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The (Latest) Trouble with (That Jerk) Boggart

First the winners of Deb Olin Unferth’s awesome, funny, smart, spooky, sweet memoir, Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War,

The signed special copy goes to:
Alison Law March 27th, 2011 at 10:37 am “I’m quite sure I didn’t know what “foment” meant when I was 18. Thanks for introducing us to this book and author.”

And two more copies go to:
Jan O’Hara March 25th, 2011 at 11:26 am “Okay, I don’t generally care for book trailers, but that last line alone makes it full of win. *tossing my beret into the ring*Also, I don’t know whether to laugh or wring my hands for your poor mother. I have an 18 yo daughter. I hope all the “fomenting” and revolution she’s after is a junkfood-infused dinner menu.”

D March 26th, 2011 at 7:24 pm “Sounds like a great book”

If you are one of these three randomly beloved besties above, EMAIL ME YOUR SNAIL ADDY and I will hook you up!

Hrmf, arrrgle wha? I was sleeping! Is that your filthy appendage bothering my august personage?

MEANWHILE. I need some advice. About Boggart. He is awful in many well documented ways:

1) Here is an animal called a PET who cannot be PETTED. If you so much as reach a finger in his direction, he melts backwards with a look of affronted surprise…”YOU DARE???”

2) And yet he wants to be in the room with you. Watching you. Constantly. With his DEXTER MORGAN gaze, like he is wondering what your face might taste like after you are dead but before you cool.

3) And he poops his poop in a box in our house. We have to SCOOP OUT THE FECES of an animal who is not remotely likeable.

4) And NOW we come to his here-to-fore most egregious fault: He hits children. If any children walk past him, be they mine or visitor children, he will casually wang them as hard he can with his paw for entering his nation’s air space. Usually it is a slap, but twice he has snagged skin in a claw or two and drawn bloods. FROM CHILDREN.


6) Now that Schubert is VERY old and creaky and not eternally vigilant with mighty piracy, he sneaks up on him when he is sleeping and attempts to mount him. Oh LOOK! I see an understatement approaching: SCHUBERT DOES NOT CARE FOR THIS.

Boggart’s redeeming qualities:

FINE! I will tolerate your scritchings for 4.3 seconds, as long as you limit it to one finger. BAH! ENOUGH! You have overpetted me! Now I must rise and go upstairs to mount Schubert.

1) Twice, the things he found in the house were mice. And I don’t want diseased little mice with slobbery death tongues licking HONTA-SUCK onto my sleeping children.

2) He doesn’t hit BABIES. I have never seen him hit a child under three.

I think it is pretty damning, though, if a list of your positive attributes is limited to, “Killed two mice. Doesn’t hit babies.”

I have no solution.

I can’t kill him, obviously. If the only criteria for the death penalty was “You seem to be a butthead,” we would lose a third of all cats and TWO thirds of all humans.

I can’t make him go live outside or even be an indoor/outdoor cat. HE IS AGORAPHOBIC.

I wish I was kidding. Because of the NEW PROBLEM, which we are coming to, I began taking him on supervised visits to outside, trying to ready him to live there. One would think this would be FUN for him. There are MANY more things to kill outside. But no. He loses his ever-lovin’ crap! It’s the first time I have ever seen Boggart display an emotion other than faint disdain.

He hyperventilates, puffs all his hair out, weeps piteously, and his eyes start rolling around separately in their sockets. I thought continued, supervised exposure would ease his fear, but it gets worse every time I take him. The last time I MADE him go for 30 seconds, he HURLED himself at the glass door with such terrified fervor I genuinely thought the little idiot was going to damage himself. I can’t LIKE him, but he is my cat, and I love him in a weird, masochistic way.

I can’t give him away because HE IS A TERRIBLE CAT. I would feel like I was offering to give some poor sucker my STAPH INFECTION, FREE TO GOOD HOME!

SO we have been at stalemate now for, what, three years? This is how life is: Boggart is awful in all ways and we all accept this, scoop his poop, bandage the wounds he causes, pay 500+ dollars a year for his shots and kibble, knowing that the average life expectancy of a cat is 12 years. Sometimes, when he has been PARTICULARLY IMPOSSIBLE, I look at Scott and say, “Only 9 to go….”

