Page all of 83 12345>Last »
Topic Options
#75829 - 10/17/02 09:03 PM Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
I know that many of us here have cats. So there must be a percentage of said cats who are crazy. I turn to you, Chickliterati, with my neurotic-cat question.

Daniel, my 7-year-old grey striped tiger, has a UTI. I didn't realize this until he started peeing everywhere in the apartment, and I noticed blood in his urine. He's now been to the vet, and has been taking antibiotics for three days. I also set up a secondary litter box for him, filled with only the urine-absorbing crystals, so I can keep an eye on the results.

He seems to be feeling better, but the rampant peeing in inappropriate places continues. He's hit just about every fabric-covered surface in the apartment, including my bed. He does this both when I'm looking and when I'm not. I've taken to covering everything with newspaper (a lovely decorating choice), and I'm tired of living in a Pee Shack. I'm also afraid that our other cat, Maggie, might be influenced by the pervasive non-litterbox use and start doing the same thing, as both cats were outdoor creatures until last year, so the box is a relatively new concept for them.

So, my question is: How can I fix this? And, also, how do I get this smell out of everything?

Top
#75830 - 10/19/02 12:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
opal
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 51
Loc: Memphis, TN

Offline
Fixing the problem: I've heard a number of approaches to this, but the one that makes the most sense to me is placing additional litter boxes in the house. Daniel may still be feeling less than 100%, control-wise, or he may just have gotten into a bad habit. Either way, making sure an appropriate pee receptacle is readily available may help. I've also heard of people placing food bowls near all the pee spots, based on the theory that they won't eliminate where they eat, but results are varied. Oh, and on a sidenote, my cat luuuurves newspaper, so that definitely wouldn't discourage her from being on or around places I didn't want her to be/pee.

Fixing the smell: try an enzyme-based deodorant like Nature's Miracle or Natural Magic. They're unscented and work very well. You can get them at the big chain pet stores or anywhere that has a well-stocked cleaning supply section.

Top
#75831 - 10/19/02 01:02 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh Masha, I'm so sorry Daniel's sick. UTIs are awful, life threatening things. We just went through this with our oldest cat, Zoje, and it has caused serious changes in our entire household. I've gone through this illness with a couple of cats in the past--so this post will be long. If you want more info, just e-mail me.

Nature's Miracle? It is a miracle. Gets the smell out, gets the stains out. Get a huge bottle of it. Dr Bronner's (liquid) soaps are also very very good. The best thing about both of those, is that they are non-toxic for the cats. With the Nature's Miracle, you really do have to give it the full time it needs to work--and the smell does get worse before it gets better.

Peeing outside the box is more stressful for them than it is for you. (No, really, it is.) Here's what Anitra Frazier says about random wetting: "... if the cat experiences discomfort, itching, burning, and so on of the genital area while urinating in the box, he may, in his little cat mind, decide to try to find a "safer" place, that is, a place that will not cause his genitals to itch or burn. He doesn't know why he's itching and burning; he just knows that it happens every time he goes into that litter box so he goes looking for a safer place. As a precaution ... put at least one box in each and every room that your pet frequents."

UTIs and FUS are chronic conditions brought on by diet and stress. Keep a cheerful, affectionate attitude around Daniel and Maggie. And try to eliminate stresses in their environment. Clean all the cat boxes with baking soda (anything stronger like Pine Sol or bleach will just irritate their sensitive noses). I know it's difficult, but Daniel's only been on the medication for three days, so it probably still hurts him to use the box. There's like, one little synapse in their little cat-heads that controls peeing, and when it snaps, it takes a lot of patient work to redirect them.

I would suggest putting the food dishes where he's peed, but we can't do that anymore. Since Zoje got sick, we switched all the cats over to a raw meat diet and so they only get fed twice a day--and the dishes come up after exactly one half hour. Before the raw food diet, the food dish thing totally worked. We conditioned a friend's cat in just that way while we were house sitting for them.

Okay this next part isn't just about fixing your pee problem, but diet in general. I've been down this same road many times (UTIs, FUS, kidneys), and finally, this year, I realized that for my cats' health there would have to be major changes made.

Because urinary problems (especially as cats age) can become chronic, I would strongly suggest completely changing their diet. It's tough at first, but if you're patient and don't bend, it's really better for them. All of our cats are much healthier, and the cranky one has become noticably less cranky. Don't just take my word for it--go ahead and do the research. Here are some links to help you out.

Urinary Health and Your Cat
Cat Nutrition: Good Food/Bad Food
The New Natural Cat, by Anitra Frazier
Instincts TC, this is part of what we feed our cats now

Oh, Dr Kilcommons also recommends tinfoil instead of newspaper for covering the area (since many vet's offices use newspaper for litter) and playing with your cat in the area where they've peed. Cats won't go where they eat or play.

Daniel's probably not thrilled that you switched litter on him too--cats develop very specific scratching preferences when it comes to their box. Changing litter is just one more little stress added to being sick, going to the dr, you being upset and worried... Additionally, warm praise and treats after a successful box experience will go a long way toward reinforcing "thinking inside the box."

[This message has been edited by Catness (edited October 19, 2002).]

Top
#75832 - 10/20/02 02:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Jeremy
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 10/20/02
Posts: 5
Loc: Massachusetts, USA

Offline
Have you tried getting a dog? I believe this would go a long way in solving your problems. Seriously, canines share several very distinct advantages over their feline counterparts.

1. They will sit & watch whatever is on tv with you and you'll hear nary a complaint.

2. They are smarter: Whomever wrote "cats rule & dogs drool" surely was NOT a dog lover.

3.They are on average far cleaner. Heck I never find my dogs prancing loiterously across my kitchen countertop.

4. They are far more open-minded and accepting of new philosophies and opinions. Even though my dog Sumo has been raised on a steady diet of Aristotelian Ethics he adjusted to the, in some ways, diametrically opposed Kantian Ethics quite remarkably and if you want a real-world example read this: upon discussing the relative merits of dogs over cats, my Akita, Sumo freely and openly admitted that dogs are far superior to cats, whilst at the same time pointed out that cats are far too close-minded and stubborn to admit this truth.

The next time you visit your veterinarian ask about any good odor-eliminating products for Daniel's unfortunate habit. Many animal hospitals carry specialized products for just the thing you need. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.

-Jeremy

Top
#75833 - 10/21/02 10:13 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
I knew this would be the place to get great advice (not counting Jeremy's, of course; well, except for that last part). Thanks for your help.

Dan is feeling much better. He's returned to sleeping on the bed, after an enforced exile followed by a voluntary one. He's still spending a lot of time monitoring his litter, but that's mostly normal for him. I know what you mean, Catness, by this being more stressfull for him than me; even when he's well, he spends a lot of time finding suspicious-smelling spots on the wood floors and trying to clean them up.

Also, I guess now that my cats are getting older (Maggie's nine now, and Dan's seven), I'll have to start paying attention to changes in diet and litter and schedule and whatnot. They've always been amazingly adaptable, but they've also had a fairly stressful past year and a half.

Jeremy, your dogs sound rather more intellectual than the ones I've met in the past (though I can see how Aristotle would be more popular in the canine world than the human). Would you say this is a result of nature or nurture? Oh, and Maggie wants me to point out that dogs chase things; what does that say about the existence of free will?

Top
#75834 - 10/21/02 11:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Good, I'm glad he's feeling better. Please give both your cats ear noogies for me. Heh.

We made the decision to switch their diet over completely because both of us have had cats get sick over and over again with FUS and UTIs. Feeding Zoje the prescription Hill's S/D canned was right out--none of our three cats, The Pook (5), Nepher (6), and Zoje (12), would eat it. I was really desperate to find something for them; their lifelong diet of dry food was no longer acceptable. We had been feeding them what we thought was a good diet and very good food. It was good, but not good enough. It's all about the moisture--and dry doesn't give them enough. This raw meat diet is something they can all eat.

The Phooka is like Daniel, always fussing about his litter. The girls, in his opinion, don't "sort" the sand properly and he gets very upset when they don't cover as well as he would. Any change in the litter is a big stressor for the Pook. Those are his boxes, dammit!

Top
#75835 - 10/23/02 01:51 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
russus
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 10/16/02
Posts: 13

Offline
Jeremy, I know my cats (two of them anyway) will sit and watch TV with me. They especially love the motor racing. And I used to have a cat who adored classical music, he'd race into the house when he heard it and screech to a halt outside the living room door before sauntering in and slowly wondering over to one of the speakers where he'd sit with his ears pricked up and a very smug look on his face!

Masha, sorry to hear of your cat troubles, it's always distressing to discover there's something wrong with a pet.

We have a little monster cat who is compulsive obsessive, he pulls his fur out until he has these great bald patches. We've had him tested for everything, tried changes of diets to make sure it's not an allergy of some kind, but nothing works. Now we have to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to make sure he gets a good fuss and plenty of attention, and he's a much happier cat, but he still pulls his fur out...

[This message has been edited by russus (edited October 23, 2002).]

Top
#75836 - 10/23/02 09:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
russus, our cat Zoje has this problem too. If you've ruled out all allergies and possible urinary issues, it's probably due to boredom, stress, and/or loneliness.

We've determined that Zoje's cause is likely stress and depression. We just adopted her earlier this year so she's had to adapt to loss of her original owner, loss of her companion cat of 10 years, foster homes and cages for four months, new house (ours), two new companion cats who aren't exactly thrilled to meet her, and finally, getting sick. All of this at the not-so-tender age of 12; I couldn't make a more sure-fire formula for a stressed and depressed cat.

So, we haven't conquered the compulsive belly licking yet, but here are some things that we are doing that seem to be working.
  • distraction: when we catch her over-grooming we either start brushing or petting her, or bring out one of the interactive toys
  • medication: for the last month, we've had Zoje on a mild antidepressant. That doesn't seem to be working too well, so I switched all the cats over to some herbal remedies (akin to Bach's flower remedies). We've only been using them for a week, but have noticed a marked improvement in all the cats. For Zoje we use the Depression and Grieving formula, the Phooka and Nepher get the Calming Solution, and all three get New Home Group Living.

Have you had a bit of upheaval in your home recently? Are you home less than you used to be? Is it that he's bored? Or is he lonely? Is your other cat displaying any symptoms of boredom or stress? Oh, did your vet check for ideopathic cystitis? Although this occurs more often in female cats, it can happen with males too--it's just like how human women get cystitis. The irritation from the cystitis can cause a cat to snap and start the licking thing. One of our vets says that it can be cured with anti-depressants.

Consult your vet if you'd like to try the herbal remedy route. I'm not a vet (nor am I affiliated with any of the links I've provided), I'm just letting you know what has worked for us. If you go with the herbals, the formulas that might help are: Training/Breaking Habits, Depression and Grieving, Loneliness/Home Alone, or Calming Solution--or even Skin Irritation. They can be used in combination and mixed into their food. Granted, it's much easier to mix into the meal if your cats don't eat dry food.

Good luck! And feel free to e-mail me if you need to.

[This message has been edited by Catness (edited October 23, 2002).]

Top
#75837 - 11/18/02 10:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
Me again. I just wanted to say, dang it, Daniel's got FUS. No stones, thank goodness, but it's never encouraging when your vet basically tells you that your cat is just plain crazy. He's already on a mostly wet-food diet, but I may have to switch him to a raw-meat menu. And considering I forgot to feed myself today, won't that be a joy.

Don't mind me, I'm just complaining and feeling bad for my buddy.

Top
#75838 - 11/22/02 08:33 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Lady Di
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 346
Loc: lynn, ma 01902

Offline
I have 2 cats. Actually 1 cat is mine, the other is my future sister-in-law (I hope not) has the other. My cat is a dark haired tiger cat (I guess), I rescued her from my newphew & friends, (I really don't know what they were doing to her) and now she follows me EVERYWHERE. I call her my cat-dog.

The other cat is call Stinky, (he doesn't stink either) is a pretty black & white cat. Very frisky & likes to play with my mom's 2 puppies. \:\)

Top
#75839 - 11/22/02 11:49 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Masha:
Me again. I just wanted to say, dang it, Daniel's got FUS. No stones, thank goodness... [snip]
Oh Masha, that sucks. Yep, you probably got the "your cat can never have dry food again" lecture, didn't you?

Don't worry, the raw meat diet is much easier than you think. Even if we forget to feed ourselves, Mr Catness and I never forget to feed the Ungrateful Bastards. They. Won't. Let. Us.

Today, Miss Zoje and I have to go to the vet. She's been having problems in the past few days with getting a poo out, hasn't eaten (much), and is dehydrated. I'm fairly certain, due to her overgrooming, that we're headed toward a hairball impaction (it doesn't help that she and the Pook ate a furry cattoy last week, I'm sure). Cross your fingers for us that she'll only need an enema.

ETA: Okay, we're back from the vet. He agrees that it is likely Zoje has an impacted hairball. So she got IV fluids and a massive dose of laxatives. Wooo fun for us.

She's home with me now and purring happily on my lap.

Oh, he made an additional recommendation for the over-grooming issue. Since cats with this obsessive-compulsive disorder often become attracted to the areas their over-groom because their saliva makes it itchier, he suggested putting a fair dosage of Omega 3 type oils in her food. Something like flax seed oil.

Can't hurt, might help.

Top
#75840 - 06/15/03 01:36 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflwrpdx
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 330
Loc: Portland, OR

Offline
Scott and I recently adopted a cat. We've had him for about a week and things are going pretty well except for one thing--he meows all night. Actually, he doesn't meow, he yowls. It's kinda annoying and it's keeping us up at night. Does anyone know why our kitty would be doing this and how we can get him to stop?

Thanks.
_________________________
If you don't risk anything you risk even more. -- Erica Jong

Top
#75841 - 06/15/03 03:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
A few questions:

How old is your kitty? If he's less than a year old, I'm sorry to tell you is perfectly normal behavior. Especially if he has a good portion of one of the "high activity" level type of breed in him (Siamese, for example).

What might help is establishing play times. He's got energy and it needs to be released. Do you have a designated play time? If so, it might help you to either add more time or switch part of that time over to the half hour or so before you and Scott go to bed. Get him good and tired.

Where does he sleep (does he sleep with you or is he locked out of the room)? See answer below. If he's locked away from you at night, he may be lonely and seeking affection.

Do you have any other cats? Depending on his history, he may just be lonely, missing his littermates, his momma, or even the other cats at the shelter. At the shelter, they all probably stayed up all night gabbing (as they do).

When do you feed him? You might try feeding him a big meal late in the evening. Full stomach = sleepy cat.

It's only been a week though, so he doesn't know the rules yet. Cats looooove routine. The best ways to break the yowling habit are with noise, water, and routine. It takes a lot of patience, but your kitty may still just grow out of it, as long as you don't respond by rewarding him for it. Dr. Kilcommons, pg 187 says:
 Quote:
From this moment forward, you will not respond to a yowling cat. Or, at least, you will try not to. If you decide to sit this yowling business out, sit it out. Correct the cat, ignore the cat. Wear headphones. Do not give in to the cat. The worst thing you can do is wait ten minutes or so and then buckle under the pressure. If you do that, you have just trained the cat to yowl for ten or more minutes at a time. Bad lesson.
If you do decide to correct him and let him know that yowling is not acceptable, there are a few good ways to do it.

Basically, you have to break his train of thought. A bottle of pills, a shake can (aluminum soda can full of beans), or a spray bottle should do it. Discreetly toss the noisemaker (or spray water) in the general direction of the cat (not AT the cat), the noise will spook him and he'll break off. "After a few seconds of silence, call [him] over to you. Praise [him] and give him a treat. In this way you are rewarding silence, reassuring [him] that all is well and demonstrating that you had nothing to do with the noise thing falling from the sky, which just happens around noisy cats."

The Kilcommons's book that I linked above? One of the best books on cats and owners I've ever read. Stopped the Phooka, when he was in that horrible "I must bite everything and everyone!" kitten phase from biting within 24 hours. Amazing.

Top
#75842 - 06/15/03 07:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Sunflwrpdx--yay on the new kitty! bummer about the yowling. I hope it's something easy to fix. My boy kitty was a stray before he became our darling housecat.

When we first brought him into the house, he would yowl at night because, well, he wanted to be out and about after dark like he did in his old wild boy days. It took him awhile to adjust to the "in at night" rule. This might be what's going on with your cat, depending on his history.

One other thing occurs to me...are you sure he is a boy? Girl kitties have been known to raise their voices like that when they go into heat and are kept indoors.

Top
#75843 - 06/16/03 04:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
sunflwrpdx, I've only known one cat who ever yowled, and he was completely deaf. He could howl all night long, because he didn't have to listen to himself. Does your kitty's hearing seem okay in everything else?

Amusing story I feel like sharing: my cat has been worrying me for several months now. She seemed to have blood in her stool, and a couple of times she threw up a big bloody mess. The vet couldn't find anything. I changed her food, bought her kitty salads, anything I could think of. I was convinced my little girl was terribly sick. Recently, she threw up before she had a chance to digest her last meal, and included in it were several red threads. The beast has been happily eating the fringe off my red chenille throw, the psychotic little monster. She's perfectly healthy, I'm happy to report, if entirely bonkers.

Top
#75844 - 06/16/03 10:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Sunflow--Eww. I'm glad it was only a mess of red fringe after all. You must feel relieved. My cat is quite fond of puking big grassy/hairball combos. Not quite as pretty as red chenille!
Catness--Is Phooka named after the Phouka in War for the Oaks?

My cat entertains himself by sitting on the fence we share with our neighbors and "teasing" the dogs in their yard. This one little whippet creature will jump up very high to try and get the cat. That ol' cat lazily flicks his tail back and forth, and will even dip his paw down along the fence. The dog never stops barking. It's quite unnerving to me, but the cat seems very amused by it all!

My cat has an escape route if it gets to be too much. He'll jump in through the open kitchen window, which is right next to the fence--a way in and out of the house he is quite used to--since before dogs moved in next door.

Top
#75845 - 06/17/03 10:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
HollywoodEnding
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Offline
I have a kitty, Charlotte, who's about 4 years old. I got her as a very tiny abandoned baby kitten from the Humane Society, and she's been wonderful... except for one thing.

Kneading. Excessive kneading! It's enough to drive me crazy. Sometimes I have to kick her out of my bedroom at night because I simply can't sleep while she claws me (unintentionally) painfully and without stopping.

I've tried scolding, I've tried holding her paws still... has anyone dealt with this? I was once told it's common in kittens that were abandoned, but was never ever given any hints on how to deal with it.

Top
#75846 - 06/17/03 10:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflwrpdx
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 330
Loc: Portland, OR

Offline
Thank you all for your responses, and thanks sunflow, for the book recommendation. I picked it up when I was at Powell’s tonight.

Anyway, to answer your questions, Monet is just over a year old, his hearing seems fine, he can sleep wherever he wants (including with us), I feed him around 6 PM (right when I get home), and yes, I’m pretty sure he’s a boy kitty. (And he has been neutered.) We have one other cat, Bear, who is five years old, and she and Monet are getting along well.

I’ve been trying to play with both cats right before I go to bed (around 10:00), in the hopes that it will tire them out. It worked one night, but it didn’t last night. I wish I could figure out why he yowls. He doesn’t bother me so much as he bothers Scott (who then turns into a grouch because he loses sleep, which bothers me). Also, we live in an apartment and I’m worried the neighbors can hear his yowling.

I wish I knew why he does this. I can’t figure it out. Maybe he’s just talkative?
_________________________
If you don't risk anything you risk even more. -- Erica Jong

Top
#75847 - 06/17/03 11:49 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I too have a kitty, Bean, who kneads, HollywoodEnding, just not excessively. She’s this little doll who showed up on my deck one evening two years ago when she was six months old. She appears to achieve some sort of Zen-like meditative state while kneading on any exposed piece of my skin she can find and then falls over into sleep.

Old wives’ wisdom says that a kitty who kneads was weaned too early (they knead their mother’s tummy to stimulate the milk to come out while they are feeding) and that they continue to do it for comfort. Oddly, I consider myself privileged that Bean kneads on me, even when it happens at 4:00 a.m. I’m not inclined to get her to stop because (okay, I know I’m bonkers) I believe it’s part of the bond between us. I do, however, trim her claws to keep the ends of them dull. That way, she doesn’t hurt me when she kneads on me.

That probably wasn’t any help at all.

Top
#75848 - 06/18/03 12:30 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Well... there's always earplugs until Monet gets over it. Okay, sorry, that's not helpful is it? ::

sunflwrpdx I'm sorry, I was remiss in not congratulating you on your new arrival. Getting a new kitty is always a fun thing, and I went right into my problem-solving mode.

You might try, along with the late play time, giving him a "midnight" snack. We do that when the Phooka and Nepher get an excessive case of the zips late at night. Usually then, they're so busy grooming that they get all tired out and settled down to sleep right afterward. A one inch strip of sardine (the kind you can get with tomato sauce) is acceptable; plus they get a nice dose of fish oils and vitamin C as a bonus.

I think it's probably a case of new home and family, along with being young that's making him so talkative. It's probably something he'll have to grow out of or get bored with. If he's yowling with no real purpose in mind, like say getting you and Scott out of bed to play or feed him, eventually, he'll get bored with it. I think Bear will probably get annoyed enough with him to deliver The Smack and The Down as well. Lord knows that Zoje does not suffer the Pook acting like a knucklehead around her.

Kivrin, yep, the Pook is named for Phouka in Emma Bull's War for the Oaks. The day I brought him home, he was totally not what I had gone to the shelter to find. So I had a girl's name all picked out, but ended up with this brave little black and white boy cat. He and his two sisters had been abandoned up at the nature preserve and just two hours before I got there, they'd been adopted. So there he was, sitting at the back of the cage looking like a little stuffed cat with scary round glassy doll eyes, trying so hard to be brave. He's a kneader and a drooler and he's all about MOMMY. Mr Catness might as well not even exist when I'm home. Heh.

HollywoodEnding, I agree with Georgina, there's not much you can do about a kneading cat but keep her claws clipped close. I have the same thing with the Phooka, especially when he's feeling insecure. He'll knead my scalp and drool in my ear until he feels better. Zoje has these pointy paws of steel that she thrusts into any soft tissue (breasts especially). Gah! Trying to correct the behavior only leads to stress though, and makes them want to knead more to comfort themselves. It really is a sign of contentment.

The only thing I can suggest is pulling her around in front of you and spooning her, with your hand on her belly, her spine pressed to your chest and have her knead into a pillow. Might help, but I doubt it.

sunflow just "bwaha!" on the chenille threads. Yarn suckers, such a delight aren't they?

Top
#75849 - 06/18/03 02:13 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
 Quote:
She appears to achieve some sort of Zen-like meditative state while kneading on any exposed piece of my skin she can find and then falls over into sleep.
Heh--Georgina.

Don't cats look so weird when they go into that kneading trance mode? It's kind of creepy.

Hollywood--Maybe you could try to transfer your cat's paws to your blanket each time she starts up with the kneading thing. It might work, but she isn't a kitten anymore, so changing the behavior might take awhile. Good luck with that. I can barely tolerate that whole kneading thing my cat does, but at least he only goes for the blankets, and only at night, when I'm in bed reading.

Top
#75850 - 06/18/03 10:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
HollywoodEnding
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Offline
Thanks, all, for the suggestions and sympathy. I do take it as some strange compliment that Charlotte feels so content around me, but it just gets soooo very irritating and painful after awhile. I'm going to try moving her paws and praising her for that, and making a bigger effort to keep her nails trimmed. Of course, sometimes when you're trying to sleep, just the kitty paws pounding all over you hurt without the claws. It's amazing how strong little cats can be.
Top
#75851 - 06/19/03 12:07 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FortunateGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 72
Loc: Fort Worth, TX

Offline
Yarn suckers? So my cat isn't a freak? He loves to suck on my pajama pants. Only the pairs from Old Navy, though, so maybe he is a little weird after all.
Top
#75852 - 06/19/03 10:20 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Your cat may be a freak, but not because of yarn/fabric/fiber sucking. The biggest things owners of yarn suckers have to worry about are 1) destruction of property, and 2) bowel blockage. (See sunflow's post above.) Her kitty probably has a good diet that keeps things mooooooving through her little system. And chenille is a soft, silky, slippy yarn.

Chewing should not be encouraged, because it can be dangerous, but it's a very difficult behavior to change without making it worse.

Top
#75853 - 06/19/03 11:55 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Kivrin, I'm so glad I'm not alone in finding the kneading thing a little creepy. Mr. Lonebuffs thinks it's terribly cute, but something about it just gives me the heebie jeebies!

We recently brought home a kitten, now nearly 13 weeks old. She's adorable, and occasionally (when she stops freaking out and running around the house scratching, biting, chewing, and otherwise upsetting everything in her path) very sweet. But I have to admit, I might not be entirely cut out for having a kitten. Thankfully, Mr. Lonebuffs has a lot more patience than I. Seriously, if having a kitten is this demanding, what on earth is having chilldren like??? I think I'd rather not know.

I want to throw out a big word on compulsive hair biting (from a long-ago post) being caused by boredom or loneliness. We've had Xena for a number of years (having adopted her when she was just over a year old), and she's always seemed like a happy, contented kitty but for the patch of bald on her back and the endless clumps of her hair strewn about the house. We could never figure out why she did it, since she checked out to be free of allergies, and she didn't seem stressed. It was only when we brought Mookie (the kitten) home and Xena stopped biting her fur altogether that we realized she had most likely been bored or lonely.

The ironic thing is she most certainly does NOT like Mookie, wants little to do with her (excepting the occasional smackdown), and is all around annoyed at her presence. But something about having the second warm body in the house must agree with Xena, because her fur is shinier and softer than I've ever seen it.

Top
#75854 - 06/20/03 03:01 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Kivrin - sometimes the expression on her face is kind of creepy. Most times, though, I envy how I envision she's feeling when she gets that expression. It's pure hedonism.
Top
#75855 - 06/21/03 05:41 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

Offline
I have a cat named Henry. He is our second cat. I used to love cats. Henry is insane. He eats the mail. He makes noise at 5:30 in the morning. I have to keep my house plants outside because he eats them. He's destroyed my furniture, ripped down blinds and yes he is fixed. I want to declaw him but promised the people I got him from I wouldn't (it being evil in their eyes). He's a pain the ass. Any advice would be swell.
Top
#75856 - 06/21/03 07:28 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh dear.

You poor thing, you sound like you're at your wit's end with him. Some of Henry's problems are probably symptoms of something else, and some are just poor behavior/training issues. He may be bored (the paper eating sounds like boredom, crinkly paper is FUN!), lonely, or stressed. Do you have other cats?

Again I'll pimp the Dr. Kilcommons book . Most behavioral problems I've encountered are solveable and I use his techniques. Follow them to the letter, and you can't go wrong.

I have no solution for plant eaters. We have no plants for the very same reason. Kilcommons recommends hanging plants up high and spraying them with bitter apple plant spray. Get the cats their own plants to chew on (wheat grass or alfalfa sprouts).

I am adamantly opposed to declawing. Not only is it mutilation, but cats who are declawed (especially boys) can become even more destructive and aggressive--as well as start with the biting--toward themselves and their owners.

Start small, one behavior at a time and please try to be patient. Changing bad behavior is all about redirection.

You have to provide a suitable replacement for the inappropriate behavior. Like scratching for example, it's not that Henry scratches, it's that he's scratching in the wrong places.

Does he have a scratching post? If not, get him one or a few. A good solid one covered in sisal (no carpeting, it's too much like upholstered furniture)--a tall one if he likes verticals, or one of Cosmic Catnip's cardboard scratchers (they're awesome). Put it someplace he likes, especially if he's scratching territorially. Cat stretch and scratch up high to show off; the higher the scratches, the bigger the cat. The Phooka likes to stretch as tall as he can and get up on high things to spread that scent around, we keep one of his scratchers by the front door for just this reason. It makes him happy to let ensure that everyone who enters knows that a "big" cat lives here.

When your cat uses the post, praise him. Praise him high and low, give him treats even, whatever makes him happy and lets him know that you're happy. Cats respond to positive feedback and overreact to negative (swatting, yelling). If they get no reward for doing something good, then they don't see the difference. Booby-trap his other favored scratching areas: tape tinfoil over the area, double-sided tape, balloons, or even an indoor repellent. Anything that he doesn't like. Same goes for the blinds.

This is just a start. Remember to be consistent and patient. He's not doing it to thwart you or piss you off. Henry's behavior, to him, is perfectly normal. It's either a reaction to stress or boredom, or even just normal cat behavior, albeit misdirected.

Top
#75857 - 06/22/03 02:35 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
First of all, Catness, you are a very learned cat person who gives great advice.

I agree with Catness, heyalice, paper is fun! Frank, our big kitty, digs paper; it’s his favourite toy. Maybe you can re-direct Henry’s attention from the mail by tearing off a sheet of writing paper, crumpling it into a ball where he can watch you do it and listen to it, then throwing the paper. It may take a few times to get him interested in it, but maybe you can convince him that his own ball of paper is better than the mail. Is it possible to keep the mail out of Henry’s reach?

We had the same problem with furniture clawing with Frank. He couldn’t be convinced to stop clawing the couch or chairs by squirts from the water bottle. And Frank hates water. Absolutely detests water. In less than a year of moving into our new house and buying all new furniture, Frank had ruined all of it. The best piece of wisdom I’ve gained with reference to cats is, you can’t teach them anything by disciplining them. The only thing they learn from that is not to do something while you are in the room; otherwise, said activity is fair game.

We had all of our furniture re-covered and, while it was away being done, we plotted ideas to stop Frank from ruining it again. (The cost of the furniture re-covering was great motivation.) I purchased double-sided clear tape and put it on the corners of the furniture where Frank likes to scratch. You can’t see the tape so it doesn’t detract from the aesthetics of the furniture. (Frank hates tape almost as much as he hates water.) I found a natural spray at a pet-store and sprayed the area around the tape. (The spray is mostly water with a hint of garlic and clove. It’s odourless to humans and doesn’t hurt the furniture fabric or the cats.) Last on the list was a huge scratching post. Frank is a large, long cat he can stretch out really far. He needed something tall. This thing stands almost as tall as I am. It has three platforms for perching and is carpet covered. It’s ugly as sin. But, it didn’t take any time at all to switch both him and Bean over to it. They scale it like a tree and try to knock each other off of the top perch.

There was some discussion in my house about where the scratching post would reside. Mister G is all fussy about appearances. He’s the decorator in our small crew. He figured the scratching post belonged in the laundry room. I decided that, as the cats always have to be where the humans are in the house, the scratching post had to be in a busy spot. Out of the way would mean it was less appealing to the cats. I won. The scratching post lives in the dining room.

The transition from furniture to scratching post took, at most, a week. If it took that long. I’m not kidding. I rubbed catnip all over the monstrosity, and then introduced the cats to it by holding their paws and moving them (the paws) on the post. Then I scratched the post with my hands. It took. They clawed it immediately. It took little effort after that to convince them that the post was for scratching and not the furniture. The tape is still on the furniture, but that is just in case of relapse. Overall, it was far easier than I thought it would be. Oh, and Frank is eight years old and rather set in his ways.

That’s the long version of saying the same thing Catness said. The clawing isn’t bad: it’s what Henry chooses to claw that’s the problem.

About the noise-making. I don’t know if this is what is up with Henry, but this is Frank’s thing. He’s a hunter. A mighty, successful hunter of pens and pieces of plastic. Every so now and then, Frank gets a bee in his bonnet and decides to stalk and kill Mister G’s pen. And only that pen. He knocks it off the desk, and picks it up in his mouth, and yowls while carrying the pen to find us. Once he finds us, he puts the pen down and yowls until someone acknowledges what a good hunter he is. He’s done this at 5:00 a.m. before. I awoke thinking that Frank was trying to tell me the house was on fire. I got out of bed, patted Frank on the head, told him he was a good kitty, and picked the pen up. He trotted off satisfied with himself. Ya, we don’t know either.

Frank also has a habit of sitting and yelling for no real reason. It’s as if he wants to know where we are – particularly Mister G given their attachment to each other – but he can’t be troubled to go looking, so he hollers. We call out, “hey Frank, come here” and Frank comes to where we are.

I mention all of that by way of suggesting maybe Henry wants your attention in the early morning for reasons of his own. It may just be a question of figuring out what he wants or needs.

Plants. Frank eats plants too. (Now I’m beginning to wonder if these are typical male cat traits. My little Bean kitty doesn’t do any of these things.) Frank has restricted himself to one type of plant. It’s a frond-type thing that lives in Mister G’s office. He chews on it until the plant dies, and then we buy another. He doesn’t bother with any of the other plants in the house. Buying him his own kitty grass didn’t stop the frond munching. He ate both of them. So, I don’t know what to say about plants other than try to keep them out of his reach, or find one type of plant, that isn’t dangerous to cats, that he likes better than others, and maybe he’ll leave your other plants alone.

De-clawing is cruel. If you research the two methods of de-clawing a cat, you’ll find out just how mean the process is let alone the after-effects on their personalities. Really, I wouldn’t ever, ever do that to an animal.

I’ve learned that, as Catness has already said, (I’m sorry to repeat the same things you are saying Catness) the more I study cats' natural behaviour, the better we live together happily. Frank could easily be a pain in the ass. (When we got him from the SPCA when he was two or three years old, he bit and scratched every time we tried to pet him. Someone had socialised him to believe that human hands were playtoys. That took some time to undo.) But, I’ve learned that cats do cat things so I let them do just that. I learn who they are and what they are about and then structure our lives so we can all live with who they are. Frank’s behaviour mostly entertains us. He’s really a silly guy. He’s a load of fun who makes us laugh daily. The big, big, huge thing is, cats don’t seem to learn by being scolded or told no. The only concession they’ll make is to stop the behaviour when they can see you. The trick is to out-think them. Best of luck to you, heyalice, and Henry.

Top
#75858 - 06/22/03 10:31 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

Offline
Catness and Georgina, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!! I ove the little furball, I really do and I appreciate your advice and will put it to good use, I promise. BTW, I would never declaw Henry anyway, it is mean and cruel.
Thanks again.

Top
#75859 - 06/22/03 10:35 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Thanks, Georgina! Frank sounds great, I think I've got a tiny crush on him. Give him (and Bean) a couple of noogies for me.

I don't mind the repitition at all. Good advice always bears repeating, and I have a tendency to bogart this thread. You expanded on and said things better than I did. I grew up with cats and kittens, but the three we live with now have taught me the most about cat behavior and health. They have three very different personalities and extremely different needs when it comes to affection and understanding.

The yowling at five a.m., I agree, it might be what we call "getting lost." Often, the Pook will wander into another room and think that Mr Catness and I are lost (not him, us), he'll start crying (even though we're sitting right in the spots where he just left us and we have been for hours), and we'll have to call to him. He comes running in, says "hi," then runs off again. Oh yeah, we live in a fairly small one floor apartment. Everybody knows or can see where everyone else is pretty much all the time.

Liquid catnip, the kind that comes in a little pump spray bottle, is a great tool (Cosmic Catnip makes some). When we got them their new post, we soaked it in the stuff. You could try that with Georgina's writing paper idea. Make the crumpled writing paper even more desirable.

We also made sure to place their post under a window. That way, Nepher can sit in the top perch and look outside. We live in a converted basement, so all of our windows have extra wide ledges and look out on the garden. It's like kitty TV. Nepher, our Great Hunter, makes sure that neighborhood cats know who lives here and scares away squirrels with her frightening screeches.

Hee! On the Great Hunter, Frank, with the pens. I had a big Maine Coon who, when we lived in a mouse infested house years ago, managed to lure those little things out of their holes and would then bring me the mutilated little carcasses as a prize. Uch. I took great pains to thank him kindly for the gift, then, when he wasn't looking, sneak off to the bathroom and flush them. It's like their way of paying rent, I guess, acknowledging your level in the family hierarchy. Your hunter has brought you a treasure (or saved your life from the treacherous and devious PEN!).

I agree with this part so much:
 Quote:
... the more I study cats' natural behaviour, the better we live together happily. Frank could easily be a pain in the ass. ... But, I’ve learned that cats do cat things so I let them do just that. I learn who they are and what they are about and then structure our lives so we can all live with who they are.
Just as we do things they do not understand (giving them pills, getting all wet once a day, putting on clothes), they have their ways. It's the same with any animal. If we try to understand their motivation, it's easier to redirect behavior that we see as a problem in ways that we can all live with. Am I one of those crazy cat ladies who has kute-sy kitten kitcsh all over her house? Good heavens, no! Do the cats rule the house? In some ways, sure. But the pleasure of living with animals is something I can't live without.

Top
#75860 - 06/25/03 02:08 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Does anyone else have a cat that gets carsick? My tabby Annie always throws up when I have to take her to the vet or out to my family's house on holidays. She's a major homebody and hates any form of change, so I'm sure that plays a role.

Any advice--or just some commiseration--is appreciated. I'm about to move across town, and I hate the thought of her feeling miserable in her carrier during the drive--and I hate the thought of having to stop to clean out the carrier in Houston's summer heat. Ech.

Also, re: the yarn/fabric/etc. sucking: my parents have a Siamese cat named Oswald (yes, we named him after Oswald of the Amazing Race!) who sucks on a pillow every night. It's the funniest thing to watch--like watching a grown cat nurse. It's already been mentioned that cats that are weaned too soon may do this; I also read somewhere that it's a fairly common behavior in Siamese cats.

Top
#75861 - 06/26/03 02:30 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Gack to Houston summer temperatures. Oh the humidity. About the carsickness, sweetcheeks, I’d recommend phoning your vet. I’ve read before – though I can’t remember where or when – about being able to give cats who don’t like to travel tiny doses of Gravol to calm them down. I can’t, however, vouch for the validity of that information. I would bet that your vet could offer you ideas or maybe even medication to help Annie survive car rides without puking. (An ex-lover of mine had a cockatoo who got carsickness. He’d shake his head while getting sick, and vomit flew everywhere. That’s a whole other story, though.)
Top
#75862 - 06/26/03 06:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh sweetcheeks, that sucks. I get carsick too, if I have to sit in the backseat too long.

Dr. Kilcommons (page 123) recommends crating, not feeding, getting the kitty used to the car, and medication. In that order.

By crating he means that you should limit your kitty's ability to "see the world going by." I've had friends who swear by draping the carrier with a towel during a trip which would produce the same effect. Like a bird, the cat totally got quiet and didn't vomit.

If you know you're going to go somewhere, take up the food and don't feed her anything at least 12 hours before she has to get in the car. Can't throw up what isn't there, and even if she tries, it'll probably be substantially less clean up.

Take your beastie on some trips. Don't feed her beforehand, and then give her a nice treat or meal when you get home.

Lastly, check with your vet for medication ideas. I cannot vouch for this myself. For a short trip across town, I'd rather clean up a bit of mess than deal with a pissed off, drugged cat. In dire situations, I will resort to dosing a cat with Rescue Remedy, but only if I have to--and if it's that urgent, we're all taking a few doses. Heh. The one time I did use sedatives on a cat for a road trip, it was a friggin' nightmare. The next day, I didn't give her the meds, and she was sweet as pie. She sat quietly on top of the carrier in between the seats for the rest of the trip, completely calm and in charge. This was my last trip across the country. Cats really don't like to have their perception messed with.

Since Miss Annie is a homebody (I can relate), try the covering thing a few times. Ask your vet if she approves of Rescue Remedy and if so, keep that on hand for back up. If there's a set routine that goes with car trips, she might end up feeling a lot more comfy, especially if there's a special treat at the end of it for her.

Top
#75863 - 06/26/03 08:25 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I just knew Catness would have good advice on this question. I think I need to get my hands on that book.
Top
#75864 - 06/26/03 08:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Catness ought to write a cat care book of her own! You're so helpful here, C. I really appreciate all your thoughtful posts.
Top
#75865 - 06/26/03 08:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
bonster
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/04/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Texas

Offline
Catness, if you tell me Dr. Kilcommons has good advice for a cat that hates other cats and really, really prefers to be an only cat - and yet, has to share quarters with another feline who hunts her, invades all her spaces, lurks outside the litterbox in wait, etc... I'll buy that book immediately!

Georgina, I feel your humidity pain. My kitties do okay on trips to the vet when I put them in the front seat in a crate angled towards me, with an a/c vent aimed in their general direction (said in John Cleese's French accent ala Holy Grail). I also put fingers through the front grill and talk to him or her while I drive.

Re. the plant eating, the loner mentioned above has a plant fetish, but I've realized that it's only frond-type plants for some reason. Bromeliads or spider plants? Gotta be outside because they're just too chewable, but she doesn't care about most other plants and their okay in the house. Does Henry seem to prefer one plant or leaf type over others? Maybe that will help.

Top
#75866 - 06/27/03 12:11 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Y'all are making me blush. Seriously. Thank you. I usually feel like I'm being a big bossy know it all in this thread and that I don't let anyone else get a word in edgewise.

I admit to shamelessly cribbing a line or two directly from Dr. Kilcommons, so there are no plans in my future for writing a cat book. As if they'd give me a moment's peace to do it in anyway. Georgina seems to use the same methods I do of respecting the cats and understanding that "their logic is not our logic." It's not just me. Everyone here is so great at providing insight and advice. (Oh, and extra note to the yowlers, check out page 209 in the book. And the index in this thing sucks, btw.)

To prove my lack of knowledge here, let me share with you. Lest you think that all is fine and dandy and gamboling cheerful kittens at the Catness house, let me assure you it's soooo not that way at all. We have a cat like you describe, bonster, who would much prefer to be an only child, dislikes handling (displacement aggression), and snipes at our other two. Princess Nepher is a bitch. A flat out grumpy little brat with a comfort zone the size of a postage stamp. A large part of this comes from her history (long story); she was abused and abandoned quite a few times before being abandoned one last time on Mr Catness. She's been attacked by a spoiled rotten dog who ate all her food, hurt by stupid oafish human men, and had her trust betrayed repeatedly. Mr Catness and I have had to do a lot of work to get her to the slightly less prickly and affection seeking (on her terms) cat that she is today. It has been three years of work with consistency and patience.

Nepher tries my patience every day. She's the sort to reach out and lash the other cats at random for no reason other than irritation (that they're breathing the same air or nearby as she's passing) or she's impatient for me to get the food dishes down. Zoje will have nothing to do with her. The Phooka, if he's in the mood, will play Chase Me! with her. She clearly thinks the Pook is irretrievably stupid and is mightily offended that Zoje is top cat by virtue of her age and dignity.

All that said, the Holy Terror can be the sweetest most adorable, and charming cat I've ever met. When she first came to live with us (Mr Catness had had to leave her with friends for nearly a year--another long story), we got into a nasty habit of calling her "evil." After awhile I realized that focusing that sort of negative energy toward such a small creature was wrong in so many ways. So I banned the use of "evil" and switched to "complicated" and "misunderstood." Because she is. She's the most complicated cat... This last year has seen great improvements in her demeanor, particularly after we switched over to the raw meat diet. She did a... 45 degree turn in mood (yeah, not a 180 yet). I praise her and talk to her and admire her several times a day. I try to flood this cat with loads of positive feedback. She responds to it. Slowly, but she responds.

I still haven't conquered her aggression toward the other cats, that's something we have to work on daily. She's not allowed in the kitchen while I'm getting their food ready due to her inability to keep from slapping the other two in her impatience. If she hops up on the bed and hisses at Zoje because she claimed "her" spot on the bed, it's right back off until she can act like a lady. Last night, she even came up and laid her head on my hand, right next to Zoje, to prove that she should lay wherever she wants to dammit. I have found our two girls curled up together on the bed quite a few times; which lends weight to my prediction that some day, they will form an alliance and kick the Phooka's ass.

All of this to say that I don't have great advice on this part. Anitra Frazier and Dr. Kilcommons, meh, not much more either. These three cats that live with us are so different. I don't think they'll ever get along perfectly. Zoje can't be bothered with the other two, and the Prince and Princess tolerate each other between bouts of mad play. The best we can do is give them equal time in affection, attention, and understanding.

bonster, I'd let Kitty McPushypants know that some of that behavior is just not acceptable. Especially the amushing outside the poo-poo box (that can lead directly to "I'm Not Gonna Use It" problems). If the Wanna-be-Only-Child hasn't corrected Kitty McPushypants on that, do it yourself. Getting two boxes can help that. Make sure that Wanna-be-Only-Child gets some quality alone time with you. Other than that, they really have to work all of this stuff out for themselves. Cat relationships are complex, and usually best left without our interference. Like lonebluffs said upthread, her Xena is so not thrilled with ... uh ... Mookie (?) but is secretly pleased with the company, as evidenced by the reduction of hair pulling.

Right now, the cats are all in a fuss. Mr Catness and I will be moving across the country again (to Virginia). He left last weekend, and the cats and I will be joining him in September. They are not happy (well, neither am I, but at least I understand what's going on). It's harder for him though, he's plagued with guilt worrying that Nepher will think she's been abandoned again. But, the good thing is, she's not being shipped between stranger's houses this time and she's been living with me the past three years. So everything in her little life, save for his absence, is the same. She seems to be keeping her balance pretty well. Last month, when he went to Virginia for a few days, she stayed in the office here and pouted for the entire time he was gone. I think she's learned that if she does that, it gains her exactly nothing. I've had the pleasure of her company every night this week.

Top
#75867 - 06/27/03 10:09 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Wow, thanks for all the great advice, you guys. And I agree that, despite your occasional problems with your own cats, Catness, you definitely could write a book of your own.

I'm hesitant to drug Annie, but I just may have to try it. I haven't tried covering her carrier, which just might be the thing. I may give her a few trial runs before the Big Move next month. Usually I take Bonster's approach, making sure she's got lots of a/c on her (a definite must here in the summer) and putting my fingers through the cage to comfort her. I also try to give her a blow by blow description of everything we're passing, which sadly, on my part of town, mostly consists of "Hey, there's another tattoo place!" and "There's yet another strip club on the right." Thank goodness the bookstore (my favorite place) and the pet store (her fave) are on the way to the vet.

To chime in on introducing another pet to the mix, I too am at a loss. My parents had such good luck introducing Oswald to Schoomp, a very fat, very old, and very crotchedy old cat that I thought miracles were possible. So, when a black and white kitten ended up orphaned outside the home of one of my mom's friends, I tried taking her in. I did everything the books tell you to do: keep them separated and let them get used to the scents, etc., but Miss Anne Throp (her full name, for good reasons) wasn't having it. At one point I was on one side of the bed, looking underneath at Lola, the kitten. I saw this big green eye appear across the way on the other edge of the bed and heard a low growl. Annie. It was just like that scene in Jurassic Park, when the TRex looks through the window. Needless to say, Lola now lives with Oswald and Schoomp with the fam. Sigh.

I'd love to have another cat around the house, but I think for now it's better for my sanity and Annie's if we're single gals.

Top
#75868 - 07/09/03 07:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I’m hoping that Catness , or someone with equal cat wisdom is lurking about and has a suggestion about giving a cat a pill. Here’s the deal.

My kitty Bean had exploratory surgery yesterday due to a recurring, mysterious illness that hasn’t been identified by non-invasive testing. We’re talking brink-of-death illness episodes here. Episodes that inevitably happen on a Saturday at 5 and wind up with her in the emergency vet clinic for the weekend on an IV, anti-inflamatories and antibiotics.

So, ya, she had exploratory surgery yesterday and is home today. She’s very sore. This is a stem to stern incision resulting in a bazillion stitches. (Okay, not literally a bazillion, it just looks that way to me.) My poor muffin. I need to give her antibiotics and small bits of codeine tablets. The codeine are “if needed”. Well, how does one judge if her pain is extraordinary enough to warrant painkillers?

That aside, this is my usual pill-giving routine. (This, by the way, works easily with Frank. No fuss. He swallows. We’re done.) I sit on the floor, on my knees, behind Bean with one knee on either side of her. That way she can’t back up. Using my left hand, I span my middle finger and thumb across the back of her head, just in front of her ears, and apply pressure to both sides of the corner of her mouth. Using a finger on my right hand, I pry her mouth open. I cover the pill (chalky type pills these, I prefer capsules beside they slide easier) with margarine and place it at the very back of her mouth, top of her throat. I get my finger out of her mouth and let go of her head. She spits the pill out. Rinse repeat.

If I have to repeat this two or three times, she gets this panicked look on her face and spins around and climbs up onto my shoulder. I can feel her little heart pounding. She gets so upset by this. And, yes, so do I.

Sometimes it connects right away, she swallows the pill, and I have a syringe handy so I can squirt water in her mouth to help her swallow, done. Easy peasy. Most go-rounds, though, are just horror stories.

So, I’m asking. Does anyone have any tricks, suggestions, ideas, other methods, anything? I haven’t managed to get a codeine pill into her yet today because, after three separate attempts, and two ruined pills later, I surrendered. I have to at least get antibiotics in her. There has to be something I’m doing wrong or some other tactic I can employ. At the moment, I have nothing but this miserable, unworkable routine. I would truly appreciate any ideas.

Top
#75869 - 07/09/03 08:32 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh Georgina, that sucks! Please give Bean many gentle hugs and ear noogies from me.

Okay, I've got two good methods I use to pill a cat.

Because she's on antibiotics, you'll want to boost her "pro-biotics." Just like humans, cats can get a secondary infection from antibiotics; poor Zoje gets yeast infections in her ears. So, just like you would do to prevent a yeast infection in yourself, you need to up the good flora in her system. Fortunately, you can do this at the same time as you pill her. I usually use plain, organic yogurt and/or acidophilus (more on this later).

The Squirt: I recommend crushing the pills and mixing them with something. When we had to pill Zoje three times a day, I eventually had to crush them, mix a 1/8 teaspoon of yogurt with 1/8 teaspoon of water, pull it up into a syringe and squirt it down her throat. It was still a struggle though, so I switched The Smear. You've already struck on this one, might as well keep using it if she doesn't freak out too much from it.

The Smear: Remember, a cat will instinctively lick her nose, lips, and whiskers if she is touched there. Use this instinct to your advantage. Find a treat that Bean really likes, preferably a soft or sticky one. If she likes her Petromalt, use that. Yogurt works too. Soft canned food, mashed sardine (in tomato sauce--you can get it at the grocery store, yes the stuff in a tin), butter (real butter, not margarine), really anything you know that she'll eat. Get about an 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon amount, mix the crushed pill(s) in well, and touch it to her nose and lips. Don't get her whole face dirty, because she's not feeling well and will not be up for a long cleaning session (and Frank might just take the "treat" for himself). Trick her into it, switch up the treats with every pilling. Or if you find one that works well, stick with it.

If you're giving her (and include Frank in on this, because he'll start to act up if he feels left out) soft food as a treat to make her feel better, keep at it. She needs the extra moisture, codeine and antibiotics are very dehydrating. I highly recommend only the soft foods listed on this page . That link goes to a pet shop in my area, but I am sure you can find most of these same brands in yours. Soft food is the easiest way to get extra vitamins and medications into her. This is also how I would add acidophilus to her diet (some of the foods, like Wysong's Cat Vitality already have digestive enzymes in them). Some antibiotics just don't mix well with dairy (yogurt) and can cause an upset stomach. This is the brand of enzymes my cats get every day, Acidophilus for Digestion .

Your usual method of pilling is sound, and it is the one that Anitra suggests in her book too. However, I think poor Bean is just worn out and hurting. Make taking that pill as comforting and yummy as possible. Also, to keep the squirm factor down, and prevent her from doing physical damage to herself, there's nothing wrong with wrapping her up in a towel. Tightly, like a kitty burrito, and get the pill down that way, even if you're using the treat/smear/squirt method--they get wise to it. I usually then hold the kitty for a good 15 or 20 minutes afterward, talking and petting to calm him or her down. It helps a lot.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk more about this offline--or discuss what might be wrong with her. I hope Bean feels better.

Top
#75870 - 07/09/03 08:56 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Thank you so much, Catness! I hadn't thought of mashing the pills. I'll give The Squirt a go right now as Bean is just fine about having stuff squirted into her mouth. And thank you, also, for the rest of the information. You really are the best, you know.
Top
#75871 - 07/09/03 10:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
You're welcome, Georgina. I've got a soft spot for the elderly and animals--I can't stand to see any of them in pain or lonely--everyone else is on their own. Heh.

Seriously, e-mail me, let's talk about what the Bean might have, maybe I can help you winnow it down or suggest something.

I am curious about the progress of all the problem children that have been name checked in this thread:

How's Charlotte doing with the Excessive Kneading?
How's Henry doing in his one cat path of destruction?
How are Daniel and Maggie?
Is Monet still keeping on with his moonlight serenades?
How are Xena and Mookie getting along?
And Miss Annie? The move is this month isn't it? Get that cat carrier out now, so she can get used to it and not have an anxiety attack the moment she sees it. Any thoughts on the carsickness?
Bonster, any progress with Kitty McPushypants and Wants-To-Be-An-Only-Child?

Top
#75872 - 07/10/03 01:57 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Heavens, how easy was that? What began as Squirt turned into Smear but no matter. Success! I recommend the Catness Cat Pilling Method to anyone. No fuss, no mess, no freak out, no tears.

Yes, other kitty updates and progress reports, please. I’d love to hear too.

Catness, I’ll take you up on your generous offer and e-mail you. You have no idea how grateful I am.

Top
#75873 - 07/10/03 12:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Georgina, I'm glad you had success with the squirt/smear! I hope Bean feels better soon.

Catness, I'm getting the carrier out tonight. The move is at the end of the month, so send those happy road trip thoughts my way. I'll keep you all posted.

Top
#75874 - 07/12/03 11:14 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
HollywoodEnding
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 6
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Offline
Sadly, Charlotte isn't doing any better with her excessive kneading! I've tried everything everyone suggested, but it doesn't seem to help. I probably should have started fighting this problem when she was just a baby kitty, but back then it wasn't nearly as annoying and I really thought she'd grow out of it.

Ah well. She is still a sweetie, and even with her annoying habits she's my favorite kitty in my life. After all, I have my bad habits too.

Top
#75875 - 08/05/03 05:24 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflwrpdx
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 330
Loc: Portland, OR

Offline
I hope someone can help me with this. (Catness are you out there?)

Things with Monet are okay, I guess. His nocturnal yowling has almost totally stopped. My guess is he was just wanting to be let out. He ain't going out. I think he knows that now. Unfortunately, he's now displaying a couple other "quirks" that are hard to live with.

First, he seems to prefer to do his business right outside the litter box, usually on the carpet. (As opposed to the mat that's next to the box.) I keep the box as clean as I can, it's a huge box (he shares it with Bear), and he doesn't pee anywhere else in the house. What gives?

Second, Monet seems to have something of a mean streak in him. I know it's normal for cats to bite or scratch when you've been petting them for too long or they are otherwise annoyed. But every so often, Monet will just swat at one of us (Bear included), with his claws out. He's scratched me pretty good a few times and it sucks. Why is he doing this? Is he trying to be pissy on purpose? Am I not doing something right with him? I'm not mean to him, so why does he get like this?

Any insights would be appreciated.
_________________________
If you don't risk anything you risk even more. -- Erica Jong

Top
#75876 - 08/05/03 05:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
sunflwrpdx--I'm guessing that the howling at night and the pooping outside the box are related. He wants you to know that his preference is to poop outdoors, not in the box. And his "natural time" is sometime in the evening hours, after you've set curfew.

My cat will often put up a fuss at night too, in almost a frantic sort of way, then after a bit, we hear the scratching noise from the litter box. It's in the box but he won't end up covering it. The noise is for show. He definitely wants us to know he's mad that we wouldn't just let him out to begin with.

Poor baby. What I've tried to explain to him is that I want him safe. At night, he tends to go on the prowl and stir up trouble, returning home with torn-out fur and scabby bits. He's sort of a wild boy that way.

My cat does the other thing too. Where I'll just be walking down the hallway, minding my own business, and out of nowhere, he'll smack at my legs with his paws. I think he just wants to play. Like he does with his toys. I don't think there's any malicious intent there.

I'm not sure what the solution is to any of this, but I wanted you to know you're not alone. Heh. Cats. If only they could talk...

Top
#75877 - 08/05/03 09:50 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Kivrin, if they could talk, I'd get even less peace. Miss Zoje and Nepher are a couple of chatterboxes. It'd be nag, nag, nag all day here.

Sunflwrpdx, you have done nothing wrong. Some cats are just like that. It can hurt our feelings, but it's not really something we can take personally. I have a cat very much like that, see my post upthread about Nepher. She just has a very small comfort zone and an even lower tolerance level.

The aggression thing is likely a combination of factors. It takes a long time for a cat to adjust to new people or any change in his environment. You've deduced that he was probably an outside cat, and outside cats must defend whatever tiny bit of territory they have. Soooo, if Bear is breathing Monet's air, or looked at him the wrong way, it's just Monet's way of saying "bug off, get out of my space."

The only thing I can suggest is to keep on with the positive reinforcement, both in thought and action. Getting angry with him for swatting will not help matters, particularly when he swats at Bear. We are better staying out of the affairs of cats. Most cats living together are involved in a lifetime negotiation of territory and competition for attention from their humans. Even the most affectionate cat companions engage in these negotiations.

For you own protection, start clipping his claws. He won't like it (clipping Nepher is a two person job, towel included). Pay attention to his body language. It took me a little while to figure out when Nepher would say "enough!" and swat during petting. They give clear signals if we're paying attention.

The box thing is probably territory as well. Is it urination or elimination? There's a difference. If you've got the Kilcommons book (I think you said you bought it), pages 147-53 might help a bit. The box problem may be a territory thing. He might just prefer not sharing with anyone else. Peeing outside the box, if you've eliminated any possible infection or illness, might just be his way of saying, "THIS is my spot. Mine alone." Or, he might hate the litter you're using. Is this box behavior a sudden change? Can you think of any thing else that might have changed in the house at the same time he started doing it?

You have to make a decision too... do you want to get rid of this problem and possibly create a larger one in a less desirable place in the house? You have a couple of options:

  • Clean the spot thoroughly with a neutralizer such as "Nature's Miracle." Do this first before you start anything.
  • Move the box out so that it covers that particular spot, slowly inch it backward.
  • Feed him on the spot, cats won't go where they eat.
  • You can get a bigger rug to cover that area as well (one of those rag rugs from Ikea that are like, $2.99).

Again though, by trying to eliminate the problem, Monet might just choose to go somewhere else. Good luck!

Top
#75878 - 08/06/03 02:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
 Quote:
Kivrin, if they could talk, I'd get even less peace. Miss Zoje and Nepher are a couple of chatterboxes. It'd be nag, nag, nag all day here.
I've always imagined my Max would sound like a cross between Austin (from Summon the Keeper) and Salem, from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch!

One thing I've always thought would be great fun would be to ask Sonya over for tea to talk with my cat. Do any of you watch Pet Psychic on Animal Planet? I know, it's a bit cheesy--file it under guilty pleasure t.v. watching--but I really like what she has to say about animal behavior. It's pretty cool how she interacts with the animals. She has a "natural-type" philosophy, and advises the use of homeopathic medicines a lot in her treatment plans.

She'd probably know just what to do to solve Monet and Bear's relationship problems. I must say, however, that Catness sounds as if she's channeling the woman herself when she writes,
 Quote:
We are better staying out of the affairs of cats. Most cats living together are involved in a lifetime negotiation of territory and competition for attention from their humans. Even the most affectionate cat companions engage in these negotiations.
That sounds just like something Ms. Fitzpatrick would say!

Top
#75879 - 08/06/03 03:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Sunflwrpdx, I don't claim to be an expert, I'm just a human who is owned by a domestic feline, but you might want to consider at least one more litterbox. I've heard/read from more than one source that it's a good idea to have one box per cat, plus one. We have two for Sierra, since she's fussy about her box and doesn't like to pee too close to where she pooped.

They're mysterious little critters, aren't they?

Top
#75880 - 08/06/03 06:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
My two cats share a litter box and just recently started pooping and peeing outside the box, either on their mat or on the bathmat nearby. I removed the bathmat immediately--I'd rather have them going on the tile. I keep the litter box scooped (every other day) and change the litter every ten days (it's the crystal odor-control kind). I finally went and got them a new litter box and mat entirely and haven't had an accident since. I think the problem arose because the old litter box was almost as old as the cats are (6 years) even though it gets washed out with bleach a couple of times a year. I suppose over time, just the build up of wastes made the old litter box unpleasant for them. I still have no idea if both cats were doing the outside the box messes or just one (and if one, which?), but they both seem contented with the new litter box and mat. I will probably wait another week or so before putting the bathmat back.

Lately, one of my cats has become more aggressive. I think part of it is that she can now see other neighborhood cats outside (my cats remain indoors all the time). Seeing strange cats gets her riled up and she attacks her sister for no apparent reason. I get out the squirter when I catch her; it's harmless and stops the attack cold for the time being.

Top
#75881 - 08/06/03 09:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
naomism, your cat is experiencing and acting out "displacement aggression." Nepher does this all the time. She hates seeing other animals, especially cats, in her yard. The screaming, yowling, and hissing are ear splitting, particularly at 4am. The bad thing is, she's got the Pook doing it now too. Little Man used to just placidly observe someone wandering through the yard, now he gets all agitated too. Guh.

Displaced or misdirected aggression comes from a cat becoming agitated by someone or something which he or she then directs at the nearest living thing. Usually, that's one of the other cats because they've come along to see what the fuss is all about. This happens to the Phooka all the time. Nepher will be causing some unholy ruckus due to another cat being in the yard and the Pook will get right up there to see what's going on, and she'll turn around and swat and hiss at him. Dr Kilcommons makes a much bigger deal about it than I personally think is warranted. He's all about blocking access to the window and shooing other cats from the yard and all sorts of other counter measures. Meh. Life's too short for that. It's how things are and completely understandable behavior in my opinion. And if the Pook is dumb enough to keep getting up in her way when he knows she's agitated, well then, that's the price he has to pay.

TraceyB, your suggestion of an additional litter box is great. We have two of them. Nepher uses one, Zoje the other, and the Phooka uses both (he doesn't think the girls cover properly).

Sonya creeps me out. Not only do I think she's a big ol' phony, but she's just... creepy. Really, if she "talks to the animals" wouldn't she know whether the animal she's "speaking" with is a boy or a girl? I've seen her biff that one so many times. She'll be nattering away calling a cat "he this" and "he that" and the owner is sitting there quietly murmuring "she. uh... she." Too much plastic surgery and botox, weird pseudo-dom wardrobe, and that skull-like rictus she uses for a smile. ::shudder:: Nevertheless, Mr Catness and I can't resist tuning in to tag team snark our way through an episode every once in awhile.

Top
#75882 - 08/10/03 09:07 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflwrpdx
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 330
Loc: Portland, OR

Offline
Thanks for the response. I knew you guys could help me out. \:\)

Monet is peeing outside the box, in the same spot on the carpet. I'm guessing it's a territory issue. Or it might very well be the litter we've been using since Scott bought the litter last time and he got Tidy Cats, while we'd been using Jonny Cat when we first got Monet.

This weekend, I got another cat box, another mat, and a big bag of Jonny Cat. (Along with Nature's Miracle, which works really well.) I really hope this will solve the problem, if only because it sucks cleaning up cat whiz everyday.

As for the clawing, I know Monet doesn't do it to be mean. And I try not to get mad, but dammit, his claws are sharp. When he's scratched me recently, I just walk away and try not to let him see how much it hurt. We're also considering getting him some nail clippers.

I've been letting Bear and Monet work things out themselves. Bear's lived with other cats before and she doesn't take a lot of crap, so when Monet swats at her, she fights back. I know they'll work things out, in their own way.
_________________________
If you don't risk anything you risk even more. -- Erica Jong

Top
#75883 - 08/10/03 09:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I'd bet $5 that Monet didn't like the perfume in the Tidy Cats brand. Johnny Cat is a good, basic clay litter with no perfumes or deodorizers and therefore inoffensive to the delicate kitty nose. Tidy Cats, while nice for us because it masks the sharp edge of that day old catbox smell is highly chemical smelling to them.

We're really lucky that we can switch litter easily around without anyone getting too upset. I use a 70/30 clay to sand mix in our boxes. Because our cats eat a raw meat diet, they pee a lot more, and the sand would just turn to gluey cement--clay alone wasn't a good option unfortunately.

I hope the double box situation works well for you. It's a good idea.

As for clipping the claws, unless your cat is a Princess Nepher who will try to kill you, it's really very easy. No special clippers are needed. We've used both the clippers and a regular human fingernail clippers. We use the fingernail clippers with Nepher because someone has to hold her while the other has to clip. The claw clippers have a guard on them which blocks one's view while clipping in this fashion.

This page About Cats\' Claws is great. It has detailed photos which show you exactly where and how far you should clip.

Top
#75884 - 08/12/03 12:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Morpheus
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 101
Loc: Port Credit, ON

Offline
We've had Morpheus for almost a year. He's goofy and fun and mostly well-behaved. We adopted him from the shelter when he was about 10 weeks or so old.

As long as we've had him, he's licked us - mostly me. It's not constant, but sometimes when I pet him or have my hand near him, he'll lick my hand. Does anyone else have a cat that does this? I've had several cats, but this is new. It's kind of cute for a while, but you sure wake up with a start when a sandpaper kitty tongue licks your eyelids while you're asleep!

Top
#75885 - 08/12/03 03:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Morpheus, my mom's cat Bella does that. Eventually, you feel like your skin is being scraped with a rasp. (She's also a kneader, to the point where you think you're going to bruise.)

So, yes, some cats like to lick. Bella is also fond of licking photographs, she likes the developing chemicals or something. I don't know of any way to stop it, other than moving your body out of the way when it gets painful. That doesn't help much when you're sleeping, though.

Top
#75886 - 08/12/03 05:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Neko-chan likes to lick my cheeks--I think she likes my moisturizer because this behavior usually kicks in after I've put it on in the morning. Her licking isn't at all painful though.
Top
#75887 - 08/12/03 08:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
bonster
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/04/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Texas

Offline
Well Catness, since you asked… Mr. McTabby and Ms. Fang are still not the best of friends. Ariel is about 12 now and has pretty much always been a bitch and a loner (she has cornered quite a few of our cat-loving friends while they house sat or visited, don't ask me how). It took her at least a year to like us, and she never warmed to our other cat but he ignored her for the most part (and he was indoor/outdoor) so they co-existed. She really sucked up to us when he died last spring and all was well in kittyland, but then Sig McTabby showed up last fall and she's been bitter ever since. It doesn't help that he now outweighs her almost 2-to-1 and thinks stalking is just good fun…

So, one of them had started going outside the box (far outside the box, like on the kitchen rug, etc.) and I traced it to her, took her to the vet, antibiotics, blah blah blah but the bottom line seemed to be if she was going to get jumped on by 15 pounds of stalker-boy every time she used the box, then she wasn't going to use it (can't really fault her logic). We tried moving her box (we have 2) back to our bathroom as she spends most of her life as queen of the bed, but he immediately used it (so much for the thorough cleaning) and so she used the bath mat. Much washing and yowling (from both the cats and us) ensued, but the capper was stepping in pooh first thing in the morning the day before I started a bruiser of a project that had me working 10-15 hour days for almost 3 weeks last month. This was the start of kitty lockdown and it seems to be working, sad to say. Ariel has the back part of the house and Sig has the front, with the hall as the demilitarized zone. The dog is very confused about all the door opening and closing and where she's supposed to be and it feels like we live in some freak vapor-lock, but it's taken care of the accidents. We open the doors on occasion when we can chaperone - he still heads straight for her box when he can but we've managed to stop him each time and he now knows that a good hiss from me means he needs to head for the hallway immediately. They seem to tolerate each other a bit more but sadly, leaving the doors open all night led to another wet spot on the kitchen rug this weekend so the lock-down continues. You're sorry you asked now, aren't you?

In other cat news, I cannot recommend trimming the toenails highly enough – it's a lifesaver. I've clipped the back claws on occasion too, as those bunny kicks can be deadly painful. I just put the victim in my lap, wrap my arms gently around him or her and go for it. By coming from behind I can see exactly where the clippers are in relation to the nail and not worry about going too far.

Morpheus, Ariel is a licker too. She'll get on my chest in bed and lick me in the nose (talk about that sandpaper feeling), but I've also noticed that she's drawn to my hands and arms depending on what lotion I've put on – have you noticed this connection? She also licks plastic bags, but luckily doesn't eat them.

Top
#75888 - 08/12/03 08:31 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FortunateGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 72
Loc: Fort Worth, TX

Offline
A few days ago, my cat climbed my littler brother like a tree---he has scratches from knees to nose. The cat was startled when the boy ran up, or something. Anyway, that evening on another message board I found a link to Soft Paws . Have any of you tried these?
Top
#75889 - 08/12/03 09:07 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Hee! Ha hahaha! Oh those are funny. Yeah, those would work, maybe. I dunno, I've seen them before in magazines and on show cats, and they just crack me up. All I have to do is think of how the Pook spends hours cleaning himself and chewing on his claws. Those vinyl covers would last about ... oh, 30 minutes, I'd say, in our house. Might work for some cats, I know they definitely wouldn't work for us. Although the paw shaking and bewildered looks and resentful hisses in our general direction might be entertaining. Hoo!

FortunateGirl, I'm sorry your brother got climbed. But, and I absolutely do not mean this in a snarky way, it might be a good lesson in Don't Startle the Cat for him. I've been climbed before, and while it's not fun, it happens. Kitty gets spooked, kitty heads for the top of the nearest tall thing. I know I've jumped up on a kitchen table from a standing position once when I was startled, something I'm completely not capable of doing without that sort of adrenaline rush. Thank goodness I wasn't wearing heels, I probably would have broken something.

bonster, no, I'm not sorry I asked about your two. It's too bad about the detente. It's miserable to live in that state. You use the "hiss" correction too? Mr Catness taught me that. He used to train dogs and said that you should never correct an animal by calling their name, that their name should only be used for calling them to you. 'Course, the Pook only understands "Get DOWN." if he knows you're addressing him. Otherwise he's certain you must be talking to one of the other cats.

You're doing the right thing though by separating them and correcting Sig McTabby. Dr Kilcommons says that they should eventually work it out. Back up the correction (slapping the wall or dropping a book works well too) with praise on Sig when he uses his "own" box and praise Ariel when she uses hers. Correction is only half the battle.

With Zoje and the Phooka, we can clip their claws the same way you do, but with Nepher, the person doing the clipping can't do the holding as well, so they have to come at it from the other direction. I swear, people must think we're torturing our cats when we clip the Princess's claws.

Edited to add: FG, please don't think I'm laughing at your curiosity over the Soft Claws. I'm not. It's just, whenever I imagine the appalled reaction from my three were I to try and apply those things to their claws, I fall into a fit of the giggles. I have not ever tried them, they may work very well.

Top
#75890 - 08/13/03 08:49 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kristin K
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: Durham, NC

Offline
OK, let me try to ask this in the shortest way possible.

We have 3 cats, one terribly skinny, one the perfect "healthy" size, and one a roly-ply tub o' lard. We've always fed them ad libitum, but now the vet has declared that they be fed 2 different kinds of food, in three different daily quantities. So far we haven't figured out a way to keep them separated so they'll eat their own food. If we try putting them in separate rooms with their dishes, they cry piteously, scratch on the door, and pay absolutely to attention whatsoever to the food. I can't really think of a way to handle this, but I thought I'd ask if anyone has any experience with this or if anyone had any novel ideas.

Top
#75891 - 08/13/03 12:46 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Morpheus
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 101
Loc: Port Credit, ON

Offline
Hmmm...I haven't noticed any connection to any lotions. Maybe he really, really likes us, and since we're always hugging him, he was just trying to return the affection? He is a pretty funny cat, though. He sleeps on the bed, under the covers, with his head on the pillow.
Top
#75892 - 08/13/03 07:10 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Kristin K - I had to put my cats on a diet since Kushi was eating all the food. It took about three years to get her down from 16 pounds to 9-10 pounds. She's kept the weight off for a year.

The first week or two is the hardest. Separate the cats when it's time for them to eat. Give them half an hour to eat their food. Whatever they don't eat goes back in the bag. They may go hungry a couple of nights but they eventually get the idea that food will not be available all the time. After they can eat everything in their bowls in half an hour, gradually reduce the time to 10 minutes in five minute increments.

I'm finally back at the point now where I don't have to separate the cats to eat anymore. They both get their food at the same time and Kushi doesn't try to steal Neko-chan's food.

Top
#75893 - 08/13/03 10:33 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FortunateGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 72
Loc: Fort Worth, TX

Offline
That's okay, Catness, I was laughing too. It looks like the cats are wearing fake nails. Did you see the picture of the orange striped cat with the red nails? It looks a lot like mine, and the caption reads, "Harmony prevails in our house again." Hee.

I've decided to just go with clipping, maybe. But someone keeps letting the cat out, so I'll probably not do anything.

Top
#75894 - 08/18/03 09:00 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kristin K
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: Durham, NC

Offline
Thanks Naoism- we are going to try that. The same thing was happening with our cats. Teddy was gorging himself every day and Rudy and Cricket were getting cheated out of their share. We'll see how it goes... mealtime is going to be interesting for awhile...it's complicated by the fact that we have to feed our 2 dogs separately as well.
Top
#75895 - 08/18/03 08:41 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Kristin K, I'm curious, what diet were your cats switched to and why?

I seriously do not know what I'd do if I had to feed them all in separate rooms. But I totally agree with naomism, cats aren't dumb, mine picked it up quick enough that if they didn't eat what was put down in their half hour feeding period there'd be no more food til the next meal. They've also been fine on the few nights when I've been away until late, making their dinner really late. Of course, I had to hear all about how they could have died, you know, if I hadn't finally come home.

Top
#75896 - 08/20/03 08:42 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kristin K
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: Durham, NC

Offline
Catness-

Previously we were just keeping their bowl full pretty much all the time. In the past that has always worked pretty well, even though our cat Teddy (age 9) has always eaten more than he should. But recently he has really put on a lot of weight. He has also started guarding the food, intimidating the other cats so they can't access it as freely. He will even nap right by the bowl. We then noted that Cricket started losing weight, so we took them all into the vet. Teddy has to be put on a food formula for "less-active cats", and Cricket and Rudy get regular food, but Rudy gets more per day because he is bigger. I could try to feed Rudy and Cricket in one room, and Teddy in another, except Cricket is a little intimidated by Rudy as well (and Rudy will take advantage of this and steal her food), so we have to separate all three of them.

We are giving them Iambs, because that's what they've always had and that's what our vet recommends, but I'm wondering if we should try something else.

Top
#75897 - 09/11/03 09:11 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Here's one - my kitten, nearly 6 months old, has a habit of what I can only describe as sucking her thumb. She's a bit of a freak, and has a couple extra toes and claws on her front paws, and when she's really content or comfortable, she sets about slobbering all over her extra toes.

This wouldn't be such a bother if she weren't so noisy about it, or if she weren't so intense that she actually makes the bed jiggle a bit. Not only that, but she frequently does it in the wee hours of the morning, waking me up from a deep sleep. I'll kick her off the bed only to have her return moments later, immediately back to the sucking... at which point I'll kick her off again. We'll go through this cycle a good 10 times before she'll finally go away for good.

