One of my kittens, Puma, has become obsessed with my fish tanks. Despite my best efforts he pesters the fish, drinks from the tank, and recently - since I upgraded to a 20g long on my dresser - he has started jumping and smacking the tank. Not only is he stressing out the 3 bettas I have divided in there, but I'm terrified he is going to damage the tank and my dresser.
I have tried spray bottles, chasing out of my room, and am now keeping a fly swatter to give him a gentle swat when he does it. I can't keep my door closed as it's unfair to my other cats who aren't behaving badly. They'll look and watch, maybe paw now and then, but nothing like Puma does.
I know it sounds a rather silly thing to worry about, but I have anxiety and I've been under a lot of stress lately and this is only piling onto it. We've even considered finding him a home (were thinking before this anyways) but we refuse to give away to someone or go to a shelter without a no-kill policy, and the only no-kill here costs $50 to surrender a cat.
Make the room a no-cat room. I keep all of my tanks in my room, and unless I'm in there to supervise, (except when I sleep), the cats are not allowed in my room. I have one that means well. She likes to drink out of the tanks, watch the fish lazily, etc... but I have one nervous Betta and two puffers that try jumping out of their tank when they see her. If she starts acting up, I kick her out. I usually just keep her out of my room, for everyone's safety. (If she eats one of the puffers, there are two dead animals on my hands.)
For your sanity, just make it cat-free, and be happy. :)
Another option is to give him his own perch nearby the tank where he can watch the tank. Look up clicker training for cats. Reward him with very high reward treats for sitting on the perch. If he launches himself for the fish tank, grab him (not roughly) and kick him out of the room. Once he's back in there, then reward him once again for going on the perch (lure him if you must). Rinse and repeat. Do not let your cat go into the room unsupervised. When supervised, make it clear that that perch = good place, the place they're supposed to be at. Being in the room is a privilege that cats taken away the moment the cat misbehaves.
I don't use punishment (spray bottles, etc.) for my cats because I don't do that for my dog either. I've successfully taught my cat to not jump on the kitchen counter this way. The only thing your cat ahs learned from the above is that unpleasant things happen when they're around you. Clearly jumping for the fish = much more rewarding and worth risking being sprayed, swatted, etc. which is why it's not making a difference.
contrary to common belief, Taquitos is Correct. You can train cats. In fact, one of my cats got sick once, and had to be cooped up in a cage for a lot of time. And while she was like that I used training as exercise and fun for her. She knows how to sit, Lay down, Jump, and even Roll over on command.
Sooner or later he will learn that the perch is " His Spot" And he will stop pestering the fish. But, You have to have tasty treats. I know your trying to get him away from the fish, but I find that tuna works very good, Also you can try those " Temptations" Treats, Most of my cats LOVE them.
Also, the cat free Idea is ok, But I don't know if you would want to give up snuggling with the more well behaved kittys. lol
And remember, with the training and everything, This won't happen over night, It will take a little while to get. luckily Most cats are smarter that we give them credit for. :) Good luck!!!!
You could also try one of those plug-ins that are designed to calm cats down and reduce problem behaviour, but they can be pricey and I have heard mixed reviews. Not sure if it would deter from fish but I am guessing there are other issues if he was already facing the possibility of rehoming.
I would probably go with making it a no-cat zone, too though. :)
The only thing your cat ahs learned from the above is that unpleasant things happen when they're around you. Clearly jumping for the fish = much more rewarding and worth risking being sprayed, swatted, etc. which is why it's not making a difference.
I have terriers, not cats, but a friend has a herd of cats. Cats hate sticky things. Some 2 sided tape seems to do the trick, and more importantly does it when you're not there. For hard cases he's balled up some box tape besides the 2 sided tape, swat & stick, OMG horrible get this off of me.
As I pointed out already, I will not make the room cat free. My other cats don't misbehave and wander in and out of my room for attention or sleeping. Plus they sleep with me at night.
Last night I had to cover the tank up because even in the dark Puma was still attacking the tank. It wasn't such a big deal before with the two tanks there, he would go sit by them and watch and only paw at them now and then. Eventually he got bored. So far he hasn't been as bad today so hopefully he'll start settling down.
Puma is the problem child of the bunch, no matter how you try to deter him from anything he continues to do it. Mainly because my mom undoes everything I do (lets him sleep on the table, feeds him on the table, etc). I can't even have him on my lap now because he freaks out when he sees the betta on my desk.
I'll try letting him perch on the side of the big tank after I switch the betta on that side with my older one who will flare at the cats. The little one is young and she stripes up at the drop of a hat. He's taken a special interest in her since she's the closest one to harass.
I will also try the tape thing for sure, Puma does indeed hate tape.
Oh some more Ideas, Try getting a Big card board box for him. It doesn't have to be Huge, But Make it a " Clubhouse" just for him. Put some stringy toys in. It might make him want to hang out there instead of attacking the tank.
Also, Is there anyway to you could make the shelf that the tank is on into a " Cat-free" zone?
Like, They can go anywhere they want Except the dresser? And if puma is being bad, Kick him off the bed. or where ever he sits. If I sit on the bed its ok, but if I touch tank I get no bed.
Also, maybe he is bored, Try some new toys. Like a fishing pole thing with a feathery birdie thing on it. I might get him away from the tank :)
Once he locks on to the sight of the fish, I push him off the bed or give him a tap with the swatter. Already he is starting to take the hint. They have a whole box of toys to play with and they are constantly pulling more out to play with. The kittens and my other two girls constantly play as well. I do try to play with them with the toys a lot but I've been busy with the tanks lately.