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…