I'd think she was just doing some cleaning, but I've seen her do that, and it's a completely different activity. This slobbering on her extra toes thing is definitely a quirk. Has anyone heard of this kind of behavior? Is it a kitten thing? I'm hoping that as she gets older, she will ease up a bit. I wouldn't bother asking about it just yet, because really, where's the harm? But I'm starting to go a bit wonky from the lack of sleep. Any help will be much appreciated!

Top
#75898 - 09/11/03 07:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
lonebuffs, I'm afraid I can't offer any advice. All I can say is, well, hee! A kitten who sucks its thumb is the funniest thing I've heard all day.

Yeah, I know that wasn't any help.

Top
#75899 - 09/11/03 08:09 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Kristin, sorry, I don't know how I managed to miss your reply. For my thoughts on cat food and options, look to earlier in this thread where I posted loads of links on the topic (or e-mail me). We feed our cats raw food and it's done wonders for them. It's not always the right choice for everyone, you have to have an understanding and supportive vet; and I don't want to bore everyone with constant raw food evangelizing.

lonebluffs... hmmm, yeah I can understand your frustration. As I've mentioned before, we have a problem with Miss Zoje overgrooming. Now that Mr Catness is back home, he's working on getting that under control again (she only listens to him). The thumb sucking your kitty is doing is a security thing, it sounds like. Don't count on her growing out of it. The Pook will still make biscuits in my hair (pulling!) when he feels insecure or to quiet down before he goes to sleep. Considering that he's also a drooler, it can be a really annoying and damp activity.

With Zoje, it's a little easier to stop her excessive licking at night in bed, because she sleeps all mashed up in one of my armpits. If she starts up, either Mr Catness or I will just wrap a hand around her to stop her. Perhaps you can try that with your kitty, just holding her paws gently in your hand when she gets started. It's a little more positive reinforcement than booting her out of the bed.

Top
#75900 - 09/13/03 06:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Leah
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 8
Loc: Philadelphia, PA

Offline
So I'm cat sitting for a friend of mine. She got this cat through another friend who found him in a construction site. We suspect he was dumped there, as he was neutered and de-clawed when she found him. She took him home and named him Chairman Meow. (Great name, I think.) The problem is this: I think he misses his new mommy. I've been here for two days (She's gone this week) and he keeps walking around meowing pitifully. Is there anything I can do to help him out here?
Top
#75901 - 09/13/03 07:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
There's always bribery. When I would cat-sit for the Shrew, I always gave Mycroft extra treats. Of course that was blown out of the water when another friend cat-sat and she gave him nothing but treats; after that, Mycroft wouldn't speak to me.

When the Chairman starts crying, call to him. Don't chase him down, just call him. Let him know you're there and that if he wants to, he can come over and sit by you. Try to distract him with some playthings. Give him a running commentary of what you're doing when you're puttering around. If you're watching a movie, explain the plot to him.

This isn't going to make him miss his mommy less, but the sound of your voice is a reassurance that someone is there and paying attention to him. I do this with our cats when Mr Catness is out of town. We all miss him and Nepher follows me around chattering her little head off and batting at my ankles. Talking with her makes her a little calmer.

Top
#75902 - 09/13/03 08:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Angiv
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 1291
Loc: Scotland

Offline
lonebuffs, sarkycat's cat (Puss) sucked her back paws her whole life. I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but it's true. She did suck them less as she got older, and became a bit less noisy, but she kept at it. I'm sure it started as a comfort thing, but continued as a habit. Maybe if you can break yours of it while still a kitten, you'll have a well-balanced cat. Puss was a psycho.

I'm afraid I can offer no suggestions, except maybe having another cat around the place. Puss was an only kitten, and orphaned at just a few weeks old. Sarkycat raised her using a dropper and watered-down milk. She had no contact with other cats until she was a lot older, and we put the toe-sucking down to that. Although maybe it was sarkycat's parenting skills...

Top
#75903 - 09/13/03 10:01 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Leah:
So I'm cat sitting for a friend of mine. The problem is this: I think he misses his new mommy. I've been here for two days (She's gone this week) and he keeps walking around meowing pitifully. Is there anything I can do to help him out here?
I travel quite a bit, and have a professional cat sitter come in to watch my two kitties while I'm away. They usually come in, feed them, clean their litter, and play with them for a while. She'll also turn on the TV so they have a little noise during the day. With dedicated playtime, a little TV watching, and the occasional can of tuna, Java & Joe barely even miss me.

Re: kneading - just work a throw blanket between the kneader & your skin. Java is a kneader, and prefers that I use the chenille blanket (naturally, it's the most expensive one). Even though kneading generally occurs at 3:00AM, I could never make her stop - she's so happy that she's practically snorting. This is also the cat that stands on my bladder until I get up in the morning. I haven't used an alarm clock in 2 years - a 6:00AM wake up is guaranteed.

Re: talkers - I can't remember which poster has "Frank" the talking kitty - but you are not alone! Java will just sit & trill until either her brother Joe or I come and find her. There's nothing wrong - she just wanted either of us to come and pay attention to her.

Top
#75904 - 09/14/03 01:03 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Leah, along with the running commentary suggestion - which I wholeheartedly agree with - you could also try setting up a bed or cuddle spot for Chairman out of your friend's clothes. Preferably something that has your friend's scent on it like a cardigan. Something that hasn't been recently washed. Set the garment in a spot that Chairman likes to sleep or hang out; maybe just having your friend's scent will help to reassure him.

viva, Frank is my talker and pen killer extraordinaire. I've tried insinuating cloth between me and Bean The Kneader. She digs around until she finds flesh. Seriously. When she's standing on me at 4:00 a.m. removing skin from my shoulder, I've tried pulling the covers over my shoulder and head. Then she starts digging. In earnest. She digs on my head until I pull the covers back down. Now, she won't knead on my face, but she likes to touch my lips with her paw. She's so all-out cute when she does that, I can't do anything but think, "awww." Ya, I'm a complete pushover.

Top
#75905 - 09/14/03 06:26 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
I finally had enough of the pooping right outside the litter box and moved the damn thing upstairs to my closet. My closet is actually a small bedroom I had converted into a huge walk-in closet (Victorian house, no closets to speak of...). I keep the windows cracked in there for air flow anyway. It's been two days and everything has landed in the box so far.

Keeping my fingers crossed that maybe all Kushi wanted was better venitlation...

Top
#75906 - 09/15/03 01:32 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Thanks to all for the suggestions on my thumb-sucking kitty!

I did (and have previously as well, though not with as much determination) try holding my hand gently over Mookie's paws in the wee hours of this morning, which worked for a minute or two. But then she, being a kitten, got agitated by this and thought it meant play time, or "bite mommy!" time. So in the end, I did have to shuttle her out of bed. But she didn't come back, which leads me to believe that she was satisfied with the attention she had gotten from me, and was happy to go do her nocturne thing.

She does have an older companion - Xena - so I think the thumb-sucking is really a contentment thing. Maybe it's her version of kneading, because her squeaky little purr gets to lawnmower proportions when she sucks. And it is quite cute.

Top
#75907 - 09/15/03 07:51 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
If you haven't read any of Sars's other entries on her cats, Toy Crazy might be a good place to start!
Top
#75908 - 09/16/03 11:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Regarding the kitty-sitting, I'd have to agree with Catness... my beastie likes to hear someone's voice, too.

Mycroft is a bit of a challenge to cat-sit, since he's: a) the world's biggest momma's-boy, b) kind of aggressive when he's agitated, and c) 12 1/2 pounds (he was 14 pounds at one point). So, if we're gone for more than a week, he's launching himself at the cat-sitter as she's trying to go home. And for some reason, people don't *want* a fuzzy bowling ball with teeth attacking them. Can't imagine why. heh.

Anyway. What seems to work with Mycroft is for the kitty-sitter to just hang out for awhile. Read or watch TV, whatever, they don't really have to even play with him, he just wants someone to bitch at about how awful it is that I've deserted him. The longer they hang out and talk to him, the more comfortable he gets, until he'll finally plunk his fuzzy ass on their lap and be nice.

At least with my beast, it takes awhile before he'll agree to play with someone new. He wants someone to be there for awhile, and then he wants to play hard-to-get.

Of course, that doesn't prevent him from attacking the cat-sitter as she leaves. It just avoids him attacking her while she's there. Sigh.

My friends all say that Mycroft is a misanthrope, and that I'm just too besotted by my fuzzy bear to see it. hee!

(edited to correct stupid grammar)

Top
#75909 - 09/17/03 09:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FortunateGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 72
Loc: Fort Worth, TX

Offline
Everyone love on your cats a little extra today for me. I had to have mine put to sleep yesterday. \:\(
Top
#75910 - 09/17/03 10:09 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
FortunateGirl, I am so sorry to hear that. My sincere condolences on the loss of your friend. Please take care.

eta: I found the thread and bumped it, bonster. Thanks for the reminder.

Top
#75911 - 09/17/03 10:16 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
bonster
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/04/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Texas

Offline
FortunateGirl, my heart goes out to you. Sadly, I know what you're going through, and it sucks. Try not to be too hard on yourself. I'm going to ask my kitties to stop warring for a moment so they can send meows and purrs your way. There's a thread about pet loss around here someplace, but it'll make you cry. More.
peace

Top
#75912 - 09/17/03 11:03 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Oh, FortunateGirl, I am so sorry for your loss. As a life-long cat-mom, I understand how impossibly hard that is. Please accept my condolences.
Top
#75913 - 09/18/03 09:19 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
FortunateGirl, I'm so sorry. Sierra sends purrs and head-butts.
Top
#75914 - 09/18/03 10:46 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
carolinagrrl
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 5

Offline
I'm so sorry FortunateGirl. I know how hard that is. Time makes is easier. Another baby sometimes helps too.

I'm new to Chicklit and this is my first post. Everyone here offers such good advice, I thought I'd ask for some help!

I have 2 babies, Boomer (13) and Sophie (3) who get along fine. Mostly they ignore each other. They're indoor cats. There was a black cat hanging around my place forever so I fed him and recently took him to the vet for neutering, shots, tests, etc. He's healthy and very affectionate with me and is now an indoor/outdoor kitty. The problem is, he doesn't really get along with Boom and Soph, especially Soph. I don't know if he wants to play or if they're fighting but Sophie is really not comfortable with him. He mostly ignores Boom although I have seen him get Boomer on the floor, which is unacceptable. Boom is diabetic and my baby boy. He and Sophie come first though I can't leave this guy out to fend for himself. I'm trying to find him a home, but you all know how that goes.

So, I guess my question is, how can I teach him his place in the household hierarchy and make them all get along?

Top
#75915 - 09/18/03 10:48 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
FortunateGirl, the kitties and I are so sad to hear of your loss. We send lots of love and purrs your way!

Carolinagrrl, welcome! As for your kitty issues, there are others who will probably have better insight than I, but all I can tell you is that the cats will, in time, figure out their own hierarchy. There are complex proceedings between them of which we humans know nothing. However, if Boom's health is in danger, you might do well to keep them separated from each other unless you're in the room, at least until they get more used to each other and figure things out.

We got a kitten a few months back, and our 7-year-old cat was NOT pleased, and we had to do a lot of footwork in the beginning to make sure no harm came to either of them. But it has paid off; they've both more or less decided on what's what, and harmony is returning to our little home. Give it time, and all your kitties will learn to live with each other, too.

Top
#75916 - 09/18/03 12:23 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
carolinagrrl
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 5

Offline
Thanks Lonebuffs. I am keeping them separated. New kitty is in my second bedroom when I'm not home and he's inside.

I just worry about my Boomer. I don't want the new, younger guy beating up on him. He's my baby.

Top
#75917 - 09/18/03 01:45 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Lady Di
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 346
Loc: lynn, ma 01902

Offline
I have a cat (Coco)named after cocaine, (she was my nephew's cat's), then we got a small male kitten name Stinky (my brother's girlfriend cat), Coco didn't like him, but got used to him; then we got 2 adorable puppies and Coco refused to come out of hiding at times, she would scurry around them and hiss (GET AWAY FROM ME! YOU FILTHY ANIMALS), she finally got used to them, the my brother and his girlfriend moved and took Stinky with them, but Coco is ok with that. She loves my young niece Kylie to pieces. So far so good.
Top
#75918 - 09/19/03 01:51 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Fortunategirl , I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I'm sure your kitty had the very best life for having lived it with you.

I am so not going anywhere near that losing a pet thread. I'll start blubbering and telling stories.

carolinagrrl , do you have any doors with glass in them in your house? Or a porch that has a screen door to the house or something? Sometimes, separating cats where they can still see and interact with each other helps them sort out their hierarchy issues in a way that they can’t hurt each other. Negotiations between cats is just what cats do. It’s nigh impossible to foist our opinions on who should behave how on them.

Frank got to know Bean through a screen door for four days before Bean came into the house. By the time she was granted access to the inner sanctum, (I wouldn’t bring her in until she’d been to the vet – she was a stray six month old kitten) they’d figured out that Bean was boss. That was notwithstanding the fact that Frank was here first, that he’s older, and that he’s way bigger. She doesn’t do anything overt – no hissing or growling, no fighting – she just plays head-games with Frank. She stares at him and wins. Or touches his feet. Frank hates having his feet touched.

They’ve lived together for over a year now, and they are great friends. They play together, (even though they leave blobs of yanked-out fur everywhere) and sleep together at times. They bump noses regularly. Still. Every day they negotiate who is going to sit at the top of the scratching post. Much as it pisses Mister G off, Frank will step aside and wait if Bean decides to eat out of his dish. I think Frank is just polite. Mister G thinks Frank is a wimp. In actuality, they’re just doing cat things.

It was really kind of you to take the new kitty in. Lucky kitty. So, uh, ya, maybe if they can be separated yet still see each other is my suggestion.

Top
#75919 - 09/22/03 08:10 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Georgina:
viva, Frank is my talker and pen killer extraordinaire. I've tried insinuating cloth between me and Bean The Kneader. She digs around until she finds flesh. Seriously. When she's standing on me at 4:00 a.m. removing skin from my shoulder, I've tried pulling the covers over my shoulder and head. Then she starts digging. In earnest. She digs on my head until I pull the covers back down. Now, she won't knead on my face, but she likes to touch my lips with her paw. She's so all-out cute when she does that, I can't do anything but think, "awww." Ya, I'm a complete pushover.
Aww... I'm not sure I could ever make her stop doing that. Even at 4:00 AM.

Java is a less particular kneader - she just kneads whatever is directly in front of her - my skin, my hair, the pillow, the blanket, her brother, the air (which is adorable). This compensates for her standing/kneading on my bladder at 6:00AM to wake me up.

Top
#75920 - 09/24/03 12:31 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
carolinagrrl
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 5

Offline
Georgina , they have been getting to know each other tthrough the screen door and still sniff each other thru the door when the new guy goes out.

I know they can work it out and will if he stays with us. I just hate for them to be stressed or unhappy ... I'm a total softie for my babies.

Top
#75921 - 09/24/03 01:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
jellybiscuit
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/19/02
Posts: 81
Loc: atlanta, ga

Offline
Another really helpful book about cat behavior is Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. The book is really really helpful about all areas of cat behavior. And despite the soft-focus new-agey cheeseola cover, the advice is really pretty common sense and realistic. It focuses on training and behavior modification, but it also has good information on things like illness, first aid, grroming, travelling, etc.

Anyway.

My cat problems are so unusual that they're not addressed in any book. The house I used to live in was surrounded by feral cats my landlady was feeding. The resident tomcat (my baby cats' daddy) was a manx mix, and had a little stumpy tail. I rescued two kittens a year apart, both obviously the stumpy tail cat's kitties as they're both tailless. Anyway, both kitties are so tailless that they have really short spines and thus both have elimination problems. Actually, my youngest, Ami, has megacolon and had diarrhea the first three months we had her. She's gotten better after three months of hell, but both Eep and Ami have to be watched constantly to make sure they don't have impactions, which we have to balance with food, laxatives, and medication. The gross thing, which they totally can't help, is that they are missing nerve endings around their sphincters and don't have control. So I'm constantly findind turds hanging out of my cats, turds around the house, turds everywhere. It just sucks in that they can't help it, so behavior modification isn't going to help. I just have to reconciled to stepping in cat turds at four in the morning for the rest of my life.

Sigh.

But considering we almost had to put Ami down, I'll deal with the turds. I love my kitties.

Top
#75922 - 09/24/03 01:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I just had to say: "Ami" and "Eep" what awesome cat names. Those got me smiling just reading them, even without your description of them as Manx.

Now I'm going to be doing a little "ami-eep!" chant in my head all day. Because I'm weird like that.

Top
#75923 - 09/24/03 01:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Jellybiscuit, you are truly a wonderful person for continuing to love and care for your kitties despite their health problems. There are a lot of people out there that wouldn't because it would be "inconvenient".
Top
#75924 - 09/26/03 10:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
I agree, Jellybiscuit - it's wonderful! Not nearly enough people of your sort in the world! What lucky kitties you have!
Top
#75925 - 09/26/03 11:42 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Lady Di
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/07/02
Posts: 346
Loc: lynn, ma 01902

Offline
I had to go to Vermont for my job for a week (it was actually only 4 days), I called home once and my mom was telling me that my cat was meaowing all over the apartment. I have spoiled this one.

When I got home yesterday, she seemed pretty happy to see me, then I was kneeling by the couch where she was sleeping and she looked up at me & turned away from me. I was amazed, she was still mad at me. I talked to her (as much as you can talk to a cat) and I guess she all right for now. Wait till I get home, she may think I left again.

When I got her from my nephew and his roommates, I was told she had been abused, so I took extra care of her. But now I've created a monster! Not really, but she's set in her ways & expects me to be home when I'm supposed to & not go away from her.

Top
#75926 - 01/20/04 07:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

Offline
Help please. My cat still eats the mail, he's never gonna stop because he is an idiot (we've tried everything). I live in an apartment building and the mail comes through the slot in the door and someone told me that you can buy a mail box of sort that goes over the slot. True? Not true? It's the only defense we have left to get him from completely destroying the mail. It may seem like a small thing but he has already destroyed a tax receipt I need for tax season. Anyone know where I can find one of these things in the Toronto area?
Top
#75927 - 01/20/04 08:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
heyalice, if you have a Home Depot up there, or another hardware store, give them a call. The door slot sleeves do exist and are easy to install. Usually people use them for thwarting the dog, but you, clearly, have a cat with a paper deficiency.

Sorry about the mail.

Top
#75928 - 02/17/04 12:13 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
heyalice, have you ever left out paper that he can eat? Maybe if you leave out paper that's okay first thing in the morning in the spot your mail falls, then by the time the mail arrives he'll have satisfied the urge. I'd say it's worth a try.

I actually have a potential cat issue myself. My kitty Mist is 8ish years old now, I can't say for sure since he was a stray, but thats a good guess. And he does not like my 5 year old son. He had no problems with him as a baby or toddler, but we had to leave Mist with my parents for a few years since the apartment we were in wouldn't let us have him.

Once we moved into a house we got him back. Ever since then Mist won't be in the same room as my son. Now my son has never, to my knowledge, hurt the cat. He will occasionally startle him by charging into the room Mist is in and doing little boy things (being loud, bouncing around ect) but he's never been aggressive, in fact he's always been very gentle when I catch Mist and hold him for my boy to pet. I thought maybe if we did that often enough Mist would get used to him and learn he wouldn't hurt him, but it doesn't seem to have worked.

Now we've got another baby coming in August, and I'm not sure how poor Mist's nerves will handle it. Any thoughts on how we can get Mist used to our little guy before the baby's born, and then used to baby once she's entered the scene?

Top
#75929 - 02/17/04 01:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
I don't know about before the baby is born, but have your husband bring home the first blanket the baby is wrapped in from the hospital and give it to the cat to smell, whatever, so she's used to the scent before the baby actually arrives.

If your little boy hasn't harmed Mist in any way, he's probably just got a case of nerves and scares easily at loud noises--maybe he got used to the quiet life with your parents. Sadly, I have no recommendations for how to alleviate the situation.

Top
#75930 - 02/17/04 09:01 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
tygrkatt, I agree with all of naomism's suggestions above. I don't have kids, but I have heard of the bring a baby blanket home from the hospital thing.

I think she's also spot on in her assessment of Mist's discomfort. Mist got used to the quiet life and a little boy is a great extreme from that. If I were you, I'd consider this a great learning experience for tygrboy: how to read and understand an animal's moods; how to play nice with the kitty (toys!); and how to not startle the kitty. You could even, when tygrboy gets a little older, make feeding Mist (or helping you feed Mist now) part of his responsibility. Food does a great deal to foster a bond between cats and people.

Mist is probably feeling a little left out, so you could try (and I know it's difficult with a small person and another on the way) to make time for Mist. With our three, I have to make sure that everyone has their own special "alone time" with me, especially the Phooka. Or, if you read to tygrboy at night, you could try to get Mist to join you or sit in your lap during reading time. That way, Mist can begin to associate "reading time" with "quiet time" and feel it's also his special time.

Because Mist is getting older, he's getting more set in his ways and will become more resistant to changes in the household. He may not ever warm up to the boy, but it doesn't sound like, from what you've said, the cat is openly hostile toward him. Sometimes that's as good as it gets.

Edited to add: I love that Deborah put the pet threads in with the family and relationships forum.

Top
#75931 - 02/17/04 09:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lauriechac
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 192
Loc: Colorado

Offline
i don't have much experience with cats, but I have heard that same advice with dogs. But a little different. Not only should you bring a baby blanket home and keep it with the dogs bedding, but have a blanket or an old shirt that smells like the dog always with the baby bedding. This way the baby smells like he belongs to the "pack". A trainer suggested this to pregnant friend of mine. She said that because we live with our pets, we carry their smell. This sort of helps to establish that everyone here belongs here.
Maybe if the cat's smell is incorporated into the baby's smell, he will feel like the baby is part of his unit. (????)
I don't know if it is that simple, cats aren't really pack animals.

Top
#75932 - 02/17/04 10:42 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
This is going to be a tiny bit off-topic, but I don't want to start a whole thread in the travel forum about traveling with a pet. Has anyone traveled internationally with a pet? Is it particulary difficult? I want to be about to look at overseas jobs, but there's no way in hell I'm leaving my cat behind in the U.S. Even so, I shudder at the idea of traveling so far with her. Anyone tried it? How did it go?
Top
#75933 - 02/17/04 11:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
sunflow, we do have a Moving with Pets thread. See you there!
Top
#75934 - 02/18/04 09:32 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

Offline
Catness as usual, thank you. I will definitely do that.
Tygrkatt, you give my cat too much credit. We've tried that. The thing is, he knows when the mail carrier is coming and sits by the door (my son has witnessed this).
I'm on a mission, for a door slot sleeve.

Top
#75935 - 02/18/04 01:22 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Smart cat \:\) sometimes there's just nothing to be done, a door slot sleeve sounds like your best bet.

I'd heard about bringing blankets home to get dogs used to the new baby, I don't think I'd have thought of it for cats. I always thought cats were more visual while dogs are more olfactory (sp?).

For right now, he does get time with us, he demands it actually. Mist spends most of his time in my bedroom and neither my husband or I can sit or lay on the bed without finding ourselves with a purring lapful of fur. The only thing that bothers me is the goofy animal will abandon me for my husband in a heartbeat \:\(

Having Tygrboy help in feeding is a good idea though. He's more than old enough to start helping with stuff like that. What's heartbreaking is he really loves the kitty and gets upset sometimes when Mist runs from him. So it looks like just keep encouraging Tygrboy to play nice and pet the kitty gently and see how it goes. Thanks for the input.

Top
#75936 - 02/18/04 02:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
According to The Character of Cats regarding cat senses...

Smell:
 Quote:
Cats do not have a particularly great sense of smell; dogs leave them in the dust in that department.
Sight (which I thought was very surprising):
 Quote:
Experiments show that cats' visual acuity is about four to ten times worse than humans; this corresponds to about 20/80 vision...dogs are slightly better than cats, but in the same ballpark...Cats have a considerably greater field of binocular vision than dogs, about 90-130 degrees, as compared to 60 degrees for the typical dog (Humans come in at 120).
Hearing:
 Quote:
(Cats) do have superb hearing...the only animals that do significantly better are bats and some insects.
Very interesting, because I always thought that cats were very visual as well. I always think that the binocular vision thing is very interesting, in that it shows you how much of a carnivore/predator past an animal has... prey tend to have a small binocular range so that they have a greater overall field of view (e.g. cows & rabbits can see almost completely behind them), while cats & humans sacrifice overall field of vision for a greater binocular range for greater distance judgment in stalking & hunting. Our kitties are little predators (as are we!!)

Top
#75937 - 02/18/04 08:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Pegasus
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 21
Loc: North Carolina

Offline
Tygerkatt, maybe some of my experiences will be somewhat reassuring. I have been the mother of two kitties for much longer than I have been the mother of my four year old daughter. We didn't have too much trouble when we first brought the baby home. The cats discovered very quickly that while they certainly didn't like the awful noise, the baby couldn't move much and therefore was no threat to them. At first they weren't even very curious, I guess because she wasn't much fun to watch. As she got older they became more interested, but quickly learned to avoid her hands and mouth. When she started walking they started hiding. They still aren't best friends, but now that she knows how to play with them better it's usually ok although I have to admit it would be better if she would just understand that cats don't really like hugs as much as the dog does.

It's been my experience that even cats that really dislike children, tend to concentrate that dislike more on the toddler to five or six year olds. After that I think, at least to the cat, a well behaved child becomes more like his favorite adults. In the mean time, as long as Mist is acting like himself when he's with you, and only hiding when your son is around, I wouldn't be too worried. I think the idea of having the cat with you when you are reading to your son is a good one. It's a nice quiet time for all of you. Also, I don't know if other people's cats do this, but mine love to hear me talk, and tend to come running any time I read out loud.

Once the baby comes home, I think the most important thing that you can do for Mist is to make sure that his daily routines are disturbed as little as possible. And lots of love and affection during the quiet moments.

Top
#75938 - 02/19/04 03:30 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
"although I have to admit it would be better if she would just understand that cats don't really like hugs as much as the dog does."

Hear you on that one. Tygrboy used to hug my parent's dog all the time and just doesn't get that kitties just want to be petted, not hugged.

Thanks for the reassurance, it does help. And thanks to everyone for your great words and suggstions. This truly is a great community.

Top
#75939 - 03/01/04 12:46 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
The Amazing Autistic
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 14
Loc: Canada

Offline
I have an almost 3 year old flame point Siamese named Otis and a five month old orange striped tabby who just became part of my household two weeks ago, named Oliver. Ollie is a former drop-off-in-the-middle-of-nowhere semi-feral, and Otis is a spoiled brat. Otis is fixed and declawwed. Oliver is neither, though he is scheduled to be neutered shortly.
The problem is twofold. Otis has always been a loud, persistant, naggy, noisy cat, but over the past few years I have managed to train him to at least lower the volume/frequency of his yowling with firmly, loudly-stated 'NO!'. For a while, I was working 3 jobs, and only came home to sleep. Otis was used to having more interaction and despite having every toy known to catdom to amuse himself, he became very clingy, annoying, destructive, and so loud and insistant that I ended up taking him to the vet. Vet rxed amytriptaline. The amytriptaline seemed to have a disinibiting effect on him, and he began to yowl even louder and more often, keeping it up for hours at a time, even through the night. I discontinued it and have not yet been back to the vet to try anything else, though I am certainly willing to try if it comes to that. Otis was better when this was a two cat home, so I put the word out that I was looking to adopt another cat. One of my mother's friends had taken Ollie in, but could not keep him long term. I adopted Ollie. Ollie was a pretty quiet kitten at first, but Otis' habits of howling and screaming have rubbed off on Ollie and now they holler and screech together.
I dropped one of the jobs last month because it was just too much for me to handle, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so I am home more often than I was and trying to give both boys more attention, but Otis begins his screaming fits usually when I really need to sleep (just after work for about 2 hours, and at around midnight, for the night), and Ollie follows his lead and makes it a duet of screeching cats.

I am a very quiet person who really needs silence after work to wind down. I have autism, and constant, abrasive, annoying, loud noises cause me anxiety and emotional upset, so this cannot continue. I also don't want to be yelling at the boys so much. I just need them, especially Otis, to shut the hell up! Aaargh!

I've tried yelling, tried shaking an empty tin can with a few coins inside, tried water pistols, time-outs, and even physically holding Otis' mouth closed for about 30 seconds at a time. Nothing has worked so far. Help!

Top
#75940 - 03/01/04 02:32 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lauriechac
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 192
Loc: Colorado

Offline
I had a cat once who liked to *talk*. Otis may just be the same way. If he does this when you come home it could be a signal that he needs your attention.
I would consider planning to spend the first ten minutes at home stroking him, playing with him (tossing a ball of rolled-up tin foil is usually a good idea), or just talking back to him. It sounds silly, but I used to have full conversations with mine.

Any playtime with Otis will help with the late night stuff. Even five minutes of jumping and running and chasing will tire him out. Try using a little feather on a string and get him to chase it in circles before bed. He'll be less active later in the evening.

Studies suggest that interaction with your pets (even just a few minutes) can lower your blood pressure and stress level. When you spend these few minutes with him, try to focus only on him. It will help you to forget the struggles of the day and he will be pleased. Plus, the little string chase game is fun! See how high you can get him to jump - he'll amaze you.

This situation could also be a struggle for dominance. You may want to try repeated sessions of staring him down. Don't physically make him do it (he will not like that). When he is hanging out near you, always look at him. Be sure he is the first to avert his glance. This is a sign that he submits to you. If you look away first, he will see it as a sign that you are the submissive one.
You could also ask your vet about dominance issues.

Top
#75941 - 03/01/04 12:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

Offline
Amazing Autistic, you have my sympathies. That sounds like a very difficult situation--both you and Otis seem pretty unhappy. Could you ask around to look for another vet who specializes in behavioral issues? Or talk to owners of other Siamese? They are a breed known for loudness, so unfortunately you may have an uphill climb against Otis's innate nature.

lauriechac's suggestions about playing more to alleviate the nighttime crazies is great, but it sounds like a specific problem for you is that you can't engage with the cats immediately upon coming in the door--you need some quiet time before you can give them attention. Have you considered getting a pet sitter to look in on them and play with them during the day? It might be too costly, but if they had some attention during the time you have to be out, things might be calmer when you get home.

Top
#75942 - 03/01/04 12:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
The Amazing Autistic
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 14
Loc: Canada

Offline
With giving up the third job, funding is really tight now. Long story there.. and not one I want to go into at the moment.. let's leave it at workplace disability discrimination directly impacting my income. At any rate, there is absolutely no money that isn't earmarked for basic survival and bills. I am also intensely (perhaps even pathologically) private and cannot handle someone else coming into my home. Especially when I am not there.
Yes, I do need my decompression/recovery time as soon as I get home. I can't function without it, and need silence and calmness for the first couple of hours, just to let my nervous system settle down and repair itself.
Eye contact, even with an animal, is very difficult for an autistic. It is totally alien to us, and very uncomfortable.
I do live about an hour away from the Guelph Vet school, so there might be a behaviorist there who may have some solutions.

Top
#75943 - 03/01/04 04:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Siamese cats are known talkers.

Are they noisy?

One of the traits a Siamese cat is known for is its voice. They can be extremely loud, and sometimes it sounds like your cat is in absolute torment, when in fact he's just trying to make a point. It's not uncommon for people on the other end of the phone to ask if there is a baby crying.

Traditionals tend to be less vocal than the modern cats - though some have the harsh "you're killing me" voice, others have a rather quiet meow. Some are non-stop talkers, while others don't talk unless they have something important to say. The voice and conversational style is apparent from kittenhood, so you'll know what you're getting into.


That bit came from: Siamese Info

The only thought I can offer - that hasn't been suggested already - is something that Catness mentioned somewhere upthread. Maybe you could try scheduling Otis' feeding time closer to your sleep time. Cats with full tummies are sleepy kitties.

Guelph is a great facility. Hopefully they'll have some ideas for you. Best of luck to you, Otis, and Ollie.

Top
#75944 - 03/01/04 09:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Pegasus
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 21
Loc: North Carolina

Offline
Amazing Autistic, I wonder If part of your problem might not be that you are dealing with two male cats, one of whom is not neutered. Even though Otis is nuetered he may still be reacting to the new kitten as a threat to his masculinity. Being that he is already a known talker, he would probably choose that method of expressing his displeasure. Ollie of couse will then feel the need to express his masculinity and appears to have chosen the same tactics. The good news is that once Ollie has been neutered, they may calm down a bit. At least Ollie might, and once the teritorial macho stuff is over they will probably be even better company for each other.

One other thing I can think of to suggest is catnip. I know some people don't approve because it really is like giving your cats mind altering drugs, but according to my vet it is completely harmless for the cat. In fact she said that cats unlike people will not consume it in excess. They know when they've had enough. Different cats react to it differently. I have to cats. Gizmo just becomes very mellow from the catnip. Luna runs around for a while and bats at any small object she can find before falling fast asleep. If your cats are the type that have a more mellow reaction, it might give you a chance to have some peace and quiet when you need it.

Top
#75945 - 03/02/04 10:21 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
If you're intersted in trying cat nip though and you don't know how they'll respond I'd suggest trying it for the first time when you aren't in need of quiet. Luna and Gizmo may end up asleep, but my cat Mist goes nuts. He'll run through the house, jump all over everything, and he get really talkative. He's not usually a loud cat, he'll usually purr rather than meow unless he's hungrey, but give him nip, and you'll be hearing from him.
Top
#75946 - 03/02/04 12:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Pegasus
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 21
Loc: North Carolina

Offline
Thank you Tygrkatt, I meant to say something to that effect but somehow it got left out. Bad Pegasus. You are absolutely right. The reaction of Kitties to catnip is a little like our reaction to alcohol.
One person will get giggly and mellow and onother will get loud and obnoxious. Definately, If you try this at home, pick a time when you feel up to handling some extra noise and rambunciousness just in case.

Top
#75947 - 03/02/04 04:55 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
The Amazing Autistic
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 14
Loc: Canada

Offline
Thanks for the heads-up re: catnip. I'll give it a try.
Otis' screaming fits began months before Ollie came into the household. He has always been a talker, but not always this bad. Most of the time, he was content to just meow in a conversational manner, albeit frequently. Now, he howls and screeches like he's being tortured. He'll even wake up and start if he hears me get up to use the bathroom in the night.
He has had a rather stressful year, I suppose. I moved house in September, his territory changed. I began working 2 jobs, then 3 jobs, and wasn't around much.. and when I was around, I was either asleep or trying to emotionally recover from the workdays and just wasn't able to handle his high-energy ways at the time. He has always been a high-enegry (and way too smart for his own good) type of cat. He's like a 2-year-old kid. He gets bored easily, and his curiosity has often caused him to break things, get into things, pull the contents out of drawers and closets, and knock objects off of counters just for 'fun'. He also turns taps on, but not off, and given that my house is about 130 years old, it has slow drains that make this practice fraught with insurance claims. So when I am not home, Otis has his own 'room', a cat/child-proofed safe place filled with toys that keeps him from trashing the rest of the house. He has a lot of room to run, two huge windows with cat-friendly sills, and toys of all descriptions. When I get home and can supervise, he comes out. Ollie has not yet been introduced to the feline bedroom... I want to wait until his 'little snip' and the testosterone levels aren't as high before I put them together unsupervised. He is temporarily residing in what will eventually be my workroom during the day. Both cats are out together when I get home, and Oliver is, oddly enough, the aggressor, despite being only a quarter of Otis' size/weight. Otis could tie Ollie into a knot if he took the idea.. Otis is HUGE, very muscular, and long.

I hope things settle down once Ollie gets 'snipped' and they are sharing space. But the pessimist in me worries that it will get worse before it gets better.

Top
#75948 - 03/04/04 11:19 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I've been thinking about your situation for the past few days, Amazing Autistic, and while it's a sticky one, I think it can be resolved.

As soon as you can, you must get Ollie neutered. I know that money is a factor for you (and I am very familiar with what that is like), but I think that is likely the largest part of the problem.

I've written about the yowling/caterwauling problem quite a few times in this thread, so I'll try not to repeat myself too much here.

Cats, in some ways, can be ideal pets for those with autism and Asperger's (?) syndrome. Generally, they don't like eye contact. Prolonged direct eye contact, or staring contests, are a direct threat or challenge. Think about any cat fight you've ever seen, at least 75% of it is staring and intimidation. This is why a cat, entering a roomful of people, will immediately head for the one who's allergic or doesn't like cats. All of the cat lovers swivel 'round to look at, admire, and attract Miss Kitty, to her that's rude, so who isn't looking at her? Yep, that's the polite human, that's the one who understands her! Classic inter-species miscommunication.

Staring contests with cats are not good. All that tells a cat, who already knows you're ten times his/her size, is that you're willing to use your size to overpower and intimidate him or her. This will, inevitably, lead to the cat expressing aggression toward you (or other cats) in other ways. When they look away, they're not submitting, they're scared -- you have betrayed the cat. The stare and submit may work for dogs; they're pack animals and need their human to be the "top dog." But cats are not dogs and do not have this pack mentality. They do not fight humans for dominance in the household.

This behavior, of course, varies from breed to breed and with a cat's individual personality. Siamese are a notoriously vocal and emotionally high maintenance breed (and, most of our domestic felines have Siamese in their ancestry). When they're unhappy, Siamese cats ramp up that naturally noisy behavior -- because it gets them attention -- and as we all know, even negative attention can be desired. I've often said that having a cat is like having a furry two-year-old for 15 years.

