Cat Problems - need advice

Ok, we found a little kitty outside one of our windows at 3AM a couple months ago and took him in. Turns out our neighbor has been getting lots of cats on their property and gathered them up, intending to take them to a shelter. So we named the kitty Dreams Of A Cheetah (I screwed up my user name when I picked it) :smiley:, took him to a vet and got him checked out. He passed the tests and is fine.

He is very, very active, and loves to run around the house and climb on top of anything he can reach. He’s a nocturnal animal, and sleeps a good bit of the day. When he is awake, he is very affectionate MOST of the time. He rubs up against us, frequently kisses us (wife and I are very affectionate and he picked that up), and most of the time is heart meltingly cute and adorable.

However, SOMETIMES he is the Cat From Hell, and gets scratchy and bitey. He likes to climb up curtains and our legs with claws fully extended. My wife and I both have little scars all over our legs and forearms from him, and there have been a few times when he’s scratched/bitten us in the face. I have had eye surgery recently (looooong story) and can see without glasses for the first time since 1st grade. I am seriously worried that he’s going to scratch my eyes out. We don’t know what to do about this.

Should also mention that we have another, older female cat. She is very quiet, non-scratchy, non-bitey, but every time Cheetah sees her he runs straight toward her and she swipes at him. We have been trying to keep them separate, by keeping one cat in his/her room for a while, then switching them out every so often. We are taking Dreams Of A Cheetah to a vet in a couple weeks to get neuterized, and we’re hoping it will calm him down a bit,

So here’s my questions:
5 month old male cat, 16 year old female cat, is there any chance they can get along? Getting rid of either is not an option. Keeping them apart is difficult.
Is there anything we can do to stop Cheetah from climbing up curtains/pants, and biting scratching us? A long time ago when my dad’s GF had a cat, my dad kept a spray bottle filled with water and sprayed it on the cat when it was doing something he didn’t like. My wife hates that idea and says it will make the kitty afraid of water. I mentioned having his front claws removed, but my wife does not like that either. What, if anything, can we do? Like I said, he is very loving and sweet most of the time and we’d like to make that all of the time.

You should play — a lot — with the cat with appropriate toys like pieces of rope, mouse-on-a-string, these things, etc., that the cat can sink his teeth and claws into. Also a climbing/scratching post if there are no trees indoors.

Don’t use your fingers, and if the kitten plays too aggressively and tries to bite your face or climb on you, just don’t play along, say “No,” gently put the kitten on the floor and ignore him for a few minutes. He will eventually get the message, same as from the older female cat. Absolutely do not spray water on or frighten the kitten who just wants to play. (Or consider messing with the kitten’s claws; such surgery is probably illegal and certainly unethical except for medical reasons.)

With any luck, the little kitty will grow out climbing people like ours did.

If you don’t have one already, you should invest in a preassembled solid wood cat tree, like these:

Trees that require assembly are typically thick cardboard tubes with plastic end caps; the end caps will eventually fail and can hurt kitty if kitty is on the thing at the point of failure.

Thank you for the quick response!
BTW, Dreams Of A Cheetah was watching me start this thread, and started trying to “catch” my mouse pointer. :laughing:
We do have plenty of toys for him to play with, and we’ve been trying to get him to focus on that when he’s in “play mode”. He does get into psycho mode sometimes where he just gets aggressive and there doesn’t seem to be anything that will calm him down. My wife said she has been putting him in the bathroom when he gets like this.
After me sharing your thoughts on just gently putting him down and saying “no”, I did point out to my wife that she sometimes tries to keep playing with him. She said she’ll try to do what you said.
We are looking into getting a scratching post ASAP. Thank you both for your replies!

Feliway sometimes works, give it a try,

Try hissing at him when he misbehaves. He’s more likely to understand that than the word “no.”

He sounds like a typically rambunctious kitten to me. When my Mercedes had kittens, I went out and replaced the curtains in the cat room with a very cheap pair. A good thing, because they climbed them until the weight of five growning kittens tore the curtain rod right out of the wall. Those “clearance” curtains were a great investment and suvived the kittehs exactly as long as they needed to.

You can get “multi cat” Feliway to ease the stress your senior cat is feeling but also be sure to give her lots of love so she doesn’t feel supplanted by DOAC’s cute ramblings. DOAC needs lots of interactive activity though to lure him away from doing naughty things. He’s just a kitten, he doesn’t understand naughty yet.

BTW, my Lon got even with the spray bottle by biting it’s head off. Prior to that, he kept toppling it when I wasn’t around. He did learn to use the cat tower as a scratching post but I still yell occasionally when he digs in on the furniture. He’s about to turn age 2.

