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Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Win Territorial Battles With Your Cat

Whose House Is This, Anyway?

How to Win Territorial Battles With Your Cat

Win-win Solution

Anyone who has spent a bit of time around cats knows that they're pretty independent critters. Cats have certain ingrained needs and the only way to peacefully coexist with one is to understand those needs and adapt your surroundings to achieve a win-win situation for you and the feline in question. Going head-to-head with a stubborn cat can provide an unwelcome lesson in humility. The challenge, then, is to teach your cat that there are places certain activities are not allowed, and to show him where he isallowed to satisfy those essential needs.
Take clawing, for instance. Cats don't claw to be bratty or intentionally destructive. Their claws are an essential part of their defense system, and they need to scratch (furniture, trees, whatever) to loosen the sheaths on their claws to allow the fresh new (sharp) claw to emerge. To protect your furniture, you need to offer a more attractive clawing surface. Scratching posts are ideal for this, and when rubbed with a bit of catnip, are usually irresistible to cats. Sisal-wrapped posts are generally preferred by discriminating cats to the carpeted variety. A scratching post need not cost an arm and a leg. You can even build a pretty sturdy one yourself, or create one from a tree limb or log if you happen to have one.
Providing an irresistible substitute is the first step. Discouraging kitty from clawing your brocade furniture is next. There are a number of substances cats dislike intensely, and their odiferous presence on or near an object is a pretty good deterrant to a cat.
Whether your territorial issues with your cat arise over clawing, chewing house plants, or using your garden for an outdoor litter box, these substances used in combination or alone, can be the answer to your territorial battles with kitty.
Experiment with these:
  • Citrus
    Cats generally hate the scent of citrus. Try spraying a citrus-scented room freshener around your cat's favorite "scratching-chair," or coarsely chop citrus peel and sprinkle it just under the perimeter of the chair. It can also be used in the soil around potted plants if your cat tends to make salad from them.
  • Red Pepper Spray
    Never spray this on your cat. However, if kitty is using your flower bed for an outdoor litter box, you can spray the soil around the plants. Chances are, he'll avoid that area in the future.
  • Bitter Apple
    Doesn't the name alone make your mouth pucker? It's said to be a great deterrant to plant chewing.
  • Aluminum foil, plastic carpet protectors
    Cats avoid either the sound or the feeling of these on their feet. Strategically placed, they can discourage kitty from trespassing where he is not allowed. (The carpet protector is placed upside-down so the knobby area is on top.)
  • Commercial Preparations
    Many of these are more suitable for outdoors, and should be tested in an inconspicuous place before using in the house. You may find the odor objectionable in some of these.

  • The Cats forum boasts a number of cat lovers who combine their experiences and feline know-how to present a rich assortment of suggestions for countering behavior problems. Here is just a small sampling of solutions offered by forum members:
    Problem: Cat chewing electrical cords 
    Solution: "There is help out there. There is a product specifically designed to hide and cover external electrical wiring. It will work for electrical cords also. It is a long rectangular tube. The cover snaps or bends in place. You can permanently affix it to the wall with either nails screws or sticky two-sided tape. Once the tube is in place just put the cord inside and closes it. You will have 99% of the cord covered. There is the side benefit that you don't have to look at the unsightly cords anymore. Try asking at your local hardware or electrical supplies store." 
    From Merav3

    Problem: Cat jumping on stove and counter 
    Solution: "Last night I filled some pop cans with pennies, and strung them together like a garland. I set them up on the edge of my counter top and at 1 AM I awoke to a loud crash and scurrying...When I came out to check, poor Kismet had this look of terror on his face and the cans were on the floor. I hated to scare him so, but if this works, maybe he will stay away from the stove too." 

    Problem: Cat chewing, digging in house plants 
    Solution: "I put large shells on top of the dirt of my plant. (The kind you "hear the ocean in"). That worked great as they were a little too heavy for the cats to scratch out easily. One of my kittens used to use the flower pot as a litter box! The shell cover stopped that. I also sprayed the leaves with Bitter Apple, which did help also. Cats seem to need some plant matter/grass in their diet, so I would carry them outside to chew some grass from time to time. (In the wild, they chomp on grass routinely). I also used to tear off pieces of grass and bring it inside for them to chew on. They gather round and chow down!" 
    From GalensGranny

    One of the most frustrating as well as one of the the most enjoyable parts of sharing your home and your life with a cat is the ongoing challenge to keep ahead of him. Just when you think you've won, he pops up with another new trick.

By , Guide


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