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How to Convert Your Reclusive Cat to a Cuddly Lap Kitty

This How to Convert Your Reclusive Cat to a Cuddly Lap Kitty Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

How to Convert Your Reclusive Cat to a Cuddly Lap Kitty

First of all, let it be said that it is not possible to convert every single cat into a “cuddly lap kitty,” though there is no harm in trying. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for example, to take a formerly feral cat and convert her into a feline lap-lover that was fawning on anyone’s lap. Experiments in England have shown that if cats are raised without human company for the first 7 weeks of their lives, they will never be fully accepting of people. The best you could expect from a cat with this kind of background is occasional fleeting visits during which the cat might tolerate a modicum of petting. This level of trust on the part of a cat like this represents something of a psychological breakthrough. Another reason why some cats do not take well to the job of being lap cats is to do with inherited disposition. Some cats, by nature, are more independent and aloof than others; whereas some are just plain fearful. Such traits manifest as an anti-social nature with respect to would-be human companions. Some of these reclusive cats may be coaxed out of their shell by kind and patient treatment, but even the best results that can be achieved in terms of friendliness to people may be a far cry from relaxed lap sitting. You should recognize these “exceptions to the rule” before trying to convert all comers to the noble art of lap sitting and the acceptance of liberal petting and cuddling. Nevertheless, the majority of cats are trainable this way as long as the owner goes about the process in the right way. There are some general rules that owners may want to consider when trying to forge such a close relationship with a cat. The Way Forward Where possible, select a cat that is the product of affectionate parents. Obtain a very young cat – it’s almost a case of the younger the better (though kittens adopted when they are too young can present the opposite problem of over-bonding or over-attachment). Raise kittens with kindness and never physically punish them or yell at them. If it is too late for any or all of the above, and the cat is already somewhat wary or reclusive, it is never too late to start trying to repair existing damage. The general philosophy for successful rehabilitation is to create circumstances favorable for the cat to approach the owner, rather than the other way around. Striding up to a cat, thus invading her flight distance, apprehending her and placing her on your lap, thus invading her personal space, is exactly the wrong approach. Arrange for rehabilitation to occur in quiet circumstances. Position yourself in a large room with the cat,...

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Introducing Your New Cat to Your Household

This Introducing Your New Cat to Your Household Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Introducing Your New Cat to Your Household

Settling a new cat in your household takes time and patience. Remember, the cat is being introduced to territory already “claimed” by your resident pet, so you need to take both cats’ feelings into account. In addition, it is your responsibility to protect the health of your resident pets and the newcomer. For instance, many cats that are adopted from shelters have upper respiratory infections (URI’s) either brewing or obvious. It is important for a cat with such an infection to be treated as soon as possible. Make sure to keep your new cat completely isolated from your other cats for at least a week, or until the infection has completely cleared up before attempting introductions. Tests for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) should be performed on your new cat. These diseases can be lethal to cats so it is important to make sure that your new cat is not a carrier. A fecal test should be performed before the cats begin sharing litter boxes – to check for internal parasites. Check your resident cat’s vaccination status to make sure he is sufficiently well protected against diseases the newcomer may be harboring. Cat-to-Cat Introductions Upon bringing your new cat home, put him into a private room for his first week. This is where your new cat will begin to settle into his new home. Your resident cat should not be allowed to enter this room or to stay at the door growling and hissing. After a week has passed, allow your resident cat to explore outside the door of the room where the new cat is residing. Only when all signs of aggression (hissing, growling) are absent, open the door a crack. Use a doorstop or hook to secure the door. Again, wait for the hissing and growling, if any, to disappear. If you have a large carrier or crate, place the new cat in it. Then bring it into your main living area. Try simultaneously feeding both cats treats or delicious food so that they associate each other’s presence with a pleasurable experience. Once the cats are comfortable in this situation, allow them interact under your supervision. If there are any signs of aggression, you might have to limit their exposure to, say, 5 to 10 minutes, or perhaps go back to the separation phase. Gradually increase the time the cats spend together as long as they are not aggressive to each other. Remember cat play can be pretty rough. Home Care You will need additional “infrastructure” to support your cats. Obtain new food and water bowls, an extra litter box (or two), scratching posts/pads, various toys, and bedding for the new cat. Obtain the same type of food that...

