She’s like a toddler, but one with claws and fangs who can leap six feet into the air.
Dubious Advice From The Internet
This is the first time I’ve had a kitten. When I met Eric, his black cat Spot was part of his dowry. She was about three years old and never, ever scratched furniture or jumped onto counters. Eric doesn’t remember what he did to train Spot, although he vaguely recalls that a spray bottle was involved.
I turned to the internet for advice. “Never raise your voice when your cat is engaging in the natural activities of scratching and jumping,” counseled a pet psychologist. “And absolutely never resort to spraying your precious fur baby with water.” I relayed this information to Eric, telling him that we are now “cat guardians” and that we don’t want anything to affect the “fragile bond” we are creating with Magnolia.
That Was Ridiculous Advice
That lasted about two weeks, during which time Magnolia engaged in her very own circus. She leapt up onto the counters, hunkered down on top of the refrigerator, and strolled along the tops of the upper cabinets. She bolted from the couch to the loveseat to the chairs, gleefully digging her claws into every upholstered piece of furniture we own. We gently removed her from each situation, firmly but quietly saying “no,” and redirected her attention to one of several scratching posts or toys.
We covered our furniture in cardboard and double-sided sticky tape. We put clear carpet runners with the prickly side up on our furniture and counters to try to dissuade her from jumping onto them. It was exhausting and it didn’t work. AT ALL. The only thing it did was make our furniture uncomfortable for us to sit on.
Crazy Cat People
I’ll tell you what does work. Making a loud growling sound while sharply yelling “NO!” along with a few other expletives, if desired. And the judicious use of a spray bottle. Plus lots of play time with us, her catnip stuffed squirrel, her rainbow-colored running tube, and a clutch of feathers on a ribbon that drives her absolutely insane and tires her out for a little bit.
And, of course, heaps of praise when she’s using her scratching post and resisting her innate desire to leap onto the counters. “Who’s a good kitty? You’re a good kitty! You’re the best kitty cat in the whole world!” She purrs and completely agrees.
All I have to do now is growl, and she meows back and usually stops whatever bad thing she’s about to do. If she’s still tempted, I grab the spray bottle and point it at her, without even spraying her. That almost always does the trick. (Do not tell me that if we have a cat we shouldn’t expect to have nice furniture. I actually read that on the internet, too. The internet is stupid.)
We’re still in training, but I think we’ve rounded the corner on kitty terrorism. (Maybe. She’s only six months old.)
Absolutely adorable. I like the cat tree with the basket bed up top. Thank you for sharing.
Christine, Magnolia loves her fancy cat tree! It’s perfectly positioned for her hobby of bird watching. :-)
I found myself laughing out loud throughout this post! Cats are challenging, but if you can live through kitten-hood, well worth the challenge. Thanks for giving my day a jovial start. HANG IN!
The hardest part of training is the fact that they are usually so damn cute while they are in the act of terrorizing.
Sounds like Magnolia is responding to your training attempts.. I especially love the growling training technique. I be am laughing out loud as I envision you and Eric growling and hissing in unison !
Brenda, it’s a darned good thing that Magnolia is cute and affectionate. Otherwise I might take her back to the woods where I found her!! It’s pretty funny when Eric and I growl at her. It definitely gets her attention and stops her in her tracks.
I’m glad Magnolia’s antics make you laugh, too, Janie. We’re devoted to helping her become a civilized member of the family, LOL! I seriously had no idea how destructive a kitten can be.
I think you have her exactly where she wants you. Obviously, Magnolia is training you well… All our best!
Riley and Karen, the kitty does have us where she wants us! We are all working out our positions in the hierarchy here. Thanks for the good wishes…we need all the help we can get! Hope you two are doing well.
OMG into the quiet life of seasoned travelers settled down and living the good life in their designer home comes SHEERAH Lady Magnolia FierceFur of Funfunfuntillyourdaddytakesyourt-birdaway! She is a pure lesson in out/of/control/let/it/goooo! From the depths of my fat Buddha wisdom (mostly just fat) comes this sage and sane advice, “You need TWO! PS can’t wait to meet the little she-devil! PSS yup internet is stupid but the web keeps us in contact so love/hate it too!
