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*sigh* getting your SO to understand cats

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a siamese and I have an SO with NO cat experience my SO has only ever had dogs (I've always had cats) but he loves cats and always admired the siamease which happens to be my favourite breed

When we adopted and ended up with a siamese we were both thrilled and it is a very happy home...... HOWEVER

Cello is a siamese, and is a cat in general, which means he has his quirks. My brother recently moved in with us, and at night his door sometimes shuts (we have a fairly open door policy...... but the wind blows it shut occasionally)

being a very vocal siamese and a cat in general, he meows loudly whenever a door in his domain is not open, especially at 4 am and he does it when ANY door is closed....... he wakes me up in protest as only a cat can do.

Now what I DO when this happens is scoop him up, put him under the covers beside me, let him smurrgle my ear for a couple minutes and he generally goes to sleep beside me.... problem solved

now my SO has grown up in a family where they yell at the dog, tell it to lie down or whatever when it is 'misbehaving' (no hitting or anything....just discipline, which is fine for a dog...) if I don't wake up to the cat and he does he will pick him up, take him in the living room, pin him down and tell him NO. I get SO FRUSTERATED when he does this though (particularily the pinning down). We talked about it and he hasn't done it since, but he's only had dogs and doesn't understand that cat's aren't dogs, and that with cats any form of 'aggresion' or discipline in general does not compute, they don't understand that we are annoyed with them and they shouldn't do that.......... that there is no real way to 'punish' a cat, and that being vocal is just the way of the siamese.

*sigh* I guess this isn't really behaviour of the cat (well sort of, but I know why cello does it and how to fix it..... cuddles!) but more behaviour of the human.

he's learning but it is a slow process...... *sigh*
post #2 of 8
Hopefully in time, with you to educate him, he will come to understand cats. Well, as much as any of us understand them anyway.

Is the door closing thing the only problem for now? If so, can you put a wedge under the door to keep it from accidentally closing? That's what I do with the door to the room where the litter boxes are.
post #3 of 8
DH and I are both sound sleepers so we're able to get away with this: if you completely ignore them when they try to wake you up in the middle of the night, they learn pretty quick that it is fruitless to try. And as sound as I sleep, I can still wake up immediately from a distress call rather than general overnight wailing. So my advice: train yourself to ignore it.

I just adopted 2 of my long term fosters to the parents of my friends. When I first had Sage & Dakota, they tried to wake us up in the middle of the night then quit trying when we ignored them. The adoptors called me and asked me what to do about them when they woke them up in the middle of the night. Their new mom had been waking up to hold them and comfort them. I told her to ignore them and they stopped their night time crying within a week.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
Hopefully in time, with you to educate him, he will come to understand cats. Well, as much as any of us understand them anyway.

Is the door closing thing the only problem for now? If so, can you put a wedge under the door to keep it from accidentally closing? That's what I do with the door to the room where the litter boxes are.
Yeah the door closing seems to be the only problem, or any major change. My brother is fine with propping his door open, and we try but occasionally at night cause we are so high up in the building and we have all our windows open so the door sometimes actually slams closed!

Silly siamese!
post #5 of 8
Ignoring it is the only way! (I have 2 Orientals so am familiar with the wailing/howling/yowling over such things ) I am glad your SO has stopped pinning down your cat, because eventually it would result in your cat being fearful.

I think a good way to explain it is that dogs are pack hunters, and will accept dominant behaviour from the pack alpha, and therefore will accept a human as alpha and can be trained to commands. Cats are solitary hunters and although they socialise on their territorial borders, they do not have a pack or a pack leader, so don't understand dominant behaviour from a human - they have nothing in their instinct to relate it to, it just seems like a threat that could harm them. I find the best way to understand the difference between dogs and cats is to look at the differences in the way they hunt and socialise - hopefully this is something your SO may find interesting and will help explain why you cannot easily train a cat

Earplugs can be a great help, Jacob (one of my Oriental boys) is extremely loud and occasionally yells at the fridge door hoping it will open at 3am in the morning. Ignoring him completely and blocking off the fridge so he can't do a midnight raid has worked fairly well in keeping this to a minimum, so he gets no perceived reward of attention when he does it. On the other hand if he comes to bed and lies down quietly he gets fussed over which he loves. So he gets no reward for yelling but plenty of reward for quiet, and the night-time yelling incidents are diminishing because he doesn't even get the attention of being scolded when he does it.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
Ignoring it is the only way! (I have 2 Orientals so am familiar with the wailing/howling/yowling over such things ) Earplugs can be a great help, Jacob (one of my Oriental boys) is extremely loud and occasionally yells at the fridge door hoping it will open at 3am in the morning.
he he he. I like that........ hoping the fridge door will open at 3am. I guess I should start ignoring him. But once I'm already up I want a cuddle!! haha I'm a sucker I guess......
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmunsie View Post
he he he. I like that........ hoping the fridge door will open at 3am. I guess I should start ignoring him. But once I'm already up I want a cuddle!! haha I'm a sucker I guess......
My half-Siamese never bothered with the fridge, but he figured out how to get into all of our cabinets. He started with the lower ones, so I put double-sided tape on them. Then he started jumping up to the fridge, and on top of the upper cabinets, and tapping them open from above and either entertaining himself or stealing loaves of bread.

And I also understand your situation with your SO. Whenever this cat, Yeti, bothered her (which was a lot), she'd either pick him up and yell at him or she'd spray him with water. I told her over and over that those things wouldn't work. The breaking point came when Yeti started waking us up earlier and earlier in the morning. He'd whine, scratch, and if the door to the bedroom were opened, he'd rattle the blinds. After lots of research into how to deal with this situation, I told my wife that even though it would be a pain in the butt and though it might take a couple of weeks, the best thing to do would be to ignore him completely. So after two days, my wife said she'd given Yeti enough of a chance. Consequently, he's spent the past several months as a temporary guest at my mother's house where he gets into considerably less trouble. I'll admit, he's an awful lot of cat to keep contained in our one-bedroom apartment. So I'm glad that he's happier and that my marriage is no longer on the brink of feline-induced collapse, but I miss him like crazy.
post #8 of 8
The only thing I can add is to praise your SO like crazy when he makes the effort to understand the difference between the feline mentality and the canine. Positive reinforcement seems to work pretty well with cats...and humans!
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