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How long is a sufficient time-out

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
When Gaia's been bad, attacking relentlessly, we put her in the bathroom for a while. Today, after I got home from work, gave her fresh food & water and played with her I sat down t the computer and the attacking began! Normally after a play session she might attack, but give up, not this time. I put her in the bathroom for 1.5 hours (with food&water). She's been good for 30 min afterwards now, very good actually. We've tried 10 min, but that doesn't seem to help much. But I don't want to have her in there that long all the time, should I just experiment with time to see the minimum that will work for her?

You could say I have anger issues (thanks dad!) and don't want to get too frustrated and scream at her at the top of my lungs. (not anger management bad, never hurt anyone/thing, just worried about my heart health) Don't get me wrong, I'm the shiest person you'd ever meet, but when something gets on my nerves, and I'm not around strangers I can cuss to high heaven! I just get so frustrated because I think I'm doing something wrong. I get worked up/worried over every little thing in my life.
post #2 of 22
We always use the 5, 10, 15, ect. minute rules in our house. If someone starts getting overly aggressive or picking on another cat relentlessly we put them in time out for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes we let them out, if they start again we put them in time out for 10 minutes and so on. It usually only takes the second or third time and they have figured out if they keep doing it they get put in time out.

Sometimes its hard to tell who started it so I will just put both in time out in the same room... funny enough they never fight when the two culprits are in time out together they just sit by the door lamenting their sorry state until I let them out and they start fighting again .
post #3 of 22
Loudmouth, my resident mommy kitty, gets put in time out in the bath room for various escapades... and nothing short of 30 minutes works. And then she just does it again in an hour or so. The one time I put Cuddles in time out, after 5 minutes he was screaming his poor little head off and when I let him out he climbed up my leg and wanted me to hold him, and he hasn't repeated the behavior since.

In short, it's going to vary by kitty, and only experimentation is going to help. Although I do like the 5, 10, 15 rule. That might work a bit better on some other kitties. :-)
post #4 of 22
Ollie's time outs vary... if the whole fam is downstairs and he does something (say go after my 15 year old dog in more than just play mode) mama scolds him verbally, picks him up and sends him up the stairs... he gets the idea and won't come back down til he's settled... last night tho, I was in the computer room on my mom's computer dumpin pics from her camera and he came in and started attacking my leg... scruffing and a stern voice did not work, so he got picked up and shut in my room for about a half hour until I was done... he was settled by then.


Friday is a full moon, so I know why he's being rowdy, but it's no real excuse for the behavior lol always gotta let him know that I'm the mama and in charge
post #5 of 22
I am absolutely shocked that this many people actually practice "time out" with their cats!!!!!! Why in the world would you expect them to react as you feel "appropriately" to a human behavior?! When a cat, especially kitten, acts out it is for attention, built up energy from being lonely or ignored, like placed in a bathroom for hours for no reason other then you don't want to spend time with your kitty!
post #6 of 22
You know that cats aren't children right?

They don't need to be timed out to promote "proper" behaviour. I find that if my kitty is doing anything she shouldn't re-directing her attentions or simply playing with her for five minutes does a lot more to help and is a lot more conducive to our continued relationship than sticking her in a room somewhere (for an hour and a half?!) and expecting her to "do better"
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgina View Post
You know that cats aren't children right?

They don't need to be timed out to promote "proper" behaviour. I find that if my kitty is doing anything she shouldn't re-directing her attentions or simply playing with her for five minutes does a lot more to help and is a lot more conducive to our continued relationship than sticking her in a room somewhere (for an hour and a half?!) and expecting her to "do better"
Thank you!!!!! Someone who realizes the difference between human psychology and all other living creatures!
post #8 of 22
Actually, here's a couple of suggestions that might help if your kitten seems to be over-energetic. Find her something that will thoroughly absorb her attention. the best one for me is the : "ball-in-a-shoe" game.
1. Get a ping pong ball and an old boot.
2. Attract kitties attention away from whatever she's doing that she shouldn't be by rolling the ball around on the floor. Once she's sufficiently engaged, pop said ball in said old boot.
3. Sit back and giggle as you watch the pandemonium (now redirected ) that unfolds as kitty tries to get the ball out of the shoe.