Otis is reacting to a year of upheaval, as you've mentioned, as well as an aggressive new pal. A young, unneutered kitten will often be the aggressor in a household. Ollie wants to be top cat, and because he still has all his parts, he thinks he should be. He's also observed that caterwauling gets Otis attention, so he wants some of that for himself. Ollie is also a kitten, and one thing kittens can't stand is being ignored. If someone is making a bigger noise than him... well, that just won't do. At five months old, he's going through that horrible thing I describe as "the teenaged boy" syndrome. Think of every annoying 12 or 13 year old boy you've met -- yeah, that kind of obnoxious, that's Ollie right now. A copycat and an attention hog (and from about 8 months to a year old, you just want to strangle the little buggers).

The first thing I'm going to suggest to you is that you get earplugs. No, seriously. Get some. From this moment on, you will no longer respond in any way to the howling. No matter how long it goes on, no matter how loud they get, they simply will not get even a glance from you. Your kitties want attention. Specifically, they want your attention. Whether you're pointing a finger at them and "hissing" (which is what we do with Nepher when she's being naughty), or shaking a can of coins, or slapping a wall, it's attention -- you are not going to give it to them. Once they get it through their thick little walnut skulls that they're not getting results, they will stop. And yes, it probably will get worse before it gets better, because they're going to test you. Don't give in. If you give in after 2.5 hours of obnoxiousness, you've just trained them to understand that it takes 2.5 hours to get your attention. They have found your button, and they're pushing it as hard as they can to get results. Do not reward them for it.

The second thing I'm going to suggest is routine. Understand that just as much as you need routine, your cats do too. For example, when I come home from work, I have four different individuals who immediately demand my attention in some way or another. I have to look at Nepher, doing curls and head tucks on her windowsill and tell her how cute she is (no touching!). I have to look Zoje in the face, make eye contact (see, this is what I was saying about personality -- Zoje requires direct eye contact), say hello, and let her bang her head into my knuckles a few times. I then have to say hello to the Phooka, put him up on my left shoulder (as you would when burping a baby), and walk around with him like that for at least five minutes. Finally, I have to kiss Mr Catness. Yes, I have to run the Kitty Gauntlet before I can get to my boyfriend. Same routine for him when he gets home. Sad, isn't it?

You said that you let the boys out of their rooms when you get home from work. Is it emotionally possible for you to "greet" them? Just a minute or two with each of them, where you say "hello" and then say "Okay, now it's quiet time. We'll all eat and play after I have my two hour rest."? It doesn't matter if you come home at a different time each day, just as long as the routine you follow when you walk in the door remains the consistent.

Or, on the other hand, is it possible to leave them in their rooms until you've had time to recharge? There's nothing wrong with that. If you're not able to give them the attention they need the second you arrive home, then leave them be until you are.

I think, once you're able to leave them alone with one another during the day, some of this behavior will abate. Otis may have every cattoy ever invented, but clearly he's bored bored bored. Bored. Once he has his companion to entertain him during the day, they both may find you much less interesting when you get home.

So, after the longest post ever, I'll add that the suggestions above are all good. There are people who don't "approve" of catnip? Pfffffft. Whatever.

I wish you good luck and peaceful hours.

Top
#75949 - 03/04/04 11:41 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
OT - Sometimes I'd just like to give Catness a big ole hug.
Top
#75950 - 03/05/04 12:32 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Word on that Georgina.
Top
#75951 - 03/05/04 01:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh y'all, shush. You're totally going to screw up my rep as the mean moderator.
---------

I did a little poking around online and found the Mission Statement for Animal Care Research Facilities at Guelph. What a cool program!

It might be possible, Amazing Autistic, to get your boys set up as part of a research project with the University. Usually that sort of research is voluntary and doesn't cost the subjects a cent. I can see the title of the paper now: "Ollie and Otis: a Study in Fusspottery." Hee!

Top
#75952 - 03/05/04 03:05 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
As for getting Ollie snipped, can you try the local humane society? When I had the demi-goddesses spayed through my local human society, it cost me less than $40 total. Boy cats would have been even cheaper. Taking them to a vet would have, at a minimum, cost me $80 apiece in the area of the country in which I was living then.
Top
#75953 - 03/10/04 04:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Many here have seen Sars around, beloved chicklit poster and High Mistress of TomatoNation.com. One of her lines from an TN essay about her cats (http://www.tomatonation.com/five.shtml line: "And they cock their heads and stare at me in an increasingly unsettling "foolish human -- you thought we would never perfect the Feline Death Ray. Muah ha ha ha haaaaa!" fashion ")
reminded me of a web site you all might like.

www.mycathatesyou.com

Freaky photos of cats with really really funny captions. I recommend it.


Sars, I hope you don't mind me posting links ect to TN. If you do pipe up and I'll edit them out.

Top
#75954 - 03/12/04 02:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
jellybiscuit
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/19/02
Posts: 81
Loc: atlanta, ga

Offline
Thanks for the good words about my kitties, y'all -- I appreciate it. I just happen to find the best cats in the world in random places. Or, as I like to say, they find me.

 Quote:
I just had to say: "Ami" and "Eep" what awesome cat names. Those got me smiling just reading them, even without your description of them as Manx.
Hee, thanks, Catness. I haven't been in this thread for a while. Thought you might be amused to know that Ami is now Sammy.

Due to her illness, and our move, she went to five different vets in her first five months, and she went OFTEN. (We finally found a great vet, who I highly recommend if you're in Atlanta.) The first vet said she was a girl, and none of the other vets said any differently. And considering that her illness was diarrhea and impaction and a distended rectum, they were paying attention to her back end.

Anyway, at five months, I saw Ami grooming herself, and for a split second I saw something... pink. And I thought... nahh. But as I didn't believe I would exactly hallucinate THAT, I brought it up to our vet.

And he said, "Well, look at that. She's a boy".

To which I gulped and said "A boy boy?!? Like, does she have testicles?"

So, we tried to say 'he' and 'him', and we just couldn't, especially combined with such a girly name as 'Ami'. Finally after a month or two, we gave up and renamed him Sammy.

And now he's a giant man cat. \:\)

Top
#75955 - 04/03/04 06:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
The Amazing Autistic
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 14
Loc: Canada

Offline
Here's an update on the ongoing saga of Otis and Oliver.
Oliver had his 'little snip' three weeks ago. Three days ago, I cleaned out both cat boxes well, washed all the bedding, and mopped the floor so that everything would smell the same, then put them together in the same room.
They had been out to play together, supervised, for a few hours every night, so I was pretty sure they could handle being together in the room that used to be only belonging to Otis. It is also my laundry room. I was doing laundry, so I was in and out of the room all evening.

Well, it went far better than I had expected! There was no serious fighting, only a little wrestling to assert who rules over whom, no yowling (in fact, they've been amazingly quiet!), and no spraying or other territory marking behaviors, which were all things I had worried about.
Almost instantly, they began playing together, sleeping in each other's beds, together and alone, and even grooming each other. Even better, the almost constant yowling from them both has stopped. I haven't heard Otis meow once in two days, and without Otis creating noise, Ollie is silent too. It is wonderful!

They're a lot happier together, and that makes me happier too.
Thanks, all

Top
#75956 - 04/05/04 08:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
~YAY~ Glad to hear you're getting some peace and quiet.
Top
#75957 - 04/05/04 11:22 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Wonderful! Nothing like a little feline homo-eroticism to make a house a happy home (just like my two incestous lesbian felines).
Top
#75958 - 04/05/04 01:01 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

Offline
Amazing Autistic, I'm so glad it is all working out! That sounds like a much better situation for everybody. Hurray!
Top
#75959 - 04/06/04 04:34 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by heyalice:
Catness as usual, thank you. I will definitely do that.
Tygrkatt, you give my cat too much credit. We've tried that. The thing is, he knows when the mail carrier is coming and sits by the door (my son has witnessed this).
I'm on a mission, for a door slot sleeve.
Did you find one? Another suggestion is renting a box at the post office and having all of your mail sent there instead.

Top
#75960 - 04/06/04 04:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
Tygrkatt suggests that I tell the story of the wet cat.

When I was a teenager, we had 3 Siamese, all spayed females. Now as any multi-cat household knows, they establish definite hierarchies. In our household, alpha cat was Li'i, who was spayed after 2 litters, next was her daughter Cookie, and Little Bit (half the size of the other two) clear down at the bottom.

One day Li'i was drinking out of the master-bath toilet, her hind feet up on the seat, her front feet down in the bowl just above the water level. I was sitting on the bed talking to my mother when both of us saw Little Bit dash out from under the bed, push Li'i into the toilet, and streak back into hiding.

I have never in my life seen such an angry cat! She came boiling out of that toilet bowl sopping wet, taking enormous leaps down the hallway splat........splat...........splat hunting for the miscreant and never finding her.

Nobody can tell ME that cats can't think -- one has to be able to think to react to the perfect opportunity for a practical joke AND to realize the probable consequences if one is caught, right?

Top
#75961 - 04/06/04 06:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
That is so funny!!!! My cat Java does the same thing... I'd so totally love it if her brother Joe would give her a dunk. Might keep her from thinking the toilet is a big margarita, although she has fallen in occasionally on her own which hasn't stopped her.

Thank you for a little humor at the end of my day. \:\)

Top
#75962 - 04/06/04 08:32 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by viva:


Thank you for a little humor at the end of my day. \:\)
Another Li'i story I remembered while cooking supper: when her second litter was due, we dutifully went to the grocery store and acquired a cardboard box of an appropriate size, cut a flap in the front, and lined it with a soft old towel. She climbed in, inspected it thoroughly, and approved; this was a proper kitten box.

But where were the kittens? She hunted all over -- aha, THERE was a kitten! Never mind that her daughter Cookie was nearly a year old. Once a kitten, always a kitten. Li'i grabbed Cookie by the scruff of the neck and hauled her off kicking and screaming to the kitten box, stuffed her through the flap, and smacked her on the nose every time she tried to get out. Poor baby. Fortunately this lasted only for a couple of days, until the next litter was born...in the wee small hours of December 25th. At 5:30am Li'i got us all out of bed to see what Santa Claws had brought to her!

Top
#75963 - 04/07/04 04:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Awww! What cute Li'i stories!
Top
#75964 - 04/28/04 10:18 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
I'm just piping in to ask all of you fellow cat people to send some healing thoughts to my kitty Mycroft. He's at the vet today for blood work and fluids, since he's refused to eat anything for the last few days. He has been drinking, but no dice on any kind of food or treat, no matter how tempting. (And Catness knows that is so NOT my fuzzy-bear.)

I knew it was serious when it took him ten minutes into the car ride to yowl at me about what he thinks of my driving. Normally, his yowling would start the moment he saw the kitty carrier and continue all the way to the vet's office.

I'll post again when I get the call from the vet.

Top
#75965 - 04/28/04 12:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Aw, poor Mycroft! Good thoughts headed towards you and the kitty, shrew.
Top
#75966 - 04/28/04 12:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
I knew it was serious when it took him ten minutes into the car ride to yowl at me about what he thinks of my driving. Normally, his yowling would start the moment he saw the kitty carrier and continue all the way to the vet's office.
Having many times been a passenger whilst you were the driver, I can't say as I blame him.

You know how I feel about my grumpy, furry nephew. Crossing anything that can cross and waiting to hear from you.

Top
#75967 - 04/28/04 01:09 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
Aw, poor things (you and Mycroft). I'll definitely be sending good, healing thoughts Mycroft's way. Let us know once you hear from the vet.
Top
#75968 - 04/28/04 03:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Here's the story on Mycroft so far: the vet's not really sure what to make of anything yet. They took about a lot of fluid out of my poor beastie's chest, and they're sending some of those cells out to another lab for further diagnosis. They're keeping him overnight to keep an eye on his breathing and try to stimulate his appetite.

I'm visiting him tonight and will have the complete news tomorrow. Once I know what it is, then I'll be able to bring him home and go from there.

It's making me just sick to think of leaving him there.

Top
#75969 - 04/28/04 04:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Aw shrew. I hope for the best outcome for Mycroft. Sending healing kitty thoughts your way.

I hate leaving my kitties at the vet overnight too. When one of my old cats had to stay at the animal hospital for two nights, I took my red flannel nightgown in to put in the cage with her.

The staff thought it was an odd idea, as the nightgown would (and did) get pretty funky in that confined cage space, but I felt better knowing my old girl had a cozy reminder of me and home with her.

Top
#75970 - 04/28/04 05:29 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Kivrin, that's a great idea... I have a T-shirt of mine in the car. I think I'll leave it with him tonight.

Thank you, everyone, for all your support. I'll keep you posted.

Top
#75971 - 04/28/04 09:12 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Shrew, cats and a human in my household have you and Mycroft in our thoughts. I know how tough overnight vet visits are for everyone concerned.
Top
#75972 - 04/29/04 08:12 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Best wishes coming out to you and Mycroft from here shrew.
Top
#75973 - 04/29/04 01:55 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I've just heard from the Shrew and she's asked me to post for her, because she's not up to doing so herself right now. I'm just going to paste in what she wrote me.

 Quote:

Well, so far the news isn't good: his chest filled up with fluid again, and there's a mass on the x-rays that they think is a tumor of some kind. I won't know that until tomorrow (Friday) morning.

For now, they've given him some stuff to make him pee out the fluid, and I'll bring him home tonight with some antibiotics. If it's NOT a tumor, then we can deal with the infection or whatever it is -- they can get his lungs cleared out one way or the other. But if it IS a tumor, there's not much that can be done about that, and so there's no reason to put him through the trauma of aggressive treatment for anything else. At that point it's a matter of keeping him comfortable and calling my brother so he can help me end things at home. (Her brother is a vet.)
Obviously, this is very upsetting for her and not news that we wanted to hear. Please keep my dearest, oldest friend and her stalwart companion in your thoughts, if you would. Thanks.

Top
#75974 - 04/29/04 02:23 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. I will definitely keep them both in my thoughts, and continue to hope for the best.
Top
#75975 - 04/29/04 04:48 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
Much sympathy here, too, Shrew. We've been in your shoes, and it's very distressing. \:\(
Top
#75976 - 04/29/04 05:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
Oh Shrew, I'm so sorry. My kitties and I'll keep you and Mycroft in our thoughts.
Top
#75977 - 04/30/04 05:29 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Bear
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 1954
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

Offline
Damn, I'm so sorry. Poor Mycroft. And poor shrew, too.
Top
#75978 - 04/30/04 08:09 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Shrew - I am so sorry. Sending good vibes to you and Mycroft.
Top
#75979 - 04/30/04 05:28 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
amateur
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/25/01
Posts: 587

Offline
You're in my thoughts, shrew. \:\(
_________________________
"Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness
has genius, power, and magic in it." -- Goethe

Top
#75980 - 05/01/04 08:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Thank you all for your kind thoughts -- chickliterati are really the best. I've passed them on to Shrew.

She got her second opinion yesterday, from a surgical vet, and Mycroft's prognosis is not good. It appears our worst fears were confirmed. Her brother the vet will be visiting today to give the third and final opinion. As it stands now, Shrew is probably looking at a very short timetable.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you'd like to send your condolences to Shrew, mi hermana del corazón, and I'll forward them to her in due time; I don't think she'll be stopping in here for awhile.

Top
#75981 - 05/28/04 03:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
I just wanted to check in with a huge Thank You and an update on my beastie. Mycroft is at home, hanging out in our windowsill watching the birds, thanks to a couple of kitty meds to keep him comfortable. That's all we can do for now, (what he has isn't treatable, but he has already outlasted the vet's predictions) As long as he stays comfortable, I'm going to keep my baby with me as long as I can.

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and support. I don't know how long I'll have with my kitty, but I believe that time has been extended in great part to the wonderful, kind, healing thoughts that you all sent his way.

Top
#75982 - 05/29/04 03:00 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I'm looking for words, here. I'm glad to know you and Mycroft are getting some extra time together. He was fortunate to get one of the best human friends. Neither of you have been far from my thoughts.

Thanks for checking in, shrew.

Top
#75983 - 06/01/04 11:01 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
shrew, both you and Mycroft are in my thoughts, as well as in the thoughts (in so much as they have thoughts, bless their little kitty hearts) of Mookie and Xena. Mycroft has obviously received a lot of love in his day, and I have no doubt he's grateful.
Top
#75984 - 06/12/04 04:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
Does any one else's cat want to be scratched in -- not behind, but in -- his ears? Over the last couple of years Kirk has taken to turning his head during a normal behind-the-ear scratching so that my finger[1] goes right into his ear. He will purr blissfully and continue to turn his head so that I can scratch even deeper, enough so that I'm paranoid about hurting him. There's nothing wrong there, no earmites, no wax buildup, no odor, just nice clean cat-ear. Any ideas?

[1] Or toe. I was scratching him with my toes when he first started this.

Top
#75985 - 06/12/04 08:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
betso26
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/28/02
Posts: 185
Loc: Vermont

Offline
My little one is the same way - totally wants me to scratch all inside her ears and I too have been paranoid about hurting her. I do it a little bit, but don't get too in depth. I would feel horrible if i hurt her ears in some way. They seem so tender and fragile, but she really likes it, so I don't know.
Top
#75986 - 06/12/04 09:25 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Have you brought this up to vet MamaAlanna? He never used to do that, heck as I recall he never liked anyone to scratch *behind* his ears when he was younger. Even if there's no mites or anything it may still be a cause of concern.
Top
#75987 - 06/14/04 08:38 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
The older of my two cats also loves having hear ears - both inside and out - scratched thoroughly; and the harder, the better. I would recommend asking your vet about where to set the scratching limits, but chances are, there's no harm in going in a little ways.
Top
#75988 - 06/14/04 04:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by tygrkatt:
Have you brought this up to vet MamaAlanna? He never used to do that, heck as I recall he never liked anyone to scratch *behind* his ears when he was younger. Even if there's no mites or anything it may still be a cause of concern.
He needs to go to the vet anyway for checkups and shots...but I'd feel totally stupid if I go to make an appointment and have to tell them "My cat has itchy ears"!

Top
#75989 - 06/14/04 06:34 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
And another horrendous trip to the vet for the demi-goddesses annual distemper shots is over.

My little kitty has lost some weight--and I thought all this time that the big kitty was getting bigger. Of course, my little kitty was also true to form and shat and pissed in her carrier to register her protest at such high-handed treatment.

Top
#75990 - 06/15/04 09:06 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Our sweet kitty, Sierra, is sick. She's been off her feed and listless since last Wednesday. We thought she had a hairball, since she'd been hacking for a couple of days, but we took her to the vet on Friday and she was running a fever. They tested for a bunch of things, and everything was negative.

Because of the temperature, we've been giving Sierra a course of antibiotics. She does eat, just not like she normally does, and she's still listless. She's using her box normally. We're giving her anti-hairball treats in case there is a hairball issue involved. The vet told tombo this morning that we should go the whole course of antibiotics, and bring her back if in she's not better by then. That'll be Friday. She does seem a bit better - more interested in food (but nothing like normal), and doing the "thwump-roll" thing she does by my feet when she wants scritchies. When we give her cat treats, she yum-yums those right down.

Poor kitty. Normally, we complain about her whapping at my pillow at 5:30 in the morning because she wants breakfast, or jumping up on the kitchen counters or the dressers. She's not doing that now, and I can't believe how much I wish she would.

Top
#75991 - 06/15/04 09:20 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
TraceyB, e-mail me, please.
Top
#75992 - 06/15/04 11:35 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
You should have an e-mail from me now, Catness.
Top
#75993 - 06/16/04 08:08 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Got my fingers crossed for you and tombo and Sierra. Hopefully her turn for the better will continue until she's herself again.
Top
#75994 - 06/17/04 09:51 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
TraceyB, I hope your kitty is doing well.

It's been ages since I posted here, but I just had to share the news that I've got a new kitty. He's about 8 weeks old, and was found sleeping near the engine of my mom's car. I've named him Vincent after Vincent Van Gogh, because he is an orange tabby, and Vincent had red hair. But more importantly, he is being treated for ear mites, and Vincent Van Gogh had some ear issues of his own.

Right now he's curled up sleeping and purring in my lap as I type. I just read through the thread, and am encouraged by all the suggestions about introducing another cat to the house. The last time I tried to get another kitten, Annie was not happy. But I think it was probably anxiety on my part--and the fact that it was another female probably didn't help. I'm hoping that since Vincent is a male, it will work out better this time.

The vet said he needs to be separated for about a week until the ear mites are gone, so he's in the bedroom and Annie has the run of the rest of the apartment. I'm off for summer vacation, so I'm trying to be as equal in time spent with each cat as possible. Any advice would be welcome...otherwise, just send good introduction vibes my way.

Top
#75995 - 06/17/04 10:00 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I don't know how many times I can pimp Anitra Frazier's The New Natural Cat and Dr Brian Kilcommons' Good Owners, Great Cats before y'all boot me out of the thread. Both of them have great plans for introducing new cats to a home. Anitra's book is like an encyclopedia of cat health and treatments and Dr Kilcommons is a concise guide to cat behavior (and bending it to your will).

Congratulations on your new housemate, sweetcheeks!

I heard from TraceyB this morning, and I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here. Sierra is going in for more tests, probably today. Keep sending your good vibes in her direction.

Top
#75996 - 06/21/04 12:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
We just got back from the vet (the small animal hospital at the U of Minnesota) - they think Sierra has a tumor in her lung, possibly cancer. She's going in for a CT scan and other diagnostics tomorrow, and will have surgery if it's indicated. If it's inoperable, we'll bring her home and do everything we can to make the rest of her life as pleasant as possible.

Thanks for all your good wishes, and especially thanks to Catness for all her excellent advice and information.

Top
#75997 - 06/21/04 01:02 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
I feel slightly awful presenting a behavioral problem when many of you are dealing with such major health issues. I'll try to make up for it by thinking powerfully good thoughts about the sick ones.

Ok, here's the problem: We have two cats, Maggie (who's actually male, but performs the gender of female, which we respect) and Daniel. Maggie's 11, Dan is 8, and they're both happy, healthy cats. They're big cats, 15lbs a piece, and they get plenty of food and treats every day. They have dry food to snack on all day, they get tartar-control treats before bed, and every morning they split a can of wet food. And therein lies the problem.

Dan is awful about the wet food. He starts jumping on me, clawing on furniture, yowling, swiping at any appendages sticking out from under covers, and anything else annoying he can think of to wake me up, beginning waaaaay too early in the morning. Because Mr. M and I are both on wacked-out academic schedules, bedtime is between 1 and 3 a.m., and we rouse around 11 a.m. Dan starts his fit-throwing beginning at around 6, but sometimes as early as 5.

I have tried various responses. Shutting him out of the bedroom doesn't work because he just shoulders his way back in (old apartment with weird doors). Plus, this tactic means that poor Maggie (who is content to sleep until we all wake up) gets shut in/out as well. I've tried shutting just Dan in the bathroom, which worked until he figured out what I was doing and started hiding from me, forcing me to run, half-naked, around the apartment after him. Another drawback of this method is that it still means that I'm out of bed at 6 in the morning.

I've tried feeding them the wet food before bed--no help. I've tried just getting up and feeding them as soon as Dan starts his performance, which just means that he wants food earlier the next day, so we slide back from 6:30 to 6:15 to 6:00, until I'm back to feeding him before bed, which doesn't work either.

This is not new behavior, but since I spent the past three months feeding him every morning (I had the earlier class) and I now feel that Mr. M needs to take over for three months, it's starting to result in cranky fights between us. Dan knows to assault me in the morning, because I'm not coordinated enough to do more than shove at him and flail in his direction, while Mr. M is fairly skilled at flinging pillows at Dan. I'm going to check out the books suggested by Catness the next time I'm at the library, but does anyone have any suggestions in the meantime?

Again, I hope that Sierra's doing well, TraceyB, and congratulations on your new kitten, sweetcheeks.

Top
#75998 - 06/21/04 01:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
TraceyB, I'll be thinking kitty wellness thoughts for you and Sierra. It's so hard to leave your baby at the vet for tests, and to wait for results.

Masha, I'm inclined to think that consistency is the key to feeding Dan and getting him to settle down. If he knows that he can get you to rearrange your schedule to suit him, then he'll pester you whenever he's hungry or bored. But once he knows that "kitty feeding time" is always the same time, then I think he'll settle down. Did you have any problems when you had the earlier class and he got fed at the same time each morning?

Top
#75999 - 06/21/04 02:09 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Cut off the wet food entirely until he settles down.

As I've said before to our friends who are blessed with yowlers, as of right now, you will not reward your cat for bad behavior. Do not respond to the aggressive antics in a positive manner. Ever. Your only options are to ignore and correct him. Getting up when he wants you to, and especially feeding him at that hour, just demonstrates/reinforces that it will take X amount of hours/minutes/harassment to get you to do what he wants.

It's difficult, especially when you're tired, frustrated, and you just want him to leave you alone, I know. But you're only making it worse for yourself by giving in to his demands (even once). Cats do not understand deals or compromises; you cannot bargain with them ("Okay, if I feed you just this once, you'll leave me alone so I can get some sleep, right?" "No. You will feed me at 4am forever. And get me some sardines while you're at it.").

You've got to develop a plan and stick to it. So cut the wet food for at least a month, then when you reintroduce it, do it at night and switch the tartar treats to the morning. If you happen to forget or miss a night when they should have had wet food, don't try to "make up" for it by doling it out in the morning.

If you can, lock him in the bathroom before you go to bed -- no reason to punish Maggie -- Daniel gets to sleep in the bathroom every night.

Get yourself a spray bottle, put it by the bed and spritz Dan every time he starts up. Fill an empty can with coins and rattle it (the startle method). I've developed some astonishing half-asleep aiming skills over the years. I had one cat that I could hit the second he popped his head around the bedroom door in the morning. Yes, he was that annoying.

Like shrew said, consistency is the key here. I know you two are stressed and have complicated schedules, so I hope I'm not coming off all lecture-y.

Top
#76000 - 06/21/04 02:24 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
I agree with Catness. My former roommate had a very demanding (and subsequently, VERY fat) cat, who would wake her up at will for food - sometimes at a reasonable 6:30am... sometimes at a very unreasonable 4:00am. She always gave into him, though, saying it was the only way to get him to leave her alone.

I always noticed, however, that when she was away for extended periods of time, he'd try that crap with me - batting at me, yowling, and making a general ruckus. But I always shut him down the first morning he'd do it, and he knew he couldn't get away with it. Sure, he'd forget about that rule in the times between when she was away, but I was always inclined to reinforce it with him.

Top
#76001 - 06/21/04 04:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
You know, I hadn't even thought of keeping him in the bathroom all night. Brilliant. There's nothing for him to shred or break in there, and if he starts with the retributive peeing, it's easy to clean up. Now I just have to get Mr. M on board with the plan.

I wish I had the coordination for the spray bottle to be effective. I've tried it, but it always takes a squeeze or two to get it spraying, and Dan's a fast little bugger. Also, I hate freaking Maggie out with it, even though she seems to know it's not her fault. And she's always happy to have some alone time when Dan's in the pokey.

Thanks for the suggestions, and, Catness, you know I wouldn't have asked if I didn't need the lecture from our cat gurus. ;\)

Top
#76002 - 06/22/04 08:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
skwirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 218
Loc: Michigan

Offline
I have a couple of suggestions as someone with two completely deranged cats.

Finnegan is a yowler. He had a complete battery of expensive tests to determine that he's astonishingly healthy. He'll go through a period when he will just not shut his yap. My vet gave me a bottle of valerian root drops. It's a natural gentle sedative. It smells awful and the cat hates it. When I show him the bottle, he runs and hides and the yowling stops... so I guess it works, just not the way the vet intended.

Flash is a shredder. If I don't wake up at 5 a.m. to play with her, she runs her claws over the bedside lampshade. If that doesn't wake me up, she'll stick one claw very delicately up my nose. That has never failed to rouse me from the deepest sleep. I keep a squirt bottle next to the bed now, set to mist. She doesn't mind the squirt if it's a jet, but she freaks out if she's misted.

They go through spurts of being very upright model specimens of the cat community, and then WHAM, they go completely insane. But then they see the valerian root bottle and the squirt bottle and suddenly they're okay again.

Masha, if you can't use a spray bottle, try a penny can. Put a few pennies in a soda can, and put duct tape over the hole. When the cat does something crazy, you chuck the can near him. (Don't bonk the kitty.) It makes a loud noise and the cat freaks. Aside from being raw comedy, it is a great way to train the cat.

Top
#76003 - 06/23/04 12:52 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I accept all sorts of bad behaviour from my cats because, well because I guess I’m a bit of a twit. If said unwanted behaviour makes me laugh, I just don’t have the heart to try and change it. See: 5:00 a.m. breakfast. (Hey, at least it’s moved from 4 to 5.)

Bean lies on my chest and touches my mouth with her paw. I open my eyes and peer into the biggest green eyes surrounded by a fluffy face. Her head tilts slowly sideways, then she reaches out and touches my mouth again. And even though I’ve likely only been asleep for three hours, I laugh. My heart just fills up. The mornings she doesn’t do it, I panic. I understand I’m weird about this and that sane people need sleep and that the kitty wouldn’t starve by waiting for my normal rising time. So, I’m not faulting anyone else for wanting the cat to eat at normal times and not tear the place down.

Also, if I may, because I learned this the hard way recently, and TraceyB’s post sounded similar, I’d like to share a bit of information with other people who have kitties living in their homes. Cat coughing looks like hairball gagging. If it goes on for a few days without the hairball coming up, or hairball med doesn’t shoot it out the other direction, ask the vet to listen to the cat’s lungs or, if necessary, get a chest x-ray. I thought Bean was trying to gag up a hairball for a week this past spring before we figured out she was coughing. She has an allergy, it turns out.

I felt like such an idiot because I was trying to treat a hairball for a week. I swear, a cat with really bad coughing looks identical to a cat trying to hork up a hairball. It’s just something to keep in mind, because I didn’t know that, and I hadn’t read it anywhere. Further, I didn’t have the good sense to e-mail Catness, which, I should have, because she rocks.

TraceyB , if you could, please keep us updated about how both you and Sierra are faring.

Top
#76004 - 06/23/04 08:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
You know, Kushi was coughing this morning. She just horked up a hairball (despite medications for it to come out the other end) yesterday so I knew that wasn't it. She was in the kitchen sitting on the windown sill. I have no idea what she inhaled/munched and she didn't actually hack anything up. I guess I'll just keep an ear out for her. My biggest concern is that this coughing went on for a good five minutes with smallish breaks.
Top
#76005 - 06/23/04 09:08 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
naomism, that's really not good. Sophie started coughing a few years ago, and after a few days, we called the vet, who said, "If your cat is coughing, bring her in!" Sneezing is an everyday, normal thing for cats, but coughing of the non-hairball type often means there's a problem, and prolonged coughing is definitely worrisome. Listen carefully to how the cough sounds, so you can describe how it sounds (or even immitatte it!) to the vet if your cat's not coughing when you're at the vet's office. In Sophie's case, it turned out that she has asthma, usually triggered by spring environmental changes. When we hear the telltale coughing, we know it's time for her course of meds, which usually knocks it out for the rest of the year. So far, no coughing this year, lucky for her!
Top
#76006 - 06/23/04 10:15 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
naomism, Caitlin is right, get Kushi to the vet pronto. Usually, this time of year, if a cat starts coughing (and like Georgina said, it sounds exactly like horking up a hairball), the first thing I think of are allergies and asthma. Yes, kitties can get asthma.

Often, there is some sort of irritant that triggers a latent allergy or tendency toward asthma. The usual suspects are: that fresh carpet deodorizing powder, dust from the litterbox (same with the freshening powders for that), pesticide spraying in your neighborhood, mold and/or mildew (springtime brings that out in the carpets), and fabric softeners. Just like humans, your kitty can be minding her own business then suddenly develop a sensitivity any number of things.

It could be nothing too. It could be that Kushi got a throatful off dandelion fluff or dust while on the windowsill. But I'd err on the side of caution and have a vet confirm or deny the case.

Top
#76007 - 06/23/04 08:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
First off, I hope Sierra and Kushi are feeling better. I just had to pop in and share this neurotic cat moment. LaSalleUBoy called me over to our dining room window a moment ago. Puck, our mischievous middle cat, was sitting on the windowsill chasing the lightning bugs as they flitted around the magnolia tree outside. We could see his little brain spinning as he tried to figure out what these little flying glowing things were. He looked pretty funny smooshing his head against the screen to get a better view.
Top
#76008 - 06/24/04 08:00 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
naomism, if Kushi hasn't been to the vet already about the coughing, get her there now. It turned out that Sierra had a cancerous lung tumor. She underwent surgery on Tuesday and is in kitty ICU. We visited her twice yesterday (she's in the vet hospital at the U of Minnesota; I work at the U). At lunchtime, she was in pretty bad shape, and didn't react to us at all. When we went after work, they'd removed her chest tube and had taken her off the medication they were giving her to help her breathe, but she was still in an oxygen box. She responded to us, came over give us head-butts and get some scritchies. We got her to take one kibble-bit each from our hands, and they told us she'd used the box earlier. It looked like she was breathing much more easily than she was earlier in the day. She's obviously uncomfortable, what with the surgical incision, but the doctor is doing what she can to relieve the pain. They've all been very kind to us there. We're hoping she'll be able to get out of the oxygen box soon, so that we can take her home. I don't know how much more time we'll be granted with her, but we want to make the most of it.

Thanks for your good wishes, dear Chicklit friends. It means so much to us.

LaSalleUGirl, your description of Puck trying to figure out the fireflies made me smile, thanks for sharing it.

Top
#76009 - 06/24/04 12:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

Offline
TraceyB, I'm so sorry to hear about poor Sierra. Please keep us posted on her progress, and take care.
Top
#76010 - 06/24/04 07:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
That diagnosis just sucks so much, TraceyB. It sounds as if Sierra is recovering well from her surgery; I hope it helps her condition. I’ll keep sending warm, squishy thoughts to you both.
Top
#76011 - 06/25/04 12:36 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Offline
Oh, TraceyB, I hope she's okay and you can take her home soon! It sounds like things went fairly well, so there's hope and you have lots and lots of well wishers here!
Top
#76012 - 06/25/04 07:10 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
I have an appointment for Kushi with the vet on Monday. She hasn't coughed or hacked any since the other morning so I'm hoping that's a good sign.
Top
#76013 - 06/25/04 07:43 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
We brought Sierra home last night, since she was able to breathe on her own yesterday. We'll be meeting with an oncologist after the biopsy results come in.

Sierra is resting comfortably at home. We put down one of tombo's old shirts, one she always liked to cuddle up on, and she slept on that all night. She was probably just glad to get away from all the activity and strange animals in the hospital, and to get those IV tubes out of her legs.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again for your good wishes.

Top
#76014 - 06/25/04 09:47 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
TraceyB, the kitties and I are sending love and healing vibes your way. So glad Sierra's home with you!
Top
#76015 - 06/25/04 03:33 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
TraceyB, I'm sending happy kitty thoughts your way, too. So glad that Sierra is at home with you... I know how hard it is to see them at the hospital.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that the biopsy results bring hopeful news for you and Sierra.

Top
#76016 - 06/26/04 10:15 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tombo
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/04/01
Posts: 97
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA

Offline
Sierra had another comfortable night, and she spent part of it curled up by (or on) our feet. She accepts her twice-daily medication with remarkably good grace, her incision shows no redness or swelling, and her breathing is quiet and steady. She even purred for a while yesterday.

Today she startled the heck out of us by trying to leap up to a shelf where she likes to nap; she didn't quite get there, unfortunately, and dislodged one of her bandages. She's unharmed, though, and we used a bit of first-aid tape to fix the bandage. [Why do we keep first-aid supplies on hand, you ask? Because we are surrounded by vicious household objects that sneak up and injure us, that's why.]

From all of us, many thanks for your kind thoughts.
_________________________
The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers. (R. Hamming)

Top
#76017 - 06/29/04 09:02 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
TraceyB, tombo, and Sierra, I hope everyone is doing well or at least better. I'm still sending warm thoughts.

naomism, coughing all gone?

Masha, is Daniel calming down yet?

From my front, two words: feline acne. Yep. Bean has sprouted a full chin of acne. The vet was surprised because, she said, she usually sees maybe two cases of this per year. She's seen four cases -- Bean being number four -- in a week and a half. Apparently there is some connection to allgeries. Back to wrestling with Bean to try and make her better.

Edited to add: this isn't life threatening or hugely serious, it's more that this is the first I've ever heard of cats getting acne. And, too, Bean is like a petri dish of "cats get that?"

Top
#76018 - 06/30/04 06:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Thanks for the reminder!

Kushi had her appointment Monday and received a clean bill of health. The vet thinks she just inhaled something like a dust bunny (except in my house, we have dust rhinos).

Top
#76019 - 07/01/04 04:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Naomism, congrats on the good health news, and TraceyB and Tombo, I'm glad things have calmed down a bit--you are in my thoughts.

Masha , I have to echo what Catness said--you can't reward the bad behavior. I've learned this from experience with Annie's eating demands (not to mention several other bad habits). It's the same thing as being assertive with other human beings; you have to remind yourself that by setting boundaries, you are not being cruel or rude. You're simply doing what's best for you, and, ultimately, your cat.

I'm glad to report that Annie and Vinnie seem to be coexisting in a relatively peaceful fashion. Annie still hisses occasionally, but they seem to be working it out. Vinnie is a really sweet kitten, and I'm glad he's come into our lives.

However, there is one slight concern: I think he was taken away from his mother too early, because he seems to be missing a few grooming skills, the most important being the ability to clean his rear end after doing his business. I've taken to checking his rear end and cleaning it with a wet cloth on a regular basis, which he loves (I think because it reminds him of his mother grooming him). Any advice from anyone? I've looked in Frazier's book and several others, but can't find anything.

