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Kittens that are impossible to discipline


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Initial post: Jan 5, 2011 3:20:34 AM PST
My kitten is incredibly playful, i've had 2 cats before her and she is by far the craziest kitten I have ever seen, my friends and other cat owners/lovers agree.... she'll jump and run and chase things both indoors and outdoors , randomly, playing football with pieces of crumpled paper for hours, running from base to base without anybody hitting a home run ... then sit down purring with her tongue hanging out, help herself to some treats and collapse for a while , an hour later, she'll stretch, get up and its back to playing again...I love seeing her have so much fun.

My problem is that I find it so difficult to discipline her. She's toppled lamps and food, attacked sofas, randomly decides that certain shiny objects are her enemies...... apart from the mess, i'm quite worried she will injure herself when I'm not around.... She's very intelligent, but there's just no getting through to her!

I've tried making a loud noise, yelling, saying NO! loud and stern, not playing with her , even giving her a light smack , though it breaks my heart to, i even tried delaying her feeding time as punishment when she climbed up on the dining table for the millionth time but to no avail.

and oh gosh the biting... its her idea of fun... she'll pick a toe or finger and bite HARD, she'll lick to say sorry if i yell in pain but she's right there doing it again when i look away. Ive met cats who bite out of viciousness and this is not that sort of behavior, she's doing it to play , but I HAVE to cure her of the habit and I haven't a clue how to!

How do I manage such a naughty kitten!?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 6:18:39 AM PST
M. Torma says:
First of all, she's not naughty. She's a kitten and a very healthy one at that. I do not agree with your tactics at all, though it seems you are at a loss. Withholding food and hitting her are NOT the answer. As you have already found out, negative reactions do not work and should never be used on animals. All they do is make the animal afraid of you. If you had seen some of the poor animals we have rescued who have been treated in this way, you would know that to be true and heartbreaking. According to books I've read, when they nip at you in play, you are suppose to stop playing with her immediately and walk away. She will get the message, sooner or later, that her using her teeth in play as she would with her litter mates, does not bring fun results. If you are worried that she will hurt herself, you could get one of those play cages for kittens which are very affordable. Please try these things and above all, try to divert bad activity rather than waiting until it is too late. What I mean is, when you see that she is about to have a "spell" give her an interactive toy such as the mouse undercover that will occupy her energy in a positive way. PLEASE don't hit her or withhold her food! You don't want her to associate your hands with negative things like that. She needs more outlets for positive play time and it is up to you to provide them. Good luck.

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 8:07:14 AM PST
LAURA28 says:
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Posted on Jan 5, 2011 9:27:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2011 9:57:33 AM PST
Let's see if I can give you some advice. I am a current master's student in animal behavior analysis and counseling, so I think I can give you some good tips. First and foremost, no punishment in the form of hitting, smacking or anything physical. All this does is make the cat afraid of you, and it will weaken your bond to your pet. There are better alternatives that will teach the animal what not to do, motivate the animal to do what it should do, and allow you to maintain a positive relationship with your pet.

Remember that this is a kitten. Any pet owner should be aware of behaviors that are natural and normal for the species, and for the age of the animal. When a cat is young, it is learning about its environment and practicing adult behaviors (hunting, stalking, pouncing, chasing, etc.) that are specific to that species. This is how cats learn to fine-tune their natural behaviors that prepare them for adulthood. In the context of play, it is less threatening and safer, so this is where they will do it without bad consequences. Kittens are extremely active, so don't worry that your cat is abnormal.

As far as the scratching and biting is concerned, here is an explanation that may help you to understand why this is happening and how to deal with it. When kittens have littermates and other young cats around to play with, this is where they learn the appropriateness of their social interactions. Through learning and exploration of play with other kittens, they learn to inhibit their bites- they essentially learn the boundaries of what is or is not appropriate when they have other young kittens around. They all teach eachother. When the kitten is the only one in the home, who is going to teach it these appropriate interactions? You are. You should never encourage the kitten to bite, scratch or attack your hands or feet. Teach them early that this is not acceptable behavior. You need some sort of startling device that is just enough to stop the behavior, but not enough to evoke fear in to the kitten. A squirt gun or a loud noise should suffice. When the behavior has been interrupted, redirect the cat to an appropriate outlet- a toy, for example. It is best to give it toys to attack, or use toys such as wands, where you don't come in to physical contact with the kitten's mouth or claws. You can also just get up and walk away from the kitten when it plays too rough. Do this every time- you must be consistent. It is also a great idea to provide a scratching post, and reinforce the kitten for using that as well. Scratching is a means of visual and olfactory communication for a cat, so you won't be able to prevent it. Therefore, you must control it and tell the cat (through reinforcement) where the designated scratching spot is. Always praise the behaviors you want to see with a treat or affection. This reinforces to the kitten that this is what you want it to do, and it also motivates it to want to do that too.

