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Marlow! ouch!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
As I reported the other day, Marlow, our feral cat, allows Becky, my wife, to rub on him. He reciprocates by playfully batting her as if to say "give me more". She loves this. The issue is: he doesn't know that she would love it even more if he would keep his razor sharp claws retracted. Any suggestions as to how to keep the batting while losing the claws?
post #2 of 7
Nope.

Question - the batting. Is it:

1) that he asking for more? Does she stop petting, he bats her - and then she pets some more?

Or is it

2) that she stops petting and he bats her and then moves along?

Or is it

3) that she pets him, he bats her to let her know it's enough and moves along?

If it's #1, I think she should discourage this by petting him and when he bats her, she stops petting him.

If it's #2 or 3, she should try petting him for a shorter period of time so that she doesn't get batted.

The problem is when cats use their claws or teeth on people, they are communicating in cat language and don't necessarily realize they are hurting us. We have to help them learn how to "properly" interact with us. So just like it can be so much fun to play with a kitten with your hands or feet - it is a huge no-no, because kitty won't learn that hands and feet should not be bitten or swatted at. He didn't get this lesson as a kitten - but still needs to learn it, even though in Becky's mind this is not the same as "playing with her hands."

He needs to learn that when he bats with claws out, he gets no more attention. I know she enjoys it, and we all completely and totally understand that. But he will not learn NOT to use his claws if no one "tells" him not to. This is more important in the long run - especially if you're thinking of actually bringing him inside at some point.

That is... if Sasha will ever let you.

Is he still hissing at the sock that smells like Marlow?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Is he still hissing at the sock that smells like Marlow?
He has not hissed again. I believe he hissed only because I put the sock, fresh from Marlow, into his personal space. A mistake on my part I believe. The sock is still around and he sniffs at it a bit but does not freak out like the first time.

While paying more attention to exactly what is going on, we will work on the batting with claws thing with Marlow.
post #4 of 7
Try getting a fresh Marlow scented sock ( ) and don't give it to Sasha - set it right behind or next to his food dish. The idea is to get Sasha associating that scent with things he loves. Maybe after a play session, put treats down on the Marlow-scented sock for him. That kind of thing.

...just like Becky (or you) can get a t-shirt really sweated up (not too hard this time of year!) - and when you feed Marlow, put that t-shirt under the food dish. This will help reinforce that that scent is safe and means good things.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Fresh sock with supper. It went very well.

Sasha dove right in to the dish, paused, sniffed the sock a bit, went back to eating.
post #6 of 7
Oh that's good! Keep it up! Now go for the play sessions ending with treats on Marlow scented sock.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Nope.

Question - the batting. Is it:

1) that he asking for more? Does she stop petting, he bats her - and then she pets some more?

Or is it

2) that she stops petting and he bats her and then moves along?

Or is it

3) that she pets him, he bats her to let her know it's enough and moves along?

If it's #1, I think she should discourage this by petting him and when he bats her, she stops petting him.

If it's #2 or 3, she should try petting him for a shorter period of time so that she doesn't get batted.
I think it's a variation of #3. He has enough of her contact and wants her to stop. He will not walk away though. He just wants her to be near him without so much touching. he allows some but she really tends to overdo it. I explained that he will come around on his timetable, not hers. Becky has never preferred the patient approach to anything so we're plowing new ground here.
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