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Welcome Crazy Cat People
It can be soul-destroying to adopt a little fur baby and to then discover that they are scratching all your furniture, chewing things they shouldn’t be or peeing on your carpets and curtains.
This behaviour can cause stress and tension for you and your cat and you could see your home destroyed.
There is always a reason for naughty cat behaviour and luckily there are solutions, so let’s get into this and let me use my knowledge and research to answer some of your questions.
Cats may destroy your home due to boredom, nutritional deficiencies or other health-related problems. It is always advisable to seek veterinary advice but we can alleviate destructive behaviour by providing a variety of toys, scratching posts and passive stimulation such as a window to look out of.
Below we look at no only the reason why cats can be destructive but also what you can do to rectify this behaviour.
If you follow the handy tips below then you will eventually restore peace and tranquillity within the home and save your $500 couch from destruction.
What causes cats to be destructive?
Often when your cat is being destructive it can be very frustrating to not know why and if you don’t know much about cat behaviour and how to deal with it then it can wreak havoc on your sanity and mental health!
You can start to blame yourself or even worse start to resent your cat and when you have invested so much time, love and care in your cat this is the last thing you want!
There are always reasons why your cat is acting the way they are and luckily a lot of these behaviours can be rectified!
One of the biggest reasons I see over and over again is that your cat may just be bored!
For an indoor cat, regular playtime is so important and your indoor cat needs an environment that excites them and stimulates their natural hunting instincts. In the wild cats are strong keen hunters and according to icarecat, org the average outdoor cat spends 3 hours a day hunting and feral cats may spend up to 12 hours!
Your cat may be looking for something to keep them busy and occupied and they may just have a large amount of play energy that needs to be used up, if they were an outdoor cat some of that energy would have been used up chasing mice and rats outdoors!
An anxious, scared cat may also engage in destructive behaviours around the home.
So we need to ask ourselves –
”Have I made any recent changes in the cats routine or environment”?
Changes in routine can really stress cats out and sometimes these changes are unavoidable but as we will discover later there are solutions and things we can do to make changes to routine a lot easier for your kitty!
Your cat could have a wide range of health problems that can range anywhere from nutritional deficiencies to even worse brain disease! So it is always advisable to seek out veterinary advice if there is a sudden change in behaviour before taking any of the actions below.
I’ll leave the health issues part to the experts at PetMD, you can read their article here that goes into detail about some of the health conditions that may cause your cat to engage in destructive behaviour.
Some of the other reasons cats may engage in unwanted behaviour could be
- The need for a companion / loneliness
- Not enough daily exercise
- Not enough scratching areas or posts
What household items can cats destroy?
There are numerous items your cat may try to destroy in the home such as –
- Plants being chewed
- Chewing plastic
- Scratching or chewing rugs and tables
- Chewing shoes
- Spraying or marking items within the home such as curtains or even your bed
- Sucking on items within the home (Can be an indicator of being taken from the mother too early)
When it comes to chewing plants you really do have to be careful as some household plants may be poisonous for your cat.
Please familiarise yourself with which plants could harm your cat by taking a look at this complete guide by chewy.com.
How do I stop my cat destroying things?
There are numerous actions we can take to stop cats from destroying the home such as investing in a wide range of toys, having enough scratching posts available, spending enough time with your pet, using Feliway diffusers and using up your cats ”play energy” daily. Also, seek advice from a qualified vet.
As already stated it is always a good idea to see a vet and make sure there are no health problems but what if you have seen your vet and your cat is in good health!
Well, that’s one good thing and it means that your cat’s behaviour can be helped by the actions you take at home!
Have plenty of toys in the home
The first thing I would do is make sure your cat or cats have plenty of toys within the home to keep them occupied. Your cat is probably living in your home or apartment, you have a busy schedule like most people and cannot spend as much time with them as you would like.
So having toys and stimulation for them is super important while you are out of the house.
Learn to know your cats and find out what they like and what they don’t like, not all cats respond well to all toys!
Out of my two cats, Lenny loves the fishing rod style teaser toys (as you will see below) whereas Isis is too much of a lady and doesn’t really enjoy them, she much prefers the laser pens and toys!
I just had to inject a little bit of cuteness into this post! – I hope you like my little Lenny 🙂
High energy play is super important for cats and it’s a good idea to build this into their routine and play with your cat at least two times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.
They need to feel like they are stalking and hunting their prey so use toys that are interactive between you and your cat. They are not stupid they know it’s you who is holding the toy and this will not only use up some of that pent up play energy but will also help to strengthen the bond between you both.
Jackson Galaxy refers to catifying your home!
This not only means making your home safe for your cats but it also means making your home a fun place for your cat!
Leave toys out on a rotational basis so they do not get bored of the same toys every day, give them variety for when you are out of the home.
So one day could be all about catnip toys and the next day could be about automated toys that have a set timer to come on every two hours or so!
Use your creative juices and imagination, there are so many cat toys out there to choose from!
It is a good idea to set up a dedicated play station in the home, so this could be an area of the home that is dedicated to a large number of cat toys but please make sure this is away from any areas where your cat may have previously caused any destruction! This will give them their own space (which cats love)
If you find your cat is not responding to their toys then a very good tip is to sprinkle some catnip on the toys which if your cat is a catnip responder will instantly make them want to play with the toy! To find out more about the magic of catnip and how much to use, read my super helpful blog post here!
You may find that by introducing a play schedule and providing opportunities to play regularly that your cat responds well to this and doesn’t have as much energy to destroy your home!
This could be just the solution you were looking for!
One last thing, make sure they have passive stimulation while you are out of the home! What I mean by this is providing windows for them to look out of, secure fish tanks for them to watch and other stimulating activities.
Cats don’t always need to physically hunt to keep them occupied, they can hunt all day in their minds!
For lots more tips and tricks to keep your cat occupied throughout the day see my blog post with 13 helpful tips and tricks to keep your cat busy, occupied and happy!
Provide scratching posts
If your cat is scratching furniture and you do not have enough scratching posts then you NEED to get at least two maybe three posts because cats need to scratch, this natural instinctive behaviour is a way of marking territory and also keeping their nails sharp!
I would much rather they scratch a post than scratch my sofa and my bed!
To stop them scratching an item of furniture you have numerous options you can try!
- Place the scratching post in front of the item they are scratching until they learn to associate the post as their scratching area and always reward them with a treat when they scratch the correct places.
- Cats hate double-sided tape or tinfoil, they just don’t like the feel, so place either of these on the item that is being scratched so they associate this area with the offending item.
- Spray the area with citrus oil or spray! I guarantee your cats will not go anywhere near! They hate the smell.
If you have an anxious cat
Some cats are prone to anxiety and fear and maybe destructive because of this reason.
One of the biggest causes of stress in cats is a change of routine so please make sure that routine changes are done slowly and try to stick to a regular feeding schedule and playtime, cats are very routine-based animals!
New surroundings and changes can influence their mood massively so bear this in mind!
Pheromone diffusers are super helpful to calm your cat down as well as some of the holistic herbal treatments out there that can really help to relaxed a stressed cat.
With an anxious cat, it’s important to be very patient and not yell or scream at them all the time if they misbehave, this will only encourage more stressful responses and more ruined furniture and as always reward good behaviour!
Get a companion for your cat
Some breeds of cats rely on companionship and can get very lonely, stressed and even depressed if left alone for too long. Imagine how you would feel at home alone with no stimulation for 8 hours a day?
So it can be helpful to get another cat or even a dog, if you do introduce a new pet to the home then make sure the introduction is slow, first Impressions count with cats so make sure you introduce by smell first and then visually over the space of a week or two.
Jackosn galaxy has a super helpful post on how to introduce another cat into an already established home!
Please make sure to take into account the cost of owning a cat before making this decision. Adopting another cat may just be the solution you need to stop destructive behaviour!
Other helpful tips
Spend time grooming your cat as this can help to calm them, keep cat hairs down and build a bond between you both!
Make sure also that the litter tray is always clean, a unclean litter tray can be a source of stress for a kitty and let’s face it, the smell can be awful!
The last tip is to have food puzzles, these are great for your cat for not only keeping them stimulated but also for making them work for their reward! They come in all shapes and sizes but if you don’t have food puzzles then why not try hiding treats around the home that your cat will sniff out when you are away?
With plants, you could place tinfoil in the soil to prevent digging and you could even spray the leaves of the plant with citrus oil, one taste of the plant and they will never go back, trust me!
How to stop my cat from spraying in the home?
This can be one of the worse destructive behaviours, the smell of cat urine can be so hard to get rid of!
You can spend your day scrubbing the carpets and areas and it can still smell really bad!
Neutered/spayed cats will tend to engage in this behaviour a lot less than fertile cats, they are marking their territory along with your furniture. This may also be an indicator of stress so the above tips could help reduce this.
To remove the smell of pee from your furniture I recommend the below product which gets rid of smells really fast! It’s one of the best products out there.Live Pee Free! Odor Eliminator 100% Eliminates Pet Odor on Contact. 20% Off. No Enzymes, No Fragrance, No Detergent, No Bleach – Safe for Kids and Pets.
You can also place some dry cat food in the area so the cat associates the area with food rather than an area to spray. Again a calming pheromone diffuser can be really helpful when a cat is spraying too!
Make sure you go to the vets, this is so important to rule out any health problems!
A good video by Jackson Galaxy on Youtube is worth a watch to find out more about why your cat may be spraying!
Key takeways – My cat is detroying my home
- Keep them occupied with lots of toys
- Reward good behaviour ALWAYS!
- Be patient with your cats
- Don’t get angry with them because if they are stressed they may engage in more destructive behaviours
- Passive stimulation matters
- Make use of pheromone plugins
- Consider adopting another cat
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)