Top
#76020 - 07/01/04 07:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
sweetcheeks, you're not alone. My cat Java used to forget a lot when she was littler, and her brother Joe stepped in to clean it for her. (That's sibling love for you.) I think she started cleaning herself more out of sheer embarrassment - she sat down a couple of times without cleaning, got up and realized the smell remained where she had been sitting, and started licking her behind furiously. (I've never experienced cat embarrassment before, but I swear she was blushing.) Maybe if your kitty gets the treat of you wiping him, what's his motivation to start doing it himself?

Separate topic....I have a hairball question. About once every other month, I come upon what appears to be a little pile of kitty vomit, with a cylinder-shaped lump of hair in it. I'm assuming this is a hairball. I never hear hacking and I have no idea which cat it belongs to - both seem chipper later in the day and don't look sick. Is this something I should worry about?

Top
#76021 - 07/01/04 09:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
MamaAlanna
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/03
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by viva:

Separate topic....I have a hairball question. About once every other month, I come upon what appears to be a little pile of kitty vomit, with a cylinder-shaped lump of hair in it. I'm assuming this is a hairball. I never hear hacking and I have no idea which cat it belongs to - both seem chipper later in the day and don't look sick. Is this something I should worry about?
Yes, that's a hairball, and that's their usual method for eliminating one. Something so infrequent is probably little cause to worry about, especially when you can't tell who did it. You can give the cats grass or some other fiber to help them bring it up, or a sticky paste from the vet to help them pass it on through, or brush them more often. You could also give them a dot of butter or margarine on the nose a couple of times a week, again to help grease the hairballs on through. Or petroleum jelly, ditto. I'd check with the vet on that, though.

Top
#76022 - 07/01/04 10:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Yep, that's a hairball. They're either horking it up while you sleep or while you're out. If you ever want to find out who is doing the horking (or any vomiting) follow the adage that every cat owner should know: "To find the puker, look for the sniffer."

If your cats are chucking out a hairball on a semi-regular basis, you shouldn't be worried. It's got to come out one end or the other. They go through heavier shedding periods throughout the year. If you want to ensure that things keep running smoothly through their systems, preventive application of feline laxative or hairball medication is fine. We use Vetbasis Hairball Gel . It contains no petroleum, sodium benzoate, or benzoate of soda. Additionally, it has taurine, which is an essential nutrient.

I tend to use petroleum jelly sparingly. Our three cats seem to constantly be horking something up. One is an over-groomer, another is fastidiously clean, and the last is just lazy.

In the case of Vinnie and the lack of butt cleaning, I agree with viva; he's getting attention and a clean behind, so where's his motivation to do it himself? To solve this problem, dab a bit of petroleum jelly (this is one of the Catness-approved instances) or olive oil on his butt. It should annoy him so much that he'll have to clean himself up. Also, this is a good spot to apply hairball medication. Two birds, one stone. Hee.

Georgina, feline acne is pretty common. However, it's more a symptom than an individual condition. The body has to clean toxins out somehow and the chin acne in cats is one way to do it. Anitra has a whole section on dealing with it (cleaning, prevention, etc.). I'd wager the 50 cents I have in my pocket right now that the Bean is trying to clean out some of the residue from her medications -- which is why your vet said it's common in kitties with allergies. Medications always leave residue in the system.

Top
#76023 - 07/02/04 09:08 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Catness and MamaAlanna, thanks for the advice! Java had worms as a kitten, and that experience makes me get very nervous whenever I see little liquid kitty piles.

I love the idea of applying hairball medication to the rear. Java just completed a round of liquid antibiotics (the squirt in the mouth approach) for a gum infection. It landed on her face more than in her mouth, but then she licked it off, so I figured that was just as effective. She has to go to the vet today for a checkup on the infection, so I will definitely ask about hairball meds. It's summer in Arizona, so they're probably shedding quite a bit of excess plumage.

As a side note, the vet believes the gum infection to be caused by Java's propensity for drinking out of the toilet. Gotta love her. All lids are now permanently down in the house.

Top
#76024 - 07/02/04 06:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Man, I never thought I was an enabler for doing that. Thanks for pointing that out!

Originally from Viva:
 Quote:
My cat Java used to forget a lot when she was littler, and her brother Joe stepped in to clean it for her. (That's sibling love for you.) I think she started cleaning herself more out of sheer embarrassment - she sat down a couple of times without cleaning, got up and realized the smell remained where she had been sitting, and started licking her behind furiously. (I've never experienced cat embarrassment before, but I swear she was blushing.)
I'm hoping Vinnie will get the hint from Annie--every now and then she goes up and sniffs his back, and I swear her facial expression says, "Dude, that's rank."

Top
#76025 - 07/02/04 07:55 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
Well, I proposed the no-wet-food, bathroom-prison idea to Mr. M, who (soft touch that he is) thought it was rather too draconian. So we agreed that he could try giving them wet food (along with treats) before bed for a few days to see if that helped, and if it didn't, we'd move on to my plan.

We're now more than a week into it, and things seem to be going well. Dan is still very needy (and kneady) with me in the morning, but he does settle down pretty quickly and go back to sleep. Today, he was walking around yowling for a while, but that's fairly normal for him, especially now that he's found a new buddy in the window next door. I think part of what's helped is that Mr. M has been doing all the wet-food duties, showing Dan that I'm not the one to bug about it.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll be assembling some soda can with pennies throwing things this evening so I can deal with the loud morning singing.

As for the dirty-butt issue, Maggie is another haphazard groomer, and Dan's taken over those duties for her. She's not easily embarrassed, but she does get annoyed when he's really insistent on the cleaning. It's kind of cute, in a really gross kind of way. Dan, however, gets very embarrassed; one day, after sneaking some nacho cheese from a Taco Bell wrapper, he had a incident of, er, anal seepage on Mr. M's lap. Poor thing, his expression was priceless, and he slunk around for the rest of the day.

Top
#76026 - 07/05/04 09:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sweetcheeks
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston, TX

Offline
Masha, that story is hilarious. I'm glad the food situation is working better.

I tried the petroleum jelly trick today, and Vinnie's initial expression was priceless. He then spent about 15 seconds chasing his tail before finally settling down and taking care of business. A big thank you for the suggestion!

Top
#76027 - 07/06/04 07:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Glad to hear it, sweetcheeks! I am hopeful that it'll keep him tidy.

Masha, I didn't mean that poor Daniel should sleep in the bathroom without wet food forever, just until he calmed down. Hee! His aggressive behavior, as you described it, would only get worse without some drastic action. I'm glad that Mr Masha has taken over the feeding duties and that it's working out better for all of you.

As for me being too draconian, Mr Catness still laughs about when we finally got Nepher shipped up here. He said "She likes her Fancy Feast and her Meow Mix and she won't eat anything else." To which I replied, "Not a single bit of that bullshit food is coming into my house. She'll eat the Sensible Choice or nothing at all." It was a classic battle of wills for about a week. I won.

Now she's our best cat when it comes to the raw food diet. She's like the king's food taster, and we thought she was going to be the biggest problem, but if Nepher is eating it, then the other two fusspots have nothing to complain about.

Top
#76028 - 07/12/04 01:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
my velouria
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 14
Loc: Gainesville, FL

Offline
Hi all! I hope you cat owners don't mind a dog question/rant. I have an 8-year-old border collie who has gotten more and more dog agressive over the years. For the past two months, I've been taking him to a dog trainer (who was recommended to me by my vet and the Humane Society).

The training methods are based on correction and praise, and have worked really well for his overall obideince. However, his aggression has not improved at all. The trainer recommended that we do some aversion training with an electronic shock collar. We've done two sessions with the electronic collar and the problem has gotten worse instead of better. My dog is now acting way more aggressively toward other dogs and now also displaying aggression towards cats and birds, which he never used to do before.

It's my opinion that the electronic collar is to blame, but the trainer keeps telling me otherwise. I wondering if this trainer is a total hack or am I just not being patient enough? Has anybody had similar experiences?

Top
#76029 - 07/12/04 01:33 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Change your trainer. Pain only brings on more aggression! It's the basic principle in training! Sheesh. (Not "sheesh" at you, but "sheesh" at the trainer.)

Trust your instincts when it comes to how to deal with your animals. You know your dog better than anyone else.

I'll ask Mr Catness to elaborate further on the topic when I get home (he's done dog training before).

Top
#76030 - 07/12/04 02:19 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
If I got an electric shock in my neck repeatedly, it would piss me off to no end. I assume your dog feels the same way, and is taking it out on whatever is available.

I was painting on my hugely tall ladder yesterday. The ladder is an attraction to kitty Joe like no other - except I don't like Joe on the ladder when I'm perched up there 12 feet myself (I have height issues). Joe objects strongly to being removed manually from the ladder and couldn't care less if I stand there & holler at him to "get down". The solution? Favorite cat toy on the ground. It's amazing how motivated he got to get off the ladder when presented with a better option.

Moral of this story? You kill more flies with honey than flypaper. (At least, that's what Grandma always said. I use Raid.)

Top
#76031 - 07/12/04 02:22 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
I'm with Catness on the dog training issue. Guard dogs are trained to be aggressive by subjecting them to pain/discomfort. It's really counterintuitive to try to lessen aggressive behavior through pain. I second the "Sheesh" at the trainer!

On a completely different note, I was pleased to learn that I am not the only one with kitties who are eccentric in their cleaning habits. My oldest cat, Dora, is fairly normal, cat-wise, from a cleanliness perspective. The middle kitty, Puck, is an obsessive-compulsive cleaner. He takes at least twenty baths a day. If you interrupt him in the process of cleaning, he starts over again from the beginning. If you're petting him, and he decides that you're not clean enough, he'll wash you.

My baby cat, Pixie, has a mild form of mental retardation called cerebellar hyperplasia. According to the vet, Pixie's mother was exposed to distemper during her third trimester, and the exposure prevented Pix's cerebellum from developing normally. The most visible signs of her disorder are balance and depth-perception issues; in short, she is the least graceful feline I've ever known. Another side effect of the disorder, at least as it manifests in her, is an inability or lack of interest in cleaning herself. For a while, I was bathing her once a month, because she just smelled.

Needless to say, Puck was not pleased by her affectionate but smelly overtures to him. He's taken to holding her down and washing her properly, which is quite entertaining to watch, since I've actually seen him sit on her to hold her squirming body down. At first, I was a little concerned about the headlocks he was putting her in, until I noticed that she purrs loudly the entire time. Of course, his social work project means that he coughs up more hairballs than he probably should, but hairball-control food and a little Laxatone help.

Edited to remove a silent "s."

Top
#76032 - 07/12/04 02:55 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SeattleShrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 372
Loc: Seattle

Offline
Well, since the dog question hesitancy has been overcome ... my schipperke is getting more aggressive as she approaches her second birthday. We’ve been fairly casual about training, because we’re lazy, and frankly it is hard to feel the necessity of training a 12-pound dog. Her aggression is towards people only – she loves other dogs - and consists of barking and dancing annoyingly around their ankles, so far. She’s never been particularly friendly, tends to shy away from the hands of strangers and even people other than my husband and I that she knows. I want to nip this in the bud. Schipperkes are a haughty breed, and notoriously hard to train, so I feel a certain hopelessness about even starting. Need someone to kick my ass…
Top
#76033 - 07/12/04 03:02 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Doppelganger
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Vancouver, BC

Offline
Oh man. I'm with everyone who said to fire your trainer, my velouria. I've done a fair bit of dog training, and what works for me is treats and praise all the way.

Heh, SeattleShrew. Maybe it would help to think of training as a present you give yourself. It's just so much more pleasant to have a well-trained dog. And it's so gratifying when strangers compliment you on your dog's manners. If that isn't incentive enough, then there's also the pragmatic fact that unchecked aggressiveness usually gets worse. All it takes is one bite, plus one angry/litigious bitee, to make life very unpleasant.

Do you mind if I ask how you react when your pooch acts aggressively? The reason I ask is because it's really easy to inadvertantly reward negative behaviour with soothing attention. For example, if your dog is barking or menacing someone, and you respond by stroking her gently and cooing to calm her down, in your dog's mind, this translates roughly to, "Excellent, my pretty. You are doing a wonderful job of protecting me from these evil foes. Keep up the good work." The great thing about good dog trainers is that they don't just train your dog, they train you, and they make you understand how your dog thinks and how you have to adjust your behaviour accordingly. And every dog owner can benefit from some training. I thought I knew a lot about dogs, because I grew up with them, but when we got our dog, Dobbs, we took him to several courses, and we all learned a lot.

LaSalleUGirl, one of my cats is named Puck, too! And speaking of Puck, this past weekend, we had a bit of a scare. Puck seemed very listless on Friday, and when this continued to Saturday, we started to get worried. He's naturally pretty lazy, but this was different. It seemed like all he wanted to do was sleep in one spot. So I picked him up to see if I could cuddle him into being a bit more engaged, and that's when we realized that he was holding his torso very stiffly, as if he were in pain. When I put him down, he could barely stand. We called our fabulous vet, who told us to come in right away. Our worst fear was that he was experiencing kidney failure, because he's a 13-year-old male, and older males are prone to kidney problems. Anyway, the vet did a full battery of tests, as well as taking x-rays. It turns out that Puck had just sprained his back leg badly, so they gave him a shot of codeine and prescribed bed rest.

Here's the crazy part of the story: when the vet called us into the examining room afterward, she popped one of Puck's x-rays onto the light board, and showed us a .117mm lead pellet that was lodged in the fatty tissue near his spine. At some point in the past few years, Puck was shot! We're completely flabbergasted. I'm shocked that someone would actually shoot a cat right here in the city, but I'm even more shocked that we didn't even know it happened. The vet explained that these pellets don't leave big entry wounds if they're shot from a distance, and since Puck is a bit stout and has such thick fur, it'd be easy not to notice it. Also, like many cats, he's extremely stoic about pain.

Anyway, Puck's clearly feeling much better today, and the vet said that we shouldn't worry about the pellet since it's not in a dangerous location, so I guess all's well that ends well. But man, I just can't get over how that x-ray looked. I'm still reeling. (And it goes without saying that I'm having elaborate Kill Bill-esque revenge fantasies about finding the person who shot my cat and putting a lead pellet in him.)

Here's to happy, healthy pets, and the people who love them.

ETA: Holy crap. That's a long post. You'd think I was getting paid by the word.

Top
#76034 - 07/12/04 03:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Doppleganger--What a shock! I'm glad that Puck is doing okay, but I'd be freaking out about the pellet too.
Top
#76035 - 07/12/04 03:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SeattleShrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 372
Loc: Seattle

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Doppelganger:
Do you mind if I ask how you react when your pooch acts aggressively? The reason I ask is because it's really easy to inadvertantly reward negative behaviour with soothing attention. For example, if your dog is barking or menacing someone, and you respond by stroking her gently and cooing to calm her down, in your dog's mind, this translates roughly to, "Excellent, my pretty. You are doing a wonderful job of protecting me from these evil foes. Keep up the good work."
Hee...my dog does think of herself as "my pretty". That and "La Principessa"... we are forty-ish with no children, so are bad bad dog spoilers.

No, I don't mind at all Doppelganger, no ego involved here. Usually her aggressiveness happens on walks, so I'll jerk her leash and speak sternly. Or pick her up, which she hates. My husband is more likely to try to calm her. It is a sticky problem, because I do in fact want her to bark if a stranger comes in the yard. That is her job, and she takes it quite seriously. I just don't want her to bark at crows, squirrels, and adorable children who want to pet her.

Dog training as present to self - that is a great way to think about it. And I do know that this problem can only get worse. Yup, finding a trainer, asap.

ETA - I used to have a dog named Puck!

Top
#76036 - 07/12/04 03:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Doppelganger:
ETA: Holy crap. That's a long post. You'd think I was getting paid by the word.
If that were true, then I'd be able to retire on proceeds from this thread alone.

Top
#76037 - 07/12/04 04:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
You will eventually retire on the proceeds of the pet care book you plan to write though, won't you, Catness? ;\)

 Quote:
Here's the crazy part of the story: when the vet called us into the examining room afterward, she popped one of Puck's x-rays onto the light board, and showed us a .117mm lead pellet that was lodged in the fatty tissue near his spine. At some point in the past few years, Puck was shot!
Doppelganger--my cat has a lead pellet too. We found him as a stray four years ago. He had a torn (though jaggedly healed) ear when we found him. I didn't notice the lump down near his throat until after we had transformed him into our lazy, happy house cat. Our vet said, old Max must have been shot while he was living on the mean streets of Santa Cruz. Thus the ear. I was just so relieved the lump wasn't a cancer growth! I get chills thinking someone shot him once upon a time in his life!

I'm glad Puck is doing okay now.

Top
#76038 - 07/12/04 05:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Anyone who advises people to hurt animals ought not be allowed to be anywhere near animals. I’ll apologise now, but I have a strong reaction to people who give that sort of advice. I bullied my local pet food store out of carrying shock collars in their inventory.

My best friend is the most amazing person with dogs. She always has two of them, large ones, of normally aggressive breeds. They are the sweetest dogs you’d ever meet. She’d never raise a hand to them and rarely raises her voice. When they misbehave, she says, “stop it”. If they don’t stop, she starts counting. I haven’t ever seen her get past “2”, and they stop whatever they are doing. And we’re talking about dogs that weigh almost as much as I do.

Her trick? She knows dogs. She understands how they think and what they want. The idea to keep in mind is that dogs are pack animals. Cats aren’t, that’s why you can’t train cats the same way as dogs; you can only redirect a cat’s behaviour. In doggie minds, though, they need to know who’s leading the parade. If you watch how pack animals interact with each other, you can learn how to communicate with them, on their level, so that they understand what you mean. Because, let’s face it, dogs aren’t ever going to learn to speak to you. It’s like the lecture I gave to Mister G shortly after Frank came to live with us. He’s the animal, you’re the human, you can think and reason, he can’t. It’s your job to learn how he communicates.

My best friend, Angel, had an aggression problem pop up out of nowhere with her then four year-old Doberman Rottweiler cross dog, Stevie. Stevie, without provocation, started growling at people who visited at Angel’s house. It was as if Stevie’d decided to assert herself as dominant member of the household. Angel recognised it as a power struggle, rather than a “punish the dog for unwanted behaviour” issue. Stevie was just letting all comers know that she led the pack. Angel begged to differ.

Now, this is going to sound really weird, but I’ve actually read about it since Angel told me about it. If you stand back, though, and think about it in terms of “speaking dog” it makes a world of sense. At a time completely removed from growling at visitors, Angel took Stevie into the backyard, sat her down, got on her knees on the ground behind the dog, wrapped her arms around the dog’s chest, and pretended to “mount” the dog. I know. Anyway, in dog speak that says, “I’m the dominant member of this pack.” That’s how dogs establish pecking order amongst themselves. Seriously. The growling problem stopped because, ever after, Stevie bowed to Angel’s judgement about who was welcome in their home, because Angel had established herself as pack leader.

Stevie was a great, great dog. I loved her dearly. And she wasn’t cowed, and she wasn’t timid, she just knew whose lead to follow. And that made her feel secure in her place in the household. Doggie psychology.

On the main training front, her techniques are similar. Use the dog’s way of thinking to explain things to them. Again, always remember that dogs are pack animals. Their survival depends on the pack, so they need to feel accepted and that they belong. They also need to know where they stand in relation to everyone else. Dogs do view humans as a part of their pack. Being separated from the rest of the pack is concerning to them. Ergo, for general behaviour lessons, Angel teaches the voice commands and backs them up with dog consequences. She’s also consistent. “Stop it” are the words. Something short and sharp. When the behaviour continues, she starts to count. When she gets to the number three, the dog gets a stern talking to, and is separated from everyone else. The separation depended on the dog. One dog she had sit in a corner away from everyone and that was sufficient. Another dog she had to take to a different room and shut the door. Yes, she’d give the dogs a time-out.

Time-out would last fifteen minutes maximum and then Angel would go to them, hug them, kiss them, and tell them what wonderful dogs they are. Then they were allowed to rejoin everyone. She was always the one to release them from a time-out further reinforcing her place as boss. She started with her dogs when they were puppies, so it wasn’t a difficult process.

She lets her dogs bark at people who come too close to the yard, but if she’s walking the dogs, all she has to do is count if they decide to bark at someone. Both of them, Maggie and Beanie, (Stevie passed away a couple of years ago) will sit down, even though one of them wasn’t doing anything untoward.

It strikes me that acceptable doggie behaviour is taught outside of the context of an unwanted situation. If everyone knows where the boundaries are ahead of time, it’s easier to stop anything that might crop up.

Sorry, my velouria, that was a really long way of saying, find another trainer. A dog doesn’t understand getting hurt as a consequence for behaviour. It tends to make them angry.

As a side note rant, isn’t that just the most frustrating thing in the world? You need some help, you don’t know where to start, you ask around, you get recommendations, and you rely on the person you find to help you. You have no idea if you are getting the best advice from them or not because you don’t know. You’re obliged to get up to speed about everything before venturing out asking for other opinions. It drives me nuts. Our world is so complicated, there’s a steep learning curve associated with everything we do. I constantly feel obliged to get really well informed before I do anything whatsoever just so I’ll know if the person I’m asking knows what they’re talking about. My litmus test is they have to know more than I do. And that applies to doctors and vets and vacuum sales people and computer geeks and landscapers and any other damn thing I might need. I shouldn’t have to know all about something prior to asking. I’m asking because I don’t know. It seems our world doesn’t work that way.

Edit: speaking of long posts. Gads.

Top
#76039 - 07/12/04 08:04 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Hey, for once it's not me bringing the verbosity.

Mr Catness agrees with the methods which Doppelganger and Georgina described. Pain is not an acceptable method of training in his opinion. Every time he sees owners in our neighborhood just out for a walk with their dogs (of any size) and the dogs are sporting those spike choke collars he says to me "What next? What happens when that doesn't work anymore? Shock collar? Then what? Cattle prod?" Him again: "Aversion therapy?! Dogs don't have linear thinking patterns! They don't have the capability for logical deduction!"

He also advises that dogs (and cats) should be naked, no collars, in the house. That way they respond better to their collar commands when outside. The short jerk on the chain as correction, for example.

Mr Catness also says that the trainer should be fired. "My god, hurting your animal only violates their trust!"

Top
#76040 - 07/13/04 07:50 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
my velouria
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 14
Loc: Gainesville, FL

Offline
Thank you all so much! The one good piece of advice I've gotten from this trainer was about making my dog understand that I am the leader of the pack by controlling his food, his walks and where he sleeps. I've been working on that, and I have seen a positive response in the dog.

Now, the methods of controlling the dog that this trainer recommended included first a regular choke collar, then when that didn't get results, a pronged choke collar, and finally the electronic collar.

Obviously I had a lot of reservations about following his advice, but he assured me that none of the collars actually hurt the dog, they just mimic how dogs control each other in the wild--by biting on the neck.

This a-hole went so far as to tell me that the electronic collar was comparable to those electrode machines that work out your ab muscles. Needless to say, I sent him a scathing email yesterday and have received no response. I also called my vet and the Humane Society to tell them not to recommend this guy to anyone else.

Georgina you are absolutely right--it is so frustrating when you trust the so-called experts and want to do everything they recommend, but following their advice actually does more harm than good. To top it all off, I'm now out more than $300. I should have just trusted my judgment in the first place. Do you all think I have any chance of getting some of my money back?

Thanks again--it is nice to know that I'm not overreacting to all this!

Top
#76041 - 07/13/04 01:31 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
bonster
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/04/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Texas

Offline
My 2-cents on shock collars: years ago I met one of mr. b's co-workers, who had a lovely chocolate lab, trained with a shock collar as a hunting dog. The lab had the collar on because apparently the day before he had chased a neighbor cat all the way into the cat's house. So the collar was back on as a 'reminder' to him. The guy had the lab come to him and sit or something - respond to a couple of basic commands, which he performed perfectly - and when the dog sat beside the guy and looked up at him it was not with those melty-brown, sweet "I worship you" lab eyes, this dog was clearly saying, "if you didn't have this freakin' shock collar on me I'd eat you in your sleep, you asshole." I had never given that training system much thought before then (let's face it, nothing that breathes is well trained in my house), but I decided then that no amount of good behavior was worth doing that to a dog. Word to Mr. Catness, talk about violating trust.

viva, I have a cat who loves ladders too, and the more precarious his position as he hangs and plays, the better. We've actually left one up for him as a perch, and we're convinced he was a construction worker (or a gymnast) in a past life, because he also walks the end of our sleigh-bed like it's a beam.

Top
#76042 - 07/13/04 03:51 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
those melty-brown, sweet "I worship you" lab eyes
Aren't those just the best? And labs have that "petting bone" at the top and back of their heads. :: sigh :: I love labs. But really, when we get a dog, it's going to be a mixed breed -- whoever is waiting for us at the pound. And all of us are going to obedience school. I have a few bad habits and having a dog is like having a furry four-year-old.

my velouria, I doubt you'll get any money back. I supposed you could try for the "did not provide services as advertised" however, you'd have a helluva a time proving it. The trainer could just as easily say that you didn't give it a chance and that you undermined the training. I wouldn't expend any more energy on that trainer, other than to tell everyone I know that he sucks.

Top
#76043 - 07/13/04 05:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Doppelganger
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Vancouver, BC

Offline
Thanks, naomism, Kivrin and everyone for the good wishes. Puck is doing waaay better now, and as an added bonus he seems to be going through a rare ultra-affectionate phase, as if in gratitude for all the attention.

 Quote:
Originally posted by SeattleShrew:
...we are forty-ish with no children, so are bad bad dog spoilers.
Heh. We're in our mid-thirties with no children, and I totally hear you. We're both complete softies, which was part of the reason we went the training route. Knowing that our hearts (and wills) have the consistency of pudding - and also knowing that our sweet little puppy was going to eventually weigh in at 60-plus lbs - we knew we needed to get pros involved. It was a good thing, too, because sweet as he is, little Dobbs was also pretty stubborn. When things weren't going his way, he'd actually have tantrums, which I'd never seen a dog do before. He was just like a toddler: squealing, pitching himself around, and generally freaking out. It wasn't aggressive behaviour at all. It was a puppy hissyfit, pure and simple. The only thing our trainer told us to do was roll him over on his back, pin him down by lying on him (without crushing him, of course), and not let him up until the tantrum had completely stopped. This is meant to mimic pack behaviour and let your dog know who's the boss. Man oh man, those were fun times. But it worked!

my velouria, good for you on firing your trainer. With regard to finding a new trainer, do you go to dog parks very much? If you do, you can always ask people with well-behaved dogs if they used a trainer and get their name. Word of mouth is the best reference for stuff like this.

Top
#76044 - 07/22/04 03:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
I found out today that one of my (mom's) cats has been diagnosed with cancer. Snowball is this giant, white, deaf cat that my mother took in during her days as a veterinary technician. They were having trouble placing him partly because of his hearing impairment, but mostly because he had been abused by his former owners and his behavior was a bit erratic. We think that they allowed their little girl to treat the newly-declawed cat as a baby doll; even now, if you touch his front paws, he is likely to try to bite you. After he started feeling safe with us, though, he became such a sweet and goofy member of the family. We could amuse him for hours with a flashlight in a dark room (he once followed the beam under a chair, then sat there for nearly an hour trying to figure out where it went).

My mom noticed that he hadn't been eating, which is seriously unusual for him, the big pig. She thought he had a tooth abscess. But when she got him to the vet, they realized that it was an inoperable form of mouth cancer that reached into his brain. My mom decided not to go the chemo route, partially because it would cause him lots of pain and anxiety and only get him another month or so at the most. So, the plan is to induldge his every whim as long as he seems content and in minimal pain.

Poor Snowball. He was my buddy for such a long time. Of all our many cats, he was the only one to consistently sleep with me instead of with my mom or my sister. I'm a side sleeper, and he used to curl up in the bend of my knees and keep me warm.

Top
#76045 - 07/22/04 03:13 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
betso26
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/28/02
Posts: 185
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Oh LaSalle, poor snowball baby... I'm so glad that you are able to improve his life after being so abused and abandoned. I don't think there's any question that he knows you love him very much and trusts your judgement. It's very sad though, to know you have to say goodbye. My heart goes out to you.
Top
#76046 - 07/22/04 03:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Oh, LaSalleUGirl, I'm so sorry, my heart goes out to you. As you probably know if you've read earlier in this thread, our dear Sierra has cancer, too. We also decided to forgo chemo, for pretty much the same reasons your mom did - too much stress for too little payback.

I can tell you that, althought we don't know how much time we have left with her, the time we're having now with Sierra now is very sweet. She's been cuddly and loving and we take so much joy in seeing her play. We make sure she gets her favorite treats, including baby food - catness told us about kitties' love for the stuff, and Sierra really, really likes the turkey (your mom might give it a try).

Give Snowball some scritchies from me, and take a hug for yourself.

Top
#76047 - 07/22/04 11:03 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

Offline
LaSalleUGirl, July 2004 seems, from my vantage point, to not be going well for you at all. I am sending many relaxing mugs of hot tea to you, to be sipped in the air conditioned indoors with an aromatheraputic candle burning and a good book to read.
Top
#76048 - 07/22/04 11:29 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I swear, one more chicklit cat falls ill, I'm gonna... cry some more.

LaSalleUGirl, I'm so sorry to hear about Snowball. Please take care and know we're all thinking of you.

Top
#76049 - 07/23/04 06:38 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
I'm so sorry about Snowball. I hope his last days are peaceful ones.
Top
#76050 - 07/23/04 09:21 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Oh LaSalleUGirl, just not your month is it? I'm so sorry to hear about Snowball. Enjoy him as much as possible now.
Top
#76051 - 07/23/04 12:01 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

Offline
LaSalleUGirl, I am so sorry to hear that. It is wonderful that you were able to improve Snowball's life as much as you did, and I know you will miss him terribly.

TraceyB, I'm glad to hear that you and Sierra have had so much quality time. I continue to send her positive thoughts and hope that her remaining time is as plentiful and painfree as possible.

And I agree -- spoil those critters rotten while you can.

Top
#76052 - 07/24/04 04:08 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
Thank you so much for all the good wishes! tygrkatt and ainsley, I found out about Snowball on the same day I learned I wasn't pregnant, so I agree that this has definitely not been my month, or at least not my week!

TraceyB, my mom learned about the baby food when she worked as a vet tech. It works like a charm, doesn't it? I'm glad to hear that Sierra is comfy and cozy. I had planned to post and ask how she was doing, and I'll continue sending happy thoughts your way.

Snowball has been eating mostly wet food to avoid irritating the tumor, but my mom reports that yesterday she poured herself a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, turned around to get the milk, and heard a crunching sound coming from the vicinity of her bowl. Snowball decided to help himself to her cereal. On the one hand, she didn't want him to hurt his mouth, but on the other hand he was voluntarily gobbling down food in his old mooching manner. She figured that she might as well let him happily much his way to a sugar high...

My own kitties have helped a bit by keeping me entertained. Last night, Puck and Pixie staged some kitty war games in the living room. Pixie (who is both smaller and mildly mentally challenged) insisted on provoking Puck by placing her paw firmly on top of his head. Then she'd look completely dumbfounded when he would reach up and put her in a full nelson.

Top
#76053 - 07/27/04 10:40 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
LaSalleUGirl, I'm so sorry to hear about Snowball. I've been thinking a lot about all of the kitties on the boards lately... it's been a tough summer for a lot of Chicklit pet families.

I hope he continues to be comfortable and happy with your mom (and her Captain Crunch) for as long as possible.

Top
#76054 - 07/27/04 12:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
It has been a tough kitten (and puppy) summer, hasn't it? Good wishes to all those who are having difficult and sad times.

Can cats strain muscles? Daniel started limping around last night, not letting his left back leg touch the ground. We wrestled him into some nail-clipping, since I thought that might be the problem (boy's got some long claws), but he's still favoring that leg. I didn't feel any wounds on his pads or his leg, nor did I feel any swelling or anything that seemed wrong. He's been curled up in his Secret Spot all morning, so I can't tell if he's still limping, but he did manage to jump onto and off of the bed during the night and again this morning. Hmmm.

In better news, the shift to wet dinner from wet breakfast has been successful. Mr. M feeds them between 12 and 1 every night, and they get treats a bit after that. Dan still walks around the apartment singing early in the morning sometimes, but at least he's not jumping on me anymore. Thanks again for all the advice!

Top
#76055 - 07/27/04 12:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Yep Masha, they can.

Maybe, whilst doing his morning calesthenics, Daniel pulled a groin muscle? Or, he could be a big faker. We had one of those once, who would only limp when he knew someone was looking.

Keep an eye on him, and if he doesn't improve by Friday, take him to the doctor.

Top
#76056 - 07/27/04 01:16 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Doppelganger
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Vancouver, BC

Offline
LaSalleUGirl, I hadn't checked this thread in a while, and just read your post. I'm so sorry to hear about Snowball. I'm thinking about you both.

Masha, they definitely can. My cat Puck did just that a few weeks ago, and it was quite nasty. He could hardly walk. Apparently, it tends to happen with hind legs, so I'd suspect a sprain in Daniel's case. Catness's advice is spot on.

Top
#76057 - 07/27/04 02:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Lasalleugirl and TraceyB, I'm so sorry for you and your sick kitties. At the same time, I'm very glad for animals who have such wonderful humans in their lives who love them so very much. My thoughts are with you.
Top
#76058 - 07/27/04 03:24 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Catness:
Or, he could be a big faker. We had one of those once, who would only limp when he knew someone was looking.
Unbelievable! And they say cats aren't intelligent.

My cat Joe just fell from the second story landing down to the first floor (he's fine). At first he crouched down to the ground like "whoa!" Then when he saw me laughing at him he swaggered off like "I meant to do that."

Top
#76059 - 07/27/04 04:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
Heh, it's funny you mention faking, because Dan's done that before. We were very upset and concerned until we noticed that he was now limping on the left while a moment before it had been the right. Smart enough to fake, not smart enough to maintain continuity.

This time, though, he's hopping around even when we're not looking at him. He's eating and using his box, so he's feeling ok otherwise, so I'll take y'all's advice and keep an eye on him for a couple of days.

Top
#76060 - 07/28/04 03:02 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Masha, please take my advice about when to consult a vet with a kilo of salt. Evidence the last time I whisked Bean off to Kitty Emergency in the middle of the night and the vet prescribed antibiotics for Bean and Valium for me. (Jokingly, the second part.)

That disclaimer out of the way – and the understanding that I’m on a first-name basis with three local vets and all of their assistants – kitties are notorious for hiding problems. Dogs’ defence mechanism when injured or sick tends to be aggression, because that way they ward off becoming part of the food chain. (Hence why I’m so against shock collars. Dogs only know they are experiencing pain and protect themselves by warning away all comers.)

I’m digressing. Cats hide illness or injury. When they can’t conceal it any longer, they tend to find places to hide to protect themselves. When kitty actually won’t walk on a paw or leg and sleep in a secret, or hiding, spot that’s big alarm bells to me, based on my experiences. (I won’t bore you with them.) If I were you, I’d be inclined to phone your vet and speak to their nurse or assistant and run the situation by them and see what they say.

Even when cats are sick or injured, they will still persist in their normal routines. That includes jumping on, or climbing, things. Again, I won’t bore you, but Bean has done both and hurt herself even further. My poor sweetie. Eating and drinking and normal litter box use is great! It does sound, to me, as if he's hurt himself, though.

Anyhow, that’s what I’d do; I’d phone and talk to someone. I hope Daniel is okay.

viva, who dares to say cats aren’t intelligent? ;\)

Top
#76061 - 07/28/04 10:31 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
It looks like Daniel needed a rest day, because he's only limping intermittently now. (And, Catness, I completely understand the worry that comes with a cat heading for his Super-Secret Spot. Dan was only in his Semi-Secret Spot.) I think he just needed a day off from the regular wrestling matches with Maggie. He's been cleaning that back foot a lot, so I suspect that one of his super-long nails nicked his pad a bit--later today I'll try to have a look. Again, thanks for all the advice.
Top
#76062 - 07/28/04 12:57 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
Evidence the last time I whisked Bean off to Kitty Emergency in the middle of the night and the vet prescribed antibiotics for Bean and Valium for me. (Jokingly, the second part.)
Hee!

No, seriously Georgina, my cat Spencer would totally overdramatize things. If you stepped on his paw, he'd limp on the damn thing for hours. But like Masha's Daniel, he was really not good at the continuity, this paw, that paw, his tail... whatever was convenient. Nor was he especially bright, because he thought that if you weren't facing him directly, you couldn't see him NOT LIMPING whilst playing and frolicing.

Top
#76063 - 07/28/04 01:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
dazey
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 941
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland

Offline
A new question for you all - after losing two cats in the last year (obviously just an awful year for Chicklit cats!) we've recently acquired an absolutely gorgeous, if smelly and evil, kitten . However, my surviving Princess Cat (seven years old, and spoilt. I wonder how that happened...) is not taking well to her. We've had Smelly Kitten for three weeks now, and they are just about able to tolerate being in the same room, but Princess still attacks the kitten six or seven times a day, not to harm (though she accidentally drew blood once) but knocking her over and chasing her away. This is the closest they've got in peace, and right after that picture was taken, Princess knocked the kitten off the sofa and jumped on her.

Do they just need more time? I'm not worried about Smelly Kitten's health or sanity - she's bold as brass and twice as shiny - but I am rather sick of getting cannoned into by fighting cats several times a day.

Top
#76064 - 07/28/04 02:01 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Dazey, I'd just leave them be.

