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#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

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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, Iíve 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.

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#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

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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.

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#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

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Gack to Houston summer temperatures. Oh the humidity. About the carsickness, sweetcheeks, Iíd recommend phoning your vet. Iíve read before Ė though I canít remember where or when Ė about being able to give cats who donít like to travel tiny doses of Gravol to calm them down. I canít, 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. Heíd shake his head while getting sick, and vomit flew everywhere. Thatís a whole other story, though.)
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#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

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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.

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#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

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I just knew Catness would have good advice on this question. I think I need to get my hands on that book.
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#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

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Catness ought to write a cat care book of her own! You're so helpful here, C. I really appreciate all your thoughtful posts.
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#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

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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.

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#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

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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.

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#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

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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.

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#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

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Iím hoping that Catness , or someone with equal cat wisdom is lurking about and has a suggestion about giving a cat a pill. Hereís the deal.

My kitty Bean had exploratory surgery yesterday due to a recurring, mysterious illness that hasnít been identified by non-invasive testing. Weíre 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. Sheís 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 ďif neededĒ. 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. Weíre done.) I sit on the floor, on my knees, behind Bean with one knee on either side of her. That way she canít 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, Iím asking. Does anyone have any tricks, suggestions, ideas, other methods, anything? I havenít 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 Iím 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.

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