Adventures in Kitty Parenting

by Elizabeth on August 10, 2011 · 7 comments

in Adventures, my cat is better than your cat

You all know my cat, Caty.  Whose favorite activities include asking for belly rubs…

playing on the stairs,

running around chasing and fetching these little mice,

and peeking through the window, desperate to go outside.

But did you know that she is also one of the most annoying cats on the planet?

We have very big issues that include:

  • Scratching the stairs (which may have been remedied by the purchase of a scratching post.  It’s still in the experimental stages).
  • Shredding, and then playing in, all the toilet paper that’s not carefully hidden in the house.
  • Scratching, pawing, and crying at all closed doors.
  • Meowing (sometimes even howling) at odd times during the day, mostly in the evenings, and always when someone is over visiting or when I’m on the phone.
  • Incessant licking of my hands, arms, and face when I’m in bed at night and in the mornings.

I clearly need some help here.  We’ve had problems in the past (including the repeated dumping over of the water bowl every day) that were solved fairly easily, so I’m hoping to fix these easily and without much stress (on both mine and Caty’s part).

I think I stopped her from scratching the stairs by buying a nice scratching post, but like I said, it hasn’t been very long so I don’t know if it’s been 100% successful.

The toilet paper is the most annoying.  I literally hide all the toilet paper all day, every day because she’s taken to pulling it all off the roll and then happily playing in it while I’m at work.  She did this to the guest bathroom roll and I only figured it out when I started finding bits of TP all over the upstairs landing.

A friend suggested putting a cup of water on the roll so that when she goes to pull on it, she gets an unwelcome surprise.  I’m tired of hiding all the TP in the house, so I need a better solution.  Has anyone tried this?  Did it work?

The other bad habit is the meowing.  It’s truly awful.  Half the time it sounds like she’s in pain.  I know it’s a plea for attention because she mostly does it when I’m otherwise occupied.  It’s not like she spends all night pressed up against me (often times she goes off and does her own thing…like attack unsuspecting toilet paper rolls), and I assume that she wants to play and spend time with me without anyone else around.  But I’m not going to put down the phone or stop having friends and family over just because of my cat.  I’ve tried ignoring her, but that only seems to make it worse.

And then there’s the licking.  It’s not constant, just when I’m settling in for the night and when I’m waking up.  She will lick any part of me she can get her tongue on and frankly, it’s a bit painful after a few seconds.  The cat has a super rough tongue!  I’ve done some research and everyone says it’s either a nutritional imbalance, a behavioral issue, or for attention.  I’m leaning towards the attention thing (see above with the meowing), but I wanted to get some other opinions.

Clearly my sweet kitty and I have issues.  Anyone have any advice for us?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reese August 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

Your cat is sooooo pretty. I love her orange spots!

I have experience with much of the above from my two beasts… but I’m not sure how helpful my advice would be!

1) Cat nip on the scratching post to draw her to it. Sprinkle baking soda and chili powder on the stairs (not at same time), then vacuum it up. That should help to neutralize her scent, and make her avoid the area (unless your cat LIKES spicy foods…).
2) Close the doors to the bathroom? Cup of water seems like a smart idea. I haven’t had this problem at all though… Maybe spray her with a water bottle when you see her do it?
3) Does she cry in front of closet doors too? I’m puzzled on this one. What if you put a box in front of a few doors she cries at to see how that stalls her?
4) Bob meows. Randomly. And it’s like a low howl. When I ask him what’s wrong, he stops and wonders over. So it makes me believe it’s purely attention-seeking. Have you thought about getting another cat? Has Caty ever been socialized with another? (if not..then you might have OTHER far worse problems…like spraying).
5) I can’t stand the licking. My grandparents have a dog that does it. It irritates me. They don’t seem to care. I put the dog on the floor each time it does that, or walk away and ignore it. You could always spray perfume on your arms, or rub lotion on the parts she licks. Then she’d taste something foul and hopefully go away (I wouldn’t suggest rubbing chili powder into your arms though… just sayin).



