Saturday, 18 February 2012
There is one, somewhere underneath all that cat...
Louisa and Gretl had a visit from their family today, which all went very well- they are tired now though hence the snoozing on my desk. They aren't daft though... the moment I get up, several of them will find their way onto the computer chair. Oh why do I always feel so mean moving them when I come back with my coffee or whatever it is I got up to get?
One of the things we chatted about today was methods for dissuading kittens from doing naughty things... lol! And then I thought of a couple more. So I thought I'd mention a few on here.
Prevention!- obvious but true. If a kitten isn't allowed in a certain room, shut the door. Cats are climbers- precious ornaments really do need to be behind glass. And a scratcher is kind of a must if you don't want kitten to be using your sofa- cats NEED to scratch for the health of their nails, it's not sheer devilry. Well, sometimes it is. LOL! But trying to understand why your cat is doing xyz and giving them an acceptable way of doing it which doesn't involve shredding your curtainsshould always be the first port of call.
Distraction- lure them away from batting at the dog's nose (or whatever) with a game, make them forget about whatever badness they were involved in. It's always worth a try- for one thing it gets some extra bonding time in with your cat- but I've never met a cat who was that easily duped for long.
Obviously prevention and distraction should be the main tactics you use along with lots and lots of praise for doing the right thing (and bribery with cat treats is perfectly acceptable in my eyes LOL) but here's a few other things for when they aren't working...
Water spray. Sounds mean, but it works. A quick spray when you see them doing what they oughtn't is a good negative reinforcer, they associate, say, scratching the sofa with getting wet. Of course this doesn't work if you have a cat like my Sofia who quite likes getting wet...
Tin with something noisy and rattly in- dried beans etc. Scary noise, negative reinforcer, works much the same as a water spray.
Tinfoil, scrunched up, makes an unpleasant surface for cats paws and is useful if they've peed anywhere they shouldn't, to dissuade them from going again. Some 'anti cat' sheet plastic does the same trick but is better for larger areas or where you want something a bit more permanent that you can roll/unroll.
Techy stuff. If you are so inclined, you can get really fancy gadgets now that, for example, track a laser across your kitchen worktops which then emits a very unpleasant (to the cat) sound if the laser is broken. All a bit too fancy for me, I'm afraid!
Soft Claws. Never tried them, and not sure I'd want to but they are basically stick on nail covers for if scratching really becomes an issue. I believe Amazon do them? ONLY FOR 100% INDOOR CATS!!!!!
Sprays like Bitter Apple helps if you have a chewy kitty who is munching on wires- it tastes bad enough to make them think twice. Or at least it does with mine, but one of our readers here has a cat who wasn't at all bothered!
Feliway. A lot of 'bad' behaviour all of a sudden can indicate kitty is feeing very stressed. Obviously the best thing is to remove the stressors as far as possible, but you can buy Feliway as a spray or a plug in diffuser which emits calming synthetic cat pheremones which can help matters along a little bit. Expensive, but effective.
Hissing. If your cat is doing something really really unacceptable, you can always hiss at them... this is cat-speak for 'back off, buster' and cats generally understand EXACTLY what you mean! But only use this very occasionally.
What you should never do though is punish your kitty- she won't understand and it will just make her scared of you (or aggressive) and damage your relationship.
Does anyone else have any tried and tested methods?