Although it's irritating as all get out to be the ricochet pole for the round the house races -- there's really not anything you can do until they work it out themselves.

Considering the age difference, they may never reach a full peace, but will settle for detente interrupted by random skirmishes.

Top
#76065 - 07/28/04 02:49 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
I agree with Catness, Dazey. When we brought home an 8-week-old Mookie (then called "Mental", and for good reason), 7-year-old Xena was definitely NOT pleased. But in the year since then, they've developed their own kind of peace. I can tell the negotiations continue, though - you can never be sure who the alpha kitty is, they're both so weird. And those negotiations will probably continue on through the rest of their lives. And by the way, Smelly Kitty is SO cute!

I have a question, too; rather, I'm looking for some recommendations. What kind of kitty litter do you all use?

We used plain old cat litter (Cat's Pride, or something of the sort) before we got the little one. To save our sanity and our noses (in our 2-room apartment at the time), after Mookie came, we switched to the very naughty clumping clay stuff...at least, I'm told it's naughty, what with it getting caught in kitty's fur, licked up by said kitty, and mucking up the digestive system.

Now that we've moved, and because Mookie's long hair is simply OUT of control (seriously, you should see the massive tufts of hair spurting out from between her footie pads), we switched to some au natural wheat stuff, which smells disturbingly like bread when soaked with kitty whiz. Both of the cats are really cool with whatever we use - it's weird, actually, just how little they seem to care about what's in their box. So I'm looking for some advice. We'd like to go to two boxes, now that we have the space. But what to put in, what to put in... ?

Top
#76066 - 07/28/04 09:03 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
betso26
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/28/02
Posts: 185
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Dazey.. that photo is priceless...

When I first moved home, I kept my two cats (Joey and Clarisse) segregated from the downstairs cat (Emily) to avoid world war III. Then when Joey was hit by a car this May, I started letting Clarisse downstairs more often because she seemed horribly lonely. Well, every time Emily came inside, my girl would run right up to her to touch noses - even though Emily would freak out and start a hissing match every time. They still fight, but I have to believe they will come to some sort of peace agreement soon. At this point it is no longer rough and tumble -- more walk-by hissing. So take heart that it may be a time before eveybody can get along.

Oh, and lonebuffs.. when I still had both cats I always used the litter for multiple cats - I think it's Tidy Cats. There is one for "immediate odor control" that works well, and the tracking of litter on the paws can be kept down with a litter mat of some sort. I tried going the natural route too - wheat stuff, corn, paper pellets, pine pellets -- at this point it is to me the equivelant of washing cloth diapers... great in theory, but just not practical for everyone. There may be others that have good natural suggestions, though.

Top
#76067 - 07/29/04 09:00 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
My two feline demi-goddesses are from the same litter and have been together all of their lives except for about a week when they were kittens. They still fight periodically. They sometimes see another cat in the yard (my cats are strictly indoors) and take their aggression out on each other; they fight if it's close to dinner time and I'm not moving toward the food bowl; and sometimes they just fight for no apparent reason that I can discern. Most of the time, they seem to be friends, though.

As for cat litter, the best thing I can recommend is a large area for the litterbox. My cats tend to be spiteful and leave their dooky outside the box if things start to smell unpleasant--this happened frequently when I had the litterbox in our downstairs half bath. At the moment, the box is in our huge walk-in closet (used to be a small bedroom), with the windows always cracked for ventilation and they're doing just fine. I also use a hooded box with a swinging door and we all seem to prefer the Tidy Cat Crystals for odor absorption but it is expensive.

Top
#76068 - 07/29/04 11:05 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
And I split the difference between betso and naomism, litter-wise, using a combination of the Tidy Cat for multiple cats and the Tidy Cat crystals. I used to be able to find one bag that had the two already combined, but not lately.
Top
#76069 - 07/29/04 11:40 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Dazey, the look on Princess Cat's face (even in profile) as she glares down at Smelly Kitty made me laugh out loud. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for attaching the pics!
Top
#76070 - 09/10/04 07:42 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
I am at my wits end here. My roommate's cat is driving me crazy. So I appeal to the wise and wonderful Chickliteri cat-people. What do you do with a cat that won't use the litter box? She used to, just one day I guess she decided she didn't want to any more. She'll use the floor beside it, the computer chair in the same room, just not that box. Help please!
Top
#76071 - 09/10/04 08:21 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
dazey
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 941
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland

Offline
I'm afraid I haven't got any suggestions for you, tygrkatt, other than, if it's a sudden change of behaviour, without other changes like different cat litter etc., it might be worth having a vet check the cat out. Oh, and also that obliterating the smell of non-litter-tray incidents is crucial in stopping it becoming a habit. Smelly furniture polish worked on our kitten.

I'm really posting because I just realised that I never said thank you for all the good advice on kitten-integration. Smelly Kitten and the Princess are still not at all friends, but they are settling down a bit, and woundings are less common, both for them and for me. For which, much yay.

Also, for fans of cute cat pictures who don't read my livejournal: the kitten recently fell in the bath while chasing a moth. Funniest thing ever, and she smelt a lot better afterwards, too.

Top
#76072 - 09/10/04 10:49 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
dazey - the pictures are a scream! Poor sodden kitty.

tygerkatt - is the litter in the litterbox a different brand from what she's used to? Or maybe, if she's like my cats, the litter isn't fresh enough for her and she needs a new kind.

Top
#76073 - 09/10/04 12:07 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Masha
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Chicago, IL, USA

Offline
Is it a bad thing that I find wet cats one of the funniest things in the world?

tygerkatt, I second the recommendation of a vet visit. When Daniel started doing the same thing, it turned out he had a UI irritation and needed some dietary supplements.

Speaking of Daniel, we have successfully converted him to an evening-dining schedule. Thank you for all your advice, without which this wouldn't have been possible. Of course, now he's made friends with the cat in the window next door and spends his early mornings calling to his buddy, but at least that doesn't involve jumping on me.

Top
#76074 - 09/10/04 06:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Dazey--Funny photos! Thanks for the laugh.

Tygrkatt--About the litter box dilemma...cats will poop outside the box to let you know the box needs better cleaning, or when they don't feel good, or sometimes when they are mad at you. Is she getting enough attention from the humans? Leaving her business on the computer chair seems like a direct plea for attention.

Oh...speaking of cats and their bottom ends...last week I discovered tapeworm segments wiggling out of my cat's rear. That is one thing I hope to never see again. Squicky.

Top
#76075 - 09/10/04 07:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Even when the box is just cleaned she still won't use it, so that can't be it. Not feeling good maybe, I'll urge my roommate to get her to the vet, but that's not really something I can do myself. As for attention, she's a cat who doesn't really want much from what I have seen. She's the type to pick a spot to hole up in and just stay there for a week or so, coming out to eat and (not) use the litter box, then pick a new spot. Some times her place is out in the open, she spent a week lounging in front of the fridge, other times not, a week or so behind the TV. With her not being my cat I feel limited in my options, but I apprecite the ideas given.

Edited because trying to type with a baby in your lap is a sure ticket to typos.

Top
#76076 - 09/10/04 07:22 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Yep, cat to the vet, pronto. Like Kivrin said, crapping on the computer chair is a definite sign that something is Not Right and the cat is letting your roomie know in the most urgent and explicit manner she can.
Top
#76077 - 10/06/04 03:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
OK, I've got a question for the brilliant Chicklit cat people. A friend of mine has a kitten who was recently diagnosed with a luxating patella. Basically, this means that the socket for Tito's kneejoint is not large enough for the joint to rotate properly, and so it dislocates. Regularly. (Ick.) The condition doesn't currently seem to cause Tito any pain, but their vet told my friend that, over time, the repeated dislocation will wear away the patellar cartilage, and that Tito will develop arthritis. There is a surgery available to correct the condition, but in addition to being quite expensive, it involves some pretty horrific procedures, requires drastic immobilization and kitty physical therapy after the fact, and will not prevent Tito from developing arthritis (in fact, the surgery might hasten it by destroying more cartilage to begin with). My friend's gut instinct is to bypass surgery, but she is worried about how arthritis might affect Tito's quality of life.

So I was wondering if any of you had or knew of kitties with this condition. Can you shed any light on what the longterm effects might be? How debilitating is the resulting arthritis, and when did it set in? Thanks in advance from Tito, his worried mommy, and her worried friend!

Top
#76078 - 10/06/04 06:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
[b]LaSalleUGirl[/i], I'm not familiar with luxating patella, but I went through a similar situation with one of my cats. It turned out that he had a very rare (for felines, anyway) degenerative back disease. I had already gotten him one surgery when we thought the spinal cord compression was a one-time thing. When the symptoms recurred, the tests showed that he was popping discs and that it was likely to continue. My options were much like your friend's.

I ultimately decided that I couldn't put him through the recommended two surgeries when I knew the discs would continue to pop and compress his spinal cord. The vets couldn't assure me that either surgery would really improve him and they had to warn me that they could potentially make him worse. That wasn't a trade-off I was willing to accept. I decided that I'd keep him as long as I could because he loved his life with me (anyone who saw him could attest to that).

I kept him for several more months before a terrible lung infection ultimately made me realize that his little body couldn't take much more and I put him down.

I hate to say that cost is a factor but it is. Surgeries are expensive and if the payoff isn't guaranteed, I'm not sure it's worth the money or the pain it'll cause Tito. All that to say, I think your friend is doing the right thing for Tito. Animals are amazingly adaptable and I'm sure she could find ways to help him deal with arthritis. I hope it works out for her and for Tito.

Top
#76079 - 10/07/04 09:02 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
klio
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/01/03
Posts: 222
Loc: Houston, Texas

Offline
Quality of life for the cat is important. I'd say Tito's owner should discuss arthritis with the vet, see how well it can be treated. I know dogs can live with arthritis, at least mild arthritis, reasonably well, but I've never known a cat that had it.

As a cat owner, I'd want to know how having arthritis would affect my cat, particularly the symptoms to look for to determine when it's progressed to the point where the cat is suffering.

Top
#76080 - 10/07/04 09:11 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
A friend of mine from college is a vet and a certified veterinary acupuncturist. She has used acupuncture to treat lots of dogs with arthritis to ease their discomfort. I also don't know how cats fare with arthritis, but maybe it's something to keep in mind if the situation arises.
Top
#76081 - 10/07/04 04:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
When I was looking into options for my cat, I saw a lot about acupuncture and chiropractics for cats. Of course, one can't always trust what one sees online, but there's a lot of info out there.
Top
#76082 - 10/07/04 05:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
hula
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/22/00
Posts: 756
Loc: Victoria, BC

Offline
I've got a question for all you who are wise in the way of cats.

Our cat is really, really fastidious about cleaning himself. Not in a harmful way. He doesn't lick the pads from his paws or anything. But it's rare that he's around us and not licking himself silly. In fact, I think he intentionally seeks me out around the house just so that he can share the glory of his bathing routine. And it's DRIVING ME BATS. I can't stand the sound of it the licking and gnawing and scratching, especially if he's cleaning his tail and dragging his tongue repeatedly across the carpet. Hate it. Fingernails-on-chalkboard kind of hate.

Normally, I really like him. He's a cute cat, kinda dumb but very snuggly. But when I get all curled up on the couch with a book and he saunters in and begins to bathe. GAH! It's gotten to the point where I have to either leave or make him leave whenever I sit down at the kitchen table or the computer. I'll shut him upstairs if I really need some peace and quiet downstairs. But I'm afraid he's going to interpret this as a form of punishment and stop cleaning himself altogether.

Is this somewhat obsessive cleaning act something we should be concerned about? And if not (I know there probably isn't one) but can anyone think of a way to teach a cat to clean himself somewhere out of earshot?

Top
#76083 - 10/08/04 02:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Hula--has your cat always acted this way? Sometimes if cats have parasites, they'll spend a lot of time licking and sucking at their fur. Or...
Do you feed the cat tuna? Cats seem to really groom themselves at length right after they eat tuna fish. If there's nothing wrong, I'd say be grateful you have a cat who is fastidious about cleaning himself. I have a cat who doesn't spend much time at all thinking about the state of his fur, and often comes into the house covered in gritty dust. Then he plops down on the couch or bed and leaves a little dirt pile behind when he leaves. Heh. If he was a Peanuts character, he'd definitely be Pig-Pen.

Top
#76084 - 10/08/04 04:41 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
What Kivrin said, rule out a parasite or organic infection first.
 Quote:
Do you feed the cat tuna?
But don't feed your cat tuna , please. The rare bit at the bottom of the can is okay, but anything more than that is too much.

Our girls like to indulge in the bedtime/bathtime ritual as well. One of them we can halt by putting a hand on her, the other will just start scraping the flesh from our bones with her raspy tongue. Perhaps you could distract him when he plops down next to you to start grooming with a catnip toy? Put that in front of his nose (just a clump of nip tied in a knot of fabric works best) and see if it helps.

As for the arthritis/ luxating patella situation. I would definitely get a second opinion from a completely different vet. Not that I distrust the original vet, but that a second might have an alternate course of surgery or treatment -- a slim possibility but a possibility nonetheless.

Arthritis in cats, like in humans, is treatable and livable. You can control a lot of their comfort through diet. Our vet recommended a dose of glucosamine for our eldest cat, Zoje. One of her problems with overgrooming is due to us living in a basement apartment, which aggravates the arthritis in her back legs. We just empty a capsule (we buy a big jar of it from the health food store) of gluscosamine in each of their dishes with their dinner meal.

I wholeheartedly recommend acupuncture or accupressure. It can really help. ::cough:: Also, you know, Anitra Frasier has recommendations for treatment of arthritis.::cough::

Edited because of stupid lack of closing url tags.

Top
#76085 - 10/08/04 05:00 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
 Quote:
If he was a Peanuts character, he'd definitely be Pig-Pen.
Aww, that was my kitty's name! He was always a mess.

Top
#76086 - 10/08/04 08:38 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SeattleShrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 372
Loc: Seattle

Offline
A dog problem, just for kicks: We share a duplex with my mother. No no, I don't live WITH my mother, I live next door to her! Usually when Mr. Shrew and I walk our dog, we take along my mom's 12 year old female Australian Shepherd - Sam. She's never been good with other dogs; luckily she's fine with ours. But dogs on the walk, hate! Lots of people have their dogs offleash where we walk (we don't do that with cranky Aussie, of course) and they run up to us and Sam snarls and barks and pulls at her leash and is quite rude. There has never been a fight, but - and I know this sounds silly - it is kind of embarassing. We're the people with the bad dog!

So, given as she isn't my dog, what can I do? My feeling is her behavior comes from fear; she is quite a fearful and neurotic dog in general, but a sweetie. With people that is...

Top
#76087 - 10/10/04 04:17 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

Offline
LaSalleUGirl, I don't know anything about cats, but our dog was arthritic, and we had great results with glucosamine, and it was not all that expensive. The kind we used was packaged for dogs (Hartz, I think) and the amount given varied based on the dog's weight. I bet there's something like that out there for cats (probably by the same manufacturer, even).

I hope Tito is able to remain comfortable for a long time to come!

Top
#76088 - 10/10/04 09:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Willemiena
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 125
Loc: New Zealand

Offline
So, I notice that this is mostly about cats, but I have a dog question.
I have had my dog for just over a year now, and we're doing pretty well, I am learning whole piles of stuff, and she is getting more obedient, but recently she has started running away when it's time to go back on the chain. Now, there is every possibility that I scared her in one of my insane rages at her bad behaviour (because she can be very naughty), and I'm wondering how I fix this so she trusts me again, and will come to the chain when I call.
Artemis MUST be tied up for several reasons:
  • we live in the country near cows, and new lambs and other exciting animals that she will chase/eat if she gets a chance (well, I don't know about the eating, but newborn lambs, and dropped-off tails smell plenty appetising)


  • she has a dreadful habit of chasing cars that get too close (and there are always lots of trucks down our road)


  • she has a hate/hate relationship with our cat, and frequently gets attacked and wounded.


I have read any number of books, and I don't know which advice to follow. Has anyone had similar sorts of problems, and has ideas that might help me out at all? (and, yes, I know I need to control my temper around the dog. Am trying.)

Top
#76089 - 10/13/04 02:33 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
hula
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/22/00
Posts: 756
Loc: Victoria, BC

Offline
 Quote:
Hula--has your cat always acted this way? Sometimes if cats have parasites, they'll spend a lot of time licking and sucking at their fur. Or...
Do you feed the cat tuna?
No, he hasn't always been so annoying, as far as I remember. It sort of coincides with us going away for two weeks (and having a friend spend the nights at our place with the cat). When we got back he was being really, really needy. And licky.

We don't feed him tuna or even wet food. Just the dry cat food. And, whatever he manages to steal from the kitchen counter when we forget to put stuff away, which is rare.

It's not that he's particularily dirty either because he's an indoor cat. (Except for one recent foray out the bedroom window and onto the roof.)

We'll check out the parasite thing. Thanks for your help Kivrin and Catness.

Top
#76090 - 10/13/04 03:09 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CamillaSage
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 123
Loc: The Netherlands

Offline
The lickiness and neediness might be related. It could be that your cat is over-grooming in an attempt to soothe whatever anxiety he might feel about your absence when you go away. I seem to remember that one of my parents' cats had a similar problem. He used to lick and chew himself bald in spots. I don't remember exactly what they did to remedy it, but I think hormone treatments were involved - maybe your vet can advise on this.
Top
#76091 - 10/13/04 04:25 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
 Quote:
It's not that he's particularily dirty either because he's an indoor cat. (Except for one recent foray out the bedroom window and onto the roof.)
Hula--One more thought...he might have really dry skin? That would make him want to scratch and lick his fur more often. Maybe.

CamillaSage--I took care of a retired neighbor's cat for lengthy periods of time when he and his wife would travel. They traveled a lot, and the cat began this habit of chewing his tail. He actually chewed the end of it right off. Poor dear. I can't remember how they resolved that problem.

Top
#76092 - 10/13/04 04:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CamillaSage
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 123
Loc: The Netherlands

Offline
Poor cat! I think despite what some people say about cats being more attached to their territories than the people they live with, they really do form strong attachments to their owners and can get distressed at separations. (And vice versa, I might add. When the above-mentioned cat of my parents died unexpectedly, they were inconsolable).
Top
#76093 - 10/13/04 05:27 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
Good grief, yes. Cats are thinking, emotional beings, and they form attachments with one another and with their people, and feel love for them. Anyone who's had a great and close relationship with a cat can confirm this. Our cats are always unhappy about it when we are away, but they're much more so when they have someone stopping in twice a day to care forthem than when someone comes to stay.
Top
#76094 - 10/13/04 05:31 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
 Quote:
I think despite what some people say about cats being more attached to their territories than the people they live with, they really do form strong attachments to their owners and can get distressed at separations.
Whoever says that is full of ... cat litter. Dirty cat litter.

Top
#76095 - 10/13/04 05:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Catness:
 Quote:
I think despite what some people say about cats being more attached to their territories than the people they live with, they really do form strong attachments to their owners and can get distressed at separations.
Whoever says that is full of ... cat litter. Dirty cat litter.
And has clearly never had a cat.

Top
#76096 - 10/13/04 07:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
My cats have moved with me five times. They are attached to their environment to some extent because the first or last few days in a place where we have no furniture and I'm in a sleeping bag on the floor, they tend to be upset (one of my cats is also very vocal when the furniture disappears and she usually doesn't meow much otherwise). They seem to calm down when the furniture reappears, and of course, I'm with them as well. However, when we moved to Okinawa, we did not have "our" furniture but the borrowed furniture issued to us--two different sets during our two years there in fact--and they acted in the same way so I think it's more that they were reacting to upheaval in general and not specifically their attachment to the environment.
Top
#76097 - 10/14/04 10:44 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Anglaisepaon
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Texas

Offline
My cat has recently started to act really oddly. I thought at first he might be seeing things in the air, because he kept looking over his shoulder and clawing at the air, the bed, whatever he was on. Then I realized he was getting distracted by his whiskers. He's chasing his whiskers, and tries to get his paw on them. Obviously, he can't. I can tell he's really frustrated, and he spends a large part of the day doing this.

I'm really not sure what to do about this. I know you're never supposed to touch a cat's whiskers, but I can't figure out how to make him realize that what's "attacking" him is a part of his body.

Top
#76098 - 10/14/04 03:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CamillaSage
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 123
Loc: The Netherlands

Offline
Hmmm. One of our dogs does something a bit similar. She leaps up and snaps at "nothings" in the air. I've often wondered if it's an eye problem, perhaps fragments floating around in the eye appear to be like external objects or something. Maybe it's worth getting his eyes checked?
Top
#76099 - 10/15/04 12:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
IseutLaBrune
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/07/01
Posts: 64
Loc: Portland, OR USA

Offline
Yesterday, my cat was playing with the cord on our window blinds, and suddenly I heard her make a little coughing noise, and saw that the little knob at the end of the cord has been chewed off. I think she swallowed it, but I don't know what to do. The plastic knob wasn't that big, probably about the size of a large pea. After that initial little cough sound I heard, she's acting perfectly normal and hyper as usual. Should I take her to the vet anyway?
Top
#76100 - 10/15/04 01:16 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
IseutLaBrune, I recommend calling your vet's office and finding out what the doc says. Could be, your cat will pass the thing through her stool, but also could be that it poses some risk to her digestive system. But you should definitely cosult a vet, whether you call first or take her in - no sense in risking something dangerous to your little girl.
Top
#76101 - 10/15/04 01:40 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Go directly to the vet and at least get an x-ray. The bit of plastic could cause blockage or tearing in her stomach or intestinal system -- and that's something you really don't want to risk.

Anglaisepaon, sounds like your litte boy is developing a bit of a nervous habit. You might try distracting him, especially if you see he's getting frustrated and the fixation on his whiskers is increasing in frequency. Start playing with him, give him catnip toys, call him to you... You might want to consult with your vet about possible medication. Now, I am usually not all that keen on medicating the beasties, but when they develop compulsive disorders like this, sometimes we need to calm them down until they get over it. As I've said, they've got like, one little synapse in their heads which control some of these things, and when it snaps, it sometimes needs a good push back in the right direction.

Top
#76102 - 10/15/04 03:04 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Speaking of medicating beasties... I need some advice.

My Xenakitty, who is about 8, has always been a high-strung kitty. She's loving and adorable - on her terms - but she's always been very skittish in spite of kid glove treatment from Mr. Lonebuffs and me. And we're not allowed under any circumstances to hold her; she WILL NOT have it, and never has in the 7 years she's owned us.

So you can imagine how something like nail-clipping might go. To say it "doesn't go well" simply doesn't cover the horrific results of attempts to clip her nails - Mr. Lonebuffs and I together, armed with towels, long shirts, mittens and helmets could not manage the feat - at least, not without breaking her. And she always got so upset about our attempts that she would pee on one or both of us.

To accommodate this problem, we used to take her to the vet or groomer to get clipped, because in those scenarios she's so nervous she freezes. BUT, vets and groomers aren't always available, and we are hesitant to put her through the trauma very often. This, unfortunately, results in VERY VERY long kitty claws, which are deadly and destructive. Destructive without her even trying to be so.

And nervous frozen Xenakitty... well, she started to fight back the last time we took her somewhere, and now, we cannot even get her into her carrier for all the fighting and peeing. It's never been easy (in fact, one time years ago when I took her to the vet, I had so much trouble getting her into her carrier, upon arriving at the vet, the Dr. took one look at me and my bloodied arms and said, "Let's deal with you, first.") but now it's a whole new ballgame. I still worry about breaking her (she's VERY tiny, in spite of being a piggy eater - she doesn't have worms or anything; just naturally teeny). What was really bad before has gotten surprisingly worse, for whatever reason. And in the meantime, her nails are getting longer and longer, and more and more destructive. I think even she gets frustrated with it, because she gets stuck on whatever she's walking/resting/sitting on just about anytime she moves.

This is getting long, so I'll wrap it up. I'm starting to think the only course of action might be sedation. I hate the idea, but 1) her nails are out of control, and 2) it's eventually not going to be about just her nails. Getting her to the vet for anything appears to be out of the realm of possibility at this point. But to get sedatives for her, wouldn't I have to take her to the vet? What a conundrum! HELP, please!

Top
#76103 - 10/15/04 03:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
lonebluffs, you have three options here, and my sympathies. Xenakitty sounds a lot like our Nepher, btw.

For the claw clipping, look into a mobile cat groomer. We had one come to our house and for $25 she'd take Nepher into the bathroom and clip her claws. Took about 10 to 15 minutes each time.

As for the carrier/travel problem... eh. First, call your vet about the problem. It may be that they'll prescribe something you can pick up before you next have to take her in. It's not like they've never seen her or treated her before, so they wouldn't be prescribing blind. Also, bring the carrier out a few days before she has to make a trip, it makes it less threatening. To get her in the carrier, grabbing her firmly by the nape of her neck is a good way to immobilize her. Don't carry her around that way (adult cats are too heavy for that), support her bottom or her belly with your other hand and do a quick dump into the carrier. This is what I have to to with Nepher, with the carrier on end so that I'm dumping her to the back of it.

For the handling issue in general, that's going to take a lot of patience and time. Nepher does not like to be handled or picked up, but she's become a teensy bit easier about it as time has gone on. The main thing is: don't force her. Push the tolerance a little at a time. It's all about the trust. It's kind of like taming a feral cat. Here again, I'll recommend Dr Kilcommons' book for correcting freaky behavior.

Top
#76104 - 10/15/04 11:36 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Catness:

For the claw clipping, look into a mobile cat groomer. We had one come to our house and for $25 she'd take Nepher into the bathroom and clip her claws. Took about 10 to 15 minutes each time.

Amazing what some people will do for twenty-five bucks, huh? Hee. What a brave soul.

Edited because I have something constructive to add. Frank is all four paws on the outside of the carrier and hissing and not going in even if bribed. (Put the carrier on the floor and Bean’s inside all comfy.) The vet showed me backing Frank into the carrier rather than going face-first. That worked for a while.

They do, however, make these spiffy new cat-carry bags that are, just that, carry bags. They are just like your regular nylon tote bag but with net on the front and sides so kitty can see and breathe, have a metal skeleton to keep them propped up, and, best of all, they are top loading. (Plus stylish and cute.)

I haven’t tried one out yet but I know that Anitra recommends top loading in her book and, just the extra space to insert kitty, might help out bunches. I’ll invest in one and report back.

Top
#76105 - 10/16/04 12:54 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Heh. I guess I shouldn't mention that the groomer stopped returning our calls after awhile.

It's really hard, especially when your cat freaks out so much, to go ahead with the grooming sometimes. They get SO upset and we're afraid of hurting them because they're little and they're not like dogs, who need to be shown who's dominant... it's a fine line we have to walk as cat owners. After the groomer, we started clipping Nepher ourselves again. It's tough. We have to time it right (usually works best when she's sleepy) and be patient and firm with her. It's slowly getting easier.

Did I mention that I totally want to get one of those cat carriers that doubles as a backpack? The Phooka would love that.

Top
#76106 - 10/16/04 05:03 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CamillaSage
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 123
Loc: The Netherlands

Offline
Just out of interest, are scratching posts any good for keeping cats' claws at a reasonable length? My parents have never had to have their cats' claws done, presumably because they go outside a lot and do it themselves by stropping the trees. I imagine cats that live indoors would need some kind of a substitute. Any tips?
Top
#76107 - 10/16/04 06:06 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
I can't swear to it but I think scratching posts are mainly to help the cat shed his/her claws' outer sheath. If I don't trim the boys' claws, they get very long and very sharp and they are always using their scratching posts.
Top
#76108 - 10/17/04 04:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I purchased The Scratching Post of Doom in an attempt to save the furniture. Furniture saved, kitties thrilled with their perching spot. However, as ides pointed out, it doesn't dull their claws like a tree would. Indoor kitties with scratching posts still need claw-clipping. Evidence Frank sticking to the carpet as he walks across my office right now. Frank bites and rabbit kicks with is back feet when we clip his claws. It takes two of us.

I'd offer a mild word of caution about choices of scratching posts. Our last post was about four feet tall, but not that sturdy, and I have no sense of porportion, so the five-foot post didn't look that tall when I looked at in the the store. Frank has, coincidental to the new post, developed serious yowling issues, and the pens in our house are truly suffering the brunt of his newly acquired attitude. He also sees no problem with taking a swipe at a passing head if he's lying on the top platform. I'm guessing that, psychologically, Frank's decided he's bigger than everyone else. The pair of them just love the thing, though, and the furniture remains unharmed.

Scratching posts are godsend for kitties and their human families. Kitties need to stretch and claw stuff, and given their very own spot to do it, they'll use it. I recommend placing it in an area frequented by the humans in the household and in front of a window is ideal, even better if the window opens. They'll spend hours, lounging about, staring out the window (also known as Kitty t.v.). It becomes their entertainment centre, clawing, climbing, playing, sleeping, staring at birds. It's one of my better investments.

Edited to put the modifier in the right place and, hey, right, we can use italics, here.

Top
#76109 - 10/17/04 08:35 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
klio
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/01/03
Posts: 222
Loc: Houston, Texas

Offline
We have a carpet-covered, multi-level scratching post type thing for our girls and the love it. We also have a couple of those cardboard things you put on the floor that they crouch on and claw. Both get a little messy, what with carpet bits and shredded cardboard, but it beats them shredding my sofa.

The one thing I'm really trying to get Kate to stop doing is scratching at wood and walls. She stands on her back paws, reaches up and paws at the wall, which is cute, but she also does it to the bed and a couple of other pieces of furniture, which is most definitely NOT cute because it's leaving claw marks.

Top
#76110 - 10/18/04 11:52 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Ah, good luck, klio, for I've been trying to do the same with Xenakitty for years. She has no interest whatsoever in scratching posts, scratching pads, or any other legitimate scratching device. The couch, however, is enormously attractive to her. I got her when she was a year old (or so), and no matter how much I've (gently, of course) urged her, it's been fruitless.

The only thing I've ever found to work is packing tape or double-sided sticky tape. She seems to dislike that enough to stay away. If Kate tends to stretch/scratch in a common place, you might consider trying the double-stick stuff; although, I doubt that would be good for paint.

Top
#76111 - 10/18/04 12:07 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
IseutLaBrune
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/07/01
Posts: 64
Loc: Portland, OR USA

Offline
A quick update on my window-blind-chewing kitty: she's fine! I went home after posting here last week, ready to bundle her up and take her to the vet. Before we left, hubby did a hard-target search under the couch and desk by the window, and found the broken cord, complete with the piece of plastic that I thought she had swallowed. Phew!

So she's perfectly healthy, and now she's just in the doghouse for breaking our blinds! But I'm so relieved that she didn't swallow anything that I can't be mad at her.

Thanks especially to CaitlinM and catness for the advice. I know where to come for kitty wisdom now!

Re: scratching. We built a fairly elaborate scratching post for the little blind-breaker last year, with sisal rope and carpeted boards, with two perches at different heights. She loves it, and uses it all the time for scratching and sleeping, but that still doesn't prevent her from also scratching the couch. Little stinker.

Top
#76112 - 10/18/04 12:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
For more indepth cat scratching info, go back to page one where Georgina and I went on and on and on about it (and where we had a meeting of the minds-creepy-mutual-girl-crush thing start as well, y'all should be freaked out).

IseutLaBrune, I am so glad the "hard target search" produced results! You might want to go around to all your blinds and take the plastic caps off of the strings to prevent this from happening in the future.

Top
#76113 - 10/18/04 03:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lonebuffs
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA, USA

Offline
Many thanks to both catness and Georgina for their advice. Mr. Lonebuffs is home tomorrow (on a day when the groomer nearby actually does kitties), and I think he'll give it another shot before we resort to desperate measures. I'll keep you posted.
Top
#76114 - 10/18/04 11:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Catness:
For more indepth cat scratching info, go back to page one where Georgina and I went on and on and on about it (and where we had a meeting of the minds-creepy-mutual-girl-crush thing start as well, y'all should be freaked out).

Sorry to be OT, but Catness, you just made me laugh me so hard. Yeah, I'd smooch you if you were in front of me right now. So sue me. \:\) (I'm still giggling.)

Top
#76115 - 10/19/04 09:52 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Nicola
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/01
Posts: 31
Loc: England

Offline
Does anyone know what the pad on the back of a cat's leg is called. I always thought it was the dew claw but I'm told this is incorrect. Does anyone have any ideas?
Top
#76116 - 10/19/04 02:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CamillaSage
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/28/04
Posts: 123
Loc: The Netherlands

Offline
I found the following info at a website on cats hunting.

 Quote:
All cats have four claws on each paw and an additional dew claw on the front paws only. Dew claws are always sharp because they’re not used for walking, and are used with the four front claws in an almost prehensile manner to grip prey and climb. In cheetahs, it dew claws are particularly important in tripping up and thus catching prey.
Hope this helps!
Here is also something useful on cats scratching and claw health, which might be useful for the previous posters asking about that.

Top
#76117 - 12/12/04 12:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
I have a Jack Sprat cat problem. My two kitties, Java and Joe, are litter-mates, about 3.5 years old. They used to be identical, but over the last year have started to develop some differences in their body shapes and weight. Joe has maintained a weight of about 10 lbs, and Java is 12 lbs and keeps gaining. Joe is annoyingly fit, has the hourglass shape, a beautiful boy. Java is more of a pear (but still a beautiful girl).

They both still play a lot, especially in the morning and evening. Their food consists of a full bowl of dry food (Eukanuba, they usually eat about a cup between the two of them), and a small can of wet food each morning (they usually just lick up the gravy). I think Java might tuck into the wet food a little more than Joe.

So - how do you put one cat on a diet, and not the other? I've been trying especially to play with Java, get her to exercise and run around, but I don't feel comfortable giving them the weight control dry food, because Joe doesn't need to lose any weight. Any ideas out there?

Top
#76118 - 12/12/04 01:23 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

Offline
I was faced with a similar problem. Pig Pen was putting on a ton of weight and Linus wasn't. The vet said to switch them to weight control even though Linus didn't need to lose weight. I was fortunate, in a way, that Pig Pen suffered mobility problems and couldn't reach Linus' food when it was on a counter. But Linus has been on weight control food for about five years now and he's put on weight. I think Joe will be okay on the weight control.

Also, someone suggested to me that the food is only out for a short period of time and then it gets taken away. That way, you can monitor how much each cat is eating and supplement if you have to.

Top
#76119 - 12/13/04 09:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Thanks, ides... I may go half/half with a mix of regular dry food and weight control dry to start, keeping an eye on Joe's body to make sure he doesn't get too skinny. I guess they compensate by eating more volume if they're not getting enough calories?

I wonder if Java eats more because she's the "alpha cat" in the house... she's clearly the boss of Joe.

Top
#76120 - 01/06/05 11:33 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

Offline
I'd like to get y'all's expert advice about our old cat, Nickey. He lives with my mom, which is about 2 hours away from where I live. He'll be 17 in May, so he's quite old, and has been completely deaf for about 4 years now. When I was home for Christmas, he seemed to be doing rather poorly. He's too thin; his backbone was really prominent when I petted him, though his fur is pretty thick and he doesn't look extremely thin. His fur seems to have gotten thicker as he's gotten older, maybe to compensate for the loss of body fat? He used to be a shorthaired cat, now he's verging on medium length. Anyway, he's thin and seems stiff and not quite steady on his feet. He'll try to rub up against your leg and nearly fall over. He does seem to be eating. I think he has ear mites in one ear as well, though he's not pawing it or anything. It's pretty black in there. My mom is taking him to the vet tomorrow (she always takes too long to take him to the vet!). The other issue is this: since Mom and my stepfather retired last spring, they're leaving next week to spend three months in Florida. They have a boarder/housesitter who's going to be there while they're gone, and who's going to feed Nickey since they can't take him with them (no pets allowed in the condo). Nickey knows her, but she's not family and I'm worried that he's going to pine for the family and deteriorate. I'm considering bringing him to my apartment, but that'd be a big step since I'm not supposed to have pets either. I'll do it anyway if I think it's best for him. What I don't know is whether it would be more stressful for him (especially at his advanced age) to be in an unfamiliar environment with someone he knows well, or to be in a familiar environment with someone he doesn't know as well. He also hasn't lived with me since I went away to college, nearly 10 years ago. Of course, I've been back off and on since then. What do you think I should do?
Top
#76121 - 01/06/05 12:24 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
My vote would go to leaving him in his familiar environment. While cats do depend on their chosen humans, I think that it's less stressful for him to remain someplace that he knows well, has all of his normal sleeping spots, and smells right to him. It'd be a way bigger adaptation for him to change residence than change people. It's especially good that someone will be there with him full-time. Leaving a cat alone for a long time with someone who only comes in to feed to them is hard on them.

It's good your mom is getting him to the vet for his ear. He's a seriously old guy. Any really old cats I've ever met had thinned with age. If you suspect he's not eating, though, that's something your mom should address with the vet too. Maybe he needs a milder food for his older kitty tummy.

Top
#76122 - 01/06/05 12:49 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

Offline
Thanks for the advice, Georgina. They actually tried changing his food a couple of months ago, and he steadfastly refused to eat it and lost a lot of weight. He's got to have his Friskies, silly old thing. Maybe they could have tried to do it more gradually, I don't know.
Top
#76123 - 01/06/05 08:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Offline
VegetarianOnHiatus, if you talk to your mom before she takes Nickey to the vet tomorrow, ask her to have the vet check his thyroid. The extreme weight loss you're describing sounds like the hyperthyroidism one of our cats had. On the other hand, it might just be the aftereffects of not eating the changed food, but it can't hurt to ask about it.

