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A new fascination... The front door!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,
I thought I would give everyone a bit of an update, Miikka is almost 5 months old now and growing like crazy! I think she has nearly doubled/trippled in size since I got her. Its a very exciting time indeed.
She has begun to lose her kitten behavior and develop a more adult frame of mind (although she still gets into everything and loves to play!). I am definately becoming more comfortable as an owner, I'm not half as paranoid as before, and I have gotten to the point of not stressing/worrying over every little thing. I have decided to just relax and have fun together and do the best that I can to make sure that she has everything to lead a happy/long life with me.

My last post in this section dealt with bad litter habbits (such as playing in litter, throwing litter on the floor and scooping litter out of the box). This has entirely stopped (although I havent been able to put the enclosure back on the top of the box yet!!)

She has learnt that some places are not for kitty such as the dishwasher, behind the stereo and TV, and any random cupboard that gets opened! I am so proud of her accomplishments.

So far I have yet to be able to keep her off of the kitchen table, I blocked off the chairs so she wouldnt use them to climb up, but now that she is bigger she just jumps from the floor to the top of the table. Then she proceeds to either bathe herself or roll around on the table. I have begun to just laugh and shrug this off. Hopefully its a stage......

Lately she has taken fascination to the birds outside and looking through the windows. Before I had to close her in the laundry room when no one was home and while everyone slept, however since she has been so good, she has had full run of the house and is never locked up anymore *except for when I am unloading groceries from outside. She sleeps with the family now on whomever's bed she choses. This has not caused a single problem and everyone has found that we can sleep longer now!

The problems that I currently need more advice on are:
1). Any time the front door opens she tries the great escape (I think she hears/sees the birds outside and wants to go look. I have tried creating noise etc and this does nothing.) So far when she does get by me she just lays down on the front step or rolls on her back on the front step. She is strictly an indoor cat and I cant have her running out. Ideas? I am thinking it might have to do with spaying (which I plan on doing as soon as she is 6 mos).

2). Biting...... Everyone has learnt to stop playing with her with their hands. The situation has been better but Miikka still likes biting. When she does it is almost like a full out attack mode, she wraps her paws around the target (be it a hand, an elbow, a kneecap or an ankle) and gnaws away until you pry her loose. Then she comes running back for more!!! I dont understand it, these attacks are provoked in any way that I can see. Once again maybe a need for the innevitable spaying. I was also considering the Bach Flower Remedies. Is there a good source for these in Western Canada? Everyone I have asked here knows nothing of the sort. What kind should I get her if this is a good course of action?

Well sorry about the long post but I have been so busy lately and wanted to keep everyone updated. I will try to get some pictures posted ASAP! She looks so different than what she did a month ago!

I love my furby!
post #2 of 8
I'm sure others will have better advice, but for the door thing- my cat just stopped doing it when she got older and realised she's not getting out. I was extra careful when she was having this phase, and made sure she didn't get out (even if it meant having eyes on the back of my head), and after a while she stopped trying. Now she's not interested in getting out- she'll watch the great outdoors from a few feet away, but doesn't get closer.

The biting sounds like she's playing, even if you're not "playing back". Classic, wrapping their paws around your hand/whatever and biting, she wouldn't happen to be kicking with her back legs too? What I would do is make sure I don't move the "target" at all when she's doing this, trying to get her to let go or moving the hand in any way might just encourage her, and distract her with a toy. My older cat did this alot when she was young, she especially loved grabbing your arm when you were reaching for a coffee cup from a table, for instance, or attacking your ankels when you got up from bed. This too went away as she got older and I directed her to better ways of playing.

Btw, with that name, I would have expected a male kitty.
post #3 of 8
I am glad everything is going so well! Bravo!!!

