Kitty Chat Issue #014,
Hello and a very warm welcome to Kitty Chat, the monthly ezine from cat-behavior-explained.com. Welcome back, if you've read the previous editions. If this is the first time you've seen Kitty Chat, you'll find lots of useful tips and advice on caring for your cat.
February 1st 2010
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1. What's new on the Cat Behavior Explained website
2. Priscilla's Column
3. Article - The Fastest Way to Stop Bad Cat Behavior!
4. And Finally...
1. What's New?
Hi to you all, I can't believe it's February already! Where did January go???
Us poor Brits have been coping with a more-than-average amount of snow and cold weather this month. Unlike every other country in the world, every time we get a bit of bad weather our whole infrastructure falls to pieces and the country almost grinds to a halt.
My work place was shut for a couple of days, which pleased my cats no end - a couple of bonus days of 24 hour human company!
In this ezine I'll tell you a very effective method a lot of people don't know about for stopping bad behavior in cats. But first, what's new on the website?
I've had quite a lot of contributions to the Your Cats part of the website this month. Many thanks to my ezine readers who have sent in their contributions - I really appreciate them and I know from the comments that have been written that other visitors really appreciate them too.
To read some of the contributions, click on the links below. They will take you to the part of the page where the contributions are listed, and you can then click on the titles to read more. There are some great photos there too.
Your Cats' and Kittens' Names
Your Girl Kitten Names
Your Boy Kitten Names
One visitor sent in a really heart warming story about her cats, with some gorgeous photos:
The Loves of my Life
Sending in a contribution is easy, and you can comment and rate contributions from other visitors too. Just click here to get started.
I've also added a couple of pages on feline distemper this month, asked for by a visitor:
Cat Distemper - Frequently asked questions and practical advice
Feline Distemper Symptoms
2. Priscilla's Column
Hello! If you're new to this newsletter, let me introduce myself. I'm Priscilla, the real brains behind the Cat Behavior Explained website. My mummy writes it, but she'd never manage it without my help. If you've read my column before, hello again!
Here's a picture of me relaxing on Mummy's bed. I have several beds of my own but prefer Mummy's - it's nice and big and I can stretch myself all out over it...
I went to the vet this month for my yearly check up. I don't see why I should get manhandled, and get needles stuck in me by some so-called cat expert when I'm perfectly OK do you?
I meowed and meowed when the vet was examining me (Mummy said I was whingeing and called me Grizzle Guts - the cheek of it!) I meowed so much the vet couldn't hear my heart properly but he said there was nothing wrong with my lungs, judging by the noise I was making...
It was a new vet. I suppose he was OK as far as vets go, but I don't rate any of them to be honest. If vets were real cat experts they wouldn't need to poke and prod me, would they? They'd know I was fine by just looking at me!
I was quiet on the journey to the vet (I knew where I was going and was NOT happy) but I howled all the way home. Well I knew it was over then didn't I, and I wanted to inconvenience Mummy as much as possible for putting me through the whole unnecessary fiasco when there was nothing wrong with me. I'm surprised I'm not ill through the stress of it all!
I've told Mummy I'll only get over it with loads of attention and lots of extra treats.
See you next month!
3. Article - The Fastest Way To Stop Bad Cat Behavior
I'm often asked what the most effective way to stop bad cat behavior.
When I'm asked, it's always about a specific type of bad behavior that a cat is displaying - for example biting and scratching for no reason, scratching the furniture, attacking the other cat, jumping on the table / kitchen worktops and stealing food... the list goes on.
The method I'm about to share with you is very effective in stopping what I'd call bad behavior that's basically down to a bad habit the cat has developed, where there's no underlying cause. It won't address (and shouldn't be used to address) behavior problems that do have another more serious cause - for example changes in behavior caused by illness. Also, in the case of litter box problems, for example if the litter box is dirty and the cat won't use it, the dirty box needs to be addressed rather than the cat's behavior.
So, bearing the above caveats in mind, here's how to stop bad cat behavior swiftly, effectively and painlessly!
Let's say, for example, your cat keeps scratching a particular piece of furniture despite the fact that she has a perfectly good scratching post in the vicinity. When she scratches the furniture, say "No" to her firmly (don't shout but sound authoritative) and as you say No, "scruff" her.
To scruff her, place her on a fairly firm surface, get hold of her firmly by the scruff of the neck (without squeezing too hard) and push her neck (her head will follow) firmly down towards the surface she's on until her chin is touching the surface. In the example I've used above, the floor next to the furniture is the best place. Hold her there for a few seconds, then let her go.
There's no need to do or say anything else. Chances are she'll go off to feel sorry for herself for a while, but don't worry, she will get over it and come back to you.
This is the absolute most effective form of chastisement of a kitten or cat, as it's how their mother chastises them. You may have to do this a few times before she really gets the message, but she will get it - and usually quite quickly.
Two more things I'd add to this:
First, it's vital that you catch her in the act and chastise her there and then. If you leave it until later, she won't understand what she's being told off for.
Second, when she does behave well (in the above example when she scratches her post), lavish lots of praise and affection on her. This will reinforce the good behavior and help her to learn even more quickly.
4. And finally...
I got this on an email. Made me laugh, and I could certainly relate to it - hope you like it too!
How and When to Get Your Human's Attention
Humans often erroneously assume that there are other, more important activities than taking care of your immediate needs, such as conducting business, spending time with their families or even sleeping.
Though this is dreadfully inconvenient, you can make this work to your advantage by pestering your human at the moment it is the busiest. It is usually so flustered that it will do whatever you want it to do, just to get you out of its hair. Not coincidentally, human teenagers follow this same practice.
Here are some tried and true methods of getting your human to do what you want:
- Sitting on paper: An oldie but a goodie. If a human has paper in front of it, chances are good it's something they assume is more important than you. They will often offer you a snack to lure you away. Establish your supremacy over this wood pulp product at every opportunity. This practice also works well with computer keyboards, remote controls, car keys and small children
- Waking your human at odd hours: A cat's "golden time" is between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. If you paw at your human's sleeping face during this time, you have a better than even chance that it will get up and, in an incoherent haze, do exactly what you want. You may actually have to scratch deep sleepers to get their attention; remember to vary the scratch site to keep the human from getting suspicious
<>, I really hope you've enjoyed this edition of Kitty Chat. I'd love to hear your feedback, comments and suggestions for future content, so please feel free to click on this link and contact me using the form.
Meow until next month!