Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We so totally furgot that mommy had an early ‘pointment today. And, that today is Boxing Day here in the blogosphere. That bein’ said, we’re not gonna leave ya’ hangin’. Let me get the business outta the way so we can get on with it. As with all our Trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual, but rather, Tips, Tricks and Techniques mommy has used/developed throughout her many years of animal training, cats in purrticular. Ifin ya’ have any questions or trainin’ questions, purrlease leave them in the comments or send us an email. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions. Ifin you have missed any posty in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat Monday posty. And always ‘member, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Well, the last several Service Cat Monday posts have been about dealing with the “Aggressive” Kitty. As we stated last week, that topic is almost unending, but we felt we had covered the issues that had been presented to us and were planning to move on this week. But alas, our sweet friend Valentine left a comment after last weeks post that requires an almost immediate response. The one thing we won’t do, is leave a topic when a kitty or it’s human are in danger or being hurt. And, the reason we’re addressing this here instead of an email is our belief that if one person’s asking, there are more wondering.
After our apartment flooded, we were all packed up and livin’ in
inches fur months befur the remodel was finished and we could get back to livin’.
Let me explain the situation and question as posed to us: A friend is having their house remodeled and one of the 3 indoor kitties is having a very hard time of it and has become “Aggressive”, going so far as to bite and scratch her human. Kitty has been shut in a back room to allow her to decompress, but it’s not really helping. There may also be an outside factor, as there is a family of strays living under the porch. Apparently, kitty has also attempted to escape to the great outdoors.
Fearless sis Lexi cautiously floats on the carpet after the flood while
the noisy fan dryers were blowing.
Well now, sounds like there’s a few problems here, right? The first issue we have, is that we wouldn’t call this kitty’s behavior “Aggressive”. Nor, are we surprised this is happening. As we stated in our previous post, Cats Do Not Like Change or Loud Noises. Having lived through a flood, move, apartment remodel, new roof, new a/c, new hot water heater, and more stranger’s traipsin’ through me’s house than me cares to remember, me’s here to tell you that can really stress a cat out; even one as laid back as us Ragdolls. This is one of those situations, where more information is needed to determine the exact problem. But, we’re going to do our best to help with what we have. Based on the fact this is a remodel and the kitty in question wasn’t presenting this behavior beforehand, we feel pretty safe saying, the feral family under the porch probably isn’t a problem. However, it wouldn’t hurt to feed them a bit further away from the house. We also don’t know exactly where this person lives, but we do suggest providing shelter for the ferals’ away from the house as well. You know, gotta take care of our ferals.
Now let’s get to the heart of this problem, the Remodel. This noise is kind of like the carpet monster (vacuum cleaner), you can’t get rid of it until the job is done. That means, kitty is going to have to learn to live with it. Thankfully, it’s only temporary. Now me knows some of you just said to your selves, What? Your mommy wouldn’t do that to you?. Well folks, let me tell ya’, sometimes, life just isn’t perfect and everybody/kitty has to adjust. What we don’t know, that would really be helpful, is why and when is kitty biting, scratching and trying to escape. A scared kitty will often react with claws and teeth, and that’s what we suspect is happening here. The good thing is this can be fixed.
(While me’s at it, let me give you an example of a “specific”. The workers are in and out and my kitty is trying to run out the door. Or, the workers are hammering and making a lot of noise and my kitty went running crouched down and I grabbed her to put her in the decompression room and she scratched and bit me.)
The Decompression room needs to be a kitty oasis until the remodel is over and the human needs to remain calm and positive when dealing with kitty. The room needs to have a litter box, food, water, cat bed, covered box or cat carrier (with the door open or better yet, off), a few favorite toys, and a well scented piece of clothing. And not the shirt you’re wearing during that fight with the contractor. (MOL) Leave a piece of clothing you were wearing during a time of no stress and happiness. Remember, cats are all about the smell. And trust me, we know happy smell and mad/upset smell. A small perch or cat tree placed near a window would also be good. Before the workers come in the morning, kitty should be taken to the Decompression room for a quick play session and a bite of breakfast. Maybe even a few of those extra special favorite treats you only buy at Christmas and birthdays. Now’s the time to buy them. It would also be good if you could put on some calm music or one of those white noise machines. Or, if you have kitties like us that like to watch teevee, turn on the boob tube (television).