If you are worried about your cat hurting herself when you are gone or can't supervise her, confine her to a smaller area that you have "kitten-proofed" beforehand. Give her a bed, food and water, her litterbox and some toys. Maybe a bedroom would do? Or just give her access to one area, such as the living room. Make sure there is nothing she can knock over or destroy.

Also, forget about trying to make a point by withholding food as punishment after your cat has climbed on to the table. There is a concept in behavioral analysis called temporal continuity. Basically what this means is that the longer you wait to provide the consequence of the unwanted behavior, the weaker the association between that behavior and the consequence. This is why it is useless to yell at a dog that tore up the trash 2 hours ago. They don't make the association between the action and the punishment. You would have to catch them in the act for them to understand that you don't want that behavior. What you can do instead is use an aversion technique to keep the cat off the table. Try placing aluminum foil or a shallow pan of water on the table. When your cat jumps up and lands on something unpleasant, it will quickly learn that it doesn't want to do this again. If you catch the cat jumping down from the table, reward her when she has all 4 paws on the ground. Also, reward her frequently just for being on the ground when she is near the table.

I hope this information has helped you. Good luck, and be patient with your new kitten. Discipline is not what you are seeking- it's good behavior that the cat is motivated to perform. You don't need to discipline a cat that wants to do what you want it to do too! Good luck!

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 12:07:13 PM PST
Firefly says:
If you think you can stand it, a second kitten the same age would probably help a lot. They will bounce off each other and learn their limits pretty fast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 12:36:25 PM PST
That's another good suggestion, Firefly- particularly if she is as hyper as you say she is, E.F. They can teach eachother social boundaries and you can potentially avoid any play aggression that may devleop as a result of her directing all of her playfulness toward you. That does seem like an insane suggestion to someone who feels they are having so much trouble with just one, but it actually is a common recommendation (provided that they are roughly the same age, and you are financially prepared for another cat).

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 1:53:25 PM PST
Thanks for your advice, but to be clear i dont HIT my kitten :( , i gave her a light smack on her rump once when she drew blood! and i DELAYED her feeding time, by like an hour instead of her regular time.....you make me sound like a monster!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2011 1:57:43 PM PST
Good god who are YOU people! i adore my kitten and give her the very best of care and she won't leave my side! i dont regularly withhold food, i delayed feeding her by an hour to see if that would work as i was at my wits end , and id like to see YOu not yelling if your kitten drew blood!
I also rescued my kitten from her previous owners at 6 weeks old as she had a fungal infection, ear mites and skin mites and was horribly sick, she now looks fabulous and is in the best of health .

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 2:16:44 PM PST
Finally some REAL advice instead of trying to tell me I'm a bad pet owner. Thanks Jaime and Firefly! I just told my Lulu we may need to get another kitty and judging by her purrs, I think she highly approves :)

But I think I will try a few of your interesting suggestions first, I can get some sort of loud squeaky toy and I will try the alum foil thing.

As for scratching posts, she has 3! and they are all used thoroughly, but she loves the sofa too much to give it up :( .... and she's a clever little terror, i DO reward good behavior, so I started giving her treats and scratching her ears when she used the posts, soon she caught on, and first went to the scratching post, got her treats and petting and then turned to the sofa the minute i went away. I swear she has a guilty face ...my folks tell me im spoiling her but sometimes its so hard to say no to that wide eyed little fac

she also has a habit of climbing on to my pillow while im asleep and playing with my hair and inadvertantly scratching my face, all while im asleep and I really cant think of how to stop her, I just wake up with scratches... She wont sleep anywhere but by my bed side and scratches at the door when i dont let her in so i cant see any way round that one. any ideas?

one more thing, we have a big back garden with a couple of big trees and lots of grass where she loves to play and its safe because its enclosed by high walls.. she's barely 3 months old but she's started stalking little animals ... id like to discourage her from doing this because we have a great many squirells and birds that visit regularly...or is that wishful thinking and should I let her do her thing and deal with it?

