We have had two male rescue cats for about 4 years. They were together at the shelter which wanted to keep them together, so we adopted both of them. They have tons of aggravating behavior issues:
- They scratch the furniture and have ruined many items.
- They eat everything and can open cupboards, climb on high shelves, etc. We have awakened many mornings to chips, cookies, or bread torn open and scattered all over the floor.
- They figured out how to open the trash can and would open it, pull it over, and scatter trash all over the house.
- They can open doors, including exterior doors if they try hard enough, so they’re difficult to contain.
- While playing they sometimes jump right on people’s laps, shoulders, or even their faces, terrifying my elderly parents and guests and leaving lots of bad scratches.
- They refuse to drink from a water bowl, preferring to tip it over onto the floor to drink.
- The older one exhibits various nervous behaviors. He “humps” the younger one all the time. He hates stuffed animals and will “drown” them in the toilet if he ever reaches them.
- And of course as cats they push things off counters and shelves all the time. We gave up on Christmas trees.
We tried everything the vet suggested to try to train them (redirection, treats, scratching posts, play time, squirt bottles) but nothing really helped.
But then we started letting them go outside at night. (They were often most problematic at night when we couldn’t intervene.) This made a world of difference. They stopped scratching and terrorizing the house and seemed much happier. I began to think they just had too much energy to be indoors all the time.
They did take up hunting, mostly birds, and would eat what they caught. We try to keep them from eating but it usually happens at night. We just find the carnage on the patio.
Recently my neighbors on both sides have sheepishly confessed that our cats have started entering their homes through the pet doors. They occasionally take food from their pets, or even from their kitchens. Both neighbors insist this doesn’t bother them much but it is obviously not ideal.
More recently one of the cats has become somewhat aggressive. He fights with the other cat occasionally, chasing him around the house and hissing and batting him. The other cat often has scratches on his face in the morning.
And finally just last week my neighbor said the cat started attacking their own cat in their house.
This has been causing some family strife now. My wife thinks the cats simply need to go. She’s afraid if we start keeping them inside again they’ll return to their more difficult ways (and they are frankly still pretty difficult). She has no more patience for thousands of dollars in damage to our furniture and household items, and she’s tired of living in fear of the cats, keeping everything in the kitchen on the highest shelves, never leaving a water cup out, etc...
My daughter, of course, thinks if the cats go she will die.
I’m not sure at this point if there’s anything that can be done to keep them from terrorizing my house, my neighbors, or both. We’ve had cats before but never cats that acted like these two.
Do we have any hope of keeping my wife from divorcing me?