On an unrelated neurotic cat note, I was at my parents' house last weekend and they had discovered an ancient home video taken during Christmas 1985 / New Year's 1986. One "episode" involved about ten minutes of footage of four of our (now-deceased) cats. My dad had set up a bag of dry food on the dining room table and caught Katy (a sweet motherly calico) in the act of opening the bag and helping herself to a snack (heh). He also caught some of our other kitties milling around, including Fluff (the baby, at the time) racing around like a possessed ball of white, deaf fur. The camera even caught Fluff's trademark "Brrtt" chirp. It's been about a week now, and I still can't decide whether I'm glad to have seen my cats in living color, or whether it just makes me miss them all over again. Has anyone else ever had an experience like this?

Top
#76124 - 01/08/05 09:41 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
GingerCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Philadelphia

Offline
 Quote:
My dad had set up a bag of dry food on the dining room table and caught Katy (a sweet motherly calico) in the act of opening the bag and helping herself to a snack (heh).
Calicos are smart! I had one who used to do the same thing before I learned to put the food where she couldn't get to it. My sister's cats, who are not calicos, never even think to mess with their food bag.
 Quote:
I still can't decide whether I'm glad to have seen my cats in living color, or whether it just makes me miss them all over again.
When my aforementioned calico, Ginger, died in April 2003, I had an undeveloped roll of film that I knew had pictures of her on it. I eventually got it developed but still haven't opened the envelope and looked at the photos. I feel that I've stopped grieving, and I even have two new cats now, but I'm worried seeing the photos would just make me sad. So, LeSalleUGirl, I'm fairly certain I would feel the same way you do if I had a similar experience!

Top
#76125 - 01/09/05 04:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
 Quote:
Has anyone else ever had an experience like this?
LaSalleUGirl--my sister created a video tape of our various childhood adventures from old reel-to-reel film footage my father had taken of all of us, from the 1960's. There was a scene of me, age 11, playing with our Siamese cats on the lawn. Those kitty darlings have been dead for 30 years now, and I still felt a bit sad seeing them frolic again.

Top
#76126 - 01/09/05 09:49 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

Offline
I talked to my mom today, and the vet says that Nickey's fine. He weighs 10 pounds, which is apparently healthy (though I think he used to weigh 11), and the vet thought the crud in his ear was an allergy. This is good, because it means I can in fact leave him at Mom's house. If he were to need medicine or treatment, I'd probably have had to bring him here whether or no he'd have preferred to stay up there. I'm still not entirely convinced that he's ok, though I have to say that he didn't seem in pain or uncomfortable at all when I saw him. Perhaps the issues I was worried about are just his old age. I'm attached to him; we got him when I was 10. He's the son of our family friends' cat, and we knew he was going to be ours as soon as he was born because he was the only male in the litter. I named him myself; I had decided at the time that pets should have people names (my hamsters were called Sarah and Willy). So I really hate the idea that he's probably not going to be alive a whole lot longer.
Top
#76127 - 02/28/05 06:06 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Sockenmonster
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/02/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Germany

Offline
I have a problem with one of my cats and I wondered if maybe someone here could help me with it.
We have two cats, one about 19 months old, one about 7 - 8 months. The tomcat - his name´s Tippin, he is the older one - was abandoned as a kitten and thus reasonably distrustful of nearly everybody apart from my boyfriend and me; he tolerates bf and seems quite attached to me, even sleeping on my lap from time to time. He has always been very nervous and doesn´t seem to deal with stress very well. One extremely stressful event tends to be medication, which he loathes: He is able to forgive me after a few hours, but won´t let bf touch him for days, which naturally distresses my partner, sinces he loves the cat. So , my question is basically twofold: 1) is there any possibility of giving meds to Tippin without stressing him out so much? and 2)How can we get Tippin to trust my boyfriend more?

Top
#76128 - 02/28/05 05:04 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Hi Sockenmonster. You didn't mention what method you are using to give kitty medication. At the bottom of page 1 in this thread giving Bean a pill I describe in detail one method that, for cats other than mine, tends to work really well. If you continue on to page 2, Catness comes to my rescue and offers more ideas for successful medication-giving to cats.

As for how to get kitty to like your bf better, one way, that I'd suggest, is make bf in charge of feeding time. That is, if you can, only bf feeds the cats and that will develop a bit of a bond between them that can then be built upon.

Keep in mind, some kitties just never take to some people, and that's just the way it is. I've been Bean's Person from the very start. She had little interest in and almost no use for Mr. G at all. Mr. G didn't ever do anything wrong to her, didn't do things to startle her, nothing. It was just that Bean decided that I was her Person and that was that. Fortunately, we had another cat, Frank, and Mr. G was Frank's Person and Frank had very little time for me. It simply happened that way. So all I can suggest is time, patience, and maybe a bond will grow, but also be prepared to accept that, sometimes, kitties just decide that one person belongs to them, and no one else.

Top
#76129 - 03/01/05 12:02 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Thanks Georgina. I was wondering if I should type it all out again or point to the old posts.

I can't emphasize enough how important bribery and food are in getting your cat to deal with unpleasant situations. You have to manipulate them. Right now, everyone is getting an extra treat with dinner: a dollop of baby food. Why? Because Zoje has to get half an anti-biotic capsule twice a day. Which means I can't just pop it in her mouth (easy with her), and if she's getting a treat, everyone has to have one.

The only things that are good for getting a cat to warm up to a person are time and patience. Your cat may never warm up to the boyfriend, or one night you might wake up to find your cat curled on his chest, never to return to your side. It may well be too, that if his abandonment was accompanied by abuse from one gender or another, he may react specifically to that gender. I had a stray who hate men. The only thing I could surmise from that was the poor thing had been abused by a man.

Just be patient with him. When you must administer medication or oh... a nail clipping, talk to Tippin all the way through. Explain what you're doing and why before, during, and after the event. Explain the benefits of having the medicine clear up his stomach ache or whatever. And if it's possible to give him medicine with a treat, you're turning it into a positive experience.

Don't push too hard. If you overpower your cat, you're breaking his trust. They don't think logically, all they know is that you're using your superior size and strength and opposable thumbs to have your way -- that makes you an unpredictable housemate. Patience is the key to cat behavior. No matter how much they break your heart, hurt your feelings, or tempt you to strangle them (not that I've EVER felt that way... oh no, not me).

Top
#76130 - 03/01/05 04:36 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Sockenmonster
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/02/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Germany

Offline
Hi Georgina and Catness, thank you very much for answering so fast. I have read the first and second page and with pills I use Georgina´s method for Kira, the little kitten, and The Smear with cat malt for Tippin - those work fine so far.

At the moment Tippin gets some kind of paste to stabilize his gut flora (I´m really not sure if this is the correct term, alas my dictionary says so. \:\) ).
One of us picks him up and the other squirts the paste, which is in some kind of syringe, into his mouth - so far so good.
On the second day he noticed the pattern and ran away, as soon as one of us tried to pick him up. He hides under the bed; we try to lure him out, and after a while, we´ll probably catch him. He will then start kicking and wriggling - keeping him still is no mean task since he is quite strong - and after a while, he´ll escape or we have to let him loose, because neither he or we should get hurt in the process. Rinse, and repeat. Should I then manage to get the paste into his mouth - and not into my face, which has also happened - he is very panicky, and will hide crouching under the bed for a few hours. It´s just very difficult to make him understand that this is supposed to be good for him, and not some cruel joke. And have I mentioned that he needs to take the paste for ten successive days? We´re now on Day 5.

Putting it into food or snacks mostly doesn´t work either: he notices it and won´t touch the food; or Kira will eat it, because she loves wet food and eats much faster than Tippin does. I´ve tried to prevent that by putting them in separate rooms, but then Tippin will not eat, but search for Kira, because he adores her and doesn´t want to be without her. Yes, it´s a Kafka novel with cats!

Top
#76131 - 03/01/05 09:37 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Guh. Poor baby.

What kind of crazy colon flora problem is Tippin having? Wouldn't a good dollop of yogurt (full or low fat) do just as well? Please let us know the name of the paste!

Top
#76132 - 03/01/05 12:53 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Sockenmonster
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/02/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Germany

Offline
Basically, Tip´s digestion seems to be very sensitive. He had a bowel infection some months back, possibly caused by an allergic reaction to food. He got antibiotics and it got better, especially since we changed his diet to better quality food.

Both cats needed to be dewormed(?) two weeks ago, and to ease the side-effects - and prevent another infection - we wanted to give them something containing lactobacilli(? Normally my English is good enough to get by, but biological or medical expressions aren´t that easy to find). Kira likes yoghurt just fine, but Tippin doesn´t touch it, so we thought we would give this paste a try. It´s from a German firm (Aras) and I doubt that it´s sold outside of Germany, but it contains
bacteria named Enterococcus faecium (which seems to be important for digestion but also pretty bad if you get too much of it).
Since he doesn´t seem to like it at all, we´ll try The Smear with yoghurt, and just hope he can force himself to clean it off. (Before Kira starts grooming him.)

The Bribe technique seems to work fine for bf so far, by the way. Tippin took the snack and even let himself be petted.

Top
#76133 - 03/01/05 03:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Other stuff to try. Whenever I have to give Bean medications, I add liquid acidophilus that I buy from a health food store to her wet food. It’s the live bacteria that’s in yoghurt, but without all the other stuff that’s in yoghurt, and it’s flavourless, with very little smell, and it replenishes that flora in her intestine. I mix that in and she doesn’t even notice.

I discovered some different techniques for getting Bean to take stuff she doesn’t want to as well. At least once a day, I sit on the floor on my knees, and put her in between my knees, and spend nice time with her. Rub her head, scratch under her chin, hug her, like that. I don’t hold her captive, so she can walk away any time she wants. That’s gone a long way to keeping her calm when I do have to shove stuff in her mouth. She doesn’t automatically associate being in that position with me as something she doesn’t want to do.

All of her pills now get wrapped in a blob of hairball meds (which she doesn’t like either) because we have that one down to a science. I learned not to put the gel in the front of her mouth, but rather on the side. I still have to pry her mouth open, but then I just put my finger with the hairball gel against the side of her mouth, between her open teeth. Then I let go of her jaw, but keep my finger in place, and her mouth closes on the hairball gel. I let her munch a few times on my finger with her teeth to make sure she swallows, and we’re done. No panic, no fuss.

If you’ve got something that needs to be squirted with a syringe, the side of the mouth might be an approach to try, Sockenmonster. If it’s a liquid, you don’t even have to get Tippin’s mouth open for it, just get the tip of the syringe between his lips on the side of his mouth and squirt slowly from there. Be sure to do it slowly, though, so he can swallow bit by bit. If it’s a paste maybe try the side of the mouth approach with the paste on your finger rather than in the syringe.

Top
#76134 - 03/01/05 05:02 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Georgina, we used a similar method to yours the last time we had to pill Sierra - we pushed the pill into a Pounce anti-hairball treat. She loves those things, and gulped it down, pill and all. Much easier than the methods we had used in the past; it was almost like pilling a dog (when we had to give my childhood dog his heartworm pill, we pushed it into a piece of Velveeta).
Top
#76135 - 03/01/05 06:12 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Or... you could get really sneaky and break the paste up into three smaller parts. Put a dab on your finger, caaaaasually walk by and pet Tippin or rub his ears, and walk away. Ooops? Did I have something on my hand? So sorry.

Georgina's method of putting Bean in the same position just to get affection several times a day is excellent.

Top
#76136 - 03/02/05 02:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Sockenmonster
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/02/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Germany

Offline
Success! I put a bit of the paste into Tippin´s fur and he grudgingly cleaned it off. The same happened with a drop of yoghurt. And, like Georgina suggested, I put him between my knees and rubbed his head a bit, and as long as he could walk away freely, it was fine. I guess he just hates being trapped... Thank you all very much!

Tracey B, when we tried to pill our dogs that way, they would basically swallow the treat and spit out the pill later when we weren´t looking. Tippin and Kira are sneaky that way, too, so we have to crush the pills, before mixing it in
anti-hairball treat.

Top
#76137 - 03/22/05 10:31 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Swoop
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 1

Offline
My kitty, Max, has some seriously obsessive-compulsive behavior going on.

He has a birth defect, one of his front legs is half as long as it should be and has no claws. He uses this paw to 'scratch' everything and anything. He never uses his other 3 clawed paws to do this. He does it *constantly*. Especially when I'm trying to sleep, when he focuses on my pillow.

I tried the penny can and the water spritzer. As soon as I make any motion at all in his direction, he runs away, but he comes back to do it again as soon as I stop moving towards him.

This cycle can go on for more than an hour at times. It only completely stops when he's playing with my female cat or he's asleep. Both my cats are spayed/neutered.

I like to think that I'm very affectionate with my 2 cats and I never hit them with anything other than water from the spray bottle. What can I do to stop this constant swiping? I need some uninterrupted sleep! \:\(

Thanks,

-Swoop

Top
#76138 - 03/22/05 01:25 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Swoop, please take Max to the vet and discuss the alternatives available to the two of you for OCD. While it is possible that there is nothing that can be done for Max, it wouldn't hurt to explore your options.

We're still working on our older cat for the OCD licking-the-belly issues. The anti-depressants we have her on seem to be taking the edge off a bit.

Top
#76139 - 03/22/05 01:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
jrtot
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 21

Offline
I have two cats: Emmy (female) weighs 8 pounds, and Echo (male) weighs 14 pounds. I'd like to put Echo on a diet, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice about how I can do it without also putting Emmy on one.

Past efforts to reduce the volume of food put in their bowls have usually resulted in Echo eating Emmy's portion. She'll end up losing weight (which she doesn't need), and he won't. Emmy hasn't been receptive to separate feedings.

When I try to increase Echo's physical activity, I find that he actually eats more to make up for it, so that doesn't work either.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Top
#76140 - 03/25/05 08:44 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
You said that Emmy wasn’t receptive to separate feedings. I don’t know what you mean by that. I don’t know if you mean you’ve tried feeding them at separate times or if you mean physically separating them. Physical separation to cut down on portions tends to work. You may very well need to move Echo’s food dish to a whole separate room, and close the door. Once Emmy is finished eating her regular portion, you can let Echo back out again. I’m assuming he’d have eaten his food while in the holding pen.

Establishing fixed feeding times is important. Only feed them at specific times, twice a day, and pick up their bowls between meals. No leaving crunchy snacks around so they can graze whenever they feel like it. That’s precisely how one of my cats got overweight to begin with. So, specific feeding times, Echo on lower calorie food and/or smaller portions while locked up. Make sure to decrease Echo’s portions gradually. Or, if the big problem is he’s eating his food and most of Emmy’s too, then his usual portions sans Emmy’s should do the trick. Emmy gets usual food and usual portion. After twenty minutes or a half-hour, Echo gets released, food dishes get picked up, no more food until next scheduled feeding time.

If your cats aren’t used to this sort of regimentation, they’ll get used to it, and it’s best for their overall health and digestion too. If Emmy is the sort to eat a bit, go away, come back later, eat a bit more, like that, she’ll pick up on the new routine of only having set mealtimes and a set amount of time to eat it. They’ll drive you nuts for a while, tripping you to run ahead to the kitchen before you to demand food between meals, and you'll feel like a bad cat person because they'll convince you they're starving, but, again, some persistence, and they learn the new routine.

Extra playtime for more exercise is also good. But, really, actual physical separation at feeding time is the best I’ve got to offer.

Edited to remove personal rant.

Top
#76141 - 03/28/05 11:59 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
jrtot
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 21

Offline
Thanks, Georgina.

In the past, when I've tried physical separation, Emmy just seemed confused and didn't seem to understand that I wanted to her eat right then. Meanwhile, the cat that was locked up was scratching the carpet and meowing piteously to be let out, and the cat that was locked out was scratching the carpet and meowing piteously to be let in.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to try again and not let myself get discouraged so easily.

Top
#76142 - 03/29/05 09:36 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Well there is that whole business about cats not liking closed doors, isn’t there? And then there’s the whole convincing you that you’re an awful person for not letting them have their way thing. I know; it’s rough. I even tried playing traffic cop between the two food dishes to no avail.

It takes some serious persistence to get cat’s weight down. I wish I had more to offer you than a difficult to accomplish idea and moral support.

Top
#76143 - 03/30/05 07:42 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
skwirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 218
Loc: Michigan

Offline
We had a similar problem with a fat cat/skinny cat deal. When Flash walked around, you could hear tuba music. Finnegan, on the other hand, looked like he could have starred in a commercial begging for help from good hearted folks who could change his life for just fifty cents a day.

We gave them a can of Whiskas in the morning, and all the dry food to crunch on. Flash ate all the wet food, and wouldn't touch the dry. Finnegan wouldn't go near the wet food. When Flash began to get spherical, we phased out the wet food. Then the grocery store stopped carrying their dry food. We tried twelve different cat foods before we found one they both would eat. (Finnegan was quite the critic. If he didn't like it, he'd pee in it, or hack it up in your shoe.)

We ended up finding one that Finnegan loved, and Flash merely tolerated. Finnegan hasn't put on any weight, but he hasn't lost any either. Flash has definitely trimmed down. She doesn't look like a furry beach ball. And she gets a lot more exercise now, too, since we bought a laser pointer. They love it!

Top
#76144 - 03/31/05 09:26 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
Yup, laser pointers are the ultimate in cat toys. They go crazy trying to figure it out. Why can't I catch that red thing!?
Top
#76145 - 03/31/05 02:28 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
We must have the only cat on the planet who isn't interested in laser pointers. She's oblivious.

Give her a nice fuzzy mousie, though, and she's a happy kitty.

Top
#76146 - 03/31/05 08:47 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
I'm soooo picking up a laser pointer on my way home tomorrow.
Top
#76147 - 04/22/05 11:45 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Do grown male cats sometimes attack kittens? My sister and I live with her 6-year-old neutered cat Max, and we're considering adopting two kittens that a family friend has been fostering. Max was adopted as a very young stray kitten, and he can be scrappy and bitey, though also affectionate. My sister says that on one occasion when a friend brought some kittens over, Max puffed up and started hissing like a maniac. Ergo, we're afraid that with kittens in the house full-time, we might have a psycho kitty on our hands. Just a few months ago we were forced to put our psycho dog down (she attacked other dogs and eventually my ankle... not a pretty sight), so we don't want to have to deal with any more "When Animals Attack" scenarios just yet.
Top
#76148 - 04/23/05 12:56 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
When adult male cats attack or kill kittens, it's usually in a much different situation than what you're planning. Like prides of lions, male cats in a group setting, like say, a collection of barn cats, may kill kittens of a female to force her to go into heat again. That's why a collection such as that usually has two or three (or more) females raising all of the kittens collectively. So I would say that the odds of Max attacking and/or killing new kittens you're introducing into the household, especially since he's neutered, are pretty low. He's not interested in continuing his bloodline and he's not competing with other males for that female attention.

What occurred when cats have been brought in previously is completely natural. You're introducing alien cats into Max's territory (that would be the entire house and his humans). There are some basic rules (or guidelines) which can ease introductions for everyone involved. Anitra Frasier goes to much greater lengths with introductions, which I have found to be impossible to follow myself.

The important essentials though are:
  • Keep the cats separated for the first few days to a week. Have a separate room in which the new cats will live, complete with litter and food.
  • During the separation, allow supervised "see and sniff" sessions. Either put Max in his carrier or vice versa, so they can see and smell each other. Or, if you have a couple of baby gates, stack them on top of each other in the door of the new cats' room.
  • After a reasonable amount of time, you can start letting them out together, supervised. That doesn't mean you should jump in any time there's a little scuffle. There will be, and it's the natural order of things. Everyone has to work out their spot in the family heirarchy. Only intervene if someone is cornered or getting their little kitty butt kicked.

The first three months are the roughest adjustment period. They will fight, argue, and make loud noises at each other during this time. You just have to let them work it out amongst themselves.

I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Dr Brian Kilcommons's book (which I've suggested here many many times), Good Owners, Great Cats. It's full of suggestions and tips for all sorts of situations, especially for dealing with multi-aged cats in one household. He provides great insight into cat psychology, which can help you deal with just about any situation which might crop up.

Good luck and congratulations on the new additions to your family!

Top
#76149 - 04/23/05 07:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Faria
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 267
Loc: Erie, PA

Offline
Fuschiagroan, my fiance and I have a 10 year old male cat, Astron, and a 1 year old female cat, Harriet. We adopted Harriet as a 9-week old kitten a year ago, and while it was kind of overwhelming for a couple of weeks, the two of them tolerate each other nicely now. The initial reaction was not pretty--Astron was loud and made nasty noises, but he didn't do anything physically to Harriet. We introduced them gradually, and didn't leave them alone together for a week or so. We had separate food dishes and litter boxes for a while, but now they share both just fine. Now, they cause trouble together, and Harriet definitely keeps Astron on his toes. They compete for the coveted spots on the windowsills and blankets.

Astron has even become very protective of Harriet. I accidently stepped on her tail a couple of weeks ago and Astron came and checked on her when she let out a blood curdling howl. I think he recognizes that she is a kitten and that he should naturally protect her??

The only problem we have had is when Harriet went to the vet's to be spayed. She was gone for two days and Astron thought she was gone for good, he was very happy. When she came home, he peed in several places for a couple of days. So we do realize that they really can't be separated again.

My advice would be to be prepared for the initial reaction. I was not and I think the animals (esp. the older cat) picked up on my anxiety and stress and that just complicated the adjustment period. If I had it to do over, I would let nature take its course and (like Catness said), only intervene if really necessary. Also make sure to show the older cat love and attention, I can imagine that they think their entire world has changed!

Good luck!

Top
#76150 - 04/26/05 11:32 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Thanks so much, Catness and Faria! That reassures me. I'd always heard the "male cats kill kittens" thing without explanation or context. I have faith that this can work eventually, since Max has lived with another cat in the past (although in that case he was the interloper/young whippersnapper who followed her around admiringly and got a paw in the face for his pains!). I'll check out the Kilcommons book.

Do any of you put sunscreen on your (outdoor) cats' ears? Max is all white, and he easily gets blistered, so I see this as the first-line defense against squamous cell carcinoma. But the vet practically ridicules me for this, saying we live in the cloudiest city in the U.S. He doesn't think licking off the sunscreen (which invariably happens) will hurt the cat, though, and I hope he's right.

Top
#76151 - 04/27/05 12:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Nope, I don't let my cats go outside. I'm strongly opposed to it.

But, if your vet doesn't have a problem with the cat ingesting sunscreen, then you should be okay. Cloudy doesn't mean a thing; I've had my worst sunburns on hazy, cloudy days. You might want to go to your local crunchy-granola shop to see if they carry organic/non-toxic lotion or one specifically recommended for children. I'd bet that there are doggie sunscreens out there, actually, for all those fragile little chihuahuas.

You should be just fine with introducing the new cats, I'm glad our advice was helpful.

Edited to add: Hah! I was right ! You're not crazy either, the people at about.com have a whole page on protecting cats in the heat and sun

Top
#76152 - 05/03/05 11:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Offline
I'm having a cat problem. I'm taking the cat to the vet as soon as I can. (Catness, I can't find the number of your vet. Will try to call you tomorrow, or email it to me if you would.) We have two cats: one healthy somewhat overweight but still agile and active Siamese , and one increasingly fragile-looking and skinny tabby . They are both around 15 (not originally my cats, I married into the family so I'm not entirely too sure of their ages).

Last night, Tygg (the tabby) yowled all night for someone to let her out. She's always done this a little, but last night was constant. I didn't get more than half an hour's sleep at any given time before she'd start up again. The night before, I left the bathroom window open and she apparently jumped out, so I guess last night she was desperate for her outside adventures.

I believe she's eating the dog food on our neighbors' deck (the dog lives elsewhere, but is constantly there). We have raccoons in our neighborhood, so I really don't want her outside. But I was about ready to strangle her last night.

Her eating and drinking I'm really not sure about, given that there's a pond in the yard that I know she drinks out of when she escapes, and the afore-mentioned neighbor's dog food. But she's scrawny and she walks funny, and I'm afraid it might be a kidney infection. We think she had that before.

Honestly, I'm also afraid that she's just failing and I'm going to lose my kitty. But we are taking her to the vet to get checked as soon as possible, so maybe she's just old and crotchety but doing fine. I hope so.

Top
#76153 - 05/04/05 06:37 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I'm keeping you and Tygg in my thoughts, FishDreamer. I hope goes well at the vet's. Please report back.

As for the all-night yowling spree, yeah. Frank was a stray we adopted from the SPCA, so he'd obviously been used to being outdoors. We lived in a condo when we got him, so no more outside time for him. (Plus, I don't let cats outdoors anyhow.) He adjusted.

Then we moved to a house and he got out one day. I won't get into the circumstances surrounding that escape, because it'll only turn into a rant. But, after he was captured and brought back in, I swear, he drove me nuts for a month. Yowling, all day. He moved from sitting at the back door yowling to sitting at the front door yowling. Eventually, he chilled out but I'll tell you, that little jaunt outdoors got in his blood, and he insisted he was getting back out.

Hopefully, the yowling with Tygg is just something like that. Anyway, please let us know how you two are doing.

Top
#76154 - 05/04/05 08:03 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Kivrin
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Offline
Oh FishDreamer. Let us know how Tygg is doing when you return from the vet. I hope it turns out to be nothing, but Tygg's behavior reminds me of my old tabby Maxine, before she was diagnosed with spleen cancer. Yikes! I hate to even post that, but I think you should prepare yourself for all possibilities.
Top
#76155 - 05/05/05 01:27 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Offline
I have a vet appointment in the morning, and the yowling didn't happen as much last night so I'm hoping it was just the excitement of having spent that one night outside. Georgina, your experience sounds similar which was good to hear.

But she's still rickety and really not eating or drinking much, so we're taking her in. I will report back afterwards. I just hope it's either old age or something easily treated.

Top
#76156 - 05/05/05 08:59 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Ludmilla
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 302
Loc: USA

Offline
FishDreamer, one of my old cats started acting that way when he was around 15 years old. It was the onset of diabetes. Definitely have the vet check your cat, as it needs to be caught early to be treated properly. They can decline very quickly if the diabetes goes untreated. Hopefully, you'll find nothing seriously wrong with your cat, though.
Top
#76157 - 05/05/05 12:58 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Offline
She's at the vet, they're keeping her so they can hydrate her and make sure it doesn't overwhelm her kidneys. She's really dehydrated, which didn't surprise me, and she has a heart murmur which we also knew. He's running blood and urine tests to see whether there are kidney problems (and she apparently has tiny kidneys). She also is getting antibiotics because her back teeth are bad. And he thinks she might have hyperthyroidism.

Poor little kitty. She was NOT happy about his very thorough exam, but I'm sure just getting her hydrated will make her feel better. I'm worried about the kidneys, since she had an infection in October. We'll know the specifics tomorrow.

Thanks for the good information and kind thoughts. (Catness, we got Dr. O, who was quite thorough and clear with us on what he thought it was.)

Top
#76158 - 05/05/05 01:20 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I'm glad you got Dr O. I'll be seeing him tomorrow afternoon for Zoje's teeth issues... and possible other things.

I'm so sorry about the kitty. She's in good hands there.

Top
#76159 - 05/06/05 09:51 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
Oh, fishdreamer, I'm sorry your kitty isn't doing well. I'm thinking of you both.
Top
#76160 - 05/06/05 11:31 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
FishDreamer, I hope Tygg is feeling better after being re-hydrated. I know how tough it is leaving kitty overnight with the vet. Please let us know how everyone’s doing.

I said I’d report back once I got a top-loading kitty carry case, so here’s the report. The old carry case was one of those plastic boxes with a metal cage front door. You cannot, without a huge fuss, get Frank into it. He’s all four paws on the doorframe refusing to go in. I haven’t tried him out with the new case yet. Bean, on the other hand, gets into the case on her own once I put it on the floor and open the door. It was getting her back out again once we were at the vet’s that was a problem.

The new case is luggage designed for cat travel. It has the regular front door load and a long, double zipper on top so it opens there too. It has screens on all sides so she can see out, but it also has fold-down flaps to cover the screens should you bring kitty someplace where the sights might be upsetting. Plus! Big advantage, it’s so much easier to carry than a plastic box with a handle. It has a shoulder strap, so you sling the kitty in the case over your shoulder and go.

The big test was at the vet’s when Bean wasn’t inclined to get out, so I unzipped top and lifted her out. Done. Very handy. I’m rather pleased with the thing. Frank will be an interesting test.

Top
#76161 - 05/08/05 12:38 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Ooh, I wish I had that top-loading case! We have the plastic box kind, and I have to ask the vet for help in extracting Max from it (getting him in isn't much easier).

Thanks for those links re: sunscreen, catness! We've been using kids' sunscreen from the local crunchy co-op (boy, is it expensive), and it seems fine, other than the fact that Max despises it. Actually, waving the bottle of sunscreen at him is a good way to stop him from yowling at the door--he immediately seeks shelter elsewhere!

My sister used to keep Max inside over the protests of her roommates, who insisted that he wasn't "fulfilled" unless he was risking his life daily. Now he lives in a house with a big fenced yard, and he does go out--even in the snow. Hunting small critters seems to make him happy, but I know we're still running a serious risk with him. The funny thing is that he gets "lonely" outdoors--he will come to the door and yowl, not to be let in, but for someone to come out and chase him around the yard, like a kid who rings the doorbell and then runs away. (Yes, I do chase him around the yard at times. I'm four.)

FishDreamer, I hope your cat is doing better!

Top
#76162 - 05/09/05 09:43 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Georgina, your cat carrier/luggage sounds interesting. I have one of the plastic front-loaders, and two cats. I can get one in with a butt-first approach, but there is No Force On Earth that will keep the first cat in the carrier while I am loading the other cat in. I wonder if a top loader would do better?
Top
#76163 - 05/09/05 12:16 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Ludmilla
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 302
Loc: USA

Offline
I have to ask this: does anyone have a cat who pees and poops while in the carrier? My cat literally unloads herself every single time I put her in the carrier. It's a nervous response on her part. Boy do I ever hate those annual vet appointments!
Top
#76164 - 05/09/05 02:28 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
CaitlinM
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 415
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

Offline
We have Sherpa Bags for Sophie and Chloe, and they load either from he top or end, with zippers, so we can do whatever's easiest. They're both resistant to the carriers (because they're used just to go to the vet), so we put them in through the top, but we unzip the end when we get home, so they can come out on their own.
Top
#76165 - 05/09/05 05:57 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
viva, the one I purchased closely resembles the Classic Carrier that's on the link Caitlin M provided. My advice to you for transporting two cats would be to get two carriers. It'll probably save all of you a lot of grief in the long run.

Ludmilla, the cat my mother had was like that every time she had to go for a car ride. Only that was in the days before anyone thought cats needed their own safety cases in cars, so my mother's cat would disappear under the front seat and pee there.

Have you tried leaving the carrier out and open on regularly for kitty to explore on her own? Just leaving the cage out with the door open for no particular reason so Frank could explore getting in and out on his own helped quite a bit in terms of his reaction to the carrier itself.

Also, periodically, I take Bean for short car rides that don't involve a vet visit. It's helped to stop her immediate yowling panic once put in the car. Prior to, any time her carry case was put in the car with her in it, it meant she was going to visit those pokey-proddy people. After taking her with me for short trips to just run errands, and returning back home, she doesn't automatically start panting and howling once I put her case in the car.

They develop automatic responses when Thing A is always associated with Thing B, where Thing B is something they don't like. Giving them the opportunity to be familiar with their carry case on their own time, and giving them the chance to feel comfortable in the car when it doesn't mean vet visit, seems to have settled both of my cats, with their individual issues, quite a bit.

Top
#76166 - 05/09/05 07:12 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
In addition to what Georgina said, Ludmilla, which is all excellent advice, you might also try dosing your cat with Rescue Remedy before a car ride. I think we talked about its use earlier in the thread I can't remember which page it was.
Top
#76167 - 05/10/05 01:28 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Bean updates for the curious.

I wrote a few pages back about Bean developing allergies and suffering a week-long coughing fit before I figured out she wasn't trying to hork up a hairball. At long last, I know what bothers her. First: scented candles but only specific brands. Second: clumping cat litter. The dust in the litter that gives the clumping quality makes her cough. She won't use cedar pellets or paper, so we're down to only one clay litter that has so little dust it doesn't bother her.

Last December, we had an episode where Bean got bit on the tail by a cat in a household we were visiting. The puncture turned into an abscess that resulted in another night spent at the emergency clinic. The clinic prescribed an antibiotic for her that she had a severe reaction to. That resulted in the following night also being spent at the emergency clinic while she puked bile and blood. The following morning we were at her own vet's so she could get sub-q fluids to re-hydrate her from all of the puking.

For the past couple of months I've found clumps of fur on the carpet after Bean's been bathing. Checking her over didn't produce evidence of anything untoward. Last Sunday, she left an extraordinary amount of fur clumps in one spot on the carpet after an enjoying cleaning in the sunshine. Sunday night, I finally got to see what she was doing, because she was munching on her tail and pulled out a hunk of fur.

Knowing where to look, I found she's cleared a line of skin along her tail about four inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch wide. Her skin doesn't appear dry or have sores, and I can't find any bugs on her. So, today we're going to the vet to find out if Bean has a skin irritation or if she's developed a nervous condition of some sort.

I tell you, I love this cat beyond measure. She's an ongoing learning experience.

FishDreamer, how are you and Tygg doing?

Top
#76168 - 05/10/05 02:13 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Hee - Java has a cleared patch of skin on her lower abdomen (actually very short, sparse fur) - I've determined that it is from her big old belly constantly rubbing against the floor when she sits. She definitely takes after my pear-shaped physique. But I love her squishy little belly.

Regarding the separate carriers for the two cats - I've tried that too - they cry incessantly because they aren't *together*. What I need is a carrier with two openings and compartments, and a barrier between them that can be removed once the cats are inside. Are you listening, oh cat-carrier-makers?

Top
#76169 - 05/10/05 05:16 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
mrstripeypants
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/04
Posts: 68
Loc: Bremerton, WA

Offline
Georgina - You might try SwheatScoop . It's a clumping litter made from wheat that is very low dust. The Stink Brothers use it, as did their predecessors, with no problems. Just a thought.
Top
#76170 - 05/10/05 06:08 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Ooo that stuff looks interesting, mrstripeypants. I'll check around town and see if anyone carries SwheatScoop here. I'm not too pleased with the clay litter I'm using right now because it has perfume in it, but it's the only one that doesn't make her cough, so I was willing to go with the trade-off. I'll look for that stuff and see if she'll use it.

viva, a friend of mine's cat has a nervous condition, and he strips his entire tummy bare of fur. While his tummy is all cute and pink, the excess fur he eats while mowing doesn't do him any good. My friend's vet wanted to put him on kitty Prozac.

I see what you mean about the cat carrier problem, viva. Does it help at all if they are in separate carriers but are situated so they can still see each other?

Today's vet visit. The vet's best guess is scar tissue around nerves at the site of the abscess that periodically causes tingles on that one spot on her tail. She doesn't do it constantly, she's not picking at any other parts of her body, the skin is fine, her tail's not injured, and she's not gnawing on or breaking the skin. So, we're in wait-see mode, but at least it doesn't appear to be anything serious. Phew.

Top
#76171 - 05/14/05 01:51 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Thank you, mrstripeypants, for that recommendation. I found SwheatScoop at a local pet accessory store, and so far so good. Actually, so far so great. You have to know just how sensitive a kitty Bean is to fully appreciate my trepidation about anything that might bother her or upset her delicate balance. My vet’s nurse tactfully says things like, “Yes, well, Bean has ‘issues’”, and when I took Bean to the vet the other day to have her tail checked, the vet said, “My goodness! It’s been so long since we’ve seen you.” Two months is some sort of record for us.

As I mentioned, I was none too pleased that the only litter that she’d use that didn’t make her cough was perfumed. And, non-scoop litter smells quickly because the urine continues to sit in the box.

Anyhow, this stuff actually has quite a bit of dust in it, so I cringed when I first poured it into her box and wondered if I should go to the supermarket and pick up another bag of the stuff I hated (I was out) on the outside chance this made her cough. If it did, immediate replacement is in order. And, too, there was always the chance that Bean wouldn’t play along with new stuff. However, unlike the cedar and paper pellets, this product is the same texture as clay litter, so she wasn’t reluctant to use it.

Bean is a serious litter-box digger, and I watched her, holding my breath and biting my lower lip, while she performed one of her rigorous routines. Once she finished, she made one of her funny wind-up toy noises and ran off to play. With other dusty litters, she’d stand outside the box and cough for twenty seconds or so. (Seriously, between the candles and the multi-cat scoopable clay litter I was using, and not knowing that they were the causing problem, the vets thought Bean had asthma.) I’m guessing wheat dust doesn’t bother her where clay dust did.

This stuff is really nice. I’m back to zero odour. Bean uses it, and isn’t coughing, and I’m no longer worried about her ingesting bits of it while cleaning her paws. It clumps nicely, so I can keep her box cleaner. This is a lot to write about cat litter, I realise, but everything to do with Bean’s health is a big deal to me. I’ll say it again: thank you.

Top
#76172 - 05/14/05 06:55 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I love Bean. I really do.
Top
#76173 - 05/14/05 08:24 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Faria
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 267
Loc: Erie, PA

Offline
I'm glad to hear that Bean is doing well!
Top
#76174 - 05/15/05 10:12 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

Offline
For those who asked, Tygg is doing well. The vet said it was her kidneys again, and she was seriously dehydrated. We have both the cats on wet food now (it's prescription food that supports kidney function). They're both old enough to need it, and I can't feed one of them canned and the other dry. They get a little bit of dry to nibble on in between, as I figure out how much to give them.

