Archive for the ‘Cat Training’ Category
Is your house a war zone because your cats are fighting? Are they hissing and growling and chasing each other all over? Are you ready for it to stop?
Cats are not like dogs. Although cats can hang out together and even like company, they are solitary predators. Since dogs are social most of the issues you will experience with them will relate to dominance within their packs. Cat problems do not relate to dominance, but attention. In a lot of ways cats can fall into the same two categories we use for people- Introvert and Extrovert. Your introvert cat will want a safe place to hide and your extrovert cat will want new places to explore. If your introvert (or reactive) cat does not want attention it will scream and hiss . While this might make it look like this cat is the problem causer, it is actually the other cat who is making all the trouble!
The problem is that cats are incredible predators and will respond to prey stimuli- like running. So if one cat runs away, the other (extroverted cat) will chase. It is irresistible to them. This creates a circle that can see hard to break. This additional attention pushes the reactive cat over the edge and this, in turn, makes the other cat want to continue the chase.
It can be hard to stop this cycle, but one way that will help is to provide safe areas for each cat. The use of cat climbers and window perches will help your cats have a place to call their own. It is best to have several cat climbers if you have several cats. This is also true of the window perches. You do not want one cat to be on the only window perch and have the other cat try to take it away. By providing many desirable locations for your cats you will limit the times of confrontation. Placing several desirable locations in each room will allow both cats to occupy the same space without bothering eachother. It is also best to provide interactive toys.
A bored cat will be more likely to cause trouble- like a child. Some cats are more active than others and when they have sat in every spot and done everything they can find to do, they will turn to bugging the reactive cat. Playing with your cats with a feather toy or laser pointer will give them an outlet for their energy. Even low cost items like a box sprayed with catnip can give them something new to investigate. By giving each cat what they need- whether it is a place to be alone or something new to check out, you can drastically reduce the times your cats will clash.
If the issues continue it is best to use a spray bottle to discourage the extroverted cat from giving too much unwanted attention to your introverted kitty. These steps should help to return some normalcy to your home.
I work in furniture sales and often hear people talk about how they are unsure about buying anything new since they own cats. There is a fear that a cat’s sharp claws will destroy any new item they buy. I also own cats, five in fact, and have learned a few tricks that can help protect your new furniture from any destructive shredding.
The key to this is new furniture. If your cats have already scratched on your sofa with no negative consequences, they will be hard to retrain. And in a way, we are training them. They will learn what they can and can’t do and once they know they can get away with something, you will have a hard time undoing that. When you buy something new, however, you have another window. They may know they can scratch on the old sofa, but that knowledge will not automatically pass to the new one. Before you buy your new sofa there is a few things you need to do:
1. Buy a cat climber. (Those fancy tower things covered in carpet.)
2. Get the Ssscat cat training aid. You will want two of these and some extra refills.
3. Get an X Mat. You will also want 2-4 of these.
4. A cat climber. The taller the better. If you have more than one cat, you will need two. If you have four cats or more, you will need three. Cats will not always get along, so if one cat is ‘King’ of the only cat climber in the home, you will find your other cat on the sofa you are trying to protect. You will also have greater success if your cat climbers are tall. Cats like tall places, so the taller your cat climber is, the better the chance they will use it and leave your sofa alone.
6. Spray bottle full of water. If there is two people in the home, get two of these.
7. Your cat’s favorite treats.
Your job is to make the cats desire to hang out and scratch on their new cat climbers. Put each cat climber near a window in an area that will not be too close to the new sofa. Do this at least a week before you get your new furniture. Spray or rub the cat climbers with the catnip. Anytime you see your cats on their new cat climbers, give them treats. Do not scold them at all in the area of the towers. You do not want them to have any negative reinforcement near them.
Now get your sofa delivered. You need to already have the Ssscat’s and X mats in the home when it is delivered. Your cats cannot have any good experiences on your sofa. This sofa is “Off Limits”! If you like to snuggle with your cats, no worries, for now, just do not let them near it. Place one Ssscat on the floor near the side of the sofa. These are motion sensitive, so only leave them on when you are not in the room or are not home. It will spray when you come near too and you will deplete your air canister. Always place the X mats on the backs of the sofa and arms. When you are in the room or sitting on the sofa, spray the cats if they come near it. You will still be giving them treats on the cat climbers so your cats will understand you still love them, but that new sofa is a BAD PLACE. You will want to be consistent with this for several weeks. If you lapse, your cats might claim the sofa and scratch on it. If they can be taught that the cat climbers are good and the sofa is bad, you will not have any issues.
Now you can remove the ssscat and x mats, but keep the spray bottles. After a while your cats will still come and hang out with you, but if you see them starting to scratch you will want to spray them to remind them that the sofa is off limits. You can encourage them by putting new catnip on the climbers at least once a month.
So enjoy your new sofa and enjoy your cats at the same time!
By Danielle Oudenhoven