i can haz sanity?!
December 11, 2011 1:18 PM Subscribe
My cat is eternally bored and wantonly destructive... and it's driving me insane!
posted by happyjuice to pets & animals (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have two cats, both of whom I adore for completely different reasons. One of them is a big, lazy fuzz ball, who spends most of his days lazing around in the sunshine or rubbing his head on my feet... and the other is a wiry little mischief-maker with boundless energy and a knack for pushing every last one of my buttons, preferably when I'm trying to sleep or get some serious work done.
He's incredibly smart, and has the perseverance of a Trojan warrior. He especially enjoys making loud sounds... He'll put his paw under the sliding pantry door and pulling outward over and over again to make a banging sound. He'll pull books out of the bookcase one by one and start ripping the covers off. He'll sit on top of the bookcase and bat at the pictures or plates hanging on the wall so that they scrape back and forth. He rips posters off the walls. Sometimes he'll just climb on top of the kitchen cabinets (you know, the ones that are even higher than the refrigerator) and rub his paws up and down on the wall to make a scratchy sound. If all else fails, he just walks around the house aimlessly and meows.
It really seems like he's bored most of the time that he's not sleeping. I make time to play with him (laser pointer, feather dangly stick thing, catnip mouse toys, and such) several times a day, and I brush him, which he enjoys. He always has fresh food and water. According to several routine vet visits, he's in perfect health. (Although, I did have to take him to the vet once because he swallowed a big clump of thread, and he couldn't throw it up. I think he might have some sort of pica... he also loves shredding paper, which I know is common in cats, but I think he ends up ingesting a lot of it too.)
But sometimes, even after I've played with him for thirty minutes or so... he'll stop playing and walk off, and I'll think I've tired him out... but as soon as I sit down to get back to work or something, he starts complaining again or rubbing his paws loudly on the wall or knocking things over.
He doesn't get along particularly well with my other cat because he's sort of a bully. He plays aggressively, always chasing him and jumping on top of him and biting him and such, so my other cat tends to avoid him. Occasionally I'll see them curled up together, but usually he's cornering him and making him hiss or cry (in pain, I think), so I have to break them up.
I understand that a huge part of this is my fault for unintentionally "rewarding" him by reacting to his shenanigans... any reaction is a positive reaction for him if attention is his goal, right? I've tried clapping my hands loudly and saying "NO!" ... he doesn't even react. Shaking a box of coins worked maybe twice, and then stopped. Same with spray bottle. He actually seems to like it. And of course, it's really, really hard for me to just ignore him... because it's SO loud and annoying and distracting!
What should I do? I love this cat and feel committed to him... I rescued him from the shelter when he was a kitten, and he's about 2 years old now. But I thought he would grow out of some of these destructive behaviors, and if anything, they've worsened. He really seems to love me too... when he's sleepy, he'll voluntarily curl up with me and purr and such.
But the attention-seeking behavior is driving me and my roommate absolutely crazy. Fortunately he doesn't bang on her door at night... he singles me out. It seems like most of his bad behaviors happen in FRONT of people... like we'll be watching a movie in the living room, and that's when he'll start pulling books out of the bookcase. But books are never off the bookcase when I first get home or anything... it's something he obviously wants to do in front of me. Same with pulling pictures off the walls. I don't come home to a destroyed house... he starts doing it when I get home.
Please HELP ME. I want him to be happy! Part of me feels really guilty that he has to be an indoor cat, because I figure he'd have a lot more stimuli and fun outside, since he's so active. (My other cat is afraid of everything, particularly the outdoors.) But I live in an apartment surrounded by roads and cars and dogs, so I don't feel that that is a viable option.