Saturday, October 6, 2007

Remedy For a Bored Cat - Take Him For A Walk

Many cats living their lives constrained indoors get bored out of their minds. There is just not enough stimulation for them, not much new to watch, nothing warm and furry to catch, even the smells tend to be the same.

Behavioral studies regarding psychological problems in cats show that cats that are constrained inside the house show a significant signs of boredom and depression. These often go unnoticed since cats cannot verbally or even physically tell their owners that they are bored and depressed. Often, boredom will manifest itself in a destructive behavior such as scratching furniture, or litter box problems, spraying etc. An easy way to overcome boredom and resulting cat behavior problems is to let our cats outdoors, but only if they are fully under control.

There's nothing strange about taking a dog for a walk, but taking a cat, well that's a whole new ballgame. Though taking a cat for a walk is not as difficult as it may seem. With a little patience and a very secure cat harness, it is possible.

There are a few steps to take that will eventually allow you to take your cat outdoors, in a safe and secure manner.

Start by purchasing a cat harness and lead. These are available from your local veterinary surgery or pet supply store. If they don't have any in stock you can also use a very small dog harness, the size that is appropriate for a Chihuahua.

Introduce the harness to the cat slowly, leaving it near its bed and food bowls on a regular basis, over a period of days. Attempt to put the harness on the cat when it no longer appears interested in it. Continue putting the harness on for a two week period, until the cat accepts the harness as part of the daily routine.

The final step is to lead the cat outside, in small bursts only, for just a few seconds at a time. Each day, increase the amount of time spent outside. After a week or two of this, your cat should be very comfortable with the harness and with being outside.

If you have reached this step, congratulations. You can now start to slowly walk your cat for short distances. Soon enough your cat will be sitting at the front door waiting for you to take it for a walk.

Have a look at this hilarious video how a cat walk can look like:

Walking your cat is not only a great way to relieve their boredom; apart from stimulating their senses, walking will exercise their body and hopefully save some of your household furniture from scratches. It may also help to prevent and/or solve cat behavior problems commonly seen with boredom such as urine spraying, excessive meowing, overgrooming, aggression etc. Give it a go, your cat will thank you for it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

How to keep your cat off that table

It'so tempting for cats to jump up on tables or kitchen tops especially if they are used to find anything yummy up there ... and there are so many new objects to explore, to sniff and stick the head in. But for us humans it is usually not so pleasant anymore when we find a broken glass on the floor or cannot find that expensive ham that we forgot to put back in the fridge.

So how to stop your cat jumping on top of a table?

Here is one way to do it: cover the table with a sticky tape. Not always very practical but seems to be very effective and you may have a good chance that your cat will get the message pretty fast (watch the video)

This is a good way to teach the cat to stay away from table tops even when you are not there.

Another training technique you could use is to cover the table top with an aluminum foil - most cats hate to walk on such surface.

Or, get a water pistol and squirt water on the cat if you see it jumping up on table. Of course, with this one you need to be there and catch your cat on the deed.

Click here to get a Cat Training course.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How to Avoid Cat Fights - Aggression Between Cats

You have an impression that your cat feels lonely and you decide to get another cat to keep him company. You know your existing cat is tolerant of children and other pets, but what will happen when you bring the new cat home?

It may surprise you, but even cats who have been house mates for many years - even siblings - can become aggressive and territorial if one of them is gone for even a few days. So if you have two cats and take one to the vet overnight you may be starting at square one when bringing the cat home. It is important to have some techniques in your 'bag of tricks' to deal with this situation should it occur.

Cats are VERY territorial. They will easily adopt an entire house whether it's 700 square feet or 3000.

The first and most basic step to take is to give the new, or returning cat, a secluded area within the home along with it's own litter box and feeding dishes. This allows the original cat to have 'ownership' of most of the home while allowing both cats to become familiar with each other's scent.

If the secluded area can be viewed through a glass door the cats will also have opportunity to view each other without physical contact.

It is important to avoid ANY aggressive acts on the part of either cat.

Start introducing them into the same physical space by using feeding or playing times together. This will keep their attention on the task and not each other. It will also cause them to associate good things with the other cat's presence. This is the ONLY time the cats should be in the same area.

At first you may wish to have them feed at a good distance from each other with some barrier such as cages or harnesses. This will prevent any attacks or retreating.

The activity MUST engage them. If they are not eating then they are still having too much anxiety. Try more distance or possibly use a spray like Feliway which is a synthetic pheromone spray. Although not proven, it replicates the natural cat pheromone that is friendly and may calm anxiety when sprayed around the home.

Once the cats are willing to eat or play separately and at a protected distance, than you might try rubbing the cats with the same towel and mixing their scents - or alternating the cages so they become accustomed to each others smell during feeding.

It requires a lot of patience to introduce cats. Very slowly decrease the distance from each other. When they are able to eat fairly close and confined then increase the distance again and allow them to eat with no confinement. Slowly decrease the distance and never allow unsupervised contact until you are confident in their behavior.

If serious problems still persist you may find a solution in a cat behavior and cat training course, which usually cover feline aggression; you can even purchase and download such course from the internet, or contact your vet and ask for advice. In the worst case you may have to consider one cat being removed from the home or keeping them in separate areas indefinitely.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Walking a Cat

I found this cool video of a cat taking its first walk
It takes a little time to get to this stage. Your cat will need to get used to the harness and leash, and that does not always go down very well at first. But with a little patience and a gentle approach your cat soon will be asking to be taken for a walk.

Learn more about CAT TRAINING: How to easily Train Your Cat

Friday, March 9, 2007

Horrifying Report on Commercial Pet Food

This post is not directly related to cat training but I had to publish it here after reading this shocking report on dog food. Same principles apply to commercial cat foods.

What shocked me was not the fact that commercial foods contain chemicals and preservatives which can be harmful for our pets. It was not a surprise for me to hear that even brands labeled as 'chemicals & preservatives free' or 'all natural' are in fact not necessarily free of these harmful substances. Manufacturers are not obliged to list the preservatives and chemicals if they didn't add them themselves.

What shocked me was the so called 4 D's - what AAFCO permits to be used as an ingredient in dog foods!!! Euthanized pets (with phenobarbitone in their bodies) including collars, ID tags and bags ... Truly shocking, disgusting and petrifying. You can read about it here:

Urgent Press Release For Dog Owners

Scary. I have 2 cats and 4 dogs - have I been feeding this stuff to them all these years? I don't know about you, but I am definitively going to change their diets! Cats too, the principle is the same...

Cat Behavior and Training Secrets

Friday, February 16, 2007

Toilet Training VIDEO: Cat in Action

This video exactly shows how a toilet-trained cat should go about its business. Really funny. Watch the cat in full action:

Cool, he?

And here's another toilet training method:

Measure the widest diameter of your toilet and buy a metal bowl which will sit in it securely. You may need to make some adjustments. Do not buy anything from plastic; it is just not strong enough to support cat's weight and could bend and break. You will also need to buy some flushable litter at this stage so your cat has time to get accustomed to it.

Gradually move the litter box closer to the bathroom. Allow a few days for cat to get used to each new position. Once the box sits next to the toilet and your cat is used to it, you can start to raise it higher until it is leveled with the toilet. Make sure the box is stable and cannot flip over. At this point, you should place the metal bowl in the toilet. Wait a few days until the cat is comfortable using the litter box at this level.

Now is the time to make the transition from litter box to the bowl. Fill the bowl with the (flushable) litter the cat is used to and take the litter box away. Wait a week or two to give the cat time to feel comfortable with using the bowl.

Then gradually reduce the amount of litter in the bowl until there is no litter at all. Wait again until the cat is used to eliminate in the empty bowl. If the cat's feet are still resting in the bowl at this stage, you can fill it with water as cats don't like to get their feet wet. This should help the cat to learn balance on the seat. Wait again. Then cut off the bottom of the bowl so that all eliminations fall straight into the toilet water. Wait a few days and then take the bowl away. Voila, your cat is toilet trained.

And did I say they couldn't flush the toilet? Watch this:

P.S. If you have questions about cat training or would like to see a posting on a specific cat behavior training subject just post it in the comments below.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Training Your Cat to Use The Toilet

Cats are wonderful pets but cleaning the litter box can be a real drag and I am not talking about cat behavior problems associated with the use of litter box. But what if you could train kitty to use the toilet? Instead of dealing with messy, smelly litter, you could eliminate your cats elimination with just one flush!

When training your cat to use the toilet, it's best if you have two toilets in the house. Using one just for the cat and one for yourself during the training period will make things much more convenient although you can train your cat with only 1 toilet.

For toilet training your cat you will need an aluminum tray that fits into the toilet as well as an aluminum tray as a replacement for his litter box. The idea is to get him used to the aluminum tray in the same spot his box is usually in and then the tray in the toilet won't seem so foreign.

Keep the litter box in it's original spot but replace the box with the aluminum tray instead. Use the same litter and keep everything else the same.

Gradually move the litter box closer to the toilet. Don't move it too far each time and make sure your cat knows where it is by taking her over to it and scratching her paws in it. If your cat stops using the box, you are probably going to fast for her so slow down. Training a cat to use a litter box is a process that takes a long time so patience is key.

Once the cat is using the litter box next to the toilet, raise it an inch off the floor. make sure you use something that will keep the box stable and where the box will not slide off. Gradually, raise the box an inch higher until it is level with the toilet. As it gets higher the cat will have to jump up into it so it is critical that the box is stable, if it tips over this will scare your cat and she might not want to use it again.

At this point, you should have the tray ready in the toilet. You can use a cooking tray that is wide enough to fit the toilet. Put the tray in between that seat ring and the toilet base - make sure this holds it in place. Put some of the litter the cat is used to (make sure you use flushable litter) in the tray.

Leave the litter box level with the tray in the toilet for a couple of weeks, gradually taking away the litter in the box. Eventually, the cat should just jump up and use the tray on the toilet. Once this is happening regularly, take the litter box away.

The next step is to gradually reduce the amount of litter that is in the tray on the toilet. Also, make a little hole in the tray. Each day, reduce the litter more and make the hole a bit bigger. Do not move to fast on this or your cat might not feel comfortable using it. Eventually, you can remove the tray all together and your cat will be toilet trained!

Since your cat needs to balance on the toilet seat eventually, it is not recommended that you train cats that are too young. Wait until your cat is about 6 months old so that he is big enough to balance on the toilet seat. One important point that should be obvious is that once your cat starts using the toilet - you MUST leave the toilet lid open at all times - the cat can't open it himself!

Changing any cats behavior is a process that requires patience, so don't rush it. Toilet training your cat can take several months, but when your cat is trained you will have eliminated the smell and mess of a litter box. Now the only problem you will have is remembering to knock next time you want to use the bathroom as your cat may be using the toilet!