Kitty doesn't like balls? Try bubbles, minimal effort on your part and many cats find popping them irresistible
post #9 of 22
^To those who think times outs are bad. Why the heck would you want to rile up what could potentially be a over stimulated cat with more play?

That does in part sound like a bit of the problem here. Schedule plays to tire your cat out when your cat isn't already misbehaving, you don't want to reward aggressive behavior and get the cat thinking this is ok to do to get your attention. And if a time out works to calm a cat down by removing whatever it over stimulating it, then use it. Don't let anyone nay-say it in this case, because a) it's not harming your cat in the slightest and b) they're not the ones living with an attacking cat...
If that attacking behavior were to become a habit it could be dangerous - as previous posters who have had serious scratches and bites are evidence to such. More so if kitty were to play with any child coming into the home like that.

I use it when one of mine is being overly aggressive to another - usually Sho trying to start something with Sherman or picking on Tomas. This is because Sho is riled up for some reason or another (those odd moments in what is normally a lazy sedate cat) and making him go lay down in the bedroom calms him down. It's not actually any sort of punishment because anytime any of the cats are put in the bedroom for a while (be it because of that, I'm mopping, or because doors are open) they all just take a nap anyways.



A couple of quick questions, though. Is the kitty in question an only cat in the home? What's her age and is she spay? And at what age did you get her or was she taken from her mother and litter mates early (before 12 weeks)? Was she taught to play rough?

I ask these because in some cases problems like this are initially caused by a cat being taken from the mother too young - before it was taught how to behave. The other reasons are because kittens are more easily riled up, spaying can help even some cats out mentally (no shifting hormones), and rough play as a young kitten teaches bad habits.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
^To those who think times outs are bad. Why the heck would you want to rile up what could potentially be a over stimulated cat with more play?

That does in part sound like a bit of the problem here. Schedule plays to tire your cat out when your cat isn't already misbehaving, you don't want to reward aggressive behavior and get the cat thinking this is ok to do to get your attention. And if a time out works to calm a cat down by removing whatever it over stimulating it, then use it. Don't let anyone nay-say it in this case, because a) it's not harming your cat in the slightest and b) they're not the ones living with an attacking cat...
If that attacking behavior were to become a habit it could be dangerous - as previous posters who have had serious scratches and bites are evidence to such. More so if kitty were to play with any child coming into the home like that.

A couple of quick questions, though. Is the kitty in question an only cat in the home? What's her age and is she spay? And at what age did you get her or was she taken from her mother and litter mates early (before 12 weeks)? Was she taught to play rough?
That's exactly what I'm worried about, associating attacking with getting to playtime! She has already figured out to hit the lamp cord or lick our feet to wake us up, not a bad habit, could be worse.

You can read her story in full detail in my first post... http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=203305
Yes, she is the only kitten. In my family we've only had 1 cat at a time.. more would not make my allergies very happy!
She's 3.5 months, getting spayed at 5.
She was found as a newborn under a friends shed in town. The girl had 3 other cats, but they disliked her and they had to keep her in a seperate room while they were at work. We've had her since she was 2 months. Tried to socialize her with other cats, but they were afraid of her, and never came out to play.

I have a cousin that said force cuddling works wonders on all her rescued cats. What is it exactly, and when is the best time to do it?
Whenever she's calm or sleepy, We'll pick her up, hold her like a baby(thats the way she likes it) for at least 10 min if she doesn't get hyper again, and let her sleep on our lap or near us if she chooses a nearby spot. She'll now let us pet her when she's watching out the windowsill and will purr up a storm. I think it's working, slowly.
post #11 of 22
Ok, so you are dealing with a misbehaving kitten! In that case you might cut time outs down to half an hour at most, kittens are more needy and if you wait too long they'll probably not even remember what got them put alone to begin with.

