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Cat Anger and Frustration

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody!

I'm new to this forum and new to cats (I had a cocker spaniel when I was a kid).

I've had my little Skeemer for about two months and a half now. He was a five month old stray given by a friend of mine.

I've been trying to research as much as possible on the web to learn about the great indoor/outdoor debate. What I have been doing up to now is taking him out on a leash about twice a week. In my view it's better than keeping him inside ALL the time, and it's safer then allowing him out on his own in the neighborhood. It's basically a good compromise to the either/or challenge, or so it seems.

But now I have a new problem: a whining cat. Last night after going to bed (I live in a studio) he just started miawing and whining non-stop to get out again. At one moment he jumped on my bed. I grabbed him and said: HEY! I'm not happy with you right now, buddy! I put him back on the floor and then added: Now shut the F*** up!

After that I think I only heard a miaw or two, and then he quieted down.

In the morning I could feel he was seething with resentment, if not with revenge. He spilled half his food bowl and didn't eat any.

This is my problem with taking him out on controlled leash walks: it causes whining and anger (on both sides) later on.

Perhaps last night I made the mistake of taking him out after dark: he is much less controllable and wants to run around everywhere.

What could I possibly do? No more walks? I really believe deep in my heart that a cat deserves a right to go outside and not be enclosed in all day where he will become lethargic and fat.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
post #2 of 14
First, I'm sure you'll be getting a lot of suggestions from more experienced people than I, but, I was thinking that first your little guy is just a little guy -still a kitten, verging on teenage-hood. And you may have scared him badly by grabbing and yelling at him when he was just hoping to have fun with you.

I was told that when a cat starts meowing for, let's say, breakfast at 3:00 am, the best, if toughest, thing to do is simply ignore him. If you react in any way, you are giving attention.

And, cats are creatures of habit - if you're able to take him for regular walks at a regular time, he'll learn what, and when, to expect this big adventure! Cats learn best by positive reinforcement - yes, I know there are times that's not easy to do, but it really works better.

Hopefully he's eating now - what kind of cat is he?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey Darli, thanks for your reply.

I don't think I scared him last night. The thing is I usually never get angry, and this has caused me problems in the past with certain people. I think that "anger" last night was very natural, or so it felt that way to me. The words I said were irrelevant since, as we all know, cats can't understand them. I really don't hink he was "trying to have fun" with me: he was rather out to annoy the heck out of me thinking he would persuade me to take him out again. That's not fun behavior and that type of behavior should definitely not be rewarded. I would ignore him but not at 11 in the evening when I need to sleep to get up early the next morning to go to work.

One thing is Darli, I hear people say and write that cats don't associate. Yesterday after his walk, he was very excited and grabbed the leash in his little mouth and jumped on my lap. I think I would call that association.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrabDiver View Post
I don't think I scared him last night. The thing is I usually never get angry, and this has caused me problems in the past with certain people. I think that "anger" last night was very natural, or so it felt that way to me. The words I said were irrelevant since, as we all know, cats can't understand them. I really don't hink he was "trying to have fun" with me: he was rather out to annoy the heck out of me thinking he would persuade me to take him out again. That's not fun behavior and that type of behavior should definitely not be rewarded. I would ignore him but not at 11 in the evening when I need to sleep to get up early the next morning to go to work.
While you may have thought that anger last night was very natural, you have to remember that he is a cat. He's not going to be thinking logically about it like a human would. And while he may not understand your words, he certainly understands your tone, which probably did scare him.

Also, he wasn't purposely trying to annoy you. He was just wantig to have fun with you like earlier with the leash and walk. Like you said, cats do associate certain objects with certain things.

Since you understand that, now you have to understand that right now, because of last night, he associates you with fear. You have to realize that he is a young cat. You said he was a stray at one point. Maybe somebody bad yelled at him and then did bad things to him. He might then associate the bad things with the yelling. Also, you say you don't normally get angry, so he's never experienced that with you.

Whatever the reason, you did scare him. You are going to have to be patient with him and reassure him he's safe with you, and gain back his trust. It might take awhile, or he might just bounce back. But you'll have to be careful how you handle him in the future. Maybe the next time he won't leave you alone, then put him in the bathroom for the night (with his litterbox and a bed) since you live a in a studio. Or find another way to separate him from you.

Tricia
post #5 of 14
Is he neutered? If not, he's about the right age now to start yowling and acting up at night, because he wants desperately to get out to mate. I couldn't see in your post whether he'd already been fixed, but if he hasn't, it needs to be done as soon as possible, or his night-time behaviour will only get worse, and he may start spraying.
post #6 of 14
I so agree with you about the indoor/outdoor thing - but ours act like a leash is some kind of ground magnet and they all start belly crawling. We tried "leash" training them as per all the instructions - but after two weeks, we gave up.

I think taking him out at regular times will help, if your life allows for such things. Otherwise? I think you may want to invest in some ear plugs. That's the real problem - if we respond to them when they're whining, they learn they get attention when they're whining. You can go for the "NO, I'm not taking you out" and then ignoring him. It'll just be a battle of the wills at that point.

