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Can you teach a cat to "Leave it"?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Bastian is Trouble with a capital T, always has been, and it's just a part of his charm. I have accepted that if we want to protect something that he is interested in, we just have to keep it locked away.

However, my current conundrum is a bit odd. This weekend my DH brought home two argentine tegus, which are large lizards (think iguana-sized). These lizards are very tame and need time out of their cage each evening to roam. In their previous home, they lived peacefully with a small dog and had no problems. I have allowed the cats to meet them (closely supervised, of course). Sprout and Griffin pretty much just sniff the lizards and keep a watchful distance. Bastian, on the other hand, thinks they are large toys!

He seems to think that those large dragging tails and flicking tongues are the world's greatest teaser toys. Of course I do not want my cat to claw or chew on the lizards' tails, but my bigger fear is if the lizards get fed up with him - the lizards are bigger than he is, and a bite or strong tail whip could send us to the vet.

Is there an effective way to teach Bastian that he is simply NOT allowed to touch or play with the lizards? Or should I just resign myself to locking him in a bedroom for awhile each evening while the lizards are out of their cage? I hate locking him up, but I can't let him harrass the poor reptiles, or end up getting himself hurt.
post #2 of 13
I don't know - my Lily knows she is to stop what she is doing with one "fttt" from me! She's always been a nosy girl - and often in unsafe things, so I mimicked a noise Twitch made at her to get her to stop & it worked.
post #3 of 13
? hmmm
I've learned from my cats that when you flatten your hand and place it in front of their face they'll back off.

One day I watched one of the cats while she was eating. Her brother came over to eat with her but she put out her paw at him, and he backed off - I took the lesson. Maybe doing that motion and saying the words "leave it", he'll get the idea?

Also - have you heard a mockingbird warn a cat ? - that's a noise that the cats seem to understand, too - I mimic it, and that usually stops them from whatever they were going to do.

I really don't know about lizards.
Could be that one swipe might cause T. Bastian to learn a lesson?
But, then - how costly for Bastian and your wallet. You'll probably be able to gauge what kind of chance you're willing to take, I'm sure.

You haven't had the lizards that long - could be that after a while he'll finally get bored with them?

They won't eat him, will they? Like I said, I know NOTHING about lizards.

Guess I haven't helped, sorry!
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I don't know - my Lily knows she is to stop what she is doing with one "fttt" from me! She's always been a nosy girl - and often in unsafe things, so I mimicked a noise Twitch made at her to get her to stop & it worked.
I'll have to experiment with different noises and see what gets his attention. I know that "no" doesn't seem to work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaJH View Post
? hmmm
I've learned from my cats that when you flatten your hand and place it in front of their face they'll back off.

One day I watched one of the cats while she was eating. Her brother came over to eat with her but she put out her paw at him, and he backed off - I took the lesson. Maybe doing that motion and saying the words "leave it", he'll get the idea?

Also - have you heard a mockingbird warn a cat ? - that's a noise that the cats seem to understand, too - I mimic it, and that usually stops them from whatever they were going to do.

I really don't know about lizards.
Could be that one swipe might cause T. Bastian to learn a lesson?
But, then - how costly for Bastian and your wallet. You'll probably be able to gauge what kind of chance you're willing to take, I'm sure.

You haven't had the lizards that long - could be that after a while he'll finally get bored with them?

They won't eat him, will they? Like I said, I know NOTHING about lizards.

Guess I haven't helped, sorry!
I would bet that one run-in would definitely teach him a lesson, but I really don't want to go there! I doubt he will get bored with them. Our garbage can is an endless source of fascination for him. And no, they couldn't eat him! It's really not a dumb question though - this species is omnivorous, and they do eat meat. If Bastian was a rat he would be in mortal peril.