(Although Schubert is FIFTEEN and still going strong, which is FANTASTIC if you have an awesome cat like Schubert, but daunting when one considers the Bog-meister.)

and now, the smooth, cord-eating stylings of Boggart

NOW? The game has changed. Boggart has decided that, in addition to other, many FINE qualities, he should add THE RAMPANT EATING OF CHARGING CORDS to his repertoire.

Dr Google says he must be bored/wanting affection but he has plenty of toys and we play with him; we dangle his feathers on a string about for him and make the laser pointer thing go….and he doesn’t LIKE any other kind of interaction.

Since this new fetish started, he ate over 300 dollars worth of charging cords, including my son’s school issued 80 dollar MAC cord. Twice. We asked Dr. Google, and HE said to put the kind the cat likes where he can’t get them. So NOW we charge in rooms with closed doors. (Downside: the air can’t circulate and the house develops hot and cold spots, and then some child FORGETS and leaves the door open, and he eats more cords.)

But mostly it worked. The charging cords he favored were protected. We had a week or two of peace before he decided fettucine was JUST as nice as angel hair, and ate a lamp. WENT BEHIND A CHAIR AND ATE A LAMP. And that was only the beginning….NOW He is going behind furniture and digging under things and chewing right through ANY power cords he can find.
Back to Dr. Google. We painted all the cords with hot sauce. Which is apparently a delicious condiment. He is wondering if we could mix it up, maybe paint some cords with a nice hot curry or some jalapeños…He is also undeterred by bitter apple.

I am nervous the animal is going to burn the house and kill my kids BEFORE he mercifully electrocutes himself.

This new thing? It’s not okay. It’s not a thing I can live with. And yet I won’t kill him, he won’t go live outside, and I can’t give him away to anyone who has, you know, ELECTRICITY.


50 comments to The (Latest) Trouble with (That Jerk) Boggart

  • And he was such a cute, orange kitty with so much POTENTIAL. Then again, I’m sure that Hanninbal Lecter (AND Anthony Hopkins for that fact) was cute as a baby.

    I am sorry. We have two outdoor kitties who love it there–though they like to dart into the house and hide under the dining room table from time to time.

  • Jill W.

    Kitty counseling? Kitty valium?

  • sillyme

    The truth is someone somewhere probably would take this cat and enjoy his crotchety-ness. I had a horrible, horrible cat who we finally gave up on (he was horribly mean to my little girl for 2 years before I finally chose her over him)Now he lives with an equally crotchety old lady and they are happy together. Don’t know which one will die first, but they will probably spend their final days together comparing notes on being mean to everyone who is not them. -I guess misery does love company!

  • Aimee

    Have an elf dentist remove all his teeth, and then put him in charge of putting the star at the top of the Christmas tree?

    Give him a yo-yo, and hope that your spontaneous kindness melts his frosty exterior?

    I’m sorry, all of my ideas are brought to you by Rankin, and also by Bass.

    I seriously don’t know what to suggest. You might see if there’s some kind of cat adoption/sheltering service where you could take him. Usually places like that will take any cat, no matter how gnarly and brutish. Just as the Google, although I admit that the Google seems unprepared to deal with THE BOGGART.

  • Judy in California

    I adore cats. I have had indoor cats and currently have a beautiful outdoor cat who would be an indoor cat except that she was born feral and believes fervently in spraying vertical objects when voiding. (There! Wasn’t that delicately put?!) But I am moved to ask you the following question: Why does The Yellow Thug deserve more consideration and better treatment than aging Schubert, the children of the world, and the safety of your own home? I think TYT needs a new home (i.e., anywhere but your house!) before he is all you are LEFT with!

  • I am a cat person. I love cats. I say this to explain that I am not a meany when I say to you that you must either put this animal OUTSIDE whether he likes it or not. He’ll deal, eventually, or you find a kitty shelter that foster’s out cats and you put him there. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO PAY THEM.

    Then again. Maybe they make kitty prozac? And you can medicate him with it.

