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house rules change late in life

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Amy, thanks for being here!

This may be a little long (sorry!), but I'm wondering if it's feasible to change my seniors' behavior this late in life.

My 3 cats are 14, 9 and 9. I've just gotten married, and because my hubby is allergic to my cats (he has one that's 7 and doesn't bother him) we're going to have to keep them out of the bedroom, though until now they've always slept with me.

We've followed the cat introduction tips successfully so far - my kitties have been in a separate bedroom for a while now and when I let them out (supervised) they seem to get along OK with his cat. (Also, the Feliway plug-in I used seemed to help stop the fighting amongst my cats, too - yea!)

Here's the problem(s):

1)My apartment was decorated in a minimalist fashion because of the cats & the fact I worked long hours & wasn't around to supervise. They pretty much had the run of the place for years, climbing on everything and scratching my old beat-up couch to their hearts' content - they really seemed to enjoy knocking fragile objects off mantels. My hubby, however, has LOTS of things on shelves, in cabinets, etc., has nice furniture, and doesn't want the cats climbing on anything (his cat is well-behaved, but is allowed outside - my cats aren't going to be let out). Is it possible to train my little senior masters of destruction to stay off the shelves and counters and not to scratch the furniture (they're wearing softpaws now) this late in life? I love them dearly & don't want to do anything mean, but I need to be able to let them out in the house without them being so destructive.

2)My oldest girl tends to pee on things when she gets upset, so that's one more reason to be careful!

3)Once they're loose in the house but not allowed in the bedroom, how can I calm them so they don't cry at the bedroom door (poor babies!)?

Any advice is greatly appreciated - thanks!
post #2 of 5
Probably the best thing you can do to keep cats off of forbidden furniture/surfaces is to give them a better opportunity. This may also go a long way toward soothing upset kitty feelings at not being allowed in the bedroom

I'd invest in a large, interesting cat tree with lots of nooks and crannies, and that is TALLER than the highest forbidden surface. Cats tend to gravitate toward the most elevated perch. If that's the mantel with breakables, look out! but if the cat tree is higher, most cats will choose that over the mantel.

In the meantime, you can help keep breakables safe in a couple of ways. Sticky Paws (double sided tape product) can help deter the cats from jumping onto forbidden surfaces. If you don't want to stick it directly on wooden surfaces, apply it to place mats and situate them appropriately.

Also, antique stores and home products stores (particularly in CA) have a tacky substance, sort of a stick-um, that you can apply to breakables to keep them from being jostled and broken when they fall. This is used in earth quake territory, and is quite helpful for dealing with cats playing "gravity experiments" where they wanna knock stuff off and watch it fall.

Finally -- yes, it is possible to teach the oldsters a new routine. But it will take time and lots of patience. I'd suggest making the "segregated" room in the house (the one they've already been in during the introductions) into a kitty paradise. Whenever possible, you spend time in there with them, reading or playing with them, whatever, so they learn that's the place for cuddles and naps with you. I know all of you will miss the bedtime with the cats--but it can be done. I applaud the fact you've already made the intros work well, and are dealing with any scratch problems appropriately.

About the crying at the bedroom door--the only way to "extinguish" this behavior is to absolutely ignore it. That's tough kitty love--but talking to them, or giving in and going to pet them, will only prolong the agony. *s*

Also--I don't know your husband's situation, but there are some new and very effective allergy medications that help some folks with cat allergies. That might be worth looking into.


post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the great advice, Amy!
My sweetie knows the saying; love me, love my cats ...I'm so glad he chose to keep all of us - he is truly a sweetie.

Sounds like we're going shopping soon. I've never heard of the sticky stuff for breakables-great idea (gravity experiments - too funny - that's it exactly)! We also did some surfing looking for cat trees & found a website (iroquoisinnovations.com) that has carpeted steps on a pole that goes beside a doorway and leads up to a kitty loft over the doorway - now that's high!

We're putting up a spare computer in the kitty room, too, so I can be with them while I'm surfing the cat site.

Thanks again, Amy - I'm looking forward to getting your book. Our senior kitties are so sweet and loving, and really enrich our lives; it's great to see them get some press time!
post #4 of 5
Sounds like you've got things well in hand--or, in "paw."

Senior kitties are indeed special. I'm delighted to help showcase them. This Saturday, I'm giving a lecture/book signing at the SPCA of N. Texas with adoptions possible. Hoping we'll match up some lovely older pets with people looking for golden-ager purrs. *s*

BTW, I'm happy to send an autographed book plate (signed to you, to your veterinarian, to a special kitty or dog, in memory of a pet) to up to fifty (50) folks that plan on buying the aging cat or aging dog book. I'd need your snail mail address though...

Perhaps that could be emailed to me c/o the TabbyTudes address? I'll see if I can find out.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Amy! That would be fabulous! Just let me know & I'll send the address wherever I need to.

Best wishes for your SPCA signing/adoptions.
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