I think I will keep trying for awhile and just be very firm with him, and not even let him approach the lizards. He might get frustrated enough that he'll decide it isn't worth it. One good thing is that these lizards hibernate, so I won't have to worry about it for half the year!
post #5 of 13
Mine respond to uh-uh, but I've never tried them with a lizard
post #6 of 13
Our lab was taught "leave it" but cats don't always listen to you (maybe 75% of the time).

I should post a thread on the "badness" of our new little brat....Jack - he's living up to his name like you would not believe. I've never had a kitten this bad in mischivious behavior!
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinaCaliente View Post
I would bet that one run-in would definitely teach him a lesson, but I really don't want to go there! I doubt he will get bored with them....And no, they couldn't eat him! It's really not a dumb question though - this species is omnivorous, and they do eat meat. If Bastian was a rat he would be in mortal peril.
Tegu's have one helluva bite, too. I would be concerned as well. I have found that my cat Sterling responds to an "AH AH!" in a gruff, harsh tone and a loud hand clap. I just got a new kitten though and today is her first day exploring the house, and my birds are just utterly fascinating to her... ah ah doesn't seem to be working, but a full on spray of water to the face has been.

I'll be watching this thread to see what others have to say....
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypancistrus View Post
but a full on spray of water to the face has been.
Please don't spray your kitten, especially in the face. Water in the ear causes serious infection.
post #9 of 13
My SIL had a cat that was drawn to her parrots (double yellow headed amazons). Melvin wouldn't back down one time and the parrot did tag him bad enough that he needed to go to a vet. The good of it was the Melvin never came within 20 feet of those birds the rest of his life, but it was a painful lesson to learn.

It all depends on how stubborn Bastian is. Most of mine will back away with a firm "NO" and will learn from it. But my Stumpy is the most stubborn cat that I've ever come across and he will humor me when I say NO, but he's back at it in another day or so.

Keep an eye on him, reinforce the NO's, and see if he learns.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post
Please don't spray your kitten, especially in the face. Water in the ear causes serious infection.
Thanks for the info. I will be more careful.
post #11 of 13
Couple of thoughts:

- I spray water aimed at the hindlegs. Only took Kizzy 3 squirts to stop going on my counter. He knows what the spray bottle means, so having it just sit there, helps deter. I had to grab it for a plant too.

- loud noises... Kizzy responds to a NO or shhhhhh

- have your cat on a harness when the lizards are out, that way if the cat is nibbling on the lizards you can stop him by gently pulling him back OR not letting him get that close till he understands they aren't playtoys.

- hold your cat, so you are in control and let him sniff the lizards and watch them... I would go through the same type of introduction as you would with another cat. Seperated but visible to each other, to short interaction periods, etc.

- if your cat does start acting inappropriately, remove him from the room. The cat will come to associate the negative action of removal, to the action he was doing.

Not directed to the OP, but anyone else who reads this (the OP seems to practice safe reptile/furry pet interation.....but others who read this may not)


Owning both reptiles and furry pets has taught me one thing. They should never be left together without a human within immediate reaching distance. Pet reptiles can be cute and friendly, but everyone needs to know that they are wild and can "turn" in an instant.

Large lizards like iguana's and tegu's, one tail whip and your cat could be seriously injured or worse if the tail catches the cats neck. A bite could be devastating, ask anyone that has had an iggy or tegu bite and you'll know. Razor sharp little teeth that tend to warrant stiches. (yup, speaking from experience) All it would take is one little kitty paw in the wrong place to make these guys lash out.

Snakes and cats don't get along. Even small snakes, ones that don't end with "constrictor" such as corn snakes, could do some serious, unrepairable damage to a cat.

Please please practice safe reptile/snake keeping especially when interacting with furry pets.
post #12 of 13
I use "leave-it" with my cats, but they respond only when it's something they don't really want. I'm afrid with a live moving "Toy" the leave-it command wouldn't stand a chance in my house.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just realized today that DH actually got some photos of Bastian's naughtiness with the tegus that first night. I posted them in the Pet Pics forum if anyone is interested in seeing him in action.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...59#post2610459
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