  • Laura B

    I too have a lovely aging cat and a younger cat with issues. I too have felt that there is no way I could re-home this cat but many Cat Authorities assure me that a misbehaving cat is an unhappy cat. Sometimes cats just need a different setting, a different household with different people and spaces. 9 years is too long to wait for him to die. Be honest with whatever rescue agency you use, but know that there is a good place for Boggart out there somewhere. Somewhere that is not your home.

  • I hate to say this, but Well-Documented Awfulness #5 is, in cat terms, not awful at all. Boggart is paying his rent. With the tastiest bits. He’s a contributing member of the family, in his eyes—helping with the groceries and keeping the small random humans under control. I would recommend Soft Paws claw caps (you can google it) to prevent him from snagging skin with his claws of evil, but you do have to hold him and install them on his individual claws, and he sounds like the sort of cat to take that the wrong way.

    The cord-chewing, though, seems aberrant. Surely he’s been shocked a little while doing it, and yet he continues. Not normal, even by cat standards, which are not stringent. Have you talked to your vet?

    If your vet doesn’t find anything wrong with him that might be causing the bad behavior, I agree with the other commentors who’ve said that he might be a good candidate for a kitty shelter, as long as you tell the shelter folks about all his horriblenesses. Maybe he needs to be an only cat. In an Amish household.

  • We have soft-pawed him. He sits there and PULLS THEM OFF ONE BY ONE! He is AMAZING! It takes HOURS and he sits and chews and glares at us and does it. I have never had a single nail cap stay on this cat for longer than 3 hours.

    He is the devil.

    THEY DO MAKE KITTY PROZAC! PROZACAT! I have a vet appointment with him for Monday. He is going to lie on a coach and tell the vet ALL and be a drug seeker.

    Better living through medication? We shall see.

  • PS Nancy Schubert in his salad days brought me tidbits, too. Cats are cats. You are right, I should not hold this against the little butthead.

  • Shelley

    Cats are supposed to hate oranges so you could try coating the chords with dilluted orange juice or that orange cleaner stuff. You could also use chord covers that might make it harder to chew through.

    You could also skip the supervised part of the outdoor plan, and just leave the door open until he gets curious enough to go outside without the pressure. Or leave a nice cat nip mouse right outside the door to draw him out. Then hang out there with the kids ignoring him until he feels compelled to swat a child again. Then he’ll realize the outdoors is fun!

  • Kathy

    I wish I had some miracle solution but I don’t. I am dealing with a butthead dog that insists on digging out of her pen. It has become a test of wills. And I’m not sure I’m winning. She’s currently on a chain, but I hate to leave her that way. At least until she digs another hole then I’m all for a life sentence on a chain gang! Then I start feeling guilty…. If Kitty Prozac doesn’t help you will probably have to find a kitty rescue for him. Even if it FEELS like another epic fail, it’s not.

  • Oh dear. I wish you luck with the Boggart.

  • My old roommate had a cat who went from cranky but with personality to very, very upset after a move. (I think she had assumed moving went moving away from all the other humans and cats, until I and my cat showed up.) My roommate ended up finding a farm for her to live happily and mouse happily, but her cat had found the outside sort of fun. So, really, I have no good solutions – other than consulting the vet – which you are doing.
    Hopefully some sort of kitty medication will help, because the lamp/cord chewing is expensive and dangerous to all. Or perhaps, would Boggart wish for some sort of doggy chew toy? Puppies often go through a chew through everything phase.

  • The cat shelters are overwhelmed, especially at this time of year with kitten season rapidly approaching. Just so you know: If you take him to a shelter, they may end up putting him down. You’d be better off trying to find him a new home on your own: Maybe a crochety relative?

    That said, don’t give up hope until you talk to the vet. He may have dental problems. If not, kitty valium may very well help! Also, what Shelley said about cord covers.

    Good luck!

  • You will not like my answer. You need another young cat. Don’t get a kitten, get a similarly aged cat who is strong and active and will provide Boggart with enough distraction that he will find his taste for tasty cords is much diminished.
    I had a 22 year old and the ‘young’ buck 15 year old would sometimes be a butthead to the old ‘un. Payback is a bitch. The 15-now-18 year old has to put up with all sorts of indignities from the 3 year old (who I pick up and inflict affections on, which he allows for all of 3 seconds).

