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I have four kittens (4 months old) in my yard. They are really lovely, but very mischievous.

About two days ago or so, they started to climb on the door nets to use it as a scratcher post. They are still pretty small, but they do have sharp nails and eventually will rip the nets (which will cause my mom to go postal). They live in our yard and have plenty of things to scratch, so I don't know if buying them a scratching post will solve the problem.

Any advice would be highly welcome.

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Kittens are notoriously adventurous and will inevitably do things they shouldn't. A screen or door net is a fun and easy thing to climb. It will take a lot of patience to find what works best. You may even find that they will become less interested as they grow older.

Here are some options to deter the kittens from climbing the screen:

  • Try deterrent sprays. You can find a lot of options sold in pet stores (I've had a number of friends who find success with this one). Scent opinions can differ from cat to cat, so it will be trial and error to find what keeps the kittens away. It is best to buy a store option, as those are typically made to be cat-safe.
  • Provide nearby distractions or entertainment in that area. You mention they have plenty of things to scratch, but cats love scratching posts, often more than natural materials in the yard. I would definitely buy some scratch posts. Make sure there's something tall they can climb to satisfy that need. Try using catnip or treats to encourage them to use a scratching post.
  • Perhaps the kittens climb the screen because they want to be with you inside. How much time do you spend outside with them? If you go scold the kittens when the climb the screen, they may associate climbing the screen with receiving attention from you. Animals seeking attention will repeat an action to get it, even if the attention they receive is negative. If they see you inside, and like spending time with you, they may climb the screen trying to get to you. Be sure to provide them with lots of attention and entertainment.

Best of luck with your kittens, and remember it will take time and patience for them to learn.

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    Please don't spray lemon juice (pure or diluted) on anything the cats may touch! All citrus is very toxic to cats (that's why they hate the smell) and citrus poisoning is the most common poisoning emergency in domesticated cats. The kittens may try climbing the net despite the smell and later ingest citrus by licking their paws. The smell alone can cause irritation of the airways and coughing and sneezing. – Elmy Oct 8 at 5:10
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    I'll revise my answer. But just for a little extra info. Juice of a lemon is not toxic like the peel, oils, or the citrus plant itself are. A cat should not eat or drink lemon juice in large quantities, but a highly diluted spray is not as harmful. aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/… – Gwendolyn Oct 8 at 14:46
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It is almost impossible to make cats do what you want them to do, but it is possible to make cats not do what you want them not to do.

There is a hierarchy of actions which you should start carry out.

  • Blow air to his face.
  • Spray water to his face.
  • Hit on the ground with a stick/club, like a meter or two from the animal.
  • Start a vacuum cleaner near him.
  • Chase him with a vacuum cleaner in your hand.

The first two actions will tell the kittens that you don't like their actions. While this would be enough for dogs, cats don't care if you like their actions or not. So, instead of stopping climbing, they would check if you are around to see them climbing and they will jump off whenever they hear you coming. This is where the last three actions come handy.

Cats are excellent judges in risk vs reward. The last three actions will tell the cats that there will be consequences. However, you have to do these actions while the acts are climbings, i.e., you have to catch them red pawwed. Otherwise they will not make connection between you reprimanding them and their actions.

The final approach should be be beating a puppet. Take a cat puppet and put it on net. Make sure your cat sees it. Then beat the puppet with a club or with your hands, right in front of your cat. Keep in mind that this is an extreme method, so I would suggest you to save this only for extreme behaviours such as drinking from toilet or wandering on the kitchen counter.

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