Apr 23, 2015

Three Cats Thursday: Phantom is a Bad Cat... Help!

Happy Three Cats Thursday, Cuteheads! Today Phantom is taking over, as he does every single friggin' day in our house.

I have a question, and I'm hoping you all can offer some suggestions.

Phantom is bad. Adorable and cuddly and loving... but bad. He knocks anything off any surface -- while looking right at me. He tries to move anything that isn't glued down, just to get my attention. He even moves paintings on the wall!

And when I look at him or tell him no, he makes the cutest meow and then runs over to his toy box, like I'm going to play with him. It's cute that he does that, but so honestly maddening that he does it all day, every day. He never gets tired! I can't seem to get anything done at the computer without saying "No!" 10 times a minute.

I have tried reverse pychoolgy and ignoring him. I have tried being nice and calling him over from whatever bad he is doing and loving on him, so he gets the idea that "stop!" is good, I have tried to play with him to wear him out (that lasts about 10 minutes and he's back at it), I have tried blasters (look up SCCCAT from PetSafe - great concept, but I need about 100 of them!)... and I have no idea what else to try!

Does anyone have any ideas?

Obviously I love him even though he's horrible, but I'd really like to be able to get some work done at home, especially since I'm trying to start a real, legitimate business here (CatLadyBox!) and I actually have to work! :)


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  1. Squirt bottle. My cat was/is the same way. Trying to distract him was useless, he just thought it was a great game. He gets 5 mins of laser time in the morning and at night. Plus of course petting and cuddles, and he sleeps in the crook of my arm, but if he starts knocking things over or climbing where he shouldn't be, one squirt does it.

    And no, squirting water at him hasn't made him afraid of me. He still looks at me to be his mom/protector and comes to me when something scares him, like a noise outside etc, or if his brother gets too agressive when they are play-fighting.

    And now I rarely have to actually use the bottle, just picking it up is enough.

  2. I agree with the squirt bottle and was my first thought while reading your post. My family has always used this method with success, the 3 cats I grew up with (probably all the ones before that too) the 2 I have now and the 3 my parents have now. It never made them scared of us and never made any of them more scared of water then any other cat.

    Maybe you could create a playtime/Mommie break time schedule with the spray bottle near by so he knows when to seek attention and when its not ok (spray bottle in use). having the spray bottle near during will hopefully reinforce that its use is related to his behavior and not to be feared in and of itself.

  3. I agree with the squirt bottle solution. My cat is very much like Phantom. He also loves to moves the artwork I have on my walls. Ignoring him works sometimes but when he gets really wound up I get the squirt bottle out. Works like a champ and it doesn't hurt him. Sometimes if he just sees the squirt bottle he'll calm down. Hope this helps.

  4. Ah, Dorian! Phantom is a kitten at heart! He will eventually outgrow his bad habits, but for now you need to have lots of patience, a squirt bottle, and some double-stick tape to keep your artwork from moving when he gets after it. Or as I suggested before, use two nails/hooks about an inch apart to give the artwork more hanging stability. Also try getting some toys he can play with by himself, like a Cat Dancer that you can hang on a wall. All of my cats love playing with those. I pretty much have cat toys everywhere, but my Pique (8.5 months old, 10.5 lbs.) isn't satisfied with just cat toys. To him, everything is a toy and every "no" is a challenge. He tries my patience but I love him dearly!

  5. contact Jackson Galaxy!!!

  6. That's a big challenge! My cat isn't nearly as bad as yours, but what seems to work is to get him tired. If I play with him for a while throwing him a ball for instance he gets tired and takes a nap :)

    Another thing that helped was buying him a cat food ball dispenser. This way he's entertained getting the food out of the ball. Hope this ideas help.

  7. I read somewhere if you're going to use a squirt bottle, do it in stealth mode. You don't want Phantom to get scared of you - just being squirted. If you can "hide" the bottle so he only gets startled by the water and he doesn't see you pointing it at him. I hope that makes sense.

    Lots of toys he can play with by himself might help - there are a whole bunch of interactive cat toys from PetSmart here: http://www.petsmart.com/cat/toys/cat-36-catid-200021. My youngest cat is a wild thing so I can totally understand. One of her favorite toys is a 'tube', the kind that sounds like a plastic bag rustling. She'll run in and through it, popping her head out of the hole in the middle, it's so funny. Then she wears herself out and takes a nap in it! LOL!!

    Another suggestion someone made was to have Mommy & Phantom time, then send him off to play so you can work.

    All of your readers dearly love your kitties. I hope some of these suggestions will get Mr. Phantom to behave himself. :-)

  8. Nicole in San DiegoApril 23, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    Dorian, my late cat Annabelle was a hellion, a true felion most of her life. I tried the squirt bottle on her, but she loved water and found it a game. I found that exhausting her was the best thing, but playing with her a lot before going to bed.

    Now, about knocking things down, what you need is museum clay, putty or gel, which will stick things down without doing any damage to your walls or furniture. It's also removable and is used a lot in California to protect objects from earthquakes -- a lot of it is made by Quakehold. I found sources and descriptions on Amazon, here: http://amzn.to/1yTIVMT

  9. I think you should install those shelving things that run across the wall that he can climb and roam around the room and look down on the rest of you., I think that might help . did you talk to the vet about it? Perhaps a kitty tranquilizer? ;-) Good luck

  10. some kind of calming pheromone ? Feliway or Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences? there are other medical options that a vet could suggest if he is too high strung or doesn't respond to over the counter remedies

  11. We have tried the Spirit Essences and the Feliway. I don't think either really did anything -- although I always tell people to use them myself! Haha.

  12. yeah...i think it is all individual results according to each cat...plus, i would think anytime you have a window open the scent would be too dispersed

  13. The solution is in your own words. "He wants my attention." So give him LOADS of attention -- WHEN HE'S BEHAVING HIMSELF! NOT when he's being bad.

    Just ignore him the best you can, then, & turn your face away from him. Cats do that when they want to be left alone.

    He should have the sort of toys with which he will interact with you to play -- NOT those he can play with alone (fun as some of those can be), so that he learns to please you by leaving your items alone...for the most part, anyway. He's still an active, curious little being, & he =will= stretch his behavior at times. Try to ignore it when that happens, so that again, he doesn't associate bad behavior with getting your attention.

    Make sense? It's how I dealt with it. I had a knock-it-off cat, once, but it wasn't about my attention. Instead, Mekon just liked to see what happened to things when they fell. That cat never seemed to move a muscle 'til he'd casually pushed off an item, then he'd crane his neck past the edge to see what effect he'd had....

    He seemed pleased at his prowess. I've known Mekon (he's in Heaven, now) to denude chests of drawers & tables. I learned to keep breakables about which I really cared OFF places he could get to! LOL!

    Mekon, an orange tom, was one of my most special furbabies, so full of cuddly love & play, & curiosity...I miss him, still. <3


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