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 3:00:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2011 3:03:48 PM PST
Okay, good questions. Let's see what I can come up with.

1) Scratching the sofa- First of all, it is not spoiling your cat to reinforce desired behavior...it's exactly what you should do, so kudos for rewarding good behavior. The problem you are running in to with the sofa is that you have motivated her to use the scratching posts, but you haven't demotivated her to use the sofa. So now she thinks she simply has more options. As I stated before, scratching is a means of both marking territory and providing a sense of comfort to the cat in its area. The more the cat has used that spot to scratch, the more attracted it will be to that spot. It's like an old, worn in security blanket! I don't know where the scratch marks are on the couch, but is there any way you can cover them? You have to get rid of that visual marker that brings the cat back to that spot to continue scratching. Can you cover it with a blanket or something? Maybe a slipcover? To get the cat to avoid the area altogether, you may need some sort of deterrant like an odor that repels the cat. And of course, keep rewarding kitty when she uses the 3 scratching posts you already have. If you catch her in the act of scratching the sofa, you can use the same method of startling to interrupt the behavior and redirecting it to the appropriate spot (with praise, of course).

2) Night time mischief- As you probably know, cats are crepuscular, which means that they are most active at dusk and dawn. You haven't said exactly when your cat does this (early morning or at night?), but she is most likely trying to get your attention either to play or to feed her. You can try wearing her out before bedtime with rigorous play so that she sleeps more soundly, and feed her a meal right before you go to bed. These are suggestions for if she is doing this to get you to get up and play with her. If she is doing it so you get up and feed her, you can try maybe using a timed feeder for early in the morning or putting a little extra in her bowl before you go to bed. It seems like maybe she is playing, so I would try the first suggestion of just wearing her out so that she sleeps more soundly. As she gets older, her antics should wane.

3) Your last question is a tough one. You will inevitably run in to this problem if she goes outside, and it is an extremely difficult behavior to correct since it is so ingrained in the species. Cats don't always hunt out of hunger, so it's not really an effective suggestion to feed them before sending them outside. Maybe you can try putting a loud bell on her collar so that the wildlife are scared away before she gets close enough to attack. Otherwise, maybe you will just have to supervise her when she is outside, or find a way to keep the wildlife out of your yard (which will probably be harder to do with the birds than the squirrels). The only absolute way to prevent her from killing wildlife is to keep her indoors, which is your personal choice. I would try the bell idea and see how that works. Maybe someone else who has an outdoor cat may have a good suggestion for you......

Posted on Jan 6, 2011 7:25:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2011 7:57:47 PM PST
I need some help. My cat, Clinton, has a nasty habit of scratching the leather dining room chairs. Every time I catch him, I spray him with the squirt bottle. He keeps coming back when my back is turned. I tried the odor deterrent, and always end up either breathing it in myself or accidentally swallowing the mist. He stays away for a while, but it's a real pain in the neck that I have to keep doing it every few hours. He has his scratching post that he uses, and I sprinkle catnip on it. But no matter what I do, he keeps destroying my chairs. He'll be seven months on January 12. What do I need to do to correct this behavior?

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

Posted on Jan 6, 2011 8:13:40 PM PST
Russell,

Can you explain to me where the cat is scratching on the chairs? Is it the horizontal surface where you sit or the vertical surface (legs, etc.)? Are there visible scratch marks there now? What sort of odor deterrant have you used?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2011 8:20:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2011 8:21:15 PM PST
Jaime,

He stands on his hind legs, stretches up and scrathes the back rest on the side. He doesn't touch the wooden legs. He sometimes perches himself on top of the back part of it and digs his claws into it to. I'm using Hagen Indoor Repelent.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 7:01:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2011 7:07:16 AM PST
Okay, good enough. Well, part of the problem that you are currently running in to with him and the squirt bottle is that he hasn't formed the right association with the punishment. Now, when I say "punishment", let's forget the connotation that typically goes with that word- hitting, yelling, etc. What punishment is, in simplest terms, is providing an unpleasant consequence to an action which then causes the action to decrease or stop (positive punishment). Negative punishment is removing a pleasant consequence as a result of the action in order to get the action to decrease, like a timeout or taking a toy away from a child (just fyi, but don't worry about this. Let's focus on positive punishment for now). It doesn't HAVE to be (nor should it be) hitting or beating on the animal. It can be something as simple as the squirt gun, or the odor repellant. So when the cat does something that results in the negative consequence, it should form an association (bad or aversive feeling) that de-motivates it to want to do that again. Right now, the cat is associating the bad feeling with you and the squirt gun, and you want him to associate the bad feeling with the chair. This is why he continues to do it when your back is turned- he hasn't learned the correct association of chair= bad feeling. Make sense?

So, let's look at the de-motivating first. You tried the odor repellant, which didn't work. And the squirt gun only works when you are there. You want the cat to not scratch the chair whether you are there or not, so we need to find something that makes the chair unappealing to the cat. Are there visible scratch marks on the chair? If so, see my post above to EF DeAlwis regarding the communication aspect of scratching, and the function of the visual marker. When the cat sees the scratches it has already made, it attracts him back to the chair to keep scratching. And the more he scratches, the more difficult it will be to get him to stop. You can try creating an unpleasant surface on the back of the chair. Maybe get one of those carpet runners and drape it over the back of the chair so that if he jumps up to perch and scratch, he will quickly get down when he lands on an unpleasant surface. If he doesn't get it the first time, he may do it a few more times, but eventually he will learn to avoid jumping up on the chair because it always results in something unpleasant. I would extend the carpet runner to the seat part of the chair too , or put aluminum foil on the seat just to prevent him from moving to that part and scratching. Best to prevent him from jumping up on the chair altogether. See if this works. You shouldn't have to keep these things on the chairs forever- just especially when you are not around, so that the cat learns that he doesn't want to be on or near the chair, regardless of whether you are in the room or not. Do this maybe for a couple weeks, and see how he does. If you do catch him in the act, you can use the squirt gun, or shake a can of coins to interrupt the behavior, but try to do it as discreetly as possible. In other words, don't let him see that it is coming from you. Maybe step around the corner and shake the can. This way, he is getting the unpleasant consequence without thinking that it is coming from you. Once he is reliably staying away from the chair, maybe you can repair any damage that may already be there, just to get rid of that visual temptation to come back to that spot.

Now, we need to create strong motivation for the cat to want to use its scratching post instead. Positive reinforcement for good behavior is essential, and far more effective than just punishing the animal all the time. In essence, you are telling the animal what NOT to do with the punishment, but you want to tell it what it SHOULD do instead. And the best way to do this is to encourage and reward desired behavior. Think of it like this- as a student, would you be more motivated by a teacher that was always telling you that you are doing everything wrong, or would you be more motivated by a teacher that provides encouragment and praise for what you are doing right? Even if it's only one thing, the more you are rewarded for doing it, the more you will want to do it, so the more you WILL do it. As far as the catnip is concerned, this is a good idea and a common recommendation, but perhaps it is not reinforcing enough for the cat. He may not even be affected by it- some cats don't respond to catnip at all. So, find something he really values (a food treat, for example. My cats love the Temptation treats, and one of my cats loves tuna). You have to make it specific to your pet- what is motivating for one may not be motivating for another. So find that strong motivator and save it for the scratching post only. You don't want it to lose its value, so you need to only offer it when he is using his scratching post. If it's a food treat, you can also place it on his scratching post to attract him to that area. When you catch him actually using it, offer praise and treats so he makes that association of scratching on post= good feeling. Scratching itself is an inherently self-rewarding thing to the cat, but you just want him to create the pleasant association with where he is choosing to do it. You might also try getting more than one post. Maybe offer him some options- they make different kinds, sizes and surfaces to scratch on. Maybe he might also like one of those scratchers that is set up so that he can scratch horizontally instead of vertically. Just give him options, and consistently reward him for using those options. You don't have to reward him forever. Do it consistently at first, then you can phase down and do it intermittently. Intermittent reinforcement results in a learned behavior that lasts. If you only get the reward sometimes, you will try harder to obtain the reward, and therefore you will perform the behavior reliably. If you notice when you are phasing down that he starts to scratch elsewhere again, go back to consistent reinforcement and phase down slowly again.

You want the positive reinforcement to far outweigh any punishment, so don't rely too heavily on using the aversion techniques without plenty of positive reinforcement. It's better that your cat wants to do the right things rather than fear of doing the wrong things. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 7:10:09 AM PST
Thanks, Jaime. I'll buy some Temptations treats. The aluminum foil would've been good except he's already associated it as being a toy, especially when I roll up a ball of it and toss it on the floor. He plays soccer with it.
I'll let you know how things progress.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 7:13:07 AM PST
No problem. Keep me posted!

Posted on Jan 7, 2011 4:43:24 PM PST
JWoolman says:
"Discipline" and "cats" are two words that don't go well together... Also "Those who live with cats must gather a large supply of bandaids." Just part of the normal interspecies relationship. I get used as a stepping stone a lot for cats leaping from one place to another, and without meaning to hurt me - they can manage to scratch me up along the way. (Nurses have trouble drawing blood from me, but the cats don't.)

She's just a lively kitten - some are livelier than others. As you've figured out, she isn't malicious, just gets excited and forgets you're a human with less tough skin than her mom. A playmate of the same species would very likely help, I think cats do better with another cat around even if they're not best of friends, and kittens are very likely to keep each other entertained regardless especially if you have to be away from home. (Feuds get going later...). I had a very lively one once, drove me and the 10 year old cat nuts for the first few months especially, but she did calm down more as an adult although she stayed lively enough. The kitten enjoyed playing with the older cat, too, once the older cat got over the shock. So don't overlook the option of getting a "mom" (either gender) for the kitten also, a mellower adult who can teach her The Way of the Cat.

Meanwhile - kitten-proof everything you can, and be patient. If she's chewing at wires or cables - you can get some plastic tubing, split it, and use it as a sheath to protect wires and cables. Also distract her with loads of other things to chew on, but you need to think about what she could do when you're not right there. It's just like baby-proofing, except the baby can run and leap and claw and bite and gets left alone for hours with nothing better to do than cause trouble ... One trick to keep a cat from jumping on top of certain things is to just put things on the surface that don't provide a flat surface. I fashioned some cardboard "hats" for a copier out tray that was way too attractive for the feline staff, for instance, likewise on top of monitors or desks. Something that you can easily take off for use, but the cat looks at it and says "Hmm, no space to land". I also use self-stick velcro to keep the cats from knocking vital things like keyboards and trackballs and modems off my desk. I also protected certain spaces (such as on top of the printer or a rolling table - I basically live in an office) by putting shallow box tops (ones from cases of paper are the ideal size) secured with velcro strips on top of them, so the cats could enjoy the perches without my worrying about kitty hair, kitty upchuck etc. Everything kitty-related was well contained and easy to clean or replace. A toy placed in the box was fun, cats like to have confined spaces for their simulated hunts (also their real hunts - my cats have dumped poor mice and bunnies inside boxes and even litter boxes to see them run around). Cats need to live vertically, so it's unreasonable to think they should stay at ground level like dogs. You might look for the wide variety of cat trees available for your living space - gives the cats a place to call their own, up high as nature intended. And if your kitten is busy climbing up to the highest perch, you might get some respite and use fewer bandaids on yourself.

Remember cats are gamblers, hence the need for consistency in your reaction. You might try growling, hissing, and even human-type tears if she does something really outrageous... Worked with mine! Don't overdo, the shock value is what's effective. Once I was really tired, in bed, when The Kitten from H--- started messing around with all the cables for the tv/vcr/game systems. Instead of yelling at her to stop it (never worked), I just genuinely whined teary-voiced about how tired I was and how I couldn't deal with yelling at her right now. She stopped and came over to see what the heck was going on with me ... She also reacted to hissing and growling when "Stop it!" did nothing. It helps to be bilingual.

The only behavior you really need to work on is the using claws/teeth on you - this will be riskier for you as she gets bigger. Definitely stop playing at that point (she's really just over-stimulated when that happens). I say something like "No, you DON'T ever bite me" in a different "stern" voice when a cat does that to me (my 12 year old came with the habit when he was 8 years old...). Talking to a kitten is like talking to a brick wall, but eventually she'll figure you out. Just keep trying to explain how you feel, she'll pick up English eventually. And make it easier for her to follow your rules by making it harder to break them, without killing her spirit.

Forget about any "corporal punishment". Even lightly tapping a cat on the nose in such situations is pretty counterproductive - just stimulates them more and they probably are having some trouble figuring out why you did it. Their mom (or any older cat who's mentoring them) can get physical when teaching them manners, but the communication is much, much better between cats than between humans and cats.

Don't withhold food - she won't make the connection, and hunger will just make her livelier (helpful hint if you ever need to encourage exercise in a cat - don't rush to refill the food bowl, let them run around for a while before breakfast...). Kittens need to eat frequently, not a good idea to restrict them. They're basically always in a growth spurt. But any cat of any age gets ornery when hungry too long and even an hour is very very long to a kitten especially. Note that cats never seem to respond well to "Wait a minute" or "Later". No feline equivalents, apparently.

One other thing to try if you leave the kitten alone for long periods - now they have cd's aimed at cats and dogs to keep them happy while their people are away. There are certain kinds of music that relax them - depends on the instruments and the beat. Some of the cd's have human voices interspersed, which can freak out a cat until they get used to it... But others are just instrumental music of the right type, sometimes altered to get to the cat-friendly rhythm. I've tried them myself (I wanted something that would remind a cat of home when she had go to the vet frequently, I could put mp3's on my cell phone), some are quite relaxing for humans, too (although some are too intense for me, but maybe it was the stress of my friend's medical situation). Amazon has a bunch of them. I think you can buy individual ones as mp3's to try on your Problem Child also.

Also some cats enjoy having the tv or radio on when they're by themselves - there are also dvd's out there aimed at cats that could be run on an endless loop. Depends on what kind of tv shows your kitten likes... One cat here was a Tarzan fan! Well, at least the intro. But every cat reacted strongly to a PBS documentary about cats whenever the "cat fight" segment came on. They came up to the tv and sniffed it. Another cat was fascinated by screen savers with rapidly changing geometric patterns - she was the one who really liked to watch and paw at video games also. So they all have their own taste in such things.

Good luck to you both...

Posted on Jan 7, 2011 5:17:10 PM PST
Thanks for the advice. I've had my share of scratches on my hands and feet, but it's less than it was before. Whenever I'm home I have the squirt bottle on me like Dirty Harry has his gun.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 7:51:43 PM PST
BreyerRose says:
Probably the best thing you could do for both you and your kitten would be to get another kitten with a similar energy level. Kittens need to play, to rough house, to run, jump, climb etc. Kittens usually grow up in litters and they are not meant to have only a human to play with. Other kittens will teach her how hard NOT to bite by yelping when bitten too hard. They learn from each other. They may still knock over lamps if the lamps are not in safe places. They may still attack sofas, although they are more likely to attack each other in mock battles than to play make believe with real or imaginary objects. They will chase a laser light for hours or jup amazingly high to catch the feather on the string which represents "bird" to them. They are learning to hunt and capture things. Just as you would baby-proof a house so your toddler doesn't hurt himself, you will need to kitten-proof your house so your kitten doesn't hurt herself. There is nothing a kitten enjoys more over the holidays than a Christmas Tree secured to the ceiling by a heavy duty plant hook and decorated with stuffed mice, feather toys and the like, none of it electrical and none of it breakable.

As for disciplining a cat, it is not in the nature of cats to be disciplined. They are not pack animals like dogs. Dogs obey their pack leaders, but cats obey themselves. Cats can be trained, but not by negative reinforcement, i.e. "discipline." They need motivation. Your job as a human is to figure out what that is and give it to them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 7:54:58 PM PST
BreyerRose says:
Just keep her nails clipped. She needs her claws but she does NOT need them to be long and razor sharp unless she is hunting for a living, which she is not.

Posted on Jan 7, 2011 8:07:11 PM PST
@Breyer I clip his claws regularly, I don't like to do so because he always squirms and I'm afraid of clipping too deep.
As for getting him another cat, hmmm, I think not. He's a handful for my place as it is.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 8:11:48 PM PST
BreyerRose says:
Suggestion for claw clipping training for kittens: If you use a clothespin on his scruff, it's like the Mother hold. Scruffing seems to make them relax, and using a clothespin on his scruff is like having a third hand, leaving your other two hands to handle the claw clipping. You dont have to clip much, just blunt the needle points frequently. As for scratching objects, they really love those cardboard scratchers. Invented by old hippies like me who got tired of all their record album covers being shredded.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 8:27:16 PM PST
Scruffing the cat with a clothespin is a great idea. I never thought of that. I just need to "permanently borrow" some clothespins from my mother the next time I pass by. Thanks, I'll try that.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 8:51:35 PM PST
BreyerRose says:
One clothespin works for a kitten. For a bigger cat, it may take two. If you start them as kittens, by the time they are big, they don't need scruffing, they just calmly let you clip the claws.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011 9:00:12 PM PST
I should hope so. He'll be eight months soon which is when I was told would be a good age to get him vaccinated and neutered.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Cats forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  33
Initial post:  Jan 5, 2011
Latest post:  Feb 21, 2011

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