Here are some ideas from the agression thread at the top of this forum for stopping the aggression:

Play Aggression
Sure, it hurts all the same, but the cat who pounces on your feet/hands and then careens off the wall isn't trying to hurt you - he's playing. You need to increase your play sessions with your cat
with an appropriate toy, such as a cat fishing pole or toy on a string - not one of your body parts - to help your cat burn off his excess energy before you try for a quiet pet session.

Never reinforce her for biting....if she bites, immediately stop paying attention to her. Blow a strong puff of air in her face or clap your hands real loud and shout "NO"! Don't try to pull your
hands or feet away from her when she is biting because she will think you are playing with her. Just hold still, do the puff or clap and then pry her paws off. It shouldn't take too long for your little one to learn that this is a no-no. (Never play with your kitten with your hands or feet...only play with toys so she never learns that it is okay to attack people.)

For more serious play aggression try the following:

1. Once the cat attacks, stand perfectly still. Don't try to pull away the hand (or other body part) that she is biting. If you try to pull away, this will trigger the "prey" cues in her brain and she will
attack even harder. So, stay still and use your free hand to pull her off.

2. Immediately after an attack, put her in a quiet room (the bathroom) for no more than five minutes. This will give her time to settle down and for attack mode to turn off.

3. Pay careful attention to her behavior. Learn what her pre-attack behaviors are. All cats do something right before attacking, like twitching their tails or their eyes dilate. Each cat has its own
unique signals, so you will have to learn your own cat’s signals.

4. Once you have learned her pre-attack signals, IMMEDIATELY upon seeing a signal and BEFORE the attack occurs, do one of the following:
-- toss a small toy in front of her. Toss the toy at an angle across her field of vision but at an angle so that it is going away from her...like the way a mouse would run...toward a wall away from the cat. Cat's brains don't perceive vertical movement very well, so it needs to be tossed across the floor.
-- or use another toy to distract her (never play with her with your hands or feet...always use a toy)
-- or Shout NO!

The main idea is to keep the attack from happening. It won't take too long before she realizes that she can no longer do this.
post #4 of 8
Also if she is not spayed, I encourage you to get her spayed, especially if she is bolting for the door. It is coming on kitten season which means she will be in heat soon, and I have seen females in heat literally claw their way out of the house to get outside and find a mate. Once she does get outside, and if she is chased by an aggressive male, you could lose her. Plus spaying her will simmer her down a lot as far as biting goes.

Kudos to you for solving her behavior problems as she grows, and not giving up on her at all.

One thing about the front door rush that is effective, is a can of compressed air, kept by the door. When she bolts for the door, spray the can UP in the air away from her don't blast her directly with it, that is not needed, the sound will startle her and she should flee.
post #5 of 8
As my boys were growing up, if they attacked my hands, the hand would freeze and I immediately said OW!. They quickly learned that OW meant no biting and play was over.

As for climbing on the table, sorry, thats not a phase. Its not a "place for eating which should be kept clean" to her. Its just a high vertical surface. Put some double stick tape or bubble wrap or tinfoil around the outer 6" of table. Cats don't like the feel of them and she'll learn not to jump up.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice.

I am gonna give a few of the suggestions a try and keep everyone updated.
post #7 of 8
Another idea for keeping her off the counter or table which I read somewhere (this website or elsewhere) in the last few days. Put shallow pans of water along the edge of the table. It won't hurt her to jump into one, but unless she is an unusual cat, she will definitely not want it to happen again.
post #8 of 8
For the biting, I read someplace that it's best to spray them with a waterbottle so they don't become afraid of you.

Well, that isn't working out for me. He's not stupid. He's knows that I'm squirting him with water. The only time he stops biting me is when he sees I'm holding the waterbottle.

Fortunately his bite has become much more inhibited and he's very careful not to press hard. Right now he only lightly presses his tiny front teeth against my hand. Sometimes it's a game to him. He'll sneak up, hit my hand with his front teeth and then run away and hide before I can squirt him or redirect him to something he can chew on. He knows he can do that and escape any kind of punishment.
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