She's pretty much back to normal, for the most part. We take her back this Thursday for a follow-up to make sure she's okay. The vet (same one Catness takes her kids to, and I really liked them) said as long as she gets wet food, she should be getting enough liquids. We also got rid of the old kitty fountain and put a new, better-filtered one in its place, and they've been drinking a lot more regularly.

Thank you to everyone for the wishes and the thoughts. We had a scare the night after we took her in, when she got bitten by a strange cat (in our house! an interloper cat broke into the house and she fought it and got it good, but it also got her in the neck), but she seems to have come through that fine. (I'll ask the vet about it anyway.) She's current on her shots and we have not let them out or had the door open since then. Our cats don't usually leave the yard, but between the raccoon before and now this cat being in our house, we're going to have to keep them in and get a screen for the back door for when we want the ventilation.

Georgina, I'm glad Bean is doing well. That litter sounds like something I should look into.

Top
#76175 - 05/16/05 09:37 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I’m really glad to hear that Tygg is back home and much better, FishDreamer.

Again with Bean, she eats wet food exclusively and gets all of her moisture from that. She doesn’t drink water. I don’t remember when that happened, because she used to drink water, and she was all cute about it too. She’d stare at the water, turning her head, looking at it from different angles, and then test it a few times with the tip of her paw before she’d drink it. Since she’s been on wet food exclusively, which is about oh, almost two years now, I think, she stopped drinking water. I keep a water dish out for her, and I put fresh water in it at least twice a day, but she doesn’t ever touch it. Her plumbing works just fine and she’s always properly hydrated.

And, yeah, I’m a convert on this new kitty litter. I’ve told two people about it already. The litter box is in a small space, and all I can smell is a mild sort of warm oatmeal scent. It’s nifty stuff.

Top
#76176 - 05/29/05 04:46 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Maybe I should think about SwheatScoop too. We brought our two new 10-week-old kittens home last night. They are absolutely adorable, climbing all over the room to which they're confined and playing constantly, but they don't seem to have figured out the litter box. The friend who fostered them says they're potty trained, so I wonder if the Yesterday's News litter we use is something they don't recognize as litter. I noticed that at their old house they were using an enclosed litter box, so I fetched Max's for them, but it's a lot bigger than they're used to. I hope they don't keep having accidents...

We let Max (our adult cat) watch them play through a crack in the door. He growled and hissed a few times, and there were a couple of stare-downs, but mostly he just watched very intently. We've given him the kittens' blanket to sleep on and vice versa, but we're taking the introductions slowly.

While I'm here... my sister insists that only female cats are calicos. Truth or myth?

Edited to add: whoops, the answer's right here .

Top
#76177 - 05/30/05 01:09 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
Congratulations on your new kitties, FuschiaGroan. Just thinking about kittens makes me want to get one. I hope all goes well with the introductions. Kittens are usually far easier to introduce to a full-grown cat than another full-grown cat.

I took a look at the Yesterday’s News litter site, and the litter is in pellets. If the kittens are accustomed to clay, that might be the problem. On the site they make a good recommendation to make the transition from clay to pellets. They suggest 2/3 clay, 1/3 pellets to start, then decrease the clay and incrementally increase the pellets until you get to all pellets. Cats are funny about what’s in their litter boxes, and texture seems to be a big deal. So you might want to give that a try.

Litter training cats has always been the easiest experience. Put them in the box, take their front paws in your hands, dig a bit with their paws, release paws, they’ve got it figured out. One thing I do recall when one stray cat I picked up gave birth to her kittens, she’d get into the litter box, and the kittens wanted to follow her, and it was mighty impressive to watch them try to scale the side of the litter box. They were determined, though. But, so, yes, make sure the sides aren’t too high for them to get into it.

But back to the litter-texture thing. When I put cedar pellets in Bean’s litter box, she didn’t use it. I mean, after 16 hours I checked the box, and she hadn’t used it. This was already an argument between my best friend and I because she was the one who insisted Bean should use the cedar pellets. I, on the other hand, am not about to get into a contest of wills with my cat over the contents of her litter box. I’m sure that if Bean could drive herself to the store and get what she needed, she would. She can’t; so that’s my job. Sixteen hours and she hadn’t used the box. I was furious with my best friend. I moved the pellets to the side in about a third of the box, dumped in clay, and I wasn’t even finished pouring, and Bean was in the clay using it. I was so wound up I didn’t even consider the slow transition idea.

Frank, our other kitty, was at the vet’s for a week last winter because he got FUS. The vet had to catheterise him a second time after the surgery because Frank wasn’t using the litter box and going on his own. I asked Mr. G (we’re currently separated and he has Frank otherwise I would have been at the clinic) what sort of litter was in the box, and he told me it was shredded paper. I told him to bring Frank’s usual litter down to the clinic and have them replace the paper with it. Same deal. As soon as there was clay litter there, Frank was in the box doing his best. Poor guy. But the paper was hindering the process. Frank’s fine and fully recovered.

I think I may try that slow transition process myself and see if I can get Bean to use the cedar pellets or the paper pellets. The texture of Swheatscoop is good, as far as she’s concerned, and it keeps the odour down terrific, and it scoops well, and everything. But. Y’know, with Bean there’s always a but. I swear. *sigh* She’s been using that new litter for two weeks, and twice in the past two weeks, she’s experienced a mild case of the runs. The only new element in her environment is the litter. I’m wondering if the wheat dust is too much fibre for her system when she cleans her paws. She walked into my office last night, a trail of fragrance following her, and pretty soon, the whole place stank. She has big, fluffy pants. We had to do the whole clean-up routine until she stopped stinking. She’s really good about it. Therefore, today I’m back to the litter I don’t like, and I’ll do a wait/see for a week or so and see if there’s any recurrence.

Please don’t let Bean’s experience dampen anyone else’s desire to try the wheat litter. It seems like a really great product. Bean is just, well, Bean. That’s all. I’ll report back when I give the gradual replacement a go.

Meantime, congratulations again FuschiaGroan. Keep us posted on kitten progress.

Catness, tell me to shut up already, would you?

Top
#76178 - 05/31/05 01:41 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Thanks so much, Georgina! I had no idea cats were so picky about their litter, but really, it makes sense--smell and texture must matter a lot when you're digging, and those big paper pellets probably feel less like soil. I hope you can find a happy medium for Bean.

As it turns out, though, I think it was the open litterbox the kittens didn't get. I made them some "steps" up to the enclosed litterbox, and they immediately started using it, which is a huge relief. They're getting used to their room and no longer dart under the bed when someone comes in, and they're playing and chasing and taking amazing leaps. We tried another session introducing them to Max through the screen door. As before, he growled and hissed before settling down to watch. The kittens didn't flee, but I don't think either of these little girls is capable of staring the big white polar bear down yet. We also tried switching their rooms and letting them explore and sniff everything.

I have faith that this will work. It didn't with the dog (when we were trying to introduce her to Max), but she was completely unsocialized to other animals, attacked other dogs on sight, and had strong genetic herding aggression. Max acts like a cat who wants a playmate. And even if he never does more than tolerate the kittens... boy, are they adorable. I think they're going to grow into two very elegant calicos.

Top
#76179 - 05/31/05 07:39 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Faria
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 267
Loc: Erie, PA

Offline
I'm so glad to hear that things are going well with the new kitties, FuschiaGroan! It sounds like things are going well! I had to smile imagining Max watching the kittens through the screen door. Sometimes, our older cat doesn't do more than just tolerate the younger one. But every once in a while, I'll come home and they'll be curled up together on the couch. Crazy cats!
Top
#76180 - 06/02/05 06:39 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Thanks, Faria! Your story about your cats convinced me this could be done. The kittens are exploring the house now and getting bolder. Today little Rosi ran up and touched noses with Max through the screen, but he hissed a couple of times and she ran away. When I let him back into the kitten-smelling house, he nosed around and then took refuge in the stereo cabinet, a cave he's never frequented before. So I think Max may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, though he has reached the stage where the sight of cavorting kittens can bore rather than arouse him. But when they're playing on his rug with his toys, that's a different matter. We'll take it slow before proceeding to unscreened contact.
Top
#76181 - 06/17/05 12:40 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
FuschiaGroan, how is the kitten introduction going? Has Max discovered how adorable they are yet?

It's been just over two and a half weeks, and the verdict is in. Swheatscoop gave Bean the runs. I'm sitting here laughing. Jeez. Next up: litter transition to pellets. Stay tuned. I know y'all are just waiting with bated breath.

Top
#76182 - 06/17/05 01:35 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
Hee! I don't know if Max knows from adorable (which they are), but he's been fully introduced to the kittens for about a week and has calmed down considerably. I now only hear the hissing when they're really hyper and pestering him, batting his tail, etc. I'm not sure he's a dominant cat, because, despite all the growling, the kittens quickly learned he wouldn't hurt them and started standing their ground. When they trespass in a place he's apt to consider "his," like my lap or bed, he generally jumps up and runs off in a huff, letting them have it.

But the kittens are fascinated with him, and the reverse may be true too. They have a tendency to hang out together-- today I found all three asleep in my bedroom, the kittens curled up in a chair and Max in the open dresser drawer a few feet away. (It was cute enough that I didn't kick him out, despite the hair on my clothes.) Last night when they all had the kitty crazies, I found Max chasing the kittens up the stairs and them chasing him right back down. He's still young enough to enjoy chasing and wrestling (though he doesn't try that with them, which is a good thing as they're a third his size). I just hope I'll be able to tell if the play ever shades over into real aggression. I've never seen Max be aggressive toward anything but poor defenseless mice. He does bat at the kittens occasionally, but it seems to be a light warning bat, saying, "This is my space, whippersnapper!"

I hope the big transition to pellets works, Georgina! I can see why cats wouldn't be crazy about them, but they're easy to shovel and clean up when they scatter on the floor, due to their size.

Top
#76183 - 07/06/05 12:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
I need some advice about cat aggression. I just returned home from a week at my mom's, and World War III is going on there between her cats.

Backstory: my mom had two cats, littermates, boy and girl. A little over a year ago, boy cat, Brulee, died suddenly after surgery. Girl cat, Bella, seemed very listless for weeks - my mom figured she was mourning. She perked up after a while, though.

After about four months had passed, Mom decided to get a kitten to keep Bella company. The kitten, Cashew, and Bella didn't get along at all from the beginning. Bella was horrible with Cashew, acted like she was going to kill him. Mom did all the things the experts recommend about bringing a new cat into the home (I passed on all the advice from Dr. Kilcommons's book and from this thread), but they just never got friendly.

Now, it's worse. Cashew is nearly a year old, he's bigger than Bella, and he has all his claws (Bella doesn't have front claws). He will not leave Bella alone. He chases her whenever she leaves her hidey-holes. Seriously, it looks like he's stalking her. She runs away and growls at him.

Any advice? Whereas my mom has never before said she'd get rid of Cashew, she sounded last week like she might start considering it. It broke my heart to see how beaten-down Bella looks. She's developed what the vet thinks is irritable bowel syndrome (she has blood in her stool sometimes). Cashew's still technically a teenager, so maybe he'll calm down. In the meantime, not to be overdramatic, we fear for Bella's life.

I'm guessing things were worse during my visit, since my sister and her family were there also, making six strange people in Mom's condo stressing out the cats. But any advice anyone can give will be welcome - Mom figures she's tried everything, but maybe one of you has dealt with this before.

Top
#76184 - 07/11/05 01:49 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
TraceyB, I have no advice, but I feel for your mom. I've often wondered what I should do about companionship once my cats (who are littermates as well) get older - like getting a kitten once they are middle-aged, just so there is always a buddy in case something ever happens.

I have a question as well. I know upper respiratory infections are very serious for kittens, but are they serious for adult cats as well (i.e. go-to-the-vet-asap serious)? My kitty Java looks for all the world like she has hay fever - watery eyes, runny nose, sneezes. Her little trilling meow is even hoarse. She is eating fine and drinking water and moving around, maybe just sleeping a little more than usual. Her brother Joe is, naturally, perfectly healthy. Should I be worried?

Top
#76185 - 07/11/05 09:09 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
TraceyB, I am sorry to say that it sounds like Cashew needs to be either an only cat or live with cats his own size. If your mother has tried all the expert methods, including Dr Kilcommons, and Bella has developed an ideopathic physical reaction to the lack of peace in the house, it might be best for everyone involved if Cashew went to live in a more rambunctious household.

You know I don't suggest this lightly. The physical and emotional health of Bella is at stake here, she as an elderly cat, needs priority.

He's still a young cat, so his chances of getting adopted out are very good. Do you have an organization such as Purrfect pets in your area? They're a fostering/adoption non-profit which works solely to find good homes for cats.

I would suggest, if your mother really would like to have a companion for Bella, that she not get a kitten. The age gap is too great. I would also suggest that she go for a three or four year old, even tempered female over a male. That's the combination which might work best in the situation.

Please send my sympathies and best wishes to your mom. Sometimes these things just don't work out.

Top
#76186 - 07/11/05 10:16 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
pagopago
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 191
Loc: Colorado

Offline
TracyB - I agree with Catness, I don't know of another solution besides a new home for Cashew.
We have a similar situation at our house, but I'm not thrilled with our solution. We adopted two kittens 5 years ago for my two children (they each got to pick one) and although they weren't litter mates, they grew up together and get along well. (and get along with our English Setter)
A year ago, we took in our niece, who had had a rough time. She had been taken from her mother, and also her beloved cat. Her foster mother adopted a kitten for her, so we felt obligated to take the kitten too. (too many losses to refuse it)
Of course, the foster family were crappy parents, and this kitten has no training or manners. We have spent the last year trying to keep it from peeing all over the house, attacking people, stalking the smaller of our two cats, and waking our niece up at all hours of the night.
About 2 months ago, I lost all patience and made her an outdoor cat, even though our two are indoors-only cats. Now Stupid Cat stays out all day and all night, only coming inside for meals. She visits briefly during the day, but I throw her outside whenever I see her. She still is hateful to our smaller cat, and has grown much larger than her. Our other cat, the Will Rogers of the cat world, is a 16 lb. mellow guy who loves everyone.
I'm not thrilled with our solution. I feel like she is liable to get attacked or hit by a car, but I have no more patience for her. My hubby loves animals, but when he tosses her out he yells "Go find a racoon!"
My niece has been okay with it, her cats were always outdoors (and never spayed or had shots or taken care of...), and I think she just wants to keep her. I will never suggest getting rid of her, but I won't cry if she gets eaten by a hungry racoon.

And an aside, I think your mother's older cat will be much happier passing her last days by herself and not trying to adjust to another cat.

Top
#76187 - 07/11/05 10:55 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
Yeah, I think you guys are right about Cashew. I don't know how my mom is going to deal with it, though.

My aunt, who lives in the same city as my mom and who is also a cat-lover, is currently catless (her kitty died a couple of years ago). She adores Cashew, plays with him all the time when she's at my mom's. I'm considering broaching the idea of aunt taking Cashew. Aunt is resistant to taking on responsibility, though, and she might not be willing to deal with a high-spirited kitty.

The whole situation is breaking my heart.

Top
#76188 - 07/11/05 12:11 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Oh, viva, sorry, I was so focused on getting an answer to Tracey this morning that I missed your question. And the answer is: YES. Respiratory infections are nothing to be trifled with, no matter what the cat's age. Just like a UTI things can get serious very quickly.

It's probably nothing but a case of the sniffles, but better safe than sorry.

TraceyB, I know it's heartbreaking. I had to go through something similar myself a few years ago. You feel like the worst person in the world for giving up, but it's better for everyone involved if Cashew gets a new home -- he probably WILL mellow in about six months (he's at the UNBEARABLE teen stage right now), but the behavior pattern with Bella is set. Poor Bella, poor TraceyB's Mom.

Top
#76189 - 07/11/05 03:34 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Yeah, I'm heading to the vet in the morning. They're both due soon for their annual vet visit and rabies shots anyway, so I'd rather be safe than sorry too.
Top
#76190 - 07/12/05 07:06 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Silja
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 46

Offline
viva, I hope it al turns out alright.

Does anybody know of a web-site with information and pictures of plants that are poisonous to cats. Someone has given me a plant that I have never seen before, and I can't find it in any of my books on the subject of kitty-safety.

Top
#76191 - 07/12/05 08:45 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Go here . This site has a list with links to pictures of plants which are poisonous to cats. If you still aren't sure, take your new plant (or a photo of it) to a reputable florist or garden center and ask them what the plant is.
Top
#76192 - 07/12/05 02:43 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Java is just fine - she's got a cold, but since she's not showing any more serious signs like throwing up or not eating, the vet just wants to let her ride out the cold. She's getting a little better - her little trill isn't as hoarse. Poor thing! Her brother, naturally, licks the snot off her nose.
Top
#76193 - 07/15/05 09:47 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Silja
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 46

Offline
Catness, thanks for the link. After consulting two different experts and the web-side with absolutely no luck, the wierd plant is most definitely staying in my office. The little Furball tends to love the poisonous plants and leave the safe ones alone, so I'm not taking any chances.

Good news about Java - hope she has a speedy recovery.

Top
#76194 - 07/15/05 01:52 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
Neko-chan is on an apparent hunger strike and I don't know what else to do with her. I tried canned food but that only seemed to give her diarrhea. She had horked up part of a plastic bag that she'd chewed on, and I was hoping that would settle her digestive system, but she still is only eating a small portion of her normal 1/2 cup a day.

Any thoughts?

Top
#76195 - 07/15/05 02:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Take her to the vet to rule out any viral or bacterial infection, or the more dire possibility of intestinal blockage first of all. It could be some plastic is still in her system. That can get nasty.

What brand of canned food are you feeding her?

Top
#76196 - 07/16/05 08:30 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

Offline
It's not actually canned food, but those Friskies' pouches. This morning, Neko-chan had eaten all of her food from the evening before and she meowed for breakfast. I see how much she eats of that today and the rest of the weekend. I can't schedule a vet appointment until Monday anyway.
Top
#76197 - 07/29/05 04:04 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lsugaralmond
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 160
Loc: London

Offline
I'm moving into a new flat in September and for the first time, it's a building that allows pets. I really really want to get a cat, but I have some concerns, and I'm hoping for some advice from the experienced cat owners amongst you.

The flat is on the ground floor, and there is a small garden at the back. However, just over the not-very-high wall at the end of the garden there are two busy railway lines, and just beyond that, there's a very busy road. So I'm very worried that if I had an adventurous cat, it might come to a sticky end.

Does anyone have any suggestions for making sure the cat doesn't leave the garden? Is there a way to make cats stay within certain boundaries? Or is it impossible?

I know sometimes you can just keep cats indoors and not let them out at all. But I've never tried this. We had cats when I was growing up and they were so well housetrained that we didn't even need a litter tray, they just went outside. So I don't know how having an indoor-only cat would work. The flat is quite small and I'm worried the smell would be a problem. Also, do cats mind never being allowed outside? Don't they whine to go out?

I'm grateful for any tips or info. I really would like to have a cat, but not if it's going to be too dangerous or if it means keeping it cooped up indoors when it doesn't want to be.

Top
#76198 - 07/29/05 07:26 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
tygrkatt
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/29/03
Posts: 574
Loc: Maryland, USA

Offline
Being an indoors cat really depends on the temperment of the cat. Mine has gotten out a few times and it scares him to death. That may come from being a stray when I found him yea many years ago, but the same with my mom's cat and we got him from a shelter as a kitten. If a cat only knows being an indoor cat, they don't mind at all. As to size of the flat and potential for smell, as long as the litter box is cleaned regularly that's not a problem at all.
Top
#76199 - 07/29/05 07:41 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Offline
 Quote:
Also, do cats mind never being allowed outside?
Not in my experience. Our cat used to be an indoor-outdoor cat, but hasn't been outside in years. Sometimes she wants to go into the hallway of our apartment building, but she walks three steps and then rolls around on the carpet. Most of our friends and relatives also have indoor cats, with no problem.

Cats kept indoors live much longer than outdoor cats. If you get a kitten and never let it out, it won't know any differently.

I used to have a neighbor who took her cats into the yard on leashes to give them a little "outdoor time." I think you have to train the cats from kittenhood for this, but it's an option.

As for litterboxes, we clean ours daily, as soon as we see it's dirty, and we have no problem with smell.

Top
#76200 - 07/29/05 08:18 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

Offline
Our cat was born on a farm and never went inside a house for the first three months of his life. The farm cats had a shed that was all theirs, so they could get out of the weather and be warm. He's been an indoor/outdoor cat for as long as we've had him, and he's seventeen years old now. I know that indoor cats on average live longer, but I think Nickey wouldn't have been happy as an indoor cat. It also depends on where you live, whether it's near a busy road, or if you're out in the woods where a wild animal could get them. Out cat's mom was killed by a fisher-cat, which was pretty horrible. In my heart of hearts, though, I still believe that it's better to have a good life than a long one. Nickey has certainly enjoyed his life, and he's pretty much in retirement now. I suppose it's only luck that he's made it this far. The most serious health problem he's had was a thyroid tumor, which seems unrelated to whether he was outside or in.
Top
#76201 - 07/29/05 10:32 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
GingerCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/03
Posts: 784
Loc: Philadelphia

Offline
Chiming in to agree with those who recommend keeping your cat inside at all times. I've had three cats, my sister has two, and my family had one--all were indoor cats, and all were/are very happy. They'd previously been strays, from the animal shelter, and from a pet store, respectively, but all of them did well indoors.

My first cat was a stray I took in, and it turned out she'd contracted feline leukemia during her "previous life" as an outdoor cat. What she and I went through when she relapsed . . . well, I wouldn't wish it on any cat lover. So that's another thing to consider--all the diseases your cat can catch outdoors. Vaccines are rarely 100 percent effective.

My advice is the same as that given by some others here--get a kitten or cat, get it fixed, and keep it indoors. It'll be fine.

As for the smell, I agree that as long as you clean the box every day there will be no lingering odor. My place is pretty small too, and not very well ventilated, but I've never had a problem.

Top
#76202 - 07/29/05 10:54 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
I am adamantly opposed to allowing cats out of doors, with a couple of caveats:

1. Depends on the location.
2. Depends on the cat.

lsugaralmond is in the UK, yes? While things are different there, culturally, with regards to letting cats out, the proximity of the road and rail tracks... eh, no, I wouldn't let the cat out. If you lived in the middle of nowhere or a really small town? Why not then?

A cat who has spent his or her entire life indoors isn't missing anything -- they can't miss what they've never had. It's the same argument I have had with people who want to wait to spay their cat until kitty has had a litter so that "kitty can have the experience of being a mother, the full experience of being a cat." (Which I think, reveals a great deal more about the owner's pathology than the cat's actual needs, but let's not get into that.) We're not talking purebred cats here, we're talking your ordinary tabby. Leave breeding to the licensed, qualified breeders, your cat will never know what she's missing -- the world does not need another litter of kittens.

Ahem, sorry, different rant.

Understand that when you let a cat outdoors, you're not just letting them out into the yard or garden, you're setting them free in a complex network of territories which have already been established by other cats (feral and domesticated), dogs, and all variety of city/country animal life. You cat will have to fight for his or her place in it.

Additionally, cats who go outside are much more susceptible to disease and abuse. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is an airborne disease and as GingerCat has rightly said, no vaccine is 100% effective.

I can go on and on about this and oh look I did .

As for the poo-poo box, as long as you scoop it once or twice a day and change out the litter once a week, there is no smell.

Top
#76203 - 07/29/05 10:55 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SoIAmGlad
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 193
Loc: Pennsylvania

Offline
I have what I think is a happy indoor cat (he was a stray for part of his early days, so that might explain why he's not anxious to leave the security of his home). He's about 4 or 5 years old, extremely affectionate, has all his claws, and is generally well behaved.

My problem is that he really likes clawing at rugs. This is pretty much my fault. When I first adopted him, I was living in an apartment with an area rug that belonged to me and a runner in the hallway that was also mine. I didn't mine when he clawed those rugs since they were nearly indestructible berbers. Now, in my current apartment, I've got a regular pile carpet. He claws at it, and then sometimes he eats the rug fuzz he pulls out.

He's got a scratching post and a mat that releases catnip when he claws it in addition to his other toys. I've scolded him (sharp tone of voice only) when he claws the rug. I cannot seem to stop it though. I don't know what makes him do it, but he's really damaging the carpet (which isn't mine). Any suggestions other than declawing him? I'm not willing to do that, but I do trim his claws regularly.

Top
#76204 - 07/29/05 11:01 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
SoIAmGlad, where is his scratching post located? Is it out of the way in a boring place? Is it away from the main entry in the house?

Cats scratch for a couple of reasons, the main one being to mark their territory, especially boy cats. Get one of those cardboard ones and put it near the main entrance to your house or in the location where the cat keeps scratching the carpeting. That way your cat can do what he's trying to do which is let everyone who comes in know what a big, brave, strong cat lives there.

If his scratching post is not in the main room or the spot where you hang out the most, he's not gonna use it. Put it near a window or the corner of the living room and make sure he has plenty of room around it to fully stretch out when scratching.

Also, if the post is covered in carpet, you're only sabotaging yourself. Get one which is covered with sisal. Not only is it more exciting for the cat, it's sending him a message that clawing the carpet is not fun.

Lastly, just correcting or scolding him isn't enough. He'll just say "Oh, I shouldn't do this when she's in the room." Every time you catch him clawing in the wrong spot, gently say "no", pick him up and put him at his post. The message you're trying to send is "not here, HERE." At the post, praise him when he uses it. Praise him lavishly. Cats really only respond to redirection and praise. Scolding just goes in one ear and out the other. You have to redirect his instincts to the appropriate place.

Top
#76205 - 07/29/05 11:12 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SoIAmGlad
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 193
Loc: Pennsylvania

Offline
 Quote:
Originally posted by Catness:
SoIAmGlad, where is his scratching post located? Is it out of the way in a boring place? Is it away from the main entry in the house?
I have a sisal post that's under a window in the main room of the apartment, but it's well away from the entry way where he does most of his scratching. I'll try a second, cardboard one there so I can redirect him to something that's still where he wants to mark.

I may still get my deposit back!

Top
#76206 - 07/29/05 11:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
I'll agree with everything Catness just said, with one addition: Don't get discouraged if your kitty doesn't like the cardboard-type scratching things. My cat Stewart didn't take to it his at all, but loves his tall sisal-covered scratching post. It all depends on the cat -- some cats just prefer a sturdy place to scratch that doesn't move out from under them, others love to stand on the cardboard thingy and dig in.
Top
#76207 - 07/29/05 11:27 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
SoIAmGlad, you can also check out the awesome Georgina's advice on page one of this thread for scratching ideas.

Yep, shrew, only the Phooka likes the cardboard thingy. He likes it by the door and to dig in then sit on it and stare. The girls couldn't possibly care less.

Top
#76208 - 07/29/05 02:13 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
SoIAmGlad
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 193
Loc: Pennsylvania

Offline
At this point, trying several scratching ideas will still be more cost effective than getting charged for new carpet, so I'm game to investigate the possibilities.

Thank you both for the advice!

Top
#76209 - 07/29/05 04:14 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

Offline
I thought of one more thing... I discovered when shopping for scratching posts that it's best, if possible, to find a locally-owned place that gets the posts from a local supplier. They're a lot cheaper that way, because the big chain places are tacking on the costs of shipping that big heavy chunk of rope-covered pine. In my case, the cost difference was at least $20, although your results may vary.

I only mention it because a lot of privately-owned places get the rep of being more expensive than the big pet supply outlets.

This only applies, of course, if you decide you need a new/additional post... I understand that you already have a post, so feel free to disregard.

Top
#76210 - 07/30/05 04:36 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Silja
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 46

Offline
 Quote:
Mine has gotten out a few times and it scares him to death.
This has only happened once in our household, but, oh my, the reaction was the same. She got about 3 meters away from the front door, stopped mid-flight, realised that something was very, very wrong in Catville, and came flying back in. She spent the rest of the day freaking out, and didn't go near her favourite look-out post in the living-room window for several days.

lsugaralmond, I had many of the same concerns, when I was asked, if I would take on my kitty, but it has turned out just fine. The flat is smallish, but it works okay for her. The only thing that sometimes bothers me is the smell of her food. But, hey, she has to put up with al my human odors, so I live with it.

SoIAmGlad, just a small addition to the exellent advice given above. I have two scratching-post, one in the living room and one that I move around the rest of the flat as the need arises. The little one tends to fall in love with different spaces at different times, and needs to make sure that everyone else - me - knows this. And voila, a scratching-post magically appears to keep my carpets and furniture safe. It works well for me and her.

Top
#76211 - 07/30/05 10:05 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
pagopago
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 191
Loc: Colorado

Offline
I have two indoor cats and one outdoor cat. Annabelle the Evil was raised outside, and taught no manners inside. She moved in with us a year ago and has never been happy staying inside with the other two lifers.
I declared her an outdoor kitty several months ago and I'm certainly happier, and she loves being outside. We gave her a collar and a tag, and I have no more qualms.
The two indoor kitties have always been inside, and have never seemed unhappy or tried to escape outside.

Top
#76212 - 07/31/05 09:07 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
I left my back door open in the midst of spring cleaning this year, and the brave kitty Joe ventured onto the patio, promptly went back inside, looking at me like "there's no air conditioning out there," and plopped down on the sofa.
Top
#76213 - 07/31/05 10:01 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
As I said, depends on the cat, depends on the location.

The Phooka thinks he wants to go outside, as he's fallen out the window enough to get a taste (we live in a basement apartment), but gets scared once he's there and then I have to go tramping through the garden, usually in my bathrobe at 2am, to get him.

He gets um... "lost" you see. He can't make the connection between the window he just fell out of and using it as a means to get back in the house.

Yeah, I know, he's really not bright, but ...

Top
#76214 - 07/31/05 01:21 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Ludmilla
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 302
Loc: USA

Offline
One of our cats would climb a tree to get on our roof and then meow until someone helped her get down. Not sure why she objected to getting down via the tree.

I had one old cat who loved the AC. Every time I ever went on a trip, even though the car was sufficiently cooled, she would pant in the most melodramatic fashion until you turned the blower right on her. Then she'd settle down and I do believe she smiled.

Cats sure are quirky creatures.

Top
#76215 - 08/01/05 02:55 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
lsugaralmond
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 160
Loc: London

Offline
Thanks for all the advice everybody. I'm going to look into getting a cat that has the right temperament for staying indoors. The shelter I plan on going to does have some cats that they think are better to suited to being 'indoor only' so I'll ask for one of them.
Top
#76216 - 08/03/05 10:30 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
The indoor/outdoor thing is a battle for me, because all three of our cats love being outdoors and fly around the garden as if they've just been set free in paradise. We have a six-foot high fence completely enclosing a large yard that's filled with plants, trees, rodents, and what have you. After a couple of escapes when he first started going out (and some filling in of possible cracks in the fence), the older cat has stayed in bounds. He has plenty of critters to stalk and seems content.

So we tried the five-month-old kittens outside (they have tags, shots, etc.). The bigger one, Rosi, is pretty sedate out there, but the little one, Minx, lives up to her name. First she climbed a succession of trees and mewed helplessly... then suddenly she was on the roof, then she was prancing around outside the fence. That's when I freaked, because our house is only about 50 yards from a slow but busy road, a huge construction site, etc. With coaxing and fast grabbing, I managed to get her inside, but for now I'm saying nix on any further kitten outdoor adventures, until (a) I can figure out how she escaped or (b) she gets too big to pull a Houdini. Since I can't ensure that (b) will ever happen, I went out and bought a big kitty condo. It won't keep them from yowling to go out, but it might distract them.

Just a long way of saying that it really is hard to know whether a cat will stay in bounds, so you're probably making the right choice, Isugaralmond. It's too bad most of us don't live in safe places where cats can just wander... even if I were out in the sticks, I'd worry about coyotes.

Top
#76217 - 08/19/05 06:49 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Jerusha Mac
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/05/05
Posts: 65
Loc: SF East Bay

Offline
My cat used to be an indoor/outdoor cat but she wasn't allowed to stay outside after dark. Used to drive one of my old neighbors mad when I'd go outside and call her when it started getting dark. "Cats don't come when they're called" he insisted. Every night. And there would come Sheba, racing down the hill to come home. Ha.

I wanted her to be an indoor only cat, but she had other ideas. She once threw herself through the screen of my second story apartment to get outside. She's a bit willful. Possibly spoiled. I always worried about her to, because I tend to live with a park/resevoir/open space on one side (wild animals!) and a freeway on the other (cars). We were lucky.

Nowadays, she's 19, barely waddles around the house and has zippo interest in the outdoors (particularly since the next door neighbor's cat and I both have come to the conclusion that she should be my cat too. Neither the neighbors or Sheba are in favor of that idea at all.)

My only problem with her is food. She's diabetic (and believe me, giving her injections twice a day is cake compared to ever getting a pill down her throat) so she's supposed to be eating wet food, but she really doesn't like any brand I've tried so far. Right now she's eating Fancy Feast, but that can't be good for her, can it? Her vet seems to think that it's fine. She does have dry diabetes food that she likes.

Top
#76218 - 08/28/05 12:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
FuchsiaGroan
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 34
Loc: Vermont

Offline
My cat comes when he's called... when he feels like it. Maybe if I called at the same time every day it would work better. My landlady used to say your cats were more likely to come if you named them something with an S sound--hers were Misty and Lucy--but I don't know about that.

Our kittens (littermates) are six months old and really showing different personalities. One of them is more active and is a huge jumper--yesterday she somehow fetched all the pole toys from the top of a seven foot high cabinet and towed them up a flight of stairs into my room. The other is slower but bossier. She matured faster and may be slightly overweight. I wonder if I should worry about her not being as crazy active as the other one, and if I should limit her food. My sister thinks that will "give her a complex," but, hey, it's a cat.

Top
#76219 - 08/28/05 11:24 AM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Georgina
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 399
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Offline
I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner. Yes, outdoor cats will come when called. My mother would stand in the backyard every night and call her cat home. And the cat responded even without having any “s”s in her name.

Jerusha Mac, I can’t believe your vet would shrug his/her shoulders about feeding something like Fancy Feast to an older cat who has health problems. I find it especially odd that they didn’t at least recommend some sort of prescription food. Call around to local pet food stores (as best you can, stay away from grocery store pet foods) and see if they carry Wellness brand wet food. Previously, I could only find it at two speciality pet food stores, but now places like Pet Smart carry it. It’s very good, high-quality, high-nutrition cat food. It’s made with only human-grade meats, with no fillers or excess crap, plus it’s loaded with vegetables, fruits, and vitamin supplements. It’s the next best thing to making food yourself to feed your cats. Failing finding that, maybe something by Eukanuba; they make good, high-quality, high nutrition food too. I’m keeping my little kitty Bean’s IBS under control with diet and supplements alone, and I’m feeding her Wellness. Trust me, I did a ton of research before deciding on this food. Ask Catness.

Given your cat’s age and her health issues, you want to keep her as well hydrated as possible, so wet food’s the preferred choice. And, too, cats aren’t designed to digest dry stuff, and most dry stuff use carbohydrates to bind the food together and can contribute to weight gain and exacerbate diabetes because of the extra glucose their body produces to deal with the extra carbs. If your cat insists on dry food, Wellness also makes a dry food that’s excellent in terms of nutritional value.

Nineteen is an impressive age for a kitty to reach, Jerusha Mac. Obviously she’s had a great human at her side.

FuchaiaGroan, yes, cats have all different personalities and when they live with other cats, they set up their own hierarchy of who does what and who is where in the pecking order. I wouldn’t worry in the least that one is less active than another. They do what they do. If one kitty is boss, they tend to commandeer the food and can get overweight. Weight bears watching and, no, you won’t give the kitty a complex over keeping an eye on it. Hee.

Latest news on Bean Who Has More Issues Than Any Cat Has a Right to Have. My Princess kitty decided that her tail had too much fur and probably one spot on her tummy too. Her tail is pretty funny looking these days what with all of the fur yanking going on. The vet, Catness, and I agreed that it’s a stress response. Bean’s had to deal with all sorts of huge changes in the past few months. The vet’s recommendation was camomile, although I did purchase Rescue Remedy too as another choice. The vet said that the camomile might “take the edge off” of Bean’s anxiety. Lo and behold, it does so. I couldn’t find just loose camomile, so I bought camomile tea at the vitamin/health food store and tear open the tea bags. There’s nothing else in the bags except dried camomile.

The vet told me to give Bean an eighth of a teaspoon of it mixed in her food once a day. The first evening I tried it, Bean was out cold sleeping all evening. I mean, she was in such a deep sleep that even when I walked by, talked to her, or touched her, she didn’t raise her head to acknowledge me at all. I kept checking to make sure she was breathing, and periodically she’d flick her tail around, but none of the usual response of raised head and stare at me to see why I was bothering her. I decreased the dose to a sixteenth of a teaspoon. Success.

The fur pulling hasn’t stopped entirely but at least now when I come home from work I don’t have to vacuum the living room every day. It’s decreased by, I’d say, about 90%. She still picks periodically, but way, way less. And she’s her normal self, eating well, playing lots, and annoying me all night while I try to sleep. It seems to be doing what the vet hoped for -- taking the edge off. So I will now endorse camomile for anxious kitties as a first-step to calming the problem.

Top
#76220 - 08/28/05 07:15 PM Re: Neurotic Cats and Other Household Pests
Catness
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

Offline
Yep. Wellness is what we're switching our cats over to right now, as we'll be on the road and the raw meat diet isn't going to work well at all.

Wellness Wellness Wellness.

Chamomile? Really? Why didn't you tell me before, G? But at this point with Zoje, I'm trying to leave her in peace as much as possible.
<