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  #1  
Unread 11-19-2012, 06:07 PM
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Unhappy My cat keeps destroying my flower spikes--help!

I live in a small apartment that I share with my cat. The orchids grow on shelves under lights in the bedroom, and for the most part, the cat ignores them. I keep the bedroom door closed when I am not in that room, so he's rarely in there alone.

My cat goes after the flower spikes, and bites off the tips. He'll ignore the plants until the spikes are just about to flower, and then destroy them. I try to be vigilant, but it takes months for a spike to mature, and he needs to only swipe at it once to destroy it. He's destroyed 4 spikes this way already over the past few months.

I don't have room to move orchids to a place where he has no access to them, and I don't know how to train him to avoid them, when 90% of the time he doesn't go near them. And when he does get to a spike, it takes him so little time to destroy it, that by the time I get to him with a spray bottle, he's already run off to hide in a kitchen corner. I can be 99% vigilant, but the one time I get lax is enough to lose the flowers.

Please help. I lost a tolumnia spike today, while I had my back turned to him for less than a minute, and I'm at a loss as to what to do.
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  #2  
Unread 11-19-2012, 06:34 PM
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I don't have cats, but I wonder if there is some way you could make the flower spikes unappetizing. I was just reading on the OB about using Cayenne pepper paste. Maybe you could try it?
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  #3  
Unread 11-19-2012, 07:31 PM
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Can't give you a definite answer as it's a problem I've 'avoided' so far with mine! (My plants are mostly out of reach in various ways!) But if he's an inside cat he might be craving some greens. You could grow cat grass.

Also is he trying to mark them with his scent? (rubbing with his head and mouthing it) If so staking them with a stake longer than the spike might help, or placing a stake strategically, so he'd 'mark' that instead of the spike.

If he's doing it partly because he's bored then more games might help. If he has dry food it helps if you scatter it and hide it in boxes etc rather than leaving it in a bowl.
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  #4  
Unread 11-19-2012, 07:37 PM
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I take him outside, and he's not interested in any of the greens. He's specifically interested in the flowers and flower buds.

The biggest problem is when I take the orchids off the shelves to water them. If I take my eyes off the orchids, he'll hone in on the flower spikes, and bite off the tips. Won't chew them or eat them. Just bite them off, and drop them on the ground. And in the case when he got at an orchid after the flowers opened, he picked off every single flower with malign precision. And walked away immediately after.

I ordered mosquito netting today, and will try to close off the entire orchid shelf area. I'm not sure how effective that will be, though. But I'm sick of feeling so helpless everytime another one of my flower spikes gets destroyed.
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  #5  
Unread 11-19-2012, 07:55 PM
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ever watched that cat "psychologist" on TV ? My cat from Hell - other than being hilarious, its also informative. We have 3 cats and do not have problems - and we use the tips from this programme often.
I suspect that yours has twigged that he gets attention from you when he does what he does to the plants. The best way to stop this is for you to tire him out with cat toy/s and literally smother him with attention. THEN do your orchid stuff, once he is tired/satisfied. Has he other outlets for his energy ? The best tip I saw is that you should have a ledge built/ or have a special place just for him that is HIGHER than your waist-level ( preferably shoulder-high ), where he can relax and survey his domain, and with easy access for him. Cats will just not do what you say - you got to beat them psychologically !
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  #6  
Unread 11-19-2012, 08:54 PM
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I have trained a bunny, guinea pigs, and dogs to stay away from my plants but never a cat. Hope you find a good solution.
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  #7  
Unread 11-19-2012, 09:15 PM
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More cat toys
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  #8  
Unread 11-19-2012, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkg1323 View Post
More cat toys
I guess that's always a good thing to do.

I think that all the advice so far is good general cat training. And I have incorporated some of it so far as well. Boredom can be a big issue for indoor cats; that's why I started taking him out for occasional walks to a local park. I get strange looks from some people, but the cat likes it, and it has made a great change in his demeanor. Giving him more toys and playtime will keep him happier and less troublesome.

It doesn't reassure me that he won't again decide to swipe at a flower.

The cayenne pepper is an interesting idea. The cat repellents I've seen online have really mixed reviews. Makes me hesitant to trust in them.

I'm now thinking that I should just take the plunge and buy a smallish orchidarium to house any of my orchids that are in bloom/spike. Seems like a drastic step, but it would permanently get the orchids out of reach...
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  #9  
Unread 11-19-2012, 11:50 PM
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I know how you feel. We have 3 cats and one of them is a holy terror and has nipped off many of my buds and chews on the leaves of most orchids except Phals and most cattleyas. Anything even close to grassy even if it is a wide oncidium leaf falls victim to him. Many of my orchids have shredded ends on all the leaves. I only bring mine in from the greenhouse for enjoying blooms or to re-pot or when they are new and have to be entered into OrchidWiz first. But first day home and some have been attacked! Recently I started putting a dab of olive oil on every leaf tip and then a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on the olive oil. The oil keeps the pepper sticking to the leaf. This way I get to enjoy my blooming plants in the house. It has worked 100% so far. I don't know how it would affect buds tho. But maybe putting it on the leaves would be enough to keep the cat away from the buds. It sounds laborious if there are a lot of leaves, but at least it works.

I do think a little grow tent would be a good idea to isolate them when in bud. When you are watering them could you put the cat in another room with the door shut?

We have tried repellent sprays when one of our cats was scratching furniture and it would be at the furniture moments after I sprayed it. So I don't think they work very well.

It's tough trying to get cat's to stop something and it has to be their idea. Another thought has come to mind, the air compressor really gets a cat to move! Maybe using one when he gets near your orchids a few times would give it the message to stay away! You could borrow a small portable one.
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  #10  
Unread 11-19-2012, 11:55 PM
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A simple frame with some of the black bird netting put tightly on to it would be my suggestion. It would be enough to stop the cat but won't muck up the view of your orchids too much, get the black netting because you won't see it whereas the white will muck up the view of the orchids more.

If you can get your hands on a baby playpen and attach some wire to it then you could set it up while you are watering and sit them inside so they are fenced(and throw some netting over the top if they cat tries to jump in.


-Can you tell i have lots of critters and lots of plants? LOL
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