Diana, no, no, no…TWO kitties? I can’t even imagine. I think they would take over and Eric and I would be cowering in the corner somewhere. I’m willing to let go of some control (hence, the giant rainbow tube dominating the living room and the giant cat tree in the dining nook). But she is not allowed to shred the furniture. Hopefully by the time you guys visit she will have calmed down (because her room is currently your room, hahaha!!!).
Dogs have masters, cats have staff…
Haha, truer words have never been spoken! Hope you two are doing well, Dick.
Our kitty Pixel was a complete terror. His favorite thing to do was to get on the counters and knock off anything that was up there, including glasses half filled with water. We had a spray bottle that, for a while, worked so well all we had to do was say, “Spray! SPRAY!” and off he’d go. Now we just say that to each other, LOL. Magnolia is still quite adorable, and wow, she is growing so fast!
Pixel sounds like quite a character, Linda. I’m going to try the ‘spray, SPRAY’ with Magnolia. Right now she scrunches up her eyes and flattens her ears when I point the spray bottle at her, and I don’t feel one bit bad, LOL! She is adorable (fortunately for her) and she’s growing crazy fast. We’re thinking she’s going to be a big cat, so the training needs to happen now!
Oh, my, goodness!! I am laughing so hard! Having had a number of cats I can feel your pain. I would love to see your house with all these exotic toys and scratching posts. She is definitely a spoiled princess. That is quite the climbing post with the “Princess Seat” at the top. Love it! I have to laugh at the thought of you growling…haha!! Good luck with Magnolia!!
Pam, thanks for the good luck wishes! We need luck and a lot of perseverance. It’s a full time job training a kitty, as you know. Good thing I didn’t know what I was in for when she followed me home two months ago. She pretended to be so mellow, haha! She’s thrilled with her ‘Princess Seat.” 😻
You know what works better than a spray bottle of water? Their own medicine. It’s called “Blow Off”. You know… a can of air.
Some smart cookie should market canned air and label it “PFFFT!!!” or “HISSSS!!!”
No muss, no fuss. Soon your feline will hear you reach for the can and high tail it outta there.
You are welcome.
Kyle the Experienced Cat Lover
Kyle, you are the most experienced cat lover I know! You’ve always taken in so many strays and loved them and cared for them. I just ordered a giant can of compressed air. Thanks for the great idea! Now I won’t have to clean up the mess I make when I spray Magnolia with water, LOL.
The internet is stupid, often. Spray bottles rule,or in our case, squirt guns rule (they’re much more fun) One of our cats used to race across the bed, across our HEADS as we slept, at about 5 a.m. when he wanted to eat. We learned these things from that experience – 1. leave dry food down all the time 2. don’t feed the good stuff first thing in the morning and 3. keep a squirt gun next to the bed. They all worked and we slept peacefully.
The other thing we learned from raising so many GED puppies (all young things need the same thing in order to be survivable), exhaust them as often as possible, especially when one needs them to be quiet or still! Getting another kitten will accomplish that without the use of a spray bottle!
Love these “real life” blogs!
Sue, that is a brilliant idea to not feed the “good stuff” first thing in the morning. Much better if we save that for nighttime before she goes to bed so that she will look forward to going to bed! Magnolia currently has her own bedroom but that won’t last forever, because one of these days, we’re going to make it into a guest room. I will not be happy if she’s running across our heads at 5 a.m. Maybe we’ll just leave her in with the guests, LOL!! That should make us popular with guests, right?
Oh, and we definitely do our best to wear her out with playtime! I just can’t imagine getting another kitten, so we are her playmates.
Hilarious! All of it!
“Cat guardians.” Hahahahahahahaha!
And I definitely think Sue is onto something with her suggestion of even MORE kittens!!
Laura, NO. That is a very bad idea. Do not encourage me to get more pets. You are a bad influence, LOL. We will never be able to travel!
But I have an idea! If something follows me home in the next few months, I will save it for you! I think Thor needs a kitten, or a baby goat. What do you think? :-)
Oh my ….I was laughing hysterically over here in NY. What a great post. Magnolia — well, now we know who is ruling your roost (at least for now!)
She’s an adorable kitty — but, boy, that paws look big and dangerous. Loved the cardboard look and all your friends’ comments about the decor. Seriously, had tears streaming down my face. CindyP
Cindy, I’m so glad this made you laugh! Magnolia makes me laugh (along with driving me crazy) and I was laughing while I was writing this post. Don’t we have amazingly supportive and encouraging friends, LOL??