  • Aimee

    Just to be clear (because RockyCat is right) I’m not recommending a regular shelter. What I’m recommending is some sort of cat rescue/adoption service. There’s one where I live in San Diego, and they NEVER put cats down. They have a cat-fostering system and an adoption agreement with our local Petsmart. I bet there’s something similar near you.

    And only if the Cat Prozac doesn’t work.

  • If you find someone who is willing to take your butthead cat, will you inquire if they would be willing to take TWO? My mother’s butthead cat is terrible. He swipes at EVERYONE and has even bitten people a time or two — my mother in the FACE! And yet my step-father, a retired vet, won’t get rid of him because he’s afraid someone will put him to sleep. They tried giving him away but felt they had to disclose his awfulness and pretty much everybody was like “um, no.”

    So, keep me posted?

  • Gail

    I’ve worked with a cat fostering rescue group here, and I cannot recommend that you take Boggart there, even if he is kind of an asshole. Those groups are way over-burdened as it is, and people who give cats to them after years of owning them are generally regarded to be giant assholes themselves. Think about it like he is your child (only you know, a lot less beloved than one you actually gave birth to); you can’t get rid of a child just because he is a jerk. As for putting him outside, unless you live on a farm or put him in an area with a very high fence, there is a pretty good chance of him getting run over by a car. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat in a suburban area is about three years.

    I know the cord-chewing is a problem, and I recommend taking him to the vet to see what they recommend. As for the mouse thing, that is kind of a rare quality. I know so many people who have gotten cats to keep their barns clean and the cats were lazy and did nothing about mice. So be thankful for that. For the hitting children thing, I’m not sure. It doesn’t sound too terrible if it’s only the occasional snag. I’d just try to keep his claws trimmed or filed down.

    I am a cat person and two of my cats are rescues from outside, so I am probably oversensitive about this issue, but I really don’t think that overburdening a shelter or rescue group even more than they already are is a nice plan. Groups that foster often try to save cats from euthanizing shelters, as well as feral cats, and they are so overburdened. They will probably take your cat, but will consider you the world’s biggest jerk. Unless he ate your baby’s face or something.

  • Gail

    Also, I second hollygee’s suggestion. When cats bite or slap you, they are usually using you as a replacement for a companion cat. They have an instinct to play rough to develop their fighting skills, but when they don’t have another cat to “play” with them, they will use you or your children instead.

  • edj

    I have no idea and just popped over to read other’s comments. Good luck! Also am very upset not to have won free copy…you know if I had just stayed focused and not paused to show my husband that book trailer I think I would have won! Grrr…. I mean, congrats to the winners! *Bright Happy Smile* 🙂

  • Karen C.

    After getting an immense amount of enjoyment from reading Backseat Saints, I hope I can return the favor and share some information that might make your life with Boggart more enjoyable.

    I perceive you as being open minded, or perhaps merely desperate enough, to suggest you go to the site: http://www.eftuniverse.com.

    The technique (EFT–Emotional Freedom Technique) described there is similar to acupressure, but works on an emotional level. You should be able to find enough information to learn how to give a treatment to your cat, which can be done on yourself as a surrogate if Boggart won’t tolerate it. I believe there is a video you can watch and there used to be a manual you could download for free in order to learn the technique. It has performed miracles of all kinds on people and on animals. At the very least, you can locate a practitioner who could do it for you.

    As an example, I wasn’t bonding with our new puppy because I was having second thoughts about adopting him when we were finally getting some freedom in our lives. I hadn’t even been able to choose a name for him. Eventually, he began to seriously act up after being an angel. I used EFT and immediately realized he was acting up because he was feeling unwanted. I felt like a rotter, because he really was adorable and I did want him. I immediately named him and began to bond. His behavior turned around and he has been a complete joy ever since.

