What can I do to get him to stop getting into my trash?

I fixed fish the other night, and ever since then, Jupiter can't stop getting into my trash! Last night he knocked over the trash can multiple times - each time I caught him I set it back up and told him "NO," but as soon as he was left alone again, he would do it all over again. Last night I shut the trash can in a closet, but it's really not convenient to leave it there permanently. I would prefer for him to learn that knocking over the trash is just not acceptable, no matter how tempting the contents. Any suggestions to get him to stop doing this?

Asked by Jupiter on Jan 9th 2008 Tagged trash, training in Other Behavior & Training
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Best Answer


Dad's mom had this problem with her beagle. If you can't do what Izzie is suggesting (under the cupboard trash), then you might want to get one of those heavy duty trash cans that are tall and lock shut. That way even if Jupiter somehow knocks it down (he shouldn't, those things are harder to tip), nothing will spill, and eventually he will lose interest in trying. Problem solved.

I like bumping mommy's paper trash can, because it is small and light enough for me to tip. In my case, it hardly makes much of a mess so mom lets it go. She did notice that I do this at night when I am bored, so she tries and play with me a lot before bedtime so that I am content and sleepy, and therefore less likely to be desperate for attention or entertainment.

BTW, our food trash can happens to be in close proximity to my litter box, so I've never expressed interest in it. Perhaps it's because cats don't eat close to where they go to the bathroom. Maybe that set up could help you too?

Boris answered on Jan 10th.

Other Answers



I would start by cleaning the trash can to make absolutely sure it doesn't smell like fish anymore. After that you can only try various things until you find something that works. At pet stores you can usually find various sprays that are harmless to cats, but since they don't like the smell they will generally avoid the area you spray it in. If that doesn't work then maybe find a sturdier trash can? Or perhaps leave the trash can out only when you can keep an eye on Jupiter, and put it away at other times.

My cats have a similar problem when it comes to anything chicken-related being thrown away. I've just learned to take the trash out immediately after throwing out chicken bones or packaging. Since the trash can doesn't hold any other interest to them, they leave it alone.

Patches answered on 1/9/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

There are a few things you can try, like Patches said. Btw-I sprayed my plants with cat repellant and I think it attracted them...! Anyway, I keep my trash under the kitchen sink with the cupboard door closed. If I put fish in there, even the bag it comes wrapped in, it's like putting a neon sign on the door that says "HERE,KITTIES!!!" Once you get used to the trash being in the cupboard, it's not so inconvenient. We have three cats and three dogs, so there's always something in the trash that will attract one or the other! If you have a garbage can outside, put things like fish and meat wrappers and garbage out there. You can also buy a small garbage can with a locking lid. I've seen kitchen sized ones at Lowes.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 1/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


We came home from a short trip during which my friend dropped in once per day to feed my cats and check their water and litter boxes. Boy was that kitchen a mess! Trash turned over, plastic bags everywhere, and they were playing in it. Jerks. Well, you could weigh your trash can down with rocks or even a few bricks in the bottom under the bag. Or yes, putting in the cubboard under the sink might work for some, but not for my cats. They just go in. And what's more annoying is in our last place we thought keeping the girls out of the cupboards by installing child safety locks would be an excellent idea. Instead we just heard the "banging" when my cats put their paws in the doors and tried opening/closing/opening/closing...you get the picture. I've been told I have the world's most obnoxious cats and they're almost like rats in their desire to get into food staples and everything (dried lentils all over the floor anyone!?!)

Simon answered on 1/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Toe Lula Tunnelworth

My Mom is mean! She never puts food types smelly bits in the trash. When she cooks, she puts all of the good stuff, especially the bones, in a Walmart, or other store bag. Then takes it directly outside while I sit there thinking "curses foiled again!" I have thumbs so under the sink doesn`t help! My pet kid left chicken bones upstairs in his bedroom and when Mom found out she sure gave him an ear full! (hee-hee-hee) Good luck.

Toe Lula Tunnelworth answered on 1/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer