Wednesday, July 3, 2013
There comes a time when every tiny kitten grows up to be a rebellious teenager and Z is no exception. We've had to "cat proof" the apartment in various ways:
- Removing the Turkish kilims except when guests come over due to scratching problems
- Doling out treats anytime the horizontal scratching box is used, so she prefers that over the carpets.
- Securing other carpets to the floor so she doesn't pull them up and attack them
- Vinyl covering over the edges of the Hans Wegner knock-off chars to prevent scratching
- Regularly clipping her claws
- Providing other scratching-post opportunities
- Cutting boards precariously lined up along the edge of the kitchen counters to keep her from jumping up there
- Cleaning the dishes on a daily basis to keep the counters 'boring'
- A cat tower so that she has one tall place that she's allowed
- A litter mat to prevent it from rolling all over the place.
- Covering office chairs she jumps on with a slipcover or a tiny custom-made 'chair hat'
- Double-securing frames to the wall so she doesn't bat at them
- Setting off a high-pitched security alarm whenever she does bad things like jump on tables, desks, etc.
- Repotting the indoor plants and covering the dirt with rocks so she doesn't go digging in there
- Dusting plants with chili pepper and hanging others outside so she doesn't eat them
- Putting smaller plants out of reach so she doesn't pull them out and use them as toys
- Playing with the cat when she gets that crazy, hyperactive look on her face.
From my reading on the Internet, the key is to make whatever experience she has (1) bad and (2) not associated with you and then to (3) provide other outlets. So there's environmental/passive hostility, such as chili pepper on the plants or cutting boards on the counters that can fall. There's also environmental boringness, like an empty kitchen sink or rocks around the indoor plants. And then there's reactive hostility & rewards like the security alarm that is loud and frightening or providing treats when good behavior is shown. You also can't leave your cat with nowhere to play out her feline instincts, and that's where outlets come in, such as scratching posts, playtime, and a cat tower.
We're seeing some gradual improvements, but in the meantime I'm living in a cat-proofed world.