    If you search the articles on the website, you will probably find some describing EFT being used on animals. The following is quoted from one of them where it was used on a dog THAT CHEWED.
    I urge you to try it. Life has a way of amazing us, and as the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This particular session was done by an animal communicator.

    From: “The dog that used to chew everything”

    “In this case LC (initials only for privacy purposes) called me about her male dog, Pebbles, who was chewing everything in her house: carpets, linoleum, plants, furniture, stairs and stair spindles. She was at her wit’s end and very upset when she called me. She had to lock him up when she was out and was considering returning him to the pound. Now she was a very caring and nurturing animal rescuer so I knew she was at her wit’s end.. . . I thought the magic words: EFT!

    It worked on people so why not give it a try?

    I told her I had one more trick up my sleeve and that I would try it. Give me another week. . . .

    This is an example of what we tapped for not necessarily in this order:

    Even though I like to chew because it makes me salivate and my gums feel good, I deeply and completely love and accept myself”.

    Even though my gums are itchy”.

    Even though I love the taste of that wood, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and choose to chew only toys

    Even though I hate that dog (name)”

    Even though she (the dog) wants me out of here”

    Even though they (the other animals) get everything they want and I don’t”.

    Even though she (the guardian) is angry at me and will give me up and I’ll be all alone”.

    Even though I heard her say she will bring me back (pound)”.

    Even though I’m scared of being alone”

    Even though I’m bad”.

    Even though they always leave me”. Even though nobody loves me because I’m bad”.

    Even though the boy doesn’t like me

    Even though he pushes me away”.

    Even though they yell at me and I’m bad and I know it but I can’t help it and what will happen to me” Even though I will have to go back to that place (pound) and I don’t care”.

    Even though I don’t care because nobody wants me”

    Even though I know she is going to leave me”

    Even though I can’t remember what it feels like to be loved because they never like me and I’m not good enough”

    Even though I’m not good enough for anybody and nobody will want me and I will just die and I don’t care.”

    The next day, Pebble’s guardian called and told me the chewing stopped.

    She was only chewing on her toys. And the dominance with the other dog stopped too. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t dare to believe it! I knew Gary (the man who developed EFT) said try it on everything but this was too good to be true! So we waited a few weeks (I was cautious) then a month and still no chewing. This is about 9 months ago. Since then I have used EFT in communication form on cats with urination problems, dogs, show horses and even two parrots! Always with good results!. . . I am convinced that this can be done without being a communicator. I would recommend closing your eyes, imagining that your pet is in front of you and tapping for everything that crops up in your head. The short form is enough. Use your intuition! It’s faster then with people, they really want to please. The key is not to tap them for what you want ( ie: stop stealing the chicken, going on the sofa, scratching your privates in public”) but to find the underlying cause for what’s going on. I have found that clients that are connected to their pets already really know what is going on. In the case of show horses EFT is very useful for anxiety or fear related to performance as with people performers. The key here is to listen with the heart and tap! I’m pretty sure you will be amazed to see how they respond to you.”

    This is me again. I hope this helps. It’s heartbreaking to love/hate a pet, knowing you might be it’s last hope. Good luck.

  • Well I’m thrilled I wasn’t possessed by the same sharing-monster as edj, and that the RNG didn’t reject me this time! Looking forward to reading REVOLUTION.

    As for your kitteh, I have no professional credentials, and obviously the vet’s the way to go to find out if Boggart has teeth issues, etc. That said, I’ll share a few things friends recommend:
    1. Rescue remedy – an anti-anxiety med
    2. Forced bonding – my sister has done this with two cats now. I wouldn’t believe it worked otherwise, and to be honest, it might make things worse. However, you sound desperate and I trust my sister.

    She adopted several half-feral cats who weren’t affectionate, and who swiped. She’d hold them down and pet them until they submitted and relaxed. Then, and only then, would she let them free.

    She did this about four times a day. She’s convinced it changed their brain chemistry; I think it changed their perception of their roles. Regardless, in two cases, within about a month, formerly grouchy, antagonistic, swipey cats began to follow her around her home and engage the other cats in friendly play.

    Good luck to you and Boggart. Personally, I’d give it everything I had, but I wouldn’t let my pets or dependent children suffer, no matter how much I loved the little brat.

