young cat mischief tips needed

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
we got a 3rd baby in the winter, she's adorable buuuut we are struggling to teach her house manners. her personality is more mischievous than my 2 cats when they were kittens, put together. she's under a year so she has a lot of time to catch on, but she's very stubborn. things we need tips on:
  • darting out the door. then running all over the front/ on neighbor's front, trying to climb tree, running under cars, etc to evade us. when we take her out with "permission"(allow her out on the front porch with us, usually with her harness on), she's pretty tame and just lays in her boundaries (no going beyond the porch cement or else she gets taken back, and eventually back inside after not listening a few times). but when she tries to dart out behind us when we're going out (very dangerous because the door closes by itself, and is heavy for a cat obviously), she runs around like she's got zoomies, totally ignoring us and won't run back unless scared. thing is, she's super curious and brave so that's hard
  • scratching very hardly when held/ wants to be let down...like mercilessly. when she's being held and wants to get down, she digs her claws in full force, often kicking off with them or continue to squirm with them.. we have many horrible scratches from this happening. she seems to only be docile being held on her back?...which most cats typically dislike. or being held with the bottom hand between her legs instead (like a sitting position) so that she can't scratch. it doesn't happen all the time but when it does we immediately let her go (she doesn't care how high she is or if she gets hurt, she just suddenly wants down now), and audibly show distress like "ow!" or a "ssst!", sometimes putting her in a separate room to calm down and we walk away as a "timeout". this has slowly been improving but still needs work
  • counter/table/ floor scavenging. before/during/after cooking, she is always trying to get into stuff, no matter how many times we deter her from the counters. we simply tell her to get down or no, then pick her up and put her down if she doesn't listen. usually she does her stubborn cat thing like "I can hear you...but I don't care" 😂 I also use light water splashes when I'm at the sink, or shooing her until she jumps off. as for the floor scavenging, she's always trying to eat ANYTHING on the floor. then when I go to see what it is, she grabs it and runs like dogs do! we try to keep the floors clean, but it getting dirty is inevitable
 

danteshuman

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
4,038
Purraise
4,502
Location
California
OK the mean mommy answers:

1 door darting: get some squirt bottles. Keep one outside the door & by the inside the door. Make a pssssst ppppssssstttt sound & if she gets within 5 feet of the door skirt the ground right in front of her (or the ground) while your body/leg/foot blocks the doorway. (Just open it a crack.) I give my guy warning shots near his feet, then hit his feet if he doesn’t back off. He became a front door darter so I had to do this for a few weeks until he remembered to not rush out the door. I open my door a crack, stick my leg through & wave it a bit while making pppossssstttt pppppssssstttt noises so he knows to back off. The silly things you do for your cats.

2 the table food stealing: lock her in a room with a litter box and her good every time you eat for a few weeks of months. Then if she gets on the table a loud shout &/or clapping your hands to chase her off the table. I would chase her to her room or pick her up with a firm no & put her in her room for an hour. My guy knows to stay off tables or loud yelling starts.... so teach her she isn’t even allowed on the table.

3 the scratching: I do a loud high pitch oooowwwwwwwww that is loud enough to startle him at the slightest hint of fang or claw! If I got a deep scratch I would scruff them with a firm no; then pick the cat up & calmly place the cat in a bedroom for 20-60 minutes.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
15,605
Purraise
14,449
Location
USA
TCS has several articles that you should take a read through:


Some cats just don't like to be held so just don't hold the cat unless you need to get the cat into the carrier for a trip to the vet or something.

Are you feeding the cat enough food? Do you feed the cats separately and watch them so they're not pushing the others away to get more food? Hungry cats will seek out food to eat, dig through trash cans, counter surf, etc. Do you know the cat's past history? Former strays and ferals and those from bad situations are often food insecure and will seek out food even if you feed them plenty.
 

Lulu&Finn

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Messages
117
Purraise
240
This is prob mean but for Finn, it cured him. When he was on the counter I slammed a cookie sheet in the other end. He ran and got off fast. He’s never gone back up. Poor Lulu had to step on a cooling off, but still hot burner to be cured of counter climbing.

I have no other advice. Lulu does what she wants. She gets into everything. Is a daredevil but also the most anxious car I’ve ever owned. Makes no sense.
 

susanm9006

Resident Cat Willow
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
8,410
Purraise
16,900
Location
Minnesota
If she is scratching when held, don’t hold her. It’s sets up a bad relationship between you. If you want to cuddle with her or need to trim her nails, wait until she is sleepy or asleep.

