Catiness

Domestication progress has been moving slowly. Oscar has figured out what “down” means, but he still sneaks up onto counters and tables when I’m not looking. He seems to have stopped scratching the kitchen cabinets, but is continuing to tear up my nice rug. He’s also learned how to open the kitchen trash (thus defeating magnetism!) and how to dislodge the liner in the cat box. Super.

On the scratching issue, I got him a nice scratching post in addition to the doorknob-mounted thing he had before. We’ve had mixed success with this aspect of training, but its sort of humorous, so I’ll elaborate a bit.

A stern “no” didn’t seem to have any effect at getting Oscar to stop tearing up the rug, nor did hitting him in the nose or physically dislodging him. The next tact was to get him a fun toy, one of those fuzzy balls on the end of a string threaded through a plastic rod. He was having a blast swatting at it and grabbing it, and in the process I maneuvered him over to the scratching post and swung the ball around such that he was encouraged to claw on the post to get at it. Everything was going wonderfully until he grabbed the ball and, err, didn’t let go. The toy (Made in China(tm)) was broken and the ball portion was inside the cat. A few minutes later he threw it up. So much for that idea. I chucked it.

Next was Igor’s brilliant suggestion that what worked with the cabinets (aluminum foil) might work on the rug as well. So I utilized my time sniffling on the couch today to watch the furry bugger and, every time he started clawing at the rug, I shooed him away and taped down a piece of foil over the spot. The rug is now covered with a dozen different foil sheets, all taped down, but I’m still not sure he’s gotten the message. Encouraging, though, was that he started playing around the post. I secured it to the floor with some duct tape so that it stopped moving every time he grabbed at it, which seemed to help his confidence in its utility, and then started putting cat treats on top of it to encourage him to jump up and claw at it.

I was all ready to celebrate when he finally independently paid a visit to the post, and without prompting started going at it with gusto. But then, curious about the duct tape, he swatted at that as well, and got his nails stuck in it. Much meowing ensued. Freeing him from it was a bit complicated, and afterwards he refused to go near the post.

Now he’s scratching like crazy in the cat box, which isn’t super sanitary. I’m not sure how much forward progress we made today. I’m also not sure how much chasing the cat around the house did to help me with my cold. At least he hasn’t started eating my used tissues…

3 Comments

  1. may I suggest a sratching post in every room (just the cheap ones, and with the tape on the underside, not on the outside, which you’ve probably already figured out) that he’s allowed in? sometimes in a new house they just need to feel some security in where they like to be, which may mean you just need to relocate the one you have to closer to your rug, or have you tried one of the ones that has a cat perch on top of it and then he has his own rug space with the post… you may have hit on why he was up for adoption in the first place 🙁 keep at it, he’ll figure it out!

    *end vet rant*

  2. While my mother was bed-bound a few months ago, I recall her sharing an interesting tidbit: She had trained one of the cats to fetch! There’s a use for your used tissues AND copious free time, next time you have a sick day!

  3. I think the cat training just takes time and it sounds like you are working hard with him…problem being is he might be too old to train. Keep us posted on his progress… time is running out if you are considering getting a younger version of Oscar that might be easier to train.

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