As long as all the cats are getting along, all 3 should be in the Decompression room together. Believe it or not, their presence will help “Scared” kitty to be more relaxed and secure. Make sure there are several hide outs (covered boxes or carriers) available, so all kitties can hide if they need too. If this room is a bedroom, leave the closet door open. Mommy says to please remove any expensive or treasured clothes or quilts. Can you believe we’re not allowed in the closet at all? Anyways, this would be the exception to that rule. And as silly as it sounds, think positively. Yeah, we said it, think happy thoughts. See all of this as a good thing. Tell kitty how wonderful everything’s going to be when all this is over. And each day when the workers leave, let kitty explore and get used to her new territory. Remember, it’s kitty’s newly remodeled home, you just pay the bills. MOL
As for the “trying to escape”, we really don’t have enough information to even guess at a solution. We seriously doubt it has anything to do with the ferals’ under the porch and more likely trying to escape the noise and strangers in her home. But again, we just can’t be sure. It would be irresponsible for us to give a specific answer about that.
We hope we’ve helped a little, and we’re sorry we can’t offer more. The friend is welcome to contact us directly, and we’ll do all we can to help her and kitty. A happy peaceful home is our desire for every kitty in the world. As always, we welcome your questions, comments and post suggestions. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below. As me said earlier, mommy has a ‘pointment today and one tomorrow, so we’ll be ‘round to visit as soon as we can. In the meantime, have a great Boxing Day. Hope you enjoyed our boxing day fotos and a little blast from the flooded past. (See, we can laff ’bout it now).
Till the next time………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty Internal Disputes
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Help Options Pt. 1
Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3
Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re still tacklin’ that really tuff topic, “Aggression”. So pull up a chair, get you a cup of coffee, tea or whatever your drink of choice is and get ready to explore the world from the feline point of view. As always, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Trainin’ can be kind’a borin’, but it’s necessary. Every furry can benefit from trainin’. The Tips, Tricks and Techniques we offur have been used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. As always, we invite your questions, suggestions and comments. Ifin you ask a behavioral question, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. We do want to help, but we can’t read minds. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can click on the links below. Befur addressin’ the topic of Aggression, we introduced you to the origins and natural instincts of the housecat here. And, ifin you missed the initial steps to take when dealing with an aggressive cat, you can ketch up by readin’ part 1 here. Today we’re going to look at the “Alpha cat” and the importance of “Scent” in having a happy peaceful house.
We want to reiterate, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!! An “Aggressive” cat is trying to tell you something. Aggression can occur in a single cat household or multiple cat household; and can occur suddenly without warning, or evolve over time. It is important to try to find and understand the source of your cat’s Aggression. You will need to “become a cat”. When humans prepare for a baby/toddler, they have to look at their home through the eyes of a child to find the dangers and make them safe. (ie: outlet covers, stove knob locks, cupboard locks, etc.). The same is true for figuring out why your cat is acting out/hiding/acting aggressively, etc.. All the “pheremone” sprays, drops, collars and plug ins are essentially a band aid. They treat the symptoms, but not the core problem. However, if you find they help, Use them. Mommy suggests using the drops, collars, sprays and spot ons on all cats in the house. The reason will become clear in this post. However, you still need to treat and train the core issue. Last week we talked about how cats like routine and despise change. Any change in a cat’s health, surroundings, both inside and out, can affect your cats personality.
Cat people know no bounds. Mommy says, most dog peeps favor a particular look, size or breed, but cat peeps, they love them all. And, as a result, would have a houseful if they could. While that may be awesome for the human, and wonderful for the lives saved, a crowded house could also breed problems and ultimately Aggression in multi cat households. All cats in a house must be confident and feel like they own a space. Ideally, every cat in the household should own the whole house. In multi-cat households, there is always a “head cat in charge”, or the “Alpha” cat. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 cats or 20, one cat is “The Cat in Charge”. It’s important to watch your cats and figure out which one that is, and “cater” to it. Mommy wants me to remind you, that no matter how “in charge” your Alpha cat is, it’s also important to remember, that You, are the ultimate Alpha. This is even more so in a single cat house. After sis Lexi died, mommy had planned for me to be the Alpha cat; but me doesn’t have the “Alpha” traits. Me liked being the little sisfur and mommy’s baby girl.
