Tag Archive | "cat"

Separation Anxiety and Your Cat

If you’ve got a cat, you may have noticed that your cat doesn’t like to be alone. Some cats will cry out as you leave the house, destroy furniture when alone, knock things over, and generally are unhappy alone. These cats are often the only pet in the house.

Obviously, no one can be home all the time with their pet. One solution may be to get another cat for company to your first cat. It may be far less stressful for your pet when you are not there if they have a companion that is there with it all day. Some cats may seem to not like another cat at first, but after a period of socialization, they often become inseparable. Even if they don’t become best buddies, they will often feel less lonely with another cat around. It’s really not much more work to care for two cats than it is caring for one cat and the benefits can outweigh the extra time it takes to care for another cat.

If getting another cat to keep them company is not an option, the next best thing is to create a comfortable area for your cat when they are alone. Give them toys to keep them occupied as well as their favorite cat bed or blanket to lay on. You can also leave a radio on for them so that they hear a human voice. This can be comforting to them and make them feel less lonely. Make sure that you give them a lot of affection when you return. This makes them feel less anxious the next time you leave.

If you have a cat that is destructive when you leave, prepare a room for them to stay in while you’re not there. You should have toys, catnip, cat bed or blanket, food and water there for them and don’t forget to let them out when you return home. Make sure it is a room that doesn’t have things in it that they can destroy.

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Giving a Cat a Bath

Giving a Cat a Bath

bathing a cat

If you’ve ever attempted to bathe a cat, you might already know that generally, cats do not like baths. Most cats do not like to swim or be immersed in water and will fight it vigorously. A cat threatened with a bath may bite, claw and scratch to get free. It can be a very frustrating experience, both for the cat and the cat owner. Some of the funniest photos and videos on the Internet are of people attempting to bathe a cat and the cat’s evasive maneuvers to avoid the bath at all costs.

The behavior they exhibit when trying to bathe a cat is out of fear. They don’t know what is going on or why someone would have the audacity to subject them to this, so they object in every way possible. To make the bath go smoother, make sure you have everything prepared before you bring the cat in. Run the bath water, have towels and shampoo and a comb at hand and then bring the cat in.

Remain calm and make soothing noises as you put your cat into the water. Do not panic or shout or punish the cat if they scratch you. Imagine how frightened they must be and try to accomplish the task calmly. Have a firm hold on the cat as you bath it. You don’t want them flailing about and panicking. Remain as calm as you can and your cat is more likely to be calmer. Bathe the cat as quickly as you can to reduce the stress on both you and the cat.

Some breeds may never get to a point where they actually like a bath, but some breeds definitely do. I have had Persian cats that were bathed regularly from the time they were kittens and soon came to like their bath and even blow drying. If you get your cat while it is a kitten, it is much easier to get them accustomed to a bath than if you get an older cat that has not been bathed regularly.

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Is Your Cat a Bully?

If you live in a multi-cat house, you might find that one of the cats is aggressive and bullies the other cats in the house. This is usually called territorial aggression, but in reality, it is not always territorial issues that are the problem.

Sometimes, the aggressive cat may pick on just one of the other cats. That cat might be a new cat in the group, or it can even be a cat that the bully cat has gotten along with previously. It often occurs when the cat anywhere from 8 months to 2 years old, and often the aggression will develop over time, starting with just growling and hissing. It can then progress to chasing and swatting and fighting or attacks.

The cat or cats that are being bullied become afraid of the aggressive cat and may begin to hide in areas away from the bully cat and can even experience litter box problems due to not having access to the area that the litter box is kept because of the presence of the aggressive cat. Obviously, the victimized cat needs to have an area that they feel safe in and that they have access to food, water and a litter box. They also need protection from injury and stress.

To help alleviate the problem, separate the cats when feeding. Put the aggressive cat in a room alone to eat instead of feeding them all together. When they are done eating, remove the food and water bowls to avoid this territorial aggression. Much like a child that is misbehaving, if you see the lead cat being aggressive, give them a time-out by again, separating them. They’ll soon learn that the aggressive behavior isn’t working out for them.

You may have to go as far as to separate the cats temporarily and reintroduce them in the same way that you would introduce a new cat, slowly letting them become accustomed to each other all over again, separating them again at the first sign of aggression.

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Excessive Meowing: What Should You Do?