  • Jeaneva

    Have you tried changing his food? Or giving his some cat vitamins? Maybe he has the cat-form of Pica–like when a pregnant woman starts eating dirt or laundry detergent, etc.

  • jeanette

    Our cat used to be not very social or friendly–but not swipey or mean. When we went on vacation for 3 weeks and left her home alone with just a friend coming in for a few minutes a day to give her food and water, her whole personality (or catality?) changed. She LOVED us after that. Now several years later she is still a loving lap cat who is very attached to her people. She has even learned to travel so now she goes on vacation with us instead of staying home alone. Point being, maybe your kitteh needs some isolation therapy??

    As for the cords that you are not able to keep away from said bad-boy kitty, I suggest wrapping them with barbed wire. Unconventional, yes…….but hey, haven’t you always wanted to go with a more relaxed country decor??

  • Elizabeth

    These comments are priceless! I’m allergic to cats–and, unfortunately, they adore me with all their dandery selves. If there were any way to make them keep their distance when visiting friends, I’d like to know it.

  • Niki

    If you don’t have an allergy to it, I’d suggest lavender oil swiped on the cords… its smelly enough to Offend sensitive kitty noses. I suspect (though I’ve never tried it) it tastes terrible. lol

  • Lise

    Ack. I have no good advice, other than taking him to a vet. But you have all my sympathy. We had to have my daughter’s elderly dog put down when she was in so much pain from arthritis that she started biting people. We loved her, but people come first in our house and I wasn’t willing to risk her biting a child’s face. Having to deal with a destructive aggressive *young* animal is far more difficult.

  • Brigitte

    If you Google “cord protector”, all kinds of things pop up. Of course, they ARE unsightly, and Boggart might still eat them or work around the . .

    As far as the death penalty for butt-headism, I think that needs to apply to more like 99.9% of the human population.

  • kimberlyHdM

    Cats are supposedly repelled by the scent of rosemary. I’ve used it with limited success outside in our shrubs to discourage rampant pooing by the neighbors’ indoor-outdoor cats. Maybe using it indoors would be more effective. And it’s supposed to be good for your hair and scalp. The rosemary oil–not the cat poo.

  • Chris

    Do not make him an outdoor cat, then you are subjecting your neighbors to the same problems you were already having. Trust me, I had this wonderful experience first hand and have a nice scar to remind me of the terrible cat my neighbors decided was too much to live in the house; he attacked me in our carport.
    Talk to your vet, decide if you do indeed need to find him a different home.
    Good luck.

  • Pet Rescue remedy. Put it in his water bowl or on his food. If that’s not enough chill, kitty antianxiety meds.
    But I’ve been amazed what a diff the rescue remedy makes.

  • Also, my mother’s cat when i was little was a hitting cat. We just learned to avoid him, and then when I was older I DARED him to hit me and petted him anyway. Eventually he gave up and accepted attention with non violent disdain.

  • Helene

    The Dreaded B doesn’t sound like too much of a problem besides the chewing electrical wires to be honest, certainly not to the point of rehomin, younger cats often go through a ‘swipey’ phase where they are not overly affectionate and grow out of it, if he is not actually injuring anyone beyond a scratch…he is a cat, grab him by his scruff hard (not to hurt though)when he misbehaves as you are his catmama and such behaviour is unacceptable 😛 cats do understand that way of communicating lol. Both my rescue cats went through this phase and are now the sweetest most loving lapcats ever to exist sso there is hope 😛
    Also another cat, particularly a female kitten/young spayed Queen (I’m assuming your animals are neutered?) would put him in his place at once regarding behaviour and as others have mentioned give him a younger companion to bother.

    Definately have him thoroughly checked out at a good cat vet for any medical issues that may be hidden xo

  • I recommend feliway. There’s more info here at http://www.feliway.com/us. I’ve used it with success. It’s much easier than medicating him (you think you have scratches now?), and you could try it after your vet rules out medical issues.
    I work for a vet and volunteer with animal rescue groups. If he goes to a shelter, depending on their protocol, the least adoptable animals don’t get adopted. They get a different fate.