I did remove one kitten’s claws and the vet didn’t argue against it because I had already done so. I had two cats recovering from a very abused life. It was pretty obvious that their previous situation was awful, based on their behavior. They did not have claws. New, rambunctious kitteh did and he was doing great damage to the psyches of the recovering pair. So, after observation and several discussions, I had the kitten’s front claws removed so he could not terrorize the other pair. They did settle in well together after about 6 months, but the age difference was only 4 years, not 16. I don’t think claw removal is called for in your case. He’s just being a kitten, and will grow out of that stage.

I have had very disparate pairs grow into amiable, co-existing roomies. Time will help.

Agree with everything. No water spray. Do try Feliway. Give older kitty a safe place and lots of attention. Neuter ASAP. The vet will probably have good, really specific advice as well.

Be forewarned, if I find out you’ve declawed him, I’ll come find you and take down your fingers to the first knuckle. [I’m mostly kidding. Mostly]

Sounds like normal kitten behavior, although, if your gut says to be worries, video some of it with your phone, and send it to your vet; ask whether the vet thinks it’s normal. Be prepared to estimate how much time the cat behaves this way as opposed to behaving “normally.”

I had a kitten I acquired at the age of three months who behaved this way until she was about 7 months, and then mellowed considerably. She lived to be 17, and was extremely laid back her whole adult life-- very sweet and affectionate, a great lap cat, but good at playing with the other cats.

He may never play with the 16-yr-old, but they will probably make peace. I have had as many as 7 cats at once, as a result of living in an area where cats got dumped, and they ranged in age from 14 yrs to 8 mths. They all got along, albeit, the oldest and youngest pretty much ignored each other.

To avoid conflicts escalating, you might try having separate food bowls for them (which you may do anyway, if they have different kinds of food), two different litter boxes, and trimming their claws, so if one does whack the other, there won’t be any damage. Might not be a bad idea in regard to your eye surgery as well. Just get some human nail clippers, and snip a couple of mms off the end of each front toe. I have always done this to my cats. You are keeping them indoors, right? Even if you aren’t, they can still climb trees with the points snipped off their claws, and they don’t need to hunt for food. If they NEED their claw points for self-defense, they probably should be indoor cats.

Is the kitten fixed yet? His aggressive behavior will calm down a lot when he is fixed, unless you wait too long. Once those behaviors become deeply ingrained, fixing him won’t make much difference. You need to fix him while those behaviors are still hormone- not habit-based.

He’s a kitten!!! Of course he likes to climb. Enjoy it while it lasts…another couple months probably.
My “kitten” is now 14 years old, so I have fond memories of those days.

And you can trim his [claws] toenails, just like you do your own.
I do this for my cat every week or two. Just use a regular fingernail clipper,the same one you use for yourself. Hold the kitty’s paw firmly, press a little so he extends his fingernails, and clip the pointy bit off.
It’s not as hard as it sounds, and it really ,really makes a difference. He’ll still climb your legs…but you get all the cuteness without the pain

Do not, DO Not, DO NOT declaw! Except in the most dire circumstances it’s unnecessary and cruel.

I’m ok with a water spritz IF you can do it consistently and when he doesn’t know it’s coming from you. It needs to be a bolt from the blue.

What you can do is get your vet to trim his claws and show you how to do it. Once they’re used to it it’s really easy, and it makes cat-play much more comfortable. It’s also beneficial to your furniture :stuck_out_tongue: You need to handle his feet a lot, get him used to it. No big deal, just sometimes when he’s quiet and sleepy run your hands down his legs to his paws, hold gently, and ad he gets used to it start pressing on his feet to expose his claws.

I’d also suggest messing with his mouth (opening it, touch his tongue, hold head and jaw, etc … ) and get him used to putting up with that. Again, it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out thing, just a second or two at a time and then give a treat or skritch him somewhere that he likes. You’re going to have to give him meds at some point in his life and the whole thing is a lot less traumatic for all if he’s used to having his face and mouth handled.

Get a water bottle.

I’m a little pissed. I was only able to use mine twice before kitty caught on and would bail as soon as he heard me pick up the water bottle.

When kittens in a litter are tussling, you’ll occasionally hear someone squeal in pain or rage - this is how the little buggers learn that they’ve gone too far.

When Dreams starts to get rough, make an “ow,ow,ow” noise loud and high-pitched. Do it every time you’re being hurt, be consistent and withdraw the offended body part after the second or third time.

Probably will help if the new guy is really young - I tried to introduce a year old male to my fifteen year old female - she needed stitches and I found him a new home. I suspect that he wasn’t properly socialized when he was a baby, removed from the litter too soon.