Excessive Meowing: What Should You Do?

cat meowing

Some cats are very quiet, and others, well not so much. They meow and they meow loudly and frequently, seemingly for no apparent reason. All cats meow, but some are a lot louder and meow more frequently than others. Some individual cats as well as some breeds are just more vocal than others. While Maine Coons and Persian cats are generally a quieter cat, the Orientals are well known for being loud mouths. So if your Persian suddenly starts meowing a lot, it may be reacting to a problem that needs to be attended to, while it is par for the course for a Siamese to be vocal.

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not there is a legitimate reason for your cat’s excessive meowing. The way that a cat will communicate to you that they are in discomfort is by meowing, so you should always investigate thoroughly before assuming that you just have a loud mouth cat. You can do this by running your hands along it’s body, looking for signs of discomfort as you touch different areas. Take a look inside their mouth, their ears, eyes, and look for any signs of infection or pain. Make sure their claws are trimmed. Untrimmed claws can grow so long as to become painful. If there’s any doubt at all about your cat’s health and comfort, take them to a veterinarian to make sure nothing is wrong.

If you find there are no health problems, the meowing is probably a behavior issue. They may be seeking extra attention. They may be hungry, bored, or just want to sit on your lap and get attention. There are two ways to deal with this behavior. You can give in to them and have a very spoiled cat that will continue to meow excessively because they know they will get attention, or you can ignore it. If they persist, you can put them in a room with some toys and their cat bed or blanket until they calm down. You need to be firm and consistent in your response when correcting undesired behavior.

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Using Noise Aversion to Train Your Cat

While it is commonly believed that cats are very independent and dogs are much easier to train than cats, it’s not really true. Using the right techniques, cats are easily trained. They may not roll over and sit or lay, but you can deter them from problem behavior with a little persistence. As with all animals, they respond to rewards, but occasionally, some sort of punishment is also necessary. This should not be harsh punishment, but can be as simple as using noise aversion to interrupt bad behavior. Obviously, if you hit a cat, they will stop clawing the carpet or furniture, but that is unnecessary punishment.

Noise aversion is very effective as a deterrent to bad behavior in cats. Some people invest in a clicker and use that to make noise. Others put pennies in a jar and shake it when their cat is misbehaving. Anything that creates a loud, startling noise will work fine.

The loud noise of a clicker or other device will annoy a cat, but doesn’t harm them. You can pick up a clicker in most pet stores, or as previously mentioned, just shake a jar of coins when the cat is misbehaving. The cat will eventually associate the annoying noise with their bad behavior and will think twice about repeating the behavior. In certain shows, clickers have also been used to train cats to perform tricks. They learn that a click represents getting a reward, so when they behave in a desirable way, you click, then reward. They then associate the behavior and the click with getting a reward and will repeat the behavior that is rewarded. This is called operant training.

If you’re going to use a clicker to train your cat with a reward, you should not use it to dissuade them from bad behavior. You should use something with a different sound altogether, like the coins in a jar. Cats have a natural aversion to getting wet, so using a spray bottle with water to divert bad behavior is also highly effective.

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Correcting Problem Cat Behavior

While pain acts as a deterrent for bad cat behavior, beating or hitting a cat is not an acceptable way to train a cat. It is particularly ineffective to punish a cat after the fact. The cat will not know what it has done to deserve punishment, and will do nothing to change the behavior that you’re trying to change. Acting out of anger is not the way to train a cat. There are far more effective ways to change bad cat behavior.

The most effective way to change cat behavior is to alter the cat’s environment and provide alternative ways for cats to be cats and do the things that cats like to do. A lot of cat behavior is normal cat behavior, but is destructive to the house or furniture if not channeled into acceptable activities. You have to provide mental stimulation for your cat and provide a stress free environment for them. Modifying the cat’s environment through some simple changes will provide them with a sense of security as well as relieve their boredom and reduce the stress between cats if you have more than one cat in the house.

These changes include litter box management and management, providing a scratching post where it is ok for them to scratch, providing places for them to hide or climb such as a cat tree, and providing them with plenty of toys to play with. Particularly good are toys that look like their natural prey to satisfy their natural predatory instincts.