Yep, sis Lexi was the Alpha. She was a gentle Alpha, but she
always held the top spot.
The “Alpha cat” will be the one, who all others look to and take their cues from. The “Alpha cat” will also spread their scent around to everybody, regularly. It can be so subtle, you might not recognize it at first, but it’s happening. The occasional hiss or swat, is perfectly normal. Your cats’ are communicating with/teaching each other. But, Do Not ever let it become a full blown fight. Cats live in a world of smells. They have scent glands located on their chin, lips, cheeks, either side of the forehead, paw pads, tail and of course there’s also the anal glands and urine. The scent glands in the head area are all friendly communicators. That’s why mommy loves the “Scent Me Up” game so much. A cat recognizes you and it’s home by Smell and Not Sight.
Me’s tellin’ Raena, she’s bein’ a little too much.
When you’re scent swapping, it’s important to rub your towel or whatever scent soaker you’re using on the cat’s head and not their paws or backside. The scent glands on the paws, make a statement. Think of your cat using it’s scratcher. An enthusiastic scratcher, is aggressively saying, “I own this scratcher, you can use it, but it’s All mine”. And, the scent glands on the tail and backside, communicate aggression and fear, as well as sexual readiness in unaltered cats. In a multi-cat household, ALL the cats smell like the “Alpha”. Obviously, humans can’t smell this, but we cats can. Keep this in mind if you have a cat that is separated from the others in the house. A separated cat Does Not smell like the others and probably not even you. So they won’t be recognized by or recognize any other kitty in the home. And, remember, cats see with their noses and not their eyes. Think about that last Vet visit where only one cat went and the return home.
Cardboard cat scratchers are great scent soakers. Be sure to
scent them with scents from the facial scent glands if presenting
them to an already Aggresive cat.
Here’s where it can get a little tricky. Remember, it’s important to “cater” to your “Alpha cat”, but ultimately, all cats should see you as the glue that keeps the family together. This is really important for the cat that is separated. We told you last week to leave a worn piece of your clothing as a scent soaker, but we didn’t get to the importance of the attitude you had while wearing that item. Cats smell fear, worry, upset, joy, and every other emotion you have. Cats will also respond to your emotions. Mommy calls it “feeding off your emotions”. When she’s angry, we’re on edge and there’s a lot more hissing going on. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. MOL To have a cohesive smell in our house, mommy lightly sprays the sheets (we sleep in the bed with her) with perfume. The same perfume she wears. She also lightly sprays our harnesses, sitting chair, cat trees and cat beds with her perfume. Mommy has always been a perfume girl. It’s her one guilty pleasure. Anyways, our furs pick up that scent. It’s very light, but we smell like mommy and therefore, we smell like each other. So, when we sniff each other, we know we belong together.
You don’t have to spray your sheets with perfume, but you do need to keep in mind, how your scent changes and try to present the most cohesive scent possible when approaching your Aggressive cat. Ideally, before entering the room to spend time with your separated Aggressive cat, you should hold and “scent up” with all the cats in your house; save the Alpha cat for last. That will be the strongest scent. And, remember, try to get those scents from the face area so you’re presenting as relaxed and friendly.
Scent is so important to a cat. It is, after all, how we communicate our intentions with others. It’s how we know our housemates and humans. Remember, a cat sees the world thru smells. That’s why a blind cat can still function and live a happy life. Just thought me would throw that in there in case you’re thinking about adopting a special needs kitty.
We’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We’ve given you a lot to think about and smell. MOL Me would like to repurrt, that uncle Pete’s been workin’ on buildin’ the confidence with the other kitties in their home thru play, and the ‘Aggression” issue they were having has gotten much better. Confidence and Scent go a long way towards a happy and peaceful home. ‘Member to click on the links below to ketch up on any topic you may have missed. And leave your questions, suggestions and comments below.
Till the next time……………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle