Need Advice Re My New Cat

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  1. quotations profile image93
    quotationsposted 8 years ago


    I could really appreciate it if my fellow hubbers could give me advice on how to deal with some unwanted cat behaviors.

    A few days ago I took in a stray cat, I think it is mainly a Persian, that was living under the wood shed in my backyard. It was in pretty bad shape. I would like to keep it as a pet, but it does things that are annoying:

    1. During the day it follows me everywhere through the house and has to be with me constantly. This was cute at first but it really is crowding me. I can put up with it during the day but at night, it will not go to sleep and will try to get into our bedroom. It scratches at the door and meows constantly. I have had to get up at 3am and put it in an outside building during the night so I could get some sleep, but it is getting cold here and this will not be an option in about a month

    2. It is scratching the heck out of my couch. I have bought it a scratch post which I even sprayed with catnip extract hoping that it would like it, but she ignores it.

    Any ideas how to put a stop to this, or I may have to take it to the humane society


    1. JillKostow profile image88
      JillKostowposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I took in a male stray cat 2 years ago and he drives me crazy still to this day.

      Did you consider a different type of scratching post, some catch like vertical posts and some like the horizontal ones that lay on the floor.  Maybe that is why your cat didn't like the one you bought.

      As for the following you around the house, it may just take time for that behavior to stop.  We were allowing our cat to come into our room.  Over the past few months he took over the bottom of my fiance's side of the bed and also started scrathing his feet everytime he moved.  To stop this we take a spray bottle to bed and if he starts scratching my fiance's feet all he has to do is show him the water bottle, he don't have to spray it, and the cat goes somewhere else to sleep.

      My biggest problem is my cat is constantly trying to sneak outside when someone comes in or out the house.  Especially guests because he knows they are not watching for him.

      You may want to try hiding cat snack through out the house where your cat is able to be during the night.  This may keep him occupied for awhile searching for snacks. 

      Worse comes to worse try a cat crate for over night. We did this with our cat for 1 week when we brought him in. I know it sounds cruel but after a few nights he was less distructive and annoying in the overnight hours.  Hope this helps.

    2. mythbuster profile image77
      mythbusterposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The cat might be traumatized and require a few weeks to settle down. Try to watch the cat when it scratches the furniture and take it immediately to the scratching post you purchased. If possible, keep the new post very close to the furniture that usually gets scratched...then transition to something the cat is allowed to and is supposed to scratch on will probably be easier and smoother.

      Not sure about the other behaviors, but the above has worked with my rescue cat.

  2. wilderness profile image97
    wildernessposted 8 years ago

    Consider that you have rescued the cat from probably death - it could be that the response is to want to be with you all the time.  Our current cat, although not rescued, is the same.  It will curl up on the couch next to me, always touching.  He will sleep on my slippers if I won't hold him while at the computer.  He, too, insists on sleeping with us which was a hassle until we trained him to only sleep at the foot of the bed.

    Personally, I think it is a combination of insecurity (cats are normally loners, unlike dogs) coupled with an emotional response to love and kindness.

    Couch scratching - you might try using a squirt gun to squirt the cat whenever he scratches the couch.  Cats, unless declawed, need to scratch but often ignore a scratching post in favor of something else.  You might also try a differently constructed scratching post - it may prefer carpet, or rope or even cloth and their preferences can be hard to change.

  3. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 8 years ago

    You didn't mention if it's a girl or boy cat.  Particularly if it's a boy cat, he may just want to be out right now.  If you haven't done this, you may want to try giving him some "people tuna".  Cats tend to be so satisfied after being given a can of "people tuna" they get calm and go sleep.  Contrary to what so many people believe, a lot of cats do love just be with people.  I guess I'd try giving him the tuna before bed, and maybe putting something like a box that he'd be snuggly in somewhere in the house.  Make sure he has clean water and dry food out, because cats will come looking for you if they need/want anything at all.

    Girls cats like to be with people (but so do boys, although they're less likely to just stay close).  I've had one cat or another most of my life, and I pretty much always have one nearby in the house.  When company comes they come check in with the company too.  I just shut bedroom doors and make sure they don't get in.  I once had two cats that I inherited from my mother.  One had adopted the other as if it were own kitten.  They stayed together for years until the older cat died.  The younger one mourned for ages.  She would come "call for me" at the bedroom door, and I'd have to go out, sit with her for awhile, and then go back to sleep.  It was obvious she was missing her companion/mother, so I just lived with doing that until she stopped. 

    I guess I'd say to just be very kind and keep talking softly and gently and reassuringly to the cat.  Try the tuna thing at night, or else the box thing (or else fold up a towel and put it in a plastic trash bag to make an appealing bed - they love trash-bag beds  smile  ).  As far as the couch goes, they do like to scratch.  If you can't keep her out of the living room completely (or else have in one room/set of rooms when you can't be there to keep an eye on her, and only let her in the living room when you're there); maybe try putting something like a heavy shower curtain under the cushions, so it hangs down over the part of the couch she scratches.  Or else cover the whole couch.  It's kind of pain in the neck, and it can be taking covers off when you want the couch to look regular; but it's something a pet-owner can get used to.  Pets are inconvenient, and they do take some extra work/steps.  It just becomes part of your "system of doing things" after awhile, though.

    I wonder, though, if there's the chance the cat really does belong somewhere and wants to go home.  That would explain why he keeps going to you and wanting your attention.  He may just want you to let him out.  It's impossible to know that, of course, but it would awful to bring him "somewhere" if he has people who are hearbroken that he's missing.   hmm  Tom cats will go out for "ages" at times (if they're not neutered and if they're allowed out).  They go out "looking" and get themselves beat up (sometimes) or looking like "giant messes" in their travels.  Then, eventually, they'll go home.  A beloved male cat can get himself looking like a mangy stray, and find himself a place to hang out for quite awhile, before going home, grooming himself, healing, and resuming his life (before heading out again some other time).

    1. quotations profile image93
      quotationsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The cat is a girl. I did consider whether it belonged to someone, but it seemed to be in my backyard night and day, probably hunting the birds that I feed. What convinced me that it was homeless was its emaciated condition and the fact that it was outside even when we had a week of heavy rains. In fact one night I found it cowering in my wood shed. It was raining very hard, and she got scared when she saw me and ran out into the rain and spent the night soaking wet under my deck. The cat is actually filthy and has lots o matted fur knots. I have not given it a bath yet, because I am not sure if it will claw me to pieces; but I have an appointment with a pet groomer in a few days (better the groomer than me!)

      After that I started trying to befriend it. It took a while. She was not used to humans being nice to her. I started giving her food every morning and at first she wouldnt come near me and I just had to leave food out for her. Eventually she started trusting me more, and would eat while I watched. After several days she let me pet her. She would be out in the yard waiting to be fed even around 7am each day even though it was below freezing.

      So I don't think that she has a home. It is true however that she wants to go outside, probably to get at the tasty birds in the feeder. The first few nights she actually insisted on going out, so I let her, and then I found her hiding in the woods behind my house and coaxed her back in. The second night this happened she actually came running out of the woods when I called her, and she seemed relieved that I wanted her to stay.

      Since then she has become very affectionate and seems to like me, though a bit too much. Right now she has climbed on my lap as I type and purring, so at least she is not attacking the couch.

      She is fascinated by the computer and the tv and when I type on the computer she likes to jump onto the keyboard and do some of her own typing. If I play a youtube video she looks at it.

      All in all she is a nice cat, and surprisingly interactive, though I hope she can sleep during the night so I can too!

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Mine would watch the mouse arrow on the screen and try to paw it.

        It sounds like you've made a friend.  May you have many happy years together!

  4. quotations profile image93
    quotationsposted 8 years ago

    These are great tips. Thanks

  5. camlo profile image86
    camloposted 8 years ago

    I have a girl cat, Nero, and she doesn't sound very much different to yours.
    Does your cat have her own special place, like a basket where she can sleep and make her own? Mine has adopted a director's chair. If I don't want her to sleep in my bed, she goes there. She also likes to be with me all the time, and is sleeping on my lap right now; but if I put her down, she'll go to her chair.
    If you catch your cat scratching furniture etc., just pick her up and take her to where she is allowed to scratch. Keep doing it until she understands. Mine is allowed to scratch on some book shelves that are made of untreated wood, and cost next to nothing.
    Your cat has been through quite an ordeal, so please be patient with her.