If she is scavenging food, two things. At her age, it may be because she is hungry. So make sure she is being allowed to free fee kibble at all times and feed her several wet meals a day. Also keep nothing on the table or counters that could eaten and if necessary put her in a different room while you are preparing food,eating or cleaning up.
 

danteshuman

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
4,038
Purraise
4,502
Location
California
Oh yeah I assumed she was being free fed. If she is hungry, that could be the cause of it. Though my mom had one cat who was well fed and still tried to steal steak off the kitchen table.

About the squirt bottle ...... it wasn’t the first or even third thing I tried with my twerp. He just kept darting out the front door. That was why I aimed for a foot in front of him & only hit his feet a couple of times. After a couple of weeks the squirt bottle retired. However if clapping, penny cans & everything else fails, it beats letting them dart out the door to danger.
 

nanniecat

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
May 18, 2021
Messages
26
Purraise
22
we got a 3rd baby in the winter, she's adorable buuuut we are struggling to teach her house manners. her personality is more mischievous than my 2 cats when they were kittens, put together. she's under a year so she has a lot of time to catch on, but she's very stubborn. things we need tips on:
  • darting out the door. then running all over the front/ on neighbor's front, trying to climb tree, running under cars, etc to evade us. when we take her out with "permission"(allow her out on the front porch with us, usually with her harness on), she's pretty tame and just lays in her boundaries (no going beyond the porch cement or else she gets taken back, and eventually back inside after not listening a few times). but when she tries to dart out behind us when we're going out (very dangerous because the door closes by itself, and is heavy for a cat obviously), she runs around like she's got zoomies, totally ignoring us and won't run back unless scared. thing is, she's super curious and brave so that's hard
  • scratching very hardly when held/ wants to be let down...like mercilessly. when she's being held and wants to get down, she digs her claws in full force, often kicking off with them or continue to squirm with them.. we have many horrible scratches from this happening. she seems to only be docile being held on her back?...which most cats typically dislike. or being held with the bottom hand between her legs instead (like a sitting position) so that she can't scratch. it doesn't happen all the time but when it does we immediately let her go (she doesn't care how high she is or if she gets hurt, she just suddenly wants down now), and audibly show distress like "ow!" or a "ssst!", sometimes putting her in a separate room to calm down and we walk away as a "timeout". this has slowly been improving but still needs work
  • counter/table/ floor scavenging. before/during/after cooking, she is always trying to get into stuff, no matter how many times we deter her from the counters. we simply tell her to get down or no, then pick her up and put her down if she doesn't listen. usually she does her stubborn cat thing like "I can hear you...but I don't care" 😂 I also use light water splashes when I'm at the sink, or shooing her until she jumps off. as for the floor scavenging, she's always trying to eat ANYTHING on the floor. then when I go to see what it is, she grabs it and runs like dogs do! we try to keep the floors clean, but it getting dirty is inevitable
how does she interact with the other cats? but i do think she will calm down. has she been neutered?
 

tarasgirl06

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Messages
17,616
Purraise
45,225
Location
Glendale, CATifornia
we got a 3rd baby in the winter, she's adorable buuuut we are struggling to teach her house manners. her personality is more mischievous than my 2 cats when they were kittens, put together. she's under a year so she has a lot of time to catch on, but she's very stubborn. things we need tips on:
  • darting out the door. then running all over the front/ on neighbor's front, trying to climb tree, running under cars, etc to evade us. when we take her out with "permission"(allow her out on the front porch with us, usually with her harness on), she's pretty tame and just lays in her boundaries (no going beyond the porch cement or else she gets taken back, and eventually back inside after not listening a few times). but when she tries to dart out behind us when we're going out (very dangerous because the door closes by itself, and is heavy for a cat obviously), she runs around like she's got zoomies, totally ignoring us and won't run back unless scared. thing is, she's super curious and brave so that's hard
  • scratching very hardly when held/ wants to be let down...like mercilessly. when she's being held and wants to get down, she digs her claws in full force, often kicking off with them or continue to squirm with them.. we have many horrible scratches from this happening. she seems to only be docile being held on her back?...which most cats typically dislike. or being held with the bottom hand between her legs instead (like a sitting position) so that she can't scratch. it doesn't happen all the time but when it does we immediately let her go (she doesn't care how high she is or if she gets hurt, she just suddenly wants down now), and audibly show distress like "ow!" or a "ssst!", sometimes putting her in a separate room to calm down and we walk away as a "timeout". this has slowly been improving but still needs work
  • counter/table/ floor scavenging. before/during/after cooking, she is always trying to get into stuff, no matter how many times we deter her from the counters. we simply tell her to get down or no, then pick her up and put her down if she doesn't listen. usually she does her stubborn cat thing like "I can hear you...but I don't care" 😂 I also use light water splashes when I'm at the sink, or shooing her until she jumps off. as for the floor scavenging, she's always trying to eat ANYTHING on the floor. then when I go to see what it is, she grabs it and runs like dogs do! we try to keep the floors clean, but it getting dirty is inevitable
If you have doors in your house/apt. as opposed to "open plan", make sure she is behind a closed door before you go out. Do not allow her outside at all unless she is walked on cat harness and leash, and/or in a secured, private cat-fenced yard or catio. NEVER allow her out unsupervised or in any instance where she can run into danger!!! I never let my cats out, period. They have lots of windows and a security door to observe the outside and lots of cat furniture and scratchers and toys for stimuli. They do not need to go out and they are much safer indoors.
I don't really pick my cats up, as most cats don't like it. If you must, you might want to wear some thick gloves if she uses claws or teeth, and avoid picking her up unless you absolutely have to.
My cats don't usually get on counters or tabletops -- Baby Su never has and never does. Elvis occasionally has done so, but I tell him in a normal voice to get down, and he does. If your cat is being well fed, and if she receives stimuli such as interactive play, she shouldn't really want to get into everything; but again, you may want to close a door between her and you when you are cooking and eating.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
OK the mean mommy answers:

1 door darting: get some squirt bottles. Keep one outside the door & by the inside the door. Make a pssssst ppppssssstttt sound & if she gets within 5 feet of the door skirt the ground right in front of her (or the ground) while your body/leg/foot blocks the doorway. (Just open it a crack.) I give my guy warning shots near his feet, then hit his feet if he doesn’t back off. He became a front door darter so I had to do this for a few weeks until he remembered to not rush out the door. I open my door a crack, stick my leg through & wave it a bit while making pppossssstttt pppppssssstttt noises so he knows to back off. The silly things you do for your cats.

2 the table food stealing: lock her in a room with a litter box and her good every time you eat for a few weeks of months. Then if she gets on the table a loud shout &/or clapping your hands to chase her off the table. I would chase her to her room or pick her up with a firm no & put her in her room for an hour. My guy knows to stay off tables or loud yelling starts.... so teach her she isn’t even allowed on the table.

3 the scratching: I do a loud high pitch oooowwwwwwwww that is loud enough to startle him at the slightest hint of fang or claw! If I got a deep scratch I would scruff them with a firm no; then pick the cat up & calmly place the cat in a bedroom for 20-60 minutes.
oh geez, I forgot to reply here! the sst noise has been working very well for keeping her away and off of things!! tysm, I didn't expect such a simple thing to be the solution 😂
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
how does she interact with the other cats? but i do think she will calm down. has she been neutered?
very playful but keeps her boundaries when hissed at, both are older cats. 1 likes playing with her, the other likes play less often. she is fixed yes
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
If she is scratching when held, don’t hold her. It’s sets up a bad relationship between you. If you want to cuddle with her or need to trim her nails, wait until she is sleepy or asleep.

If she is scavenging food, two things. At her age, it may be because she is hungry. So make sure she is being allowed to free fee kibble at all times and feed her several wet meals a day. Also keep nothing on the table or counters that could eaten and if necessary put her in a different room while you are preparing food,eating or cleaning up.
we know, when she doesn't want to be held we just let her be. but most of the time it's happened is when she needed to be picked up (trying to climb on the dangerous side of the deck, trying to run off) even just holding her normally when calm, she'd just kick off with her claws out. our other cats are fine with being held and were always very docile, never use their claws when they want to be let down. I think its just a process of her learning her kitty claw manners, which have been improving thankfully especially with playtime with the older cats. they have scheduled meals 3 times a day (2 wet food, 1 dry food but sometimes 2 if they need a light snack), she just acts like puppy and will grab ANYTHING on the floor, food or not lol. the smell of meats/fish/etc makes her go nuts even if she has food, so we try to just redirect her to it and keep her away when we're cooking. the sst noise that the other person suggested has been working good as well
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
If you have doors in your house/apt. as opposed to "open plan", make sure she is behind a closed door before you go out. Do not allow her outside at all unless she is walked on cat harness and leash, and/or in a secured, private cat-fenced yard or catio. NEVER allow her out unsupervised or in any instance where she can run into danger!!! I never let my cats out, period. They have lots of windows and a security door to observe the outside and lots of cat furniture and scratchers and toys for stimuli. They do not need to go out and they are much safer indoors.
I don't really pick my cats up, as most cats don't like it. If you must, you might want to wear some thick gloves if she uses claws or teeth, and avoid picking her up unless you absolutely have to.
My cats don't usually get on counters or tabletops -- Baby Su never has and never does. Elvis occasionally has done so, but I tell him in a normal voice to get down, and he does. If your cat is being well fed, and if she receives stimuli such as interactive play, she shouldn't really want to get into everything; but again, you may want to close a door between her and you when you are cooking and eating.
TCS has several articles that you should take a read through:

[/URL][/URL]
[/URL][/URL]
[/URL][/URL]
[/URL][/URL]

Some cats just don't like to be held so just don't hold the cat unless you need to get the cat into the carrier for a trip to the vet or something.