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Cats that Wake You Up

This Cats that Wake You Up Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Cats that Wake You Up

  Dealing with cats that wake you up before the alarm clock is frustrating, especially you want to sleep! Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. The term “nocturnal” refers to the lifestyle of being awake at night instead of during the day, and that isn’t what cats do. They sleep at night as we do, just not for quite as long. Cats are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because their ancestors’ prey was most active at these times, so it made sense for them to adjust to that schedule. No creature in his or her right mind ran about during the heat of the day or in the middle of night when it was pitch black. Though cats’ night vision is very good, they can’t see without light. Instead, they sleep. And herein lies the problem of the chronic “alarm clock” cat. Two things combine to make this phenomenon possible: 1. Nature. Your cat’s internal clock and crepuscular nature tells her that it’s time to get up at around dawn. Depending on the time of sunrise, cats will become active sooner or later. During summer in lands of midnight sun, cats may not be triggered by the dawn. During the long, dark, sunless winters of the Antarctic, a cat would probably sleep till lunchtime everyday. 2. Training. This is where the cat’s owner comes in. Let’s say your cat becomes active first thing in the morning. She quickly becomes bored because there’s nothing going on. If you so much as look at this cat, rewarding her with your attention, you may well get more of the same in days to come. Worse still, if you assume that your cat is pacing around and scratching your furniture because she’s hungry, and you get up and feed her, then you have really made a bed upon which you must lie (awake). At this stage, pretending to be asleep, yelling at the cat, rolling over, and other forms of stubborn resistance usually do not work. The cat continues her (no doubt) occasionally successful quests. And remember, occasional reward is a more powerful reinforcer than continuous reward (reference: the slot machines in Las Vegas). Some of the things you do may even amuse and entertain the bored cat and serve as reinforcers in their own right. You may, in effect, become a big squeaky toy for your cat. Here are some suggestions to prevent early awakenings: Highly Recommended Understand your cat and don’t blame her for the way that nature designed her. Have some patience and forbearance as you try to realign her habits. Fit thick, lightproof curtains in your bedroom and hallways so that your whole sleeping area is totally dark at...

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Dealing with Hypervocalization

This Dealing with Hypervocalization Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Dealing with Hypervocalization

All cats have a voice but some are more vocal than others. This is true on an individual basis and breed basis. Orientals are the quintessential loud mouths; they unabashedly voice their concerns in their own unique way using characteristic deep, loud throaty meows. Persians and Maine coons are generally much less vocal. Whether a cat is hypervocalizing or not, depends to some extent on the breed and on the circumstances. What may be excessive for a Persian may be par-for-the-course for a Siamese. What may be an overreaction to life in the living room may be an appropriate reaction for a cat stuck in a closet. But owners tend not to consider such matters when labeling a cat hypervocal. All they are concerned with is how loud, how long, and how often. When faced with an apparently hypervocalizing cat it is as well to consider why the cat is vocalizing before trying to stop the racket. Cat Language: Cats make a series of different sounds, some pure sounds and others composite or complex sounds. They all mean slightly different things. Many of the simple sounds signal aggression e.g. the growl, hiss, shriek, and spit. However, there are more pleasant sounds, like the highly versatile murmur, used as a request or greeting, the squeak of pleasure, and the ever-welcome purr. Complex sounds include the mew, meow, and the guttural moan. The term hypervocalization is usually reserved for excessive meowing as a means of energy release, attention-getting mechanism, or long distance communication. Interpretation: Having determined that a cat is truly hypervocalizing (meowing loudly and excessively to the distraction and perhaps sleeplessness of the owner), the next step is to determine why. One tomcat I described in the lead chapter of my book, The Cat Who Cried For Help, cried all night after she was made an indoor cat. I imagine that her nocturnal crying was an expression of the frustration she felt at having her freedom taken away. Some cats may have learned to hypervocalize to get attention while others have medical causes underlying their hypervocal behavior. Below is a list of possible factors involved:   Motivational conflict (access limited)   Attention-seeking   Pain or hunger   Aggression   Anxiety/Fear   Compulsive behavior   Hyperthyroidism   Estrus   Brain tumor   Feline hyperesthesia   Cognitive dysfunction Diagnosis: To determine which of the above factors is operating in any particular case, it is important to take into consideration the cat’s age, breed, sex, neuter status, it’s environment, living circumstances, the history of the problem (recent onset vs. long standing), events coincident with the onset of the problem, the owner’s reaction to the cat’s vocalization, and possible medical factors. Motivational conflict is often seen when an outdoor male cat is brought inside...