But IF you can stick to a regular walk schedule, he'll figure it out.

Of course, if he's not neutered, that will make him whine to get out.

BTW - do you live in an apartment or condo or home that would allow the construction of an outdoor area for him? If you can afford such things and have the space (and rules that allow it), there are some REALLY cool things out there:

http://www.purrfectfence.com/
http://bandobi.com/index.asp?gclid=C...FQJ4HgodJxB_sA

http://www.pawsupply.com/kittywalk.h...FRsRFQodkmFS0g
http://www.just4cats.com/
http://www.thecatsden.net/
http://bandobi.com/index.asp?gclid=C...FQMlHgodLTklQg
http://www.cats-on-line.com/

....and a sponsor of The Cat Site: http://www.purrfectfence.com/

Good luck!

Laurie
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrabDiver View Post
What could I possibly do? No more walks? I really believe deep in my heart that a cat deserves a right to go outside and not be enclosed in all day where he will become lethargic and fat.
Both of my cats are very happy healthy indoor only cats. In fact, I think they kind of fear the unknown of the outside. If you absolutely don't want to keep him indoor only then you need to keep to a strict schedule I think. If going out at night seemed to cause his restlessness then no more night walks. Of course, with enough indoor stimulation he won't get fat. Indoor cats get fat because they are overfed and under stimulated. What I mean by stimulation is interactive play with things like wands, fishing pole type toys, laser lights... things that get the cat moving and wear him out.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the posts, they were all really helpful. I got him neutered a month ago, and as to what type of fur he has, he's a tux.

I live in a studio that is shaped into kinda of a room and half.

Right now I'm not sure I can just "not take him out." I feel guilty after a few days if I don't. If I were to stay indoors for more than a few days I would go crazy with cabin fever, and I can't stop but think that a cat would feel the same way too. Besides taking the cat out and back in always seems to bring some kind of new energy to my place.

The only issue is the whining right now. I have a reef aquarium and a bird feeding station outside my window so I can get upset sometimes if I feel like he's not happy since he has a lot of distractions.
post #9 of 14
I think the walks are a good idea; better that than letting him wander outside unsupervised, that's for sure.

As others have mentioned, he is a kitten who has boundless energy, as most kittens do, and he wants what he wants when he wants it. But cats love routines, like darlili said, so it's up to you to establish a routine for going outside with him, and stick with it regardless of his histrionics. In short order his schedule will align with yours and you'll both be happy.

By the way, how can you be positive that his vocalizations were because he wanted to go outside? I ask because cats "talk" for so many different reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrabDiver View Post
I really believe deep in my heart that a cat deserves a right to go outside and not be enclosed in all day where he will become lethargic and fat.
This likely won't happen if you provide proper nutrition (both in terms of portion size once he becomes an adult and in terms of quality) and lots of playtime. Are you spending enough time wearing him out with plenty of play time? When you're not at home, do you leave him with enough games/toys to hold his interest? If not, you might want to try to work more play time into your schedule. Who knows, the more appealing you make his home, the less desire that he might have to go outside more often than your schedule can allow.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Robert he was miawing incessantly and going back and forth from my bed to the door. He never did this before.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys I think you were right. Ignoring him IS the best strategy.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrabDiver View Post
Thanks guys I think you were right. Ignoring him IS the best strategy.
Yep, ignoring him is the best strategy. It can be rather hard on us sometimes but in the long term it's by far the best thing to do.

Make sure though to play with him plenty indoors as well and take him out only when you want to take him out.

I have an indoor cat and I got her trained to a leash and I take her outside regularely. I think it improves their quality of life a lot. So if you've got a good system and both like it I see no reason for you to stop going outside with him on the leash.

Odds are that the whining and meowing would be about something else if he'd never been outside. I.e he'd be wanting to play with a specific toy or attacking your toes or something. Most kittens that age have a lot of energy and they just want to play and do fun things.

It's our job as their caretakers to figure out a way for them to get the energy out and to train them to leave us alone when we need our sleep etc. and the best way is like mentioned before.

Ignoring the attention seeking behaviour. Cats are smart and will eventually figure out that it doesn't work. The second part of this is then to play with the cat a lot and stick to a schedule you can live with.

Good luck and please keep us updated!
post #13 of 14
Just wondering how you and little Skeemer (love the name!) are getting on? And, I've got to say, it's so nice to run into people like you who are really concerned about providing their cats with a great life - even when it can be a touch frustrating for the poor human!
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrabDiver View Post
What could I possibly do? No more walks? I really believe deep in my heart that a cat deserves a right to go outside and not be enclosed in all day where he will become lethargic and fat.
My girl is an indoor only, and she is dainty and svelte..not lethargic at all and definately not fat. The trick is to keep them entertained in the house enough that they aren't missing the dangerous adventures that lay outside for them.
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