  • Jess (of the formerly blue hair)

    One idea: Wrap cords in tin foil. Feels icky on the teeth, will hopefully be less fun to nom?

  • I’m with the group that asks you not to make him an outside cat. Also, give the Feliway a try. There’s also a calming collar, but you will need to watch him closely for a few days. It made unimaginable improvements in my ‘fraidy cat (he belly crawls at top speed through the kitchen if there’s even one person standing in the room). Unfortunately, he also started licking at it obsessively until he licked a bare patch on his neck, then licked it raw, then licked it crusty. It healed after I removed the collar and he stopped licking, and the fur has grown back. However, you can get Feliway in a spray or a room diffuser. It isn’t cheap, but try it and see if it makes a difference.

  • Laura

    I have ideas! I skimmed the other comments to see if they were covered, and I don’t think so, so here goes:
    * There’s a kitty collar that works for a month, is $15 (which I guarantee you is going to be cheaper than kitty prozac) and delivers a chill-the-fuck-out pheromone to cats. I used it on our monster cat (he’s bigger than our four year old), which has allowed him to calm down on his obsessive behaviours and sleep a lot. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sentry-Behavior-Pheromone-Collar-Inches/dp/B0026JAKWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301582852&sr=8-1
    * You can cut cat’s claws so that they can’t scratch. I do this. It works: http://www.catscratching.com/htmls/article.htm
    * There is a device used for dogs that works REALLY well on cats. Generally. It works on mine. It’s an ultrasonic buzzer (people can’t hear it), but when you point it at a cat and press the button, they get a look like they were just kicked in the balls inside their head. It’s AWESOME. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Petzoom-8140-PetZoom-Sonic-Trainer/dp/B003EYUDT2/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1301583225&sr=1-1. They recommend using a command to tell the animal that you don’t like the behaviour before you press the button, but I think that works better on dogs. For my cat, I prefer the if-you-do-this-sometimes-god-comes-down-and-kicks-your-head-balls approach. Tweech his own.

    Good luck!

  • Most heartfelt condolences; sounds like a truly maddening situation! There seem to be many good suggestions here, I offer a more unorthodox one: buy Sam a copy of “Cat Training in 10 Minutes,” a clicker, some cat treats and a VERY STRONG PAIR OF PROTECTIVE GLOVES, then set up an incentive structure: for any modification of Boggart’s behavior (it would not be USEFUL if he learned to jump through a hoop, but it would be a more productive use of his time than what he’s doing currently), Sam gets $10 in books, or something along those lines. I am assured this book is very good!


  • Nancy

    I’ll be honest, he doesn’t sound that bad to me. The swiping at children thing doesn’t sound too extreme or resulting in injury. If he tried to sleep on your face and smother you, I’d be more concerned. Or if he randomly all out attacked you, like massive scratches leading to blood loss. A lot of cats don’t like to be petted, just like some people don’t like to be hugged and touched and cuddled. As for his attacking Schubert, I had a cat that used to do this, and he was trying to get the other cat to play, since he couldn’t understand that the other cat was old and wanted to ignore him. The answer for us was adding another younger, playful cat. As for the slaughtering, I’d much rather find things already slaughtered than have to kill them myself.

    The cords sound like the only real problem, and I think you’ll find something that works eventually. Try the vet, otherwise just keep trying different things on the cords- foil, vaseline, double-sided tape, tea tree oil (my cat hates this so much she won’t even come in the same room when my lotion is open), orange oil, other essential oils. Eventually something will work.

  • sillyme

    I was going to suggest a tiny shock collar, (or should I call it a Behavior Modification collar?) but you would have to chase around after him all day pressing the button every time he found a cord or swiped at someone or attacked poor Schubert. While it might be fun at first (jk -hee!) that’s a lot of chasing around and shocking. As far as someone thinking you’re a jerk for rehoming an unhappy cat away from a home not happy to have him, I would say that *those* people who think bad thoughts about you are the jerks. and do you really care what a jerk thinks? So there. Hmmph.

