speak to a Veterinary Behavior Technician
Paws To Speak!
Member Main Menu
Help is at your
fingertips by library, email,
Q: Why are feral kittens
so hard to tame after 7 weeks of age?
A: Kittens enter their
primary socialization period at 2 to 3 weeks of age
when the brain is primed for attachment to other
beings. As early as 7 weeks
of age, the willingness to accept others
Q: Why are some cats
more skittish than others?
critical socialization period for cats ends was
early as 10 weeks of age. If kittens are not gently
handled by people before this time, they may
be forever "skittish" around new people. Some cats
are also aloof , fearful or aggressive due to
Q: What can
be done to help a cat bond to the people in the
socialized cats can
gradually learn to accept individual people, but
only after a lengthy period of trust building and positive learning experiences.
Hand feeding is one way to build trust.
Q: What is the goal of
cat gentling exercises?
Ideally, kittens are handled gently on a daily basis
in the first 10 weeks of life and introduced, in non-frightening ways,
to households, other pets and people of all ages.
A: The goal of
gentling exercise is to develop a gentle friendly
adult cat. Gentling can begin immediately after
birth as the newborn kitten has a sense of
smell and can imprint early humans. Ideally, the
kitten would be picked up and gently massaged and
rolled and cuddled in various positions for about 60
seconds per day.
Q: What are gentling exercises?
A: Gentling begins by hand
feeding a hungry cat and learning where your cat
likes to be stroked. On a daily basis, continue the
hand feeding and stroking. Begin by stroking the
cat's cheeks and face and gently lifting the tail.
If the cat tenses up or ears go back or tail
twitches - the cat is getting stressed. Go back to
the favorite areas or stop and go more slowly the
next day. The goal is for the cat to be relaxed and
trust you to stroke every part of his body.
What are the most important things to do when
bringing home a new cat to start out on the right
A: Confine the cat in a
small room such as a bathroom. Put food and litter box at opposite sides of the room. Add a cushy
bed near the food and water. Keep the cat confined for at least a few days
and spend as much time as you can in the room
hanging out getting to know each other. Put on a
breakaway collar and ID tag with phone numbers on
Do NOT allow a new cat outdoors for a couple
of weeks, or unsupervised for a few weeks after
that. Cats can NOT always find their way home.
Q: What can be done to help multiple cats
get along well together?
If there are other cats in the house, when you
introduce a new cat, extend the
access to rooms the new cat goes into gradually. Cats naturally seek out and claim
territory. Too much too soon can overwhelm the new
cat, create cat fights, and lead to behavior
problems. If you have more than one cat, feed hungry cats
treats on either sides of a to give a good
impression with the scent exchange. Increase the
resources such as cat beds, litter boxes, scratching
and climbing posts, available food and water. s.
Q: Why do cats stop using their litter boxes?
A: Cats value cleanliness. Some cats
have litter box and litter preferences. An
unscented, clumping type litter is the number one
choice for most cats. Some will avoid covered litter
boxes or boxes in high traffic areas. Others find
one litter box inconvenient in a large home.. In
multiple cat households, one cat may claim and guard
the litter box. The most common reason that cats
house soil is to find a clean toileting area.
Scooping twice daily is ideal, once daily may not be
enough to avoid problems. How would you like to use
a toilet that hasn't been flushed?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
are some cats aggressive to people?
A: One way to create an aggressive cat is to
physically punish the cat, creating defensive
aggression. Allowing kittens to pounce on fingers
and toes and playing slap-boxing games with cats can
also encourage aggressive behaviors. Depending on
genetics, some cats tolerate tough situations
without showing aggression. Some cats can only
tolerate small amounts of stroking and may bite the
hand that they invited minutes earlier.
Q: Can you train a cat?
learning all the time. They may run into the
kitchen at the sound of a pop top or can opener.
They may see you pick up the cat brush and run away
to toward you if they enjoy being groomed. Cats
learn to vocalize when they want to be let out or in
a door. Some learn to open cupboards and doors. A
social cat will repeat behaviors that earn praise
and your attention. Some cats will learn how to come
and sit for a treat. Many cats learn to come when
called unless the owner makes the mistake of doing
something unpleasant even one time after calling the
cat them. Cats can be trained much like puppies
using positive lure-reward methods. Cat treats should
never make up more than 10% of the cat's diet.
Q: How do you teach a
cat to come when called?
A: Before you feed your cat,
put a treat in front of your cat's nose, the slowing
walk backward. As the cat follows the treat, say
your cats name and a happy, "Come!" or whatever word
or sound you want to use every time you call your
cat. After moving back a couple of steps, give the
treat. Repeat 5 to 10 more times. Use very small
treats. Begin to call your cat before every meal.
Shake a treat jar, and call your cat. Throughout
the day, when your cat is in sight, call and give a
treat. You can
also use food treats to lure cats into a sit
position and say the word "sit" to teach
them the word for the position.. It's fun to train your cat. ALWAYS use one word
or sound to mean the same thing.
Never punish poor results, ONLY encourage and
praise. The goal is quality time together and
Q: Why are
some cats so unruly?
It is helpful if you decide from day one what your house rules will be.
For example, most people do not want cats on the
counter or tables. If the cat jumps up where he or
she is not allowed, then make shu-shu-shu
sound and clap your hands. If the cat responds
quickly by jumping back down, praise and reward the
cat. If your cat does not respond, you may need to
get sneaky and use a squirt gun. The cat must think
the water is coming from the place not from you. Do NOT let the cat see you
or your cat may learn to avoid you not the counters.
You do not want your cat to associate you with
anything bad. You can also make counters and tables unattractive by putting tin foil or
contact paper - sticky side up - on these surfaces.
Provide other options for your cat to get up high
such as an indoor scratching and climbing post. Cats
like to be up high. Praise and offer treats when the
cat hangs out in places that are acceptable. Try
catnip or treats on top of the posts to make them
even more attractive to the cat.
Q: Why should I put an ID tag on my indoor or
kitten with a nylon collar with an identification
tag attached. Put your last name and two or three
phone numbers on the tag. You don't want to put the
kitten's name or your address on the tag to prevent
someone bonding to your pet or burglarizing your
home. The best time to ID chip or tattoo your kitten
is while your kitten is under anesthesia for a spay
or neuter at 4 to 6 months of age.
Early spay or neuter
is strongly recommended to help prevent the millions
of unwanted kittens.
"Helping you raise a fabulous feline
friend for life."