - WikiVet English

    From that info, territoriality is probably the driving factor for the clawing.
    I think I can address this problem by taking care of another.
    In the mean time, the repellant will be tried.
     
  12. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

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    Upstate NY
    I always thought that cats scratched to file their nails down. If you've ever seen an animal with overgrown nails, it's hard for them to walk. I could be wrong, but that's what I thought. If you have any armchairs or sofas, I'd cover them with sheets real quick. Once that stuffing starts coming out, it's hard to fix and it's a blockage hazard if they swallow it. That's nice that he'll sit on your lap for 4 hours!
     
  13. voyager

    voyager Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 12, 2017
    Pahoa, HI
    Hi maggiedemi,
    Claw maintenance is one of the benefits of their clawing behavior, but not the driving force behind it.
    Yes, I have seen the results of nails and other similar appendages like hooves that are not allowed to wear down naturally because of the conditions of their domestication, horses that live in grassy fields, pigs that live in pens, dogs that spend most of their time indoors, and others that don't come to mind right now.

    But, I have never seen a cat that its claw growth has affected its ability to walk and move around.
    I have never kept a completely house confined cat.
    That may be why I've never seen a cat with an overgrown claw problem.

    My sister has operated a dog grooming business all her adult life, having recently retired and sold the business.
    The trimming of the nails of house, yard and other confined dogs is part of the service.

    Our cats are outdoor cats, they are not confined to the house.
    Their everyday activities should keep their nails healthy.

    The house, lanai And yard is part of their core territory, where they need to feel the safest.
    They claw the trees and other things around the yard to mark territory.

    OK, I've got other thing I need to be doing right now.
    So, gotta chop this off.
    Where this is headed:
    Don't think that a cat or any other animal reacts to its world like a human does.
    They have a completely different take on how the world works and their own preferred way of dealing with it.
    It is often interfered with by their conditions of domestication that they are forced to adapt to.
     

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