  • Carrie (in MN)

    This right here is why I will never ever have another cat. I have enough butthead people in my life, I don’t need to take a 1/3 risk I’ll end up with a butthead cat.

    p.s. I’ve been reading you long enough to want to be a fly on the wall when you tell Scott the answer to your Boggart problem is to add another animal.

  • Carrie (in MN)

    p.p.s I sincerely hope one of these recommendations works, but I’m also with the group that says re-home him if nothing else works because nine+ years is too long.

  • Renee

    I had a cord-eating cat a few years back and tried everything to stop her. Finally I bought some ugly cord covers and that deterred her from that bad habit. Ultimately, I got another cat and all bad behaviors stopped shortly after that. Like I saw someone else said, you may need to get him a playmate!

  • Jessica

    Finding him a new home may just work on the behavioral problems, to be honest. I was the proud human of a wonderful cat — well, she was wonderful to me and anyone I allowed in my home. In her previous homes, she hated everyone and everything. Most of those homes had either other pets (cats or dogs) or kids, and it turned out she hated kids and other pets. I never brought another pet into my home while I had her, knowing this about her, but I did bring children, and she respected me enough to not try to make them her nightly kibble (which had happened at a previous home). I’ve now had two cats just like this, and each one was fine with anyone I brought into the home for short periods of time, but just couldn’t tolerate being around kids and other animals. all. the. freaking. time. My last one just couldn’t emotionally handle it. She ended up being the sweetest, most cuddly cat I’ve ever had. To me.

    My cat also had anxiety problems that we treated without medication, but we knew meds were an option if they got worse (she had separation anxiety more than anything, and that was terrible, but she hated car rides and couldn’t go with me on trips). For the outside thing, if you really are serious about keeping him around, you might try him on some kitty mind meds, just to see if it helps his fear of the outdoors ease a bit. If that still doesn’t work, I’d say contact your local shelter and let them know you have a special needs kitty that you need a good home for (no pets, no kids). Boggart might see you treating Schubert and the kids different and be acting out because he realizes he can’t be the cat you want him to be (except, well, obviously not in that kind of self-aware way, but sometimes cats sense things that they act on instinctively).

    I really do wonder if just finding the right Boggart human might be the way to look at this. I know you’re his human and you feel as though you’re inflicting a, well, a Boggart on someone else, but just think of it as finding the right fit for Boggart and human. Maybe a human without fears that the Boggart can exploit. 😉

    Please let us know how this all turns out!

  • Jessica

    Oh! And vinegar! Cats hate the smell of vinegar (I think I read somewhere it reminds them of the urine of other cats, but I could be making that up), so try spraying a solution of white vinegar mixed with water near power cords (but obviously not where it would spark 😉 ).

  • Hope

    Hey, this my first time reading your blog, so I don’t know your full history with Boggart, but I do know cats, as I’ve had three and nursed two of them through illness.

    Please don’t put him outside if he’s that terrified. That’s just cruel. Also, he runs the risk of getting injured of killed. I second Rescue Remedy and using Feliway. Also, the Vet needs to check him thoroughly and maybe run some bloodwork.
    Another thing that might help is pet communicator. I’ve used one and while it sound a little hinky, there are things she was able to tell me that there is no way she could have known about me and my cats. Here’s the website for the lady I’ve used: http://www.animaltelepathy.com I’ve had great experience with her.
    Another thing I’ve done is used holistic Vets. You might be able to get something to help him from one of them.
    I wouldn’t recommend wrapping the cords in foil. If he eats it, it could damage his mouth and internal organs.
    I hope the Vet is able to help you.

  • Jill Sturgeon

    You can find plastic coverings that easily go over exposed wires – we put these on the wires out cat (Trumpkin) was interested in chewing – he did knock out a whole Christmas tree of lights last year!
    Trumpkin is 2 1/2 – better now with wires.
    Check an office depot type place for plastic coverings – they really work!

  • Kacie

    Nick and I are in the same boat with our cat Whiskey. We’ve tried the hot sauce and 3 different varieties of bitter apple and it seems he liked them all, because his cord chewing actually increased. The only thing that has worked is locking him in a room without any cords when we’re away. If you make a discovery…let me know.