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Cats Living with Dogs

This Cats Living with Dogs Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Cats Living with Dogs

 A lot of people ask, if I get another pet will it get along with my cat? The corollary to this question, if I get a cat will it get along with my existing pets, is also of interest to some folk. There is no simple answer to these two questions, but there are some facts to consider that might help forecast the results of such interspecies interactions:   The species of the housemate you intend for your cat (or proposed cat)   The temperaments of the individuals to be mixed   The early and later experiences of the individuals to be mixed   Which species is incumbent   Our own ability to monitor and manage the situation   The environmental setup While there can be some very harmonious marriages of species, sometimes the result of the mix can be damaging – or even lethal – to one or both animals. Dogs and Cats President Clinton found out that bringing a dog (Buddy) into the White House where there was already a cat (Socks) was not as easy as balancing the U.S. budget. The two fought like, well, dog and cat. But do all dogs and cats hate each other? The answer is no. The relationship between these traditionally acrimonious species can range from good friends, to indifferent, to positively hostile. Dogs, by nature, are predators. Predators tend to chase rapidly moving and furry things smaller than they are, which is the job description of a cat. So, potentially there is a problem. But, dogs and cats, like humans, are not driven by nature alone. There is also a learned component to what they do. For a dog and cat, the most important time for learning who your friends are is the so-called sensitive period that spans the first two to three months of life. A puppy that is raised with cats during this time, and experiences no adverse consequences of the interaction, will likely grow up to regard cats as benevolent domestic fixtures. The reverse is also true. It may be slightly easier to introduce a new kitten to a resident dog than to introduce new puppies to a resident cat because of the highly territorial and antisocial nature of some cats. But you can also have your work cut out introducing kittens to a highly predatory species of dog. Both situations can sometimes be managed by proper chaperoning and protection of the most vulnerable species, and time can lead to mutual tolerance if not mutual admiration. If puppies and kittens are raised together, neither party should present a problem when integrating with the opposite species unless the incumbent is particularly mean. Cats should not be introduced to a home with dogs that have chased and tried to...

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How to Get Your Cats to Be Best Friends

This How to Get Your Cats to Be Best Friends Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

How to Get Your Cats to Be Best Friends

Sometimes getting cats to live together peacefully can be as difficult as trying to herd them. Others appear to get along famously. Why do some cats get along well together while others do not? To answer this question it is helpful to know something about cats’ natural inclinations toward each other. Cats are not, by nature, as sociable as dogs. When resources are scarce, as they are in nature, most cats have to get by pretty much on their own and do not seem to need or seek company. There are a few exceptions to this: mating time, kitten nursing/rearing time (for females only), and congregation time for itinerant urban males off their own territory. No one is quite sure of the purpose of these latter gatherings, which often occur in the back alleys off busy city streets. At these times, the cats simply sit and look at each other from a distance. And that just about sums it up for feline “social” behavior, except under different conditions, that is. When there is ample food for all, cats have the leisure to live together in harmony, if they wish. Under these circumstances groups of 70 or more cats can live together with some degree of mutual harmony in a unit that has been found to be a true society, not simply an aggregation of animals of the same species around a common food source. In the “cat society,” females tend to form alliances and share some of the duties of kitten-raising to their mutual benefit. They will, for example, cross suckle and engage in cooperative hunting. Males patrol territories in which groups of females reside and, like the males of many species, seem indifferent to the social side of things. Their job is to feed themselves and procreate. Within these large groups of cats, it has been found that certain individuals spend more time than the average in close proximity to each other. These cats have been termed “preferred associates,” or what you and I would call friends. They show some affinity for each other. Other cats distance themselves from each other and might be referred to non-preferred associates or as showing a degree of antagonism toward each other. Preferred associates communicate their affection for each other in subtle ways, such as momentary bunting and flank rubbing, or they may actually allow each other inside their personal space, grooming each other and curling up together. In the Home This is (or should be) the situation in our homes, allowing cats to live together in a society. The term society implies some sort of civil code of conduct and perhaps some social ranking system. Both appear to exist, at least on occasion, in groups of cats in the home. One...

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