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Kitten + Curtains = Trouble
Can I fix this?
CurlySu717
CurlySu717  Friend of PR
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Texas USA
Member since 10/26/06
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Date: 1/18/08 12:02 PM

Hi, there! I'm a very new sewer, and I have these great shears in my living room. The previous owner of the house left them, so at least I didn't pay for them. But my six-month-old kitten has been playing in them when we're not home, and either her teeth or her claws have made little holes in them. The shears are a very loose weave, so she hasn't torn anything -- she just forced her teeth/claws through the weave, pushing the fibers apart and making very obvious holes. But since it is such a loose weave, is there some way to shift the fibers back into their proper places? I considered trying to steam them with an iron or washing them (which I can do). Or perhaps I should suck it up and buy new ones (and have her front claws taken out while I'm at it)?

(I really didn't want to have to declaw her...it just seems so cruel...but I can't have her destroying my house, which she seems hell-bent on doing.)

------
"To love another person is to see the face of God!" ~Les Miserables

www.lillianbettyandsibyl.blogspot.com

lilyofthevalley
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lilyofthevalley
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In reply to CurlySu717


Date: 1/18/08 12:29 PM

CurlySu, I'm well acquainted with the kitten claws/tiny-holes-in-everything syndrome. I have a sliding screen door that bears witness to a tiny demon climber.

The best way to discourage your little monster from biting or climbing on your curtains (and other tempting items) is to make the experience a bad one for kitty. Put a couple of pennies in an aluminum can and tape the opening closed. Everytime she gets really close to the curtains, throw the can in the direction of the curtains. Very quickly, she'll figure that this is a no-fun place to be. When you're not at home to guard the curtains, loop them up out of her way.

She will outgrow this stage pretty soon, if you can stand the wait. Just use the 'penny can' at every location you need to safeguard. Give her lots of alternative toys to bite, and if you like, you can hang some cheap fabric from a doorknob that she *is* allowed to chew on. And teach her how to use a scratching post. When you see her biting or clawing a forbidden item, take her to the scratching post and manipulate her paws up and down the scratching post. Kittens and cats don't respond to hitting and are pretty immune to yelling, too, so you'll have to use behavior mod techniques.

Washing your sheers *might* help with the tiny holes and try steam pressing them, too. Unfortunately, your chances of rehabiliting the sheers are only fair, but do try. And definitely don't buy new curtains until the little monster understands that curtains are 'off limits.'

Good luck, Lily





------
Lily

Welmoed Sisson
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Welmoed Sisson
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Maryland USA
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In reply to CurlySu717


Date: 1/18/08 12:33 PM

You'll need to spend some time training your kitty not to play with those sheers! A spray bottle with water in it does wonders; stay near the curtains and when kitty touches them, give her a light shot of mist. It will startle her; after a few times she should catch on that she isn't to touch them.

In the meantime, you can tease the fibers back into place. These are probably polyester sheers (most are), so the fibers are slick and should slide around easily. Lay the area with the hole on a flat surface and use a sharp pin to move the fibers back into place. I've also had luck with a soft toothbrush, moving it in a circular motion over the hole to realign the fibers.

When you're not home, consider tying the sheers up so they're out of kitty's reach, and provide her with a good scratching post. Sprinkle the post with catnip to attract her.

And please don't declaw her... it's such a cruel operation and will severely hamper her survival skills if she ever gets outside. The operation doesn't just remove the claws; it removes the last bone on each toe.

--Welmoed

------
View my sewing projects: http://thereshesews.blogspot.com

fwbean472
fwbean472
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Alabama USA
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In reply to Welmoed Sisson


Date: 1/18/08 3:57 PM

Quote: Welmoed Sisson
A spray bottle with water in it does wonders; stay near the curtains and when kitty touches them, give her a light shot of mist. It will startle her; after a few times she should catch on that she isn't to touch them

Oh, how I wish that worked with my cat. He thought it was a game and loved the water bottle.

As an alternative to declawing, you could try soft paws. They are covers that are glued over the kitty's claws. They even come in cool colors. My cat does great with them.

Alathia
kirianth
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kirianth
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Date: 1/19/08 2:10 AM

I use human nail clippers to just trim the claws. The younger you get them accustomed to your handling, the more tolerant they are later on. I find it pretty easy, and then they can't scratch you accidentally, either.

My kitten grew out of the shower curtain jumping/climbing stage pretty soon.

AK
AK
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California USA
Member since 2/2/04
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Date: 1/19/08 3:22 AM

Your kitten is probably looking for a toy when you aren't around. Here's an easy one to make:
Take about a yard of elastic, tie it around some scraps at one end, then make a loop on the other. Hang it over a door knob - it should hang a couple of inches off the floor. Snap it for her a couple of times so she gets the idea. Some cats love these, some don't, but it's something fast and easy to try.

GwenC
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GwenC  Friend of PR
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Florida USA
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In reply to kirianth


Date: 1/19/08 9:48 AM

They also have special cat nail clippers that have a round hole to stick the claw into and the trimming happens all around it in a circle. I second the idea that the younger you start this, the better! Good luck!

------
May your needle stay sharp and your grainline run true!

Lady_Mame
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Lady_Mame
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Date: 1/19/08 10:36 AM

I don't mean to be the voice of dissent, but some cats are much more difficult to train to not claw constantly, especially those taken away from their mothers too early. If you have a purebred kitten, this is unfortunately likely.

That said, declawing is NOT the terrible, terrible procedure it once was. It is now no less humane than the procedure used to remove the toenail from a person with a reaccuring ingrown nail. I urge you to try training, but if it does not work, or you fear that she will destoy something important before you can manage it, please don't feel like you are engaging in animal cruelty when you remove her claws. It is much better for the animal that you declaw her and keep her then send her elsewhere. It is unfortunately likely that if she is a 'cat' when you send her away she will not last long. People, in my experience, simply don't adopt adult animals.

That said, I do hope the shake-can or squirt-gun method and some behavoir modification works wonders and this all not to be worried about.

Signed,
Former Voice for the Animals (A humane Society Volunteer's offical title!)

------
Needle Needle Straight and Slim, Dust and Sweep the House for Him! --Grimm Fairy Tales

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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Date: 1/19/08 11:39 AM

I have had pretty good results with Bitter Apple spray. It is all natural but it smells bad to animals, so they leave things alone. I used it on wires when I had a cat who liked to bite through wires. From what I have read, it does not stain fabrics. I probably wouldn't use it on upholstered furniture (just to be safe) or any fabrics prone to water-spotting, but it's worth trying on curtains. Perhaps just spot-check it first. It's very economical--I still have the original bottle I bought 17 years ago.

I don't know if "soft paws" or clipping will completely stop the problem, since the problem seems to be the playing itself, not the fact that the claws are sharp. I'll bet the kitten is biting the curtains as well, since that's what all babies do when they play--they put things in their mouth. The Bitter Apple spray will help deter this.

Another reason I like this spray is that you don't have to be constantly watching the kitten. It works when you're not home.

It is normal for kittens and young cats to play and jump. You may need to kitten-proof your home the same way dog owners often have to puppy-proof their homes. No need to take drastic measures like declawing. Claws are an essential part of a cat's social and developmental life. That's the main reason I'm opposed to declawing.

Mandolin82
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Mandolin82  Friend of PR
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Washington USA
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Date: 1/19/08 12:02 PM

We've had great luck with the Scraminal to train our cats to keep off the counter. Is is a motion detector that lets off a horrible noise when it senses movement in its target area. Only a couple times and the cats stayed off the counter. Sometimes you have to do it again every few months.

Susan

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