My present two are twin brothers who were orphaned at about four weeks, in any case too young for the vet to even guess their sex; I had to bottle-feed them. The squealing, on my part, worked perfectly. And on occasion, eleven years later, one will get carried away and play too rough, and the squeal, not so loud, still works fine.

Dan

Agreeing with pretty much everyone else here: you have a kitten. Kittens behave like that. Some of them keep behaving like that for years, though the degree of energy will gradually wear down some.

Agreeing strongly with: get him neutered; do NOT get him declawed, but trimming his claws may be helpful – they make tools specifically for the purpose, be very careful to cut just the tip, not into the quick; give him things he can climb and can scratch; play with him a whole lot, trying to wear him out as much as possible; give the older cat a lot of patting, and make sure she can get away from him some of the time. Feed them with separate dishes, and if he steals her food feed them separately.

Disagreeing with some about the water spray. I keep a water pistol to discourage cats from getting on the counters; I’ve never had a cat get seriously upset about it, and it works on most of them. They definitely know I’m the one doing it; they’ll look over to see whether I’m reaching for it. – If your kitten does seem seriously upset by it, then of course quit using that method – cats vary. A few will entirely ignore sprays of water. If he runs off, whether or not swearing in the process, but approaches you easily a few minutes later, then he’s not seriously upset. (Don’t drench a cat that’s outside in cold weather, of course. But you’re describing an indoor cat.)

Shrieking if he scratches you may be useful.

Anything you do to stop him from misbehavior must be done while he’s actually misbehaving. He’s going to think you’re reacting to whatever he’s doing at the moment, not to whatever he might have been doing two minutes earlier.
If the older cat is spending all her time hiding from the kitten, then things are getting out of hand; especially if that goes on for more than a day or two. (It doesn’t sound like the reverse is a problem, in this case.) If she swears at him and/or swats him some of the time, this is entirely normal, even if occasionally a bit of blood is drawn; let the two of them work it out. They almost certainly will work it out; they may become close friends, or may only reach a stage of distant toleration with an occasional remaining hiss-and-swat. Just as with people, some cats like each other, some particular combinations don’t. But don’t be in a hurry to conclude they won’t be friends – it may happen gradually over months or even years.

I would like to thank everyone for the helpful advice. We have been calmly but firmly saying “noooo…” when he does something he shouldn’t, and my wife has stopped playing with him and done the same when he scratches her. So he’s getting a gentle but consistent message not to claw us, and Cheetah’s clawing and biting have not completely stopped but have been significantly reduced.
This is a bit hard to tell because he was always very affectionate, but we think he is even more affectionate and loving now. I think he was interpreting our yelling at him as “why are you yelling at me? I was just playing!”, and he got upset about it.
He is going to the vet for his neutering the 26th (the Monday after this one coming up). We have some nice new treats and are planning on giving him even more affection while he’s healing. BTW how long is that healing going to take and how long will he be hurting? As a guy, I am kind of cringing at the idea of cutting his you-know-what off. We have talked about this and we don’t feel a water sprayer is necessary. My wife pointed out that he does get immensely curious about running water when he’s in the bathroom (he tries to put his paw down the sink - where DOES that water go?, and it is soooo funny). So we don’t want to make him afraid of water.

My wife said she had some type of cat repellent spray a long time ago, and is wondering if we should look into that now. He does climb up the curtains, and up onto the kitchen table a lot and she’d like to stop him from doing that. Any thoughts? She’s also a little concerned about the kitchen counter and is worried he might try to jump onto a hot stove and get seriously hurt.

I tried to post some cute pics of Dreams of a Cheetah on here, but SD won’t allow photos. Any way I can get them on here? I don’t have a photo site, and don’t know what a good free one would be.

Dreams of a Cheetah is a wonderful name!

Cats dislike sticky surfaces like double-sided tape, so you can use that as a deterrent for the kitchen counter. Aluminum foil works well, too, as they don’t like the noise it makes when walked upon.

The last time I had a kitten neutered, I had two littermates spayed and neutered at the same time. I shut them up together to keep the other cats from bugging them – and as soon as the anaesthetics wore off they were playing with each other, including bouncing on and off the beds, with no sign of distress.

If it’s not necessary, then I wouldn’t bother with it. But I doubt it would make him afraid of water in general. Cats who I’ve more-or-less trained with the aid of a water pistol seem just as interested in the water in the sink.

Humans who don’t like being caught out in the rain usually still like taking showers and swimming. It’s not just that it’s water, it’s the circumstances.

With the neutering what will bug him most is the itchiness of healing. They’ll probably give him a shot of painkiller before he goes home, and by the time that wears off he won’t be bothered at all.

My sister had a cat who thought nothing of jumping into a draining bathtub and walking from one end to another. Water bottles were useless on him.