  6. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 8 years ago

    quotations, I hope it works out for her (and you). As I said, I've always had cats (both girls and guys). When family members are around the dining room table, talking (especially when its people who don't live with me), the cats always come out and sit in among the crowd.  I notice they seem to find a place that is equally distant from as many people as possible.  My daughter's cat greats guests, and knows the routine of someone getting ready to leave.  She'll actually kind of go do a chin-rub thing before a guest leaves (like she's saying, "goodbye"). Whatever cat I've had, if I'm on the phone they'll come sit nearby (they like it when people talk in a friendly way).  They'll sit nearby on the floor and stare intently as I talk to them.  After awhile (if you communicate with basic words and mannerisms) they learn your ways.  The cat I had for 15 years until five years ago would do stuff like go to the front door to go out.  I'd say, "Could you use the other door?" and she'd know to run to the back door.  They learn things like waiting until you get their dish filled.  They'll do things like go a few feet away until I say, "feel free" (at which time they'll go ahead and eat).  lol  They're so much more "interactive" and "engaged" than so many people realize; but they need to trust you, feel safe, and have their "person" make some effort to communicate with them (just the basics about what's going on that affects them - no big, deep, conversations  smile ).  Then they get so they like you so much they want to please you, so it gets easier to teach them things like staying off the table, the couch, etc. 

    My daughter has one cat she "rescued" and one she's had since it was a kitten (now 10).  That means they're also with me.  Whether it's them, or any of the "long-term" ones I've had before; they have that same innocent kind of trust when they're close to people that dogs are known to have.

    Something happened with the lock on our bathroom door (not much of a lock anyway), that made the door easy to push open.  For awhile, my daughter's cat (at this time, like "my" cat) would apparently get sick of not being near me.  I'd be in the shower, and all of a sudden the door would fling wide open!  Sometimes she'd start to follow me in there, so I started to hold up my hand in a "stop" gesture and say, "Don't come in with me" in a firm (but nice) voice.  She eventually learned not to try to follow me into the bathroom (or to fling the door open!).  lol  Sometimes I'll now come out of the bathroom and often find her patiently waiting outside the door.  Progress.   smile   One long-term cat I had would try to wake me up if I'd fallen asleep on the couch, by clawing the "mesh" fireplace screen (which makes noise).  I'd open my eyes and see her, with head completely turned around back, looking to see if she'd gotten me to wake up.  smile  Then she'd stop.  If I didn't open my eyes, she keep at it, more and more and harder and harder, making it noisier and noisier.  lol  She'd be over then, working up a storm at trying to make it louder and louder.  smile She new exactly what she was doing. 

    Some people may think they won't learn with words as "complicated" as "don't come in with me", but they do (especially, I think, if there's hand gesture that kind of reinforces the message).

    Depending on how "committed" the cat is to scratching one piece of furniture or the other, sometimes they can be trained not to go near that piece of furniture.  Making sure their claws are trimmed can help.

    At this point in my history-of-cats life, I'm kind of all catted out.  They can be a pain in the neck (but so can dogs, kids, and whoever/whatever else, I guess).  I do always kind of wish, though, that a lot of people could know how attached, close, well behaved, and funny cats can be.  Too many people don't give them a chance to "reach their potential" (so to speak), because they don't know how to encourage that in them.  Too many cats miss out on having that kind of "close friend" because of it. 

    I've written this, not so much to try to tell you anything (you and a lot of other people probably already know, the same way I do).  I guess I thought it might be worth posting for anyone who doesn't already realize how much cats thrive on being close to their "person" or "people" and how "smart" they are.  (And nobody has to let them sleep in the bedroom with them in order for that to happen, either.   smile  )

  7. CASE1WORKER profile image68
    CASE1WORKERposted 8 years ago

    she sounds lovely and once she has her hair done she will feel better and look better too!

    I agree with the suggestion to cover your couch. My uncle used to work in the wall paper industry and he said that they and the furniture industry use lots of different glues and some of them are so attractive to cats! You can always fold the cover up when you are with her or have guests.

    Please persevere as I think that you will both be happy together. When we rehomed our two the youngest bagera came and kissed each of us in turn ( even our old dog) he really wanted the home.

    Also check with the vet- she may need some shots or she may have a tracker implanted in her which will lead to her owners- she may like to have her hair groomed or may be not- you will have to see
    good luck and have fun with her

  8. caninecrtitics profile image62
    caninecrtiticsposted 8 years ago

    Try letting the cat in the bedroom with you you'd be surprised how fast she will calm down.  The following you could be many things.  The scratching of furniture the scratching post are great and great job with the spray but it may be time for the roll on sticky paper for cats. or even a no scratch spray.


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