Are you feeding the cat enough food? Do you feed the cats separately and watch them so they're not pushing the others away to get more food? Hungry cats will seek out food to eat, dig through trash cans, counter surf, etc. Do you know the cat's past history? Former strays and ferals and those from bad situations are often food insecure and will seek out food even if you feed them plenty.
1. I'm aware and don't agree with free roaming outdoor cats either. we do let her out on our enclosed, 2nd floor deck so she can get fresh air and sunlight with the other 2 cats. our older cats are very good with noise commands and have never needed a leash when in the front, but the young cat does. we only let them out when we're out there with them to watch them. If our front wasn't set up the way it was, we would only let them out on the deck. it's somewhat "elongated" with 2 house walls and a small roof overhang on each side of the sidewalk, with a large cement step/porch at the door, and all surrounded by a thick catmint garden and bushes except for the entrance to the long blacktop driveway. the older cats are very scared of people, loud noises, even the door just closing, and listen to my verbal commands, so they're rarely in the front for long and stay very close. the young cat has no fear, tries to venture far, doesn't have the verbal commands down though, hence why she needs to be on her harness so she doesn't run off into danger. they enjoy the fresh air and sun and I firmly believe it's good for them+adds something nice and different to their day, she just needs to learn her boundaries still

2. all our cats are fine with being held and enjoy it, she just sometimes kicks off when she decides she wants down and doesn't retract her claws-- but she's been getting better about it. she LOVES being held like a baby/cradled on her back

3. they get enough food and are satisfied with their amount (3 meals, with an occasional snack if they're hungry). they're fed in their own separate bowls to avoid stress/ fighting to get food and for portioning. she just likes to get into things especially if it has a strong smell (dairy and meat especially, but she will try to eat ANYTHING) even if she has food, and also pick stuff off the floor even if its not food. she's getting better at listening when we do the sst to scare her off the counter/table. the kitchen is open on 2 ends, plus a half wall, so we cannot keep her out when cooking/ eating, but again she has thankfully been listening when we warn her to get off

4. we play and interact with them every day and she also plays with the older cats. there are multiple scratching posts, a hideout cat cubby that's up high, plenty of old fabric chairs we have for them to also use as scratching posts and to climb, lots of rooms, a large staircase, toys, etc
 
Last edited:

danteshuman

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
4,038
Purraise
4,502
Location
California
The vinyl couch scratch guards (big vinyl stickers you put on the edges of your couch) work great to train kitties not to scratch. After 3-6 months you can try taking them off & see if she has learned not to scratch there. They are pretty cheap to buy off amazon. The sticky tape works on some cats but my twerp just got excited as he ran to it... & started eating the tape! 🤦🏻‍♀️

I’m glad the pssst sound works. I would try the high pitch ow when she accidentally scratches you, to help her learn it hurts you. Sometimes it is easier to speak their language when training cats. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Speaking of training; you might want to try clicker training her. You can look it up on YouTube for Jackson Galaxy’s guide on clicker training your cat. When training my cats I noticed that they respond better to hand signals than voice commands. They learn the hand signals first. It makes sense, since cat communication is mainly about body language. So when training your kitten, try hand signals. My guy has learned to get up in his cat tree when I open the sliding glass door.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

Jaylin A

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
28
Purraise
17
The vinyl couch scratch guards (big vinyl stickers you put on the edges of your couch) work great to train kitties not to scratch. After 3-6 months you can try taking them off & see if she has learned not to scratch there. They are pretty cheap to buy off amazon. The sticky tape works on some cats but my twerp just got excited as he ran to it... & started eating the tape! 🤦🏻‍♀️

I’m glad the pssst sound works. I would try the high pitch ow when she accidentally scratches you, to help her learn it hurts you. Sometimes it is easier to speak their language when training cats. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Speaking of training; you might want to try clicker training her. You can look it up on YouTube for Jackson Galaxy’s guide on clicker training your cat. When training my cats I noticed that they respond better to hand signals than voice commands. They learn the hand signals first. It makes sense, since cat communication is mainly about body language. So when training your kitten, try hand signals. My guy has learned to get up in his cat tree when I open the sliding glass door.
that's very interesting, this is my first time hearing about clicker/hand signal training! i will definitely look into it and see if its something she might respond to better. also, the chair scratching isnt an issue, theyre allow to scratch the old chairs since it keeps them away from everything else-- its the scratching when held that was a big issue (but getting better)
 
Top