In every cat lover’s life, there usually is one cat that stands out for being a real handful. We love all our cats just the same, but how do you tame the kitty with a larger-than-life-personality who is Dennis the Menace in feline form? Having a five-year old pile of highly active white fluff named Beau, I know all too well what it’s like to live with a lively cat. He is the most dear, sweet and loving cat, but when he’s bad, he’s like a flaming rocket blasting off into space! I’ve learned to co-exist well with my beautiful wild cat. He is my pride and joy, but I watch him constantly to make sure he’s not getting into trouble. Sort of like my friend’s two-year old toddler, that gets into everything. Beau loves to explore and can get himself into trouble quickly if not attended to. Here’s some ideas on how to make your home more wildcat-friendly.
Keep anything dangerous out of reach
The kitchen is full of danger for a cat who knows no boundaries and wants to get up on the counter. Food cooking on the stove, knives and cleaning products are just a few hazards to keep out of kitty’s way. I bought a new oven, and Beau walked over to it (it wasn’t on) and with a flick of the paw, opened its door and walked inside! I got out my trusty squirt bottle of water and sprayed him. He hasn’t been near the oven since, but to make sure, I always look to see where he’s at if I’m baking or cooking anything. And all my knives are in holders, instead of being left out even momentarily. It only takes a second for a cat to get into something, so it pays to be preventative, no matter what room of the house you’re in.
Is kitty bored? Find him something to do
Cats are best trained by suggestion. A professional animal trainer once said this, and it’s true. If your cat is focused on something he shouldn’t be, walk across the room and show him a toy or give him catnip. Just distract his mind to think about something else. If that doesn’t work, a squirt bottle filled with water always does the trick for me. Show him that you don’t want him doing whatever he’s doing but always do it with love. Water is harmless. And, it’s been very effective at keeping Beau off of my stereo speakers, shelves, and flower arrangements (he eats flowers if given the chance, whether they’re real or not.) Never spank or yell at your cat, because these things really don’t accomplish more than scaring him.
Give your cat lots of love
When Beau is getting over-feisty, I hold and brush him. He wiggles like crazy at first, but then he realizes that he’s being brushed and mellows out. Next thing I know, he’s a purring, amorphous blob of happiness in my lap. Skritch, brush, pet, and play with your cat to show him attention and love. He will appreciate it and afterwards, he may be worn out enough to go rest someplace. I play with Beau right before bedtime, to tire him out, so that he’ll sleep through the night. Before doing this, he used to take lights out as the time to sing at the top of his lungs and rocket around the apartment in hyper-speed mode. Now, he curls up at my feet and goes to sleep when I do. Thank goodness.
If kitty picks on another cat, give him a time-out
When he’s feeling really feisty, Beau will walk over to my 15-year old Blackie and whack him upside the head for no good reason. If I see this, I separate the two of them immediately. Don’t let Mr.Engergy beat up on your other cats. When he’s overly charged up and getting too destructive, put him in a closed off room where there’s nothing to damage, or a cat carrier for ten minutes. When I’ve done this, Beau goes into “rest” mode and goes to sleep. Then, I open the door, and he’s cool as a cucumber as he walks out, as if nothing ever happened.
Get kitty his own cat tree (kitty condo)
Cat trees are a great place for your active cat to keep himself occupied. They can be bought fairly inexpensively on Ebay or directly from manufacturers who have websites online. Buying a cat tree at a pet store is another option, but from my experience, they are more costly that way. Get a tall one, then sprinkle it with catnip and show kitty his new furniture. It’s amazing how fast cats catch on to using it. I sent my parents’ cat a kitty condo, too, and he helped my dad assemble it. Plus, the cardboard box it came in was an added bonus (cats love cardboard boxes – the smaller, the better.) A cat tree satisfies your cat’s need to scratch, gives him something to climb on, and a nice, high place to sleep if he wants.
Just like people, cats come in many personalities and activity levels. Love your cat no matter how much of a