While offering a secure and fun environment for your cat is essential for behavior modification, at times a cat will behave badly anyway. There are numerous ways to persuade your cat that their behavior is unacceptable by making it uncomfortable for the cat when they behave badly. Noise aversion or a spray of water from a spray bottle both work very well to deter a cat from bad behavior. If you use either one consistently, the cat will soon get the message and change their behavior. When applied consistently, just reaching for the water bottle can deter a cat from undesired behavior.

Instead of physical punishment that inflicts pain, it is much better to encourage your cat to behave in a more reasonable way by making the actions which bother you uncomfortable for the cat. Therefore, if you are sick of your cat climbing the curtains, a fine mist of water sprayed from a nozzle can be a whole lot more effective than a slap. By being consistent in this response, you can get to the stage where even reaching for the bottle will warn your cat.

For a cat marking issue where a cat urinates in a certain spot, using a little lemon juice deters the cat from using that spot. Cats don’t like a citrus smell, so lemon juice works very well to dissuade them from “going” in a undesired spot.

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Punish Bad Cat Behavior or Reward Good Cat Behavior?

When learning how to train your cat and correct bad behavior, you might wonder whether it is better to take the strict disciplinary route (my way or the highway) or the reward route. Which one is more effective? Which method does a cat respond to better? Actually, a combination of both works well, depending on the behavior that you want to modify. In the case of behavior like scratching the furniture, climbing up on counters to eat human food, climbing curtains, etc., a quick squirt with a spray bottle full of water or a loud noise often diverts the bad behavior. Done consistently, it can change bad behavior.

There’s also a lot to be said for the rewarding your cat for good behavior. Cats react very favorably to receiving their favorite treats and treats can be used to encourage and reward good behavior. You can see this in action when you go to the cupboard to get your cat’s food out to feed him. Watch how he comes to you and starts rubbing against your legs or meows in anticipation of the food. They have learned that when you go to that cupboard, something good happens.

In contrast, training a cat with the constant threat of punishment looming over them can result in a shy, fearful cat rather than a happy, affectionate cat. Hitting a cat should never be used as punishment for bad behavior. It will only make your cat afraid of you. In addition, there are a lot of cat behaviors that are considered bad behavior, but are actually natural cat behavior. One of these are scratching/clawing. Providing alternatives to furniture is an effective way to eliminate damage to the household while allowing a cat to behave the way that cats naturally behave.

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Training a Cat: Timing is Important

When you want your cat to behave in a sane, reasonable manner it is only right to teach it good behavior, and to give it the kind if conditions that allow it to feel loved and feel love in return – this way, it is a lot less likely to react to things in a hostile manner. However, you do have to pick your moment with a cat, because trying to get the best response depends inherently on having the best conditions in which to train.

For one thing, it is a very bad idea to try to train a cat which has until very recently been sleeping. Picking a cat up from its basket or its favorite spot in order to train it is unlikely to get you good results. You’ll be trying to get the cat to understand commands and respond to them in the right way, and it will merely be looking back to the warm spot it has just vacated through no choice of its own and hoping very much that it can go back soon, please.

Training a cat when it has just eaten is also something that should be avoided as far as possible. You are just less likely to get a good response from a cat who sees no real reason to co-operate. If there is just the edge of hunger a cat will be more attentive, very much in the hope that it will get some food, but if it has just eaten then all it will want to do is curl up and have a nap.

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Can You Really Train a Cat?

In the never-ending debate over cats and dogs, a theory frequently advanced by the dog fraternity is that cats are impossible to train, and for this reason dogs are better per se. The attitude is that, because you can find guide dogs and sniffer dogs, while there are no cats employed in these sectors, that dogs are inherently more intelligent and more amenable to training. However, it is nothing more than invention to say that cats are too stupid to be trained, or so independent that they will not respond to training.

It is certainly possible to train a cat to a certain extent. Though the make-up of their character may be such that they will not ever become guide or sniffer animals, they are far from stupid and they can be trained. All that it requires is a modicum of patience and a firm hand. Oh, and some treats may be useful as well. Cats, like dogs – and even humans – will respond better to any kind of training if their performance within that training is suitably rewarded.

In fact, it is precisely because cats are not stupid that it is possible to train them. In the same way as human beings and indeed dogs, if you create the connection in a cat’s mind and instincts between good behavior and good reward, they will naturally behave better. Also like humans and dogs, cats have different levels of taking to training. This means that you need to persist, even if it seems that it’s never going to take.

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