Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Survival with Cats: Rule 2

Survival with Cats: Rule 2

By Dr. Meg

NEVER attempt to punish a cat for misbehavior. That creature will make you sorry every time. Instead, you can distract a feline, or you can provide plentiful toys, providing your dog doesn’t eat them.

Always remember: A cat has a job to do, which means you can either add it to your support staff or find another home with tolerant owners. The domestic cat is a relative of supreme predators.

Don’t ask a predator to be a pack animal, like a dog, unless it’s a Siamese, who MAY allow you to walk it on a leash. It will still never stop hunting, and leashes bring their own dangers.

Cat collars can become snagged on curtains, so paraphernalia which go with leashes are risky, all by themselves. Leashes in turn can become tangled when the cat jumps, and it will.

The end result of attempting to control a cat can too easily bring about its strangling. Cat lovers don’t take that risk, not if they wish to enjoy a long companionship with their favorite animal.

After owning a variety of breeds, I can attest that cats possess a long memory, and they don’t forgive attempts to make them act contrary to their genes, DNA, and every throbbing whisker.

Once, one of my cats deserved discipline for knocking my iron off my ironing board. After I restricted her behavior, she just happened to run straight through an embossed crystal vase.

That cat walked away from the destroyed vase, with no guilt whatsoever. She was my best friend, but that status meant nothing when it came to denying her natural, ingrained instincts.

I could scold until I was blue in the face. She turned a deaf ear to every entreaty to mind her manners, which, for her, meant washing her paws and face like a surgeon after every kill.

So, to keep a cat happy, it is critical to give her something to hunt. If you don’t supply toys, she will find her own prey. These include spiders, ants, flies, and spots on any wall you don’t clean.

Directing a cat toward desired prey, and away from your treasures, will keep you both happy. Yes, she’s a prima donna, but movie stars don’t come to your home every day, do they?

Her favorite toy often is right at hand. Just fold a paper napkin until it looks like a bird. Then tie a string around the bird’s body. Fly her new bird from your hand, and she will love you forever. 

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