Right now you need to focus on redirecting as much of that energy and aggression onto toys as possible. Try laser pointers, try wand toys, try dragging a string though the house for her to chase - basically anything that isn't directly you that she can play with. When she starts getting too riled up - over stimulated, pull back and make her settle down or find her own activity.
It's really too bad you can't add another cat. But one can't get rid of their allergies, only take measures to help them.

Make sure whenever she gets too rough that you always firmly tell her NO. Push her away, put her down, and if repeated attempts to ignore her doesn't work, those time outs will give her time to settle. Don't participate in her attacks at all. Kittens really have three modes: ON, OFF, and eating...

Forced cuddling can work for some cats. It won't make them play less rough, but it can make them more tolerant to being picked up and held when they don't really want to be - good for those occasions later when you need to make your kitty stay still for something or stay still for a vet (no guarantees on one that though). If she's overstimulated, though, it would ultimately be best just to make her go settle on her own and not force her as that might just rile her up more.

Good luck on getting her to not to view you as an object to attack (ie, like another cat would be) and her up coming spay. As she grows older she will calm down and not attack you - but right now you need to make sure she knows she can't be rough with you so that she learns this lesson and knows to be gentle as an adult cat.

The toe licking is funny! I hope she doesn't decide to chew on them, too. As a young cat my Sho did that and would repeatedly get pushed off the foot of the bed by DH till he finally learn to leave toes alone.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
I am absolutely shocked that this many people actually practice "time out" with their cats!!!!!! Why in the world would you expect them to react as you feel "appropriately" to a human behavior?! When a cat, especially kitten, acts out it is for attention, built up energy from being lonely or ignored, like placed in a bathroom for hours for no reason other then you don't want to spend time with your kitty!
We do "time outs" but it's more about re-directing their attention. I find that 10-15 minutes alone (in a room with a window and litterbox) is enough to get Barney's mind on other stuff and he usually finds something else to do when he gets out.

I agree that usually what is deemed "acting out" is boredom, but sometimes it's just a crazy kitty--we also re-direct with ping pong balls and treats.
post #13 of 22
I'm another who doesn't believe in time outs for cats. Those who do seem to be saying, when you let the cat out "it works for about a half hour". That isn't my idea of an effective training method.

the thing is, a cat has a very short attention span. By the time you've picked kitty up and taken her to the "time out room" she's already forgotten about the attack and is thinking about what interesting Game is this you are doing now. or he's thinking of escaping your arms.

You have rewarded the attack by picking kitty up.

I have done some socializing of cats, one a vicious biter and scratcher. Mazy took about 18 months to start the path to the sweet Lovey cat she is now. As I cured one method of attack, she found a new one. The spray bottle never left my side.

I was in the habit of being aware of her at all times, so after a while I could sometimes know when an attack was imminent and forstall it. When she started catching herself and stopping before attacking; was cause for praise and joy!

but of course at first the attacks were random enough that she caused me some serious damage, and expensive ER bills (for me I mean). When she would fly at me with teeth and claws, she got squirted, then ignored.

The squirt would send her running but of course she would come back for reassurance, and that is when she got ignored.

I've read in here that some people are against using a spray bottle, which surprised me, but I have always found it a very effective training tool. I know some cats are not fazed by it, Tolly is not, but then, he's never needed any training anyway he's always been perfect

Always avoid spraying around the face, of course.
post #14 of 22
"time outs" are more about getting him interested in something else... I have one foster who is dominant and sometimes play becomes TOO much... he is separated from the others for a while to find other ways to occupy him. He knows... he understands... he will stay away from me and from the other cats.. at least for a little while....

He also understands, "Archie -- OUT!" (And the word "Food!") LOL!!
post #15 of 22
This isn't a misbehaving kitten, this is a lost, abandoned, feral, shunned from all other cats in the first learning months of it's life.....This poor kitten is terrified, growing up without the experience of her mother, or siblings. Thank you for your cousin rescuing her, but try and realize what this poor little girl has gone through. You mentioned that even at first they had to keep her in a different room all day when no one was there. The first 5 months are the critical development stages, and if you think about it she hasn't had any stability, love, guidance, social interaction throughout the first 3 months of her life. The only way to show her any of this is to gain her trust. You already don't trust her, and closing her in a bathroom or spraying her with water bottles only intensifies this. It's going to take time, it's going to take patience....... Give her space, let her ask for attention, don't force it on her. Avoid situations that stress her out, where she feels cornered.......
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
This isn't a misbehaving kitten, this is a lost, abandoned, feral, shunned from all other cats in the first learning months of it's life.....This poor kitten is terrified, growing up without the experience of her mother, or siblings. Thank you for your cousin rescuing her, but try and realize what this poor little girl has gone through. You mentioned that even at first they had to keep her in a different room all day when no one was there. The first 5 months are the critical development stages, and if you think about it she hasn't had any stability, love, guidance, social interaction throughout the first 3 months of her life. The only way to show her any of this is to gain her trust. You already don't trust her, and closing her in a bathroom or spraying her with water bottles only intensifies this. It's going to take time, it's going to take patience....... Give her space, let her ask for attention, don't force it on her. Avoid situations that stress her out, where she feels cornered.......
Terrific advice! Understanding is the first step in any training method!
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
This isn't a misbehaving kitten, this is a lost, abandoned, feral, shunned from all other cats in the first learning months of it's life.....This poor kitten is terrified, growing up without the experience of her mother, or siblings. Thank you for your cousin rescuing her, but try and realize what this poor little girl has gone through. You mentioned that even at first they had to keep her in a different room all day when no one was there. The first 5 months are the critical development stages, and if you think about it she hasn't had any stability, love, guidance, social interaction throughout the first 3 months of her life. The only way to show her any of this is to gain her trust. You already don't trust her, and closing her in a bathroom or spraying her with water bottles only intensifies this. It's going to take time, it's going to take patience....... Give her space, let her ask for attention, don't force it on her. Avoid situations that stress her out, where she feels cornered.......
I'm sorry, but you obviously didn't read any of my posts... and she is very loved and trusted! I will not be participating in this forum anymore, too many people assume without asking questions first. Goodbye. Thanks to those that actually tried to help instead of trying to make me feel like a horrible person.
post #18 of 22
Aw, c'mon, no one has judged you here. Everyone has an opinion and shared it, that's all. Take what you like or find helpful, and disregard the rest.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
It's hard though... I can't just look past the other parts. I won't leave. I just wanted to say that ever since her long time-out she has been great. Still attacks, but not for long, think she got the picture.
post #20 of 22
Just to pipe my two cents in..Ive never had to time out my cats..They are all pretty laid back but the one that has to get time outs is the puppy..He gets time outs for attacking the cats or playing too rough and he will get put in the bathroom for about 5 minutes and then back out. It works for him and he stops ankle biting. I dont see time outs as a bad thing and I think to each their own sometimes you just have to do what you feel is working for you its the same way with children..not all kids learn the same think the same or are anything alike. So you just have to figure out what works. For what its worth i used a squirt bottle to stop my couch climber and it worked really well also a cat tower and jingle balls gave her something else to focus on.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogmanjared View Post
I'm sorry, but you obviously didn't read any of my posts... and she is very loved and trusted! I will not be participating in this forum anymore, too many people assume without asking questions first. Goodbye. Thanks to those that actually tried to help instead of trying to make me feel like a horrible person.
Actually I read every post word for word on this thread and was definitely not saying you don't love the kitten. The last thing I was attempting was to make you feel like a horrible person, but rather help you understand your kitten a little better, and the fact that this is a kitten....................
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, she was at the vet friday for boosters. We found out that she's about a week older than originally thought, already teething! Just under 4 lbs as well. The funny thing is that she's behaving better than before she started teething!
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