When my present cat joined our household some years in the past, it had been some time since a cat had resided with us. The 2 earlier cats had each lived to over age 21, with the overall difficulties that almost all animals expertise as they age. I had sworn by no means to have one other cat as a result of I assumed my golden retriever was allergic to them. Because it turned out, he was not—fortunate for all of us, because the cat we adopted finally turned my golden’s easiest buddy. She noticed him by way of his outdated age whereas we hospiced him for worn-out kidneys till he handed at age 15. My oldest canine ever . . . till the one who’s now 19.
With no cats in my residence for such a very long time, I had actually forgotten the right way to cat-proof a home.
The brand new cat was going to be, I’d determined earlier than she first arrived, an indoor-only cat. That might imply making her indoor-only setting not solely enriching but additionally as secure as doable, since she would possibly do some “thrill-seeking” as she settled into her grownup years with us. (She was an adolescent on the time she arrived.)
What “dangerous” behaviors did our often angelic younger cat show, to my shock? Home vegetation! She ate ’em, or worse—she chewed off the sides of their leaves . . . which didn’t appear to upset her digestion in any approach so far as I may inform. It wasn’t wholesome for the vegetation, in fact, and left them wanting too tattered to show.
Inside weeks, I remembered all of the cat-proof locations that vegetation may thrive in our home, like on a excessive window ledge above the steps. That’s, till the leaves droop thus far off the ledge that they’re only some ft away for a high-jumping cat. And our new cat may actually bounce!
Vegetation hanging from hooks on the ceiling took the prize, however I positively needed to shut the door once I watered vegetation within the lavatory sink. Doorways might be very useful in cat-proofing a home, however you have to keep in mind to make use of them persistently, each time “one thing” is likely to be in jeopardy of cat molestation.
It’s that one time you neglect that “trains” you to be extra vigilant.
Our new cat wasn’t into treats—not cat treats or something aside from cat kibble to eat, interval. I needed to guess she’d by no means been uncovered to attractive cat edibles of any kind. It took years, however lastly she determined that small items of “human” meals are yummy—potato chips, goldfish crackers, and cereal within the form of Os from Dealer Joe’s. She nonetheless has completely little interest in business pet treats!
When she was new to us, she may simply leap from the sting of the mattress onto the highest of my dresser, the place a container of canine treats lived. It had been saved there for years, a sentimental favourite—it had been a prize at a canine present I’d attended many canines earlier than. Canines (no less than the massive ones) may have put paws on the dresser to illegally entry these treats; the highest of the container didn’t even screw on.
Understand that the cat had little interest in consuming the treats, so I nonetheless have no idea why she incessantly jumped up on the dresser and knocked the container on its facet, spilling treats and crumbs throughout. It’s doable that the canines acquired sufficient of the crumbs off the ground to encourage them to induce the cat on. I noticed no proof of any overt urging, however there will need to have been some reward in it for the cat or she wouldn’t have continued the conduct. Perhaps it was only a matter of “having the ability to do it” for her?
Evidently, it took me for much longer than it ought to have to resolve that drawback. I discovered in a cabinet downstairs an excellent outdated glass jar with a “locking” lid; it was good as a result of (a) it held extra treats; and (b) it was unattainable to “unlock” for any animal with out opposable thumbs or a good substitute.
As soon as she couldn’t knock across the container, no precise treats and even crumbs appeared and, you guessed it—the cat, who’s now lived right here for a few years, has by no means jumped onto the dresser once more.
I requested cat homeowners, “Have you ever had a cat with a ‘dangerous’ behavior? How did you alter the conduct?”
Lynn Honeckman DVM (Florida) Sherbert, our cat, is obsessive about our gerbil women—continually attempting to leap on prime of their cage or standing along with his paws on the glass observing them. (Perhaps not so “enriching” for the gerbils? Predator!) So we moved a small tent he favored to the highest of our fish tank overlooking the gerbils, and we bolstered him for staying in his tent by hiding treats in there as shock reinforcements if he jumped in on his personal. We additionally gave him particular treats if we noticed him bounce into the tent. He rapidly determined that staying within the tent overlooking the gerbils was preferable to attempting to take a seat on prime of them. (Within the photograph, yoga mats and books on prime of their habitat to forestall the gerbil women from leaping on their water bottle and elevating the lid!)
Photograph by Lynn Honeckman
Kristi Hanson (Louisiana) I had a cat as soon as who used my picket paneling and wooden furnishings for his private scratching posts. He scratched up many an vintage. I ended up placing double-sided tape on my partitions and on the furnishings to which it might stick. If I may have that little cat again, he may scratch something he desires!
Ruby J. Siegel (Washington) Double-sided tape has successfully ended Apricat’s clawing on the corners of the brand new sofa. A scratching submit close by works as an authorised various.
Photograph by Ruby J. Siegel
Cheri Spaulding (Oregon) My cat, Rusty Nail, was grieving the misplaced of his finest buddy, Martha, a black Lab. He would randomly stalk me with eyes dilated, then assault me—a few instances injuring me severely. I taught him to fetch toys. I saved the toys unfold round the home so, once I noticed him in stalking mode, I’d seize the toys and have him fetch as an alternative.
Colette Kase (Mexico) I had a cat that may break into my neighbors’ homes, steal meals, intimidate their canines, and get into their automobiles and refuse to get out. The cat would stroll straight as much as canines passing our home on their leads. My neighbors would scream from three homes down, over the fence, “Don’t you feed your darn cat?”
I solved the issue by sending him to work at Canine Companions for Independence as a socialization cat for his or her canines in coaching!
Alisha Ardiana (California) It was all my fault. My cat would need my consideration whereas I used to be on my cellphone. She realized that getting on the counter acquired my consideration. So I acquired a cat tree. I put catnip on it to construct curiosity. I gave her treats when she was on it. Now, when she desires to get my consideration, she meows on the cat tree. Professional tip: When she is sleeping on the cat tree, that’s NOT the time to concentrate to her. Solely when she asks. We consider in consent.
We simply found silvervine, which has now made the field in the cat tree very enticing.
Photograph by Alisha Ardiana
Silvervine is like catnip, which she is hit-or-miss with. It actually appears to make her bliss out. She spends extra time on the cat tree as a result of we sprinkle silvervine on it. She’s going to bunny-kick a toy sprinkled with silvervine for a superb minute.
We’re her fourth residence. It’s very clear that she was beforehand saved off counters with spray bottles and tin foil. It took her years earlier than she jumped with confidence. We’ll by no means harass her for getting on the counter—we simply want her to make higher decisions. As a result of it was really an extinction burst that made her stand up on the counter. I used to be honored and touched that she overcame her concern as a result of my consideration was so necessary to her.
I did the Karen Pryor Skilled program. A part of your work there may be to coach an alternate species. She did nice! Everybody agrees that the coaching I did with the cat made her blossom and massively improved her confidence.
Good recommendation for cat homeowners about “dangerous” habits cats could develop! Habits that may be modified with out punishment or aversives, however as an alternative with good administration and constant, constructive coaching—making good habits rewarding!
What did your cat or kitten try this drove you loopy? How did you alter the conduct? Did administration and coaching work? Did your story have a cheerful ending?