It’s a good thing Magnolia is so sweet. Even with those big paws and claws and teeth, she’s never bitten or clawed us. If she gets too enthusiastic when we’re playing, we just say, “gentle!” and she calms down.
Well this one had me cracking up! So glad I have a dog, that won’t jump. Lol. The first three months of puppy was exhausting. At almost 3 yrs old, he has gotten alot easier. Something for you to look forward too. Bahaha!
Brenda, at this point I’m thinking a puppy would have been a LOT easier. It’s insane how high a cat can jump. Hmmm…I wonder if cats mature at the same rate as dogs. I’m not sure I can survive three years of this. I’m hoping Magnolia is going to get the crazies out of her system by the time she’s a year old. 😳
I agree wholeheartedly with readers who said you need another kitten. It took us 3 or 4 weeks to figure that out. A kitten companion soaks up a LOT of wild kitten energy. Just make sure they get along before making the final commitment. And be sure you start in on regular nail trimming while they are still young!
Odel looked around our house one day and commented that we should have bought ugly furniture and covered it with nice blankets instead of nice furniture covered with ugly blankets. Our cats are nine years old now and definitely added their own touches to the decorating scheme. “Distressed” is the word that comes to mind.
Laurie, I’m so glad to hear from you. I know you’re a very experienced cat owner/lover. But noooo….another vote for us to get another cat! I do understand the rationale, but it’s hard for me to imagine dealing with two little terrorists at the same time. Our main reason for wanting to have just one cat right now is that we’re still planning to do quite a bit of traveling, and it would be difficult to have two cats in our small trailer.
That comment Odel made is hilarious!!! Had I known a kitten was going to follow me home I might have made different furniture choices. Ugly furniture covered with nice blankets sounds like a very good idea. Love your acceptance of your ‘distressed’ decorating scheme, LOL! Oh, and yes, we do regular nail trimming, which kind of helps.
As everyone else has said, GREAT POST. Just what I needed after my furnace company didn’t refill my gas tank and it ran out on the coldest night of this month – read that 33 degrees and my car wouldn’t start – not the battery, the starter. So thanks for the laughs.
We were lucky with our one and only cat. She adopted us and moved in, took over us and our two beagles but was ever the lady. She spent a lot of time outside since we lived so far out in the country and only in her later years did we even have a litter box. She never clawed anything or jumped on counters or tables. I think she realized she could rule if she stuck to some basic house rules.
The same can not be said of the beagles so that’s why there were two of them. They played with each other instead of our stuff and it proved to be just the thing. So, I recommend a playmate to keep her occupied. How about getting Sapphire to play with Magnolia. Listen to the 1930’s Amos and Andy series for reference to the names.
Sherry, it sounds like you were adopted by a wonderful cat! I think it would help if Magnolia could be an outdoors kitty, but we’ve decided she will be indoors so that she won’t decimate the birds we attract to the yard. Our other cat was a notorious bird killer. :-( But Magnolia has a huge screened porch for running wild, and lots of toys and attention. And I’m going to try my best to train her to walk with a harness leash.
I hope you’ve got your furnace and car battery problems sorted out. I’m glad you were able to laugh even with your problems.
Oh my, I shouldn’t laugh but I did! Emmi is a dog but we use the squirt bottle trick on her too to stop the barking–doesn’t work too well, she just ducks her head and barks away. Here’s wishing you all the best in training your terrorist!
Janna, it is funny, even though it’s crazy-making to live with a critter! When I think about what we do for our four-legged friends…
Hilarious!! only six mths old!!!! All puppies and kittens under 18 mths old require much patience and firm consistent NO’s and growls, so don’t be wishy-washy about the NO’s and growls between Eric and you, cause kitty will figure out who’s sincere and who’s not sincere :)
Thanks for the support for our training regimen, Terri. We are very firm with our NO’s and growls. Magnolia is very resilient (stubborn??), but we are not giving up!
Magnolia sounds just like my nephew’s cat, Sherlock. There’s no question about who rules the roost in their house. He’s gotten himself into some mishaps but has never done any damage to furnishings or his humans. Trying to wear him out by playing with him works if he is in the mood. If not, forget about it! The spray bottle has worked so that he doesn’t get on counters and furniture … even just showing him the bottle does the trick now.
