Monday, October 24, 2011

The Cat Foo

So here's the deal... I love my cat dearly, but I have made some blunders with raising him. Tonight I learned of some of the ways in which I could be better. I went to a thing down in Waukesha called How to tame the tiger, and it was all about cat behavior. And for the most part I thought I knew what cats wanted... but what I've realized is that I don't really know. My parents cats are couch potatoes and those cats I am great with, if a cat wants to sit in my lap and get pet and loved on... great! I am all for that. But give me a smart cat, one that wants to be the predator and that acts like a real cat... well I just didn't get it until now. And I now understand that my cat is the latter, he's not a sit in your lap kind of cat.

I'll start with things I've done right and then move onto the things that I need to change in order to continue living nicely with the cat.

Good things... I made him a nice tall scratchy post thing and have given him places to be (ie behind my head on the couch or recliners cause they are high and happy places), I feed him wet meaty food so that he gets his protein and water, I've used a pheromone spray to help comfort him in different places, and I love him.

Bad things... I've ignored him many times, I reinforce bad behavior by giving it attention, I don't clean his litter as often as I should, I pester the cat and annoy him, I don't challenge my cat, I don't clip his nails consistently, and that is what I know or can pin point.

So definitely things to change... especially since we are moving into a new place. He has a horrible habit of clawing at the carpet, especially near doors, he really hates being confined. I need to find a good way to deter him from the doorway because every place will have a door leading out to the outside world. Some of the things suggested for this... could get a runner to put in front of the door upside down, specifically those runners that have the spiky uncomfortable bits that he probably wouldn't like, also set up some kind of scratching zone next to the door that way when he wants to spread his scent that he is using the correct scratchy thing, sticky paws double sided tape or something like it in that area might help but being as how this is usually in front of the door I need to use something that will allow people to come in and out of the apartment, and then a spray like Feliway is another option. I've read online about people using aluminum foil and how that worked. The only things that I think will work will be the runner thing with a scratcher near by so that he can still leave his scent in that area and then with a nice happy spraying of the apartment with pheromones from the Feliway or something like it.

I was also contemplating making another scratch post area like I did before and I will still do that just not as complicated as I was thinking. I am thinking of making some custom made cardboard scratchy things with some catnip.

The other thing that I think I will try is using a combination of clicker training with some kind of treat reward like baby food if Foo likes that (we'll have to see). But the idea is that when the cat does something you want to reinforce you click and give a small taste/spoonbit of baby food. Just make sure your baby food has no onion powder in it since that is bad for the cat. There's a website for it too...

Oh the other thing is to keep a log or journal about things you notice with your cat, that way if something starts to get abnormal you can look back to see what the cause of it is. I want to start doing this too.

And another thing I learned is that let's say you are holding your cat to clip it's nails and he/she starts to get kind of fussy. Stop clipping their nails and hold them until they are calm again or pet them until they calm down then let them go, then they learn that they will be able to leave once they are calm versus because of bad behavior. Gotta try that too.

Basically lots of different things to do, learned that a lot of my cat's behaviors stem from reacting to me and my reactions. He learns and reacts and continues to learn. So if I want to teach him good things for instance then I need to react to the good things in order to get good behavior. Sounds almost like a kid doesn't it? ha!

Well that's the cat news! :)

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