Why is our cat being a jerk?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Cara, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    We adopted a cat in March after our friendly barn cat disappeared. This one is an indoor only cat. At first he was a good cat, and acted like he'd always lived with us (no hiding under the bed or anything). Now he's terrible. He's decided he doesn't want to use his (clean) litterbox, and instead pees and poops in my husband's laundry basket (twice today already). We clean up after him but he still goes in that spot. He steals anything of ours he can and digs it into his litter box too. He has a scratching post that he always used to use, but he's now decided he prefers our leather living room furniture, our kitchen chairs, the door frames (which he leaps up against and grips on)... We specifically asked for a cat that gets along with dogs, and let him settle in for several weeks before we introduced him. He has his own space (our bedroom and bathroom) where the dogs aren't allowed, but he attacks them even if they are ignoring him. Is he psycho or is it us? My husband wants him gone and i'm inclined to agree now.
  2. catnip

    catnip Songster

    Mar 27, 2008
    Eliminating outside of the litterbox can be a sign that the cat is not feeling well. You might want to take him to the vet for a check up.

    If he's a "teenage" cat, his aggression to the dogs could be a phase. Either way, I know how frustrating it can be when the cat decides to not use the box. Any messes you clean up should also be sprayed with an enzyme product that's made to eliminate the odor. Once a cat starts going in a certain spot, they're apt to come back if they can still smell the spot from an earlier elimination.

    Best of luck!
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits...

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    for the litter box problem..like catnip said....you have to use an enzyme..pet cleaner..that will get his urine smell out of the area...also...i'd cover up that area with something....maybe move the basket..and put something else there..also...when u clean up his mess...dab it up with a paper towel..then put the paper towel in his litter box....put him in the box so he can smell his pee-poop....just keep cleaning up his messes VERY good,,and put his urine-poop smell in his box..they usually catch on very quickly...unless he is sick?..was there any blood in his urine?..do u see him straining to go to pee?..if so..he needs to go to vet a.s.a.p....as for the scratching of the furniture....*sigh*...i wish i could help you there!....i have had the same problem:barnie...i just get mine de-clawed..when they go in to be neutered or spayed..but dont get him de-clawed if you are going to let him outside...or if you are ever going to give him away...best wishes..Wendy
  4. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Lots of questions...

    What sort of scratching post is it? Does it have just one kind of surface or multiple surfaces (carpet, rope, wood)? When he scratches inappropriately, how do you show him to go to the scratching post? Do you rub catnip or treats on the scratching post?

    Have you changed litter recently? Gotten the automated boxes instead of the old fashioned kind? Are you scooping daily, twice a day? Moved the litterbox? Agree with catnip, you should have him checked over by the vet--refusing a litterbox post-litter training is often a sign of urinary or gastrointestinal illness. He could have cystitis or IBD and associates the box with pain. Is he neutered yet? He could be spraying his territory.

    Do you have other cats? Do the dogs stand between him and the litterbox? One of mine poops in the bedroom if he doesn't feel like sneaking past the dog all ninja-style. If that's the case, can you relocate the litterbox so the dogs can't get between it and him?

    How big are these dogs compared to him? It could be that he gets along great with, say, a Chihuahua, but feels intimidated by a bigger dog. It does sound like he feels threatened by the dogs; he may just not be sure where he stands in the Human-Pet hierarchy, and needs to beat up on the dogs in order to get a sense of his place in the world. If you have multiple cats, when introducing a new cat, they usually have a big hissy fight or three, just to establish hierarchy, similar to chicken pecking order. In which case he will settle down in time.
  5. happyhen

    happyhen Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Northeastern Ohio
    Just a suggestion......

    most pet stores (and vets) have a pheromone (plug in or spray) that tends to relax cats and helps prevent "bad" behavior. They have them for dogs too.

    I suggest calling your vet and maybe trying one of these products. Good luck!
  6. cyanne

    cyanne Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    I had the furniture-scratching problem with mine, and I solved it by buying some double-sided sticky tape strips at Petsmart. You stick them on the areas where the cat likes to scratch...since they are clear they don't look *too* terrible. The cats HATE it when they try to scratch and their paws hit the sticky surface.

    For curing them of climbing on stuff, go out and buy some small mouse traps and some plastic disposable dinner plates. Set the traps and then place the plate upside-down on top to hide it. Scatter these booby-traps around the areas where they are climbing (kitchen counters for example). When the cat bumps them it sets off the trap, which makes a loud "SMACK!" sound as sends the plate flying straight up. It only takes once or twice for the cat to decide that the counter is a scary place to be and they'd rather avoid it. Also, don't leave ANY food out on counters because it's like a reward for them exploring up there.

    As for going outside of the litter box, make sure to rule out illness first. Also make sure there are enough litterboxes in accessible places where the cat doesn't feel threatened when he goes.

    After that, the key is restricting the cat to a small room (like a bathroom) with the litterbox and it's food and water. Keep it in there for a week or two until it's eliminating consistently in the box. Then you can start expanding the area that it's allowed into. While he's on solitary confinement, clean up all the areas where he went to the bathroom with a good enzyme cleaner. Probably a good idea to put anything that even remotely resembles a litterbox (like a clothes basket for instance) out of his reach.

    Be patient, but if all else fails, maybe he could just be a barn cat.
  7. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    I dont have much to ad on the litter box issue. I know that my cat Everette must have a clean box or he raises heck! but you already said yours was clean. One reason might be a bladder infection, that will cause a cat to not use the box. Also having the box in a low traffic area is good, they live privacy

    As for the scratching, this is absolutely the pest product made. My two love it, it keeps them entertained and they dont tear up my furniture. it can be purchased at wal-mart and the replacement cardboard is cheap.


    The attacking the dogs, could be boredom.
  8. jnjross

    jnjross Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    maybe he should be an indoor/outdoor cat, he's bored, he's got cabin fever, it sounds like he been an in/out cat before?
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    A lot of great suggestions above. I tried to answer when you first posted and right then and there my mouse died! Computer mouse that is. Just got back from shopping for a new one.

    Anyhow, if you'd like to speak to an animal behaviorist for free, check out www.thepetshow.com and you can call Warren Eckstein Saturday afternoons 4-6 p.m. EST. He's fabulous and often addresses situations like yours. Warren may ask if you can think of anything at all that changed in the kitty's environment just before this behavior began. Something happened, either with his health or there was an incident or changes within the household. Not sure which but the vet can help rule out health. Was there affection between the cat and you/husband before the cat's behavior changed? Do you know anything about the cat's history?

    One of my rescues at first was on good behavior because she was unsure of her new surroundings but once she settled in her issues came out. There were many. I loved her through them - it took a few years, but she's a dollface now.
  10. PitterPaws

    PitterPaws Songster

    Nov 29, 2007
    I would suggest moving the litter box to a new area maybe he is nervous there, put one where he is going now outside the litter box. maybe consider having two litter boxes maybe he starts playing and forgets he has to go until the last minute.
    Get a bigger scratching post place out in the open where he can get to it easily maybe by a window.
    I think maybe they gave you a cat that doesn't like/trust dogs. work with him maybe give him treats when the dogs are around.
    They have a spray scat cat or similar that you spray on the spots he is scratching and it should keep him away from it. rub Catnip all over his scratching post this should get him to use that instead of your furniture.
    Good Luck hope all goes well, if not, turn him in for another cat who likes dogs!

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