Enjoy that precious kitten … kitty cats are a delight to have around … even when they are a bit more into mischief than we’d prefer them to be.
Erin, I look at Magnolia and think, “It’s a good thing you’re so cute!” haha! She’s sitting with me right now, batting at the keyboard as I’m trying to type. Sherlock sounds like a sweet kitty—and a well-behaved one. The spray bottle has turned out to be a furniture saver. It emphasizes our ‘NO’s’ and growls!
Well-written and absolutely hysterical! My cat was so fat and lazy (26 pounds) he could only jump into my lap–with my help. My son’s cat spent so much time on the counters and cabinets, he finally gave up and put his food and water bowl on the refrigerator. Patience will win out, but please keep us posted. Have a ball (twine) with your kitty! Joe
Joe, you had a 26-pound cat?!! That cat could have gotten away with anything he wanted, LOL! I look at Magnolia and think of how much she is like a little panther and how much damage she could do if she REALLY put her mind to it.
That is hilarious that your son feeds his cat on top of the refrigerator! I guess I should have thought of that. But I can’t reach the top of the refrigerator. :-)
Laurel, Magnolia is absolutely gorgeous – and quite the ham, too, based on the fabulous photos. I was smiling by the time I finished reading the title of your post since I was already thinking about Smudge, the tiny terror who lives with my son and his fiancee. One day I received a text that read, “In case you were wondering how our morning is going . . .” followed by a photo of Smudge all tangled up in the window blinds. It was at that point that I started calling him ” Wild Man”. It appears that you may have “Wild Woman” on your hands. Wishing you and Eric the best of luck with your ongoing training efforts!
Mary, Smudge sounds like quite a character! I’ve seen Magnolia eyeing our matchstick blinds a few times and have been glad we got the cordless version. She loves cords, and I can only imagine what a disaster that would be.By the way, she says “thank you” for noticing how gorgeous she is. Thanks for the good luck wishes, we need them! :-)
Aren’t all cats fundamentally wild? I think that’s the root of your problem. Luckily for them they are too darn cute to kick them out of the house though I am sure you were tempted at some point. I wholeheartedly endorse the use of the spray bottle and the growling; I doubt your “fur-child” will be permanently damaged by having to follow the rules of the house. Now if only your sister would stop encouraging her! :-)
Shannon, you’re right. Cats truly are wild…I recently read something about how much less domesticated they are than dogs. As you said, it’s a darn good thing she is cute (there was a moment when I threatened her with “back to the woods for you!!). My sister is getting even with me for gifting her kids with rhythm band instruments when they were little. :-)
It appears that Magnolia has you wrapped around her furry little paws. I just love how you’ve decorated your house around her every desire (the photo of your armored furniture was hilarious). She is so cute, though. The picture of her slayed out on the back of the sofa and on the ottoman with her tongue sticking out are priceless. Hopefully, as she gets older, her terrorist ways will go away completely.
Janis, our house is embarrassing, LOL! Just when I was working so hard to have it all nice we had to cover everything in cardboard. Hopefully it won’t be for too much longer, although I’m sure the kitty playground is here to stay. Those are my two favorite photos of Magnolia, too. That pic of her sticking out her tongue makes me laugh every time I look at it.
Fabulous post . What a cute Kitty.
Thanks Laurel for the visuals and storyline. Always look forward R&C in my inbox. K~
Aww, thanks, Kathryn! I’m glad you enjoy our posts. I always love looking at your beautiful photos…that Sandhill Crane baby is adorable!
LOL the internet is stupid!! Amen sister. It is a serious battle of who will be trained first and with travel in your future you definitely need it to be Magnolia. She is so beautiful (like you said, that’s lucky for her!) Your pics of her are great. I have zero productive advice other than to keep adequate supplies of wine.
Jodee, we realized quickly that we needed to start (attempting) to train Magnolia right away. I cannot imagine getting back on the road with a cat who wants to destroy the furniture. We don’t have room in the trailer to armor everything with cardboard! I like your advice. We have plenty of wine, as well as gin and tonic and local beer on hand. And Magnolia has catnip.
Oh my goodness, I have not had a kitten in decades…so destructive and yet so darn cute! We went through lots of double sided tape in the RV with Rosie, fortunately she hasn’t scratched a thing since we got in the house….maybe she’s mellowing with age. I guess you have that to look forward to, eventually! Magnolia is adorable.
Lisa, I have always loved seeing photos of Rosie in your travels and now in her adventures at home. I’ve just started using the double sided tape on the furniture and that seems to be working well. So I’ll get more for the trailer furniture! I’m also starting to leash train Magnolia (I was inspired by you and Rosie). That is going about as well as you would expect, haha!
Ah, yes. Our sorta new cat – Sofie – is approaching 1 year old and has, so far, not been too destructive. But she has her moments – followed, inevitably, by a look of heart-melting adorableness. Here’s hoping both Magnolia and Sofie mellow into mellow, lap kitties (real soon)!
Bruce, I’m so hoping that when Magnolia reaches her first birthday that she will calm down! I love that she races around the house and she is hilarious playing with her (many) toys…it’s her attempts to shred the furniture that needs to stop. Like Sofie, she also gives us those innocent adorable looks that make us immediately forgive her for anything and everything. I like your vision of Magnolia and Sofie mellowing into lap cats! :-)
Oh, my dear friend! If you ever have free time, you should watch some nanny-cam videos of what cats do when people are away. Since you’ll not have free time because Maggie is demanding all your attention, I will spoil it. They do absolutely everything their owners believe they’ve trained out of them. It’s HILARIOUS 😂 well, to me, but probably not to anyone who is currently being held hostage by a puma. You’ve already gotten all the good advice there is, but I hate to tell you that resistance is futile. Cats gonna cat!
Joodie, now that I’ve watched a few kitty-cam videos, I have lost all hope. They are SO FUNNY when the cats are doing those bad things to other people’s homes. Sigh.
So when you get a cardboard box in the mail with holes punched in the top in the next week, you will know what it is. I know you will be an excellent kitty trainer, LOL!
This made me laugh SO HARD. Also it’s good to have a training-a-crazy-adopted-young-pet buddy out there, even though mine outweighs yours by a good 72 pounds or so. I hear you about the stupidweb! Good for y’all for just doing what WORKS.
I know it must help that Magnolia is absolutely bewitching. Which she already knows.
Gretchen, it truly does make me feel better knowing that we’re not alone in trying to train a critter. You seem to be doing a wonderful job with your beautiful Maya. You’re teaching her to be a good member of the family and a dog that other people will enjoy being around. If Magnolia weighed 80 pounds we would be in serious trouble!!
I like your description of her as ‘bewitching.’ She definitely has cast a spell on us! :-)
A good belly laugh! Thanks Magnolia.
Well, the sweet adorable Magnolia rules the house no doubt about it. Poor Eric and Laurel :( what are you gonna do when you start traveling? She might just wander off and not come back!
I had an adorable cat too that I rescued from birth and took care of it for sometime. Well two of our couches became a scratch post and boy was it ugly. When Steve and I got married and moved to a house I have to leave my Poogie with my sister. After seeing all the destruction, Steve put his foot down and a big No to taking Poogie with us.
I think Magnolia has trained you well.
ML, we’re in intensive training right now with Magnolia and hoping that by August when we head to the mountains she’ll be ready for some RV travel. Honestly, things aren’t looking too promising at the moment. She has a lot of energy! Our old arthritic cat was so easy to travel with, LOL!
I can understand why Steve put his foot down about Poogie. We may have to keep our furniture covered in sticky tape for a long time…if Magnolia ruins any of our furniture I’ve threatened her that I’m going to patch it with tabby fur.
Thanks for the laugh, Laurel! Although extremely cute and loveable, young cats and kittens are amazingly full of energy and mischief, and also capable of mass destruction. We learned that tightly woven microfiber fabric is impervious to cat claws, in case you have to buy new furniture again one day. Best of luck with your ongoing training of that adorable kitty!
Thanks, Gayle! If you have any tips for traveling with a young cat in an RV, please send them my way. I know you guys had two kittens at one point. As you said, Magnolia is extremely cute and lovable but whoa, I had no idea of the mischief she can get into. She makes us laugh a lot, unless she’s trying to tear up the furniture. :-(
Thanks for the idea about microfiber for furniture—we have to replace the sofa in our trailer and I’ll look for microfiber!