2 Elizabeth August 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

1. This is excellent advice. I will try this asap.
2. I do close the door to the bathrooms; hence the meowing. She likes free range of the house I think. I tried the water bottle thing, but I don’t always catch her because she’s sneaky like that.
3. If a door is supposed to be closed (like a closet) and she’s used to it, she’s fine. But when I shut the bathroom door or the door to my room, she shows her displeasure.
4. I have thought about another cat and she has been socialized both at the humane society and with my parent’s cat and a friend’s cat. Caty does NOT like other cats. The humane society warned me of that and it’s proving to be very true. I think she could get used to another one over time, but I’m afraid it would really stress her out.
5. I do put on lotion every night before bed but it doesn’t seem to bother her. I’ll try pushing her away more firmly and ignoring her.

Thanks for your advice and for thinking she’s so cute. I’m biased so it’s nice to hear others say it. 🙂


3 Reese August 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

Heh I love the peeking through the window picture. It’s just so gosh darn awesome ;p


4 Cate August 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm

How old is Caty? If she’s fairly young, she may be able to adjust to another cat (preferably a kitten…they’re playful, resilient, and generally don’t have dominance issues since they’re so young) with a lot of patience on your part. If she’s pretty young, she might also grow out of a lot of these behaviors. We have an almost-2-year-old cat who is just now starting to come out of her kitten phase. I think a lot of Caty’s behavior sounds like boredom (the toilet paper shredding)/loneliness (or a perception of it, since she throws a fit when you give other people attention), and generally not knowing how to entertain herself without you. You could maybe try finding some new toys for her (my cats love hard plastic balls, various catnip toys, balls of scrunched up notebook paper, empty spools, etc. Basically stuff they can entertain themselves with without me standing there holding a laser pointer or a toy fishing pole.

Have you tried finding some kind of citrus or peppermint lotion to resolve the licking issue? My cats REALLY dislike both of those scents and will back away from me in a hurry if I put on a lotion like that.


5 Megg August 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I agree with Cate that Caty (haha) may need a friend. It sounds like she’s bored, to be perfectly honest. I’d suggest spending more time with her, but where you’re gone 8+ hours a day, a friend might be the best thing for her. Some cats aren’t meant to be solitary. My Hermione definitely needs a friend, but Clarabelle would be OK alone. Though a kitten would be good, there are lots of other cats out there that are adaptable to other cats. But I’m always one to encourage the adoption of adult kitties 🙂
The only thing you can do about the scratching is to encourage her to use the new scratching post, which, I’m sure, will come with time.
If you don’t feel like you can support another kitty, or don’t want to (understandable), you might have to intentionally give her more attention, because it sounds like she’s craving attention. That may be the cause of the meowing and the TP issue.
As for meowing at closed doors, is it when you’re inside the room that’s closed off? Because Hermione does that too, but she just wants to be with everyone all the time.
Keep us posted!


6 Cate August 11, 2011 at 6:40 am

Adult kitties are wonderful, too! We’ve adopted several and love them…you just have to be more careful since you never know what kind of issues they might have with other cats. We had a problem once where we adopted a cat who was supposedly great with other cats (according to the Humane Society) but bullied our other cat terribly. 🙁


7 Elizabeth August 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

When I adopted Caty from the Humane Society they told me specifically that she doesn’t do well with other cats. They tried to put her in the big “cat play room” but she always started some sort of ruckus, so they kept her in her (slightly larger than average) cage until I took her home. I’ve tried to socialize her with two other cats and a dog and none really went well. I guess over time, it might get better, but I worry, with me being gone all day, that bad things would happen.

I think I just need to spend more time with her, introduce her to more toys, and try to play with her more and longer. I’m going to the pet store today for more food, so I’m going to look for something new and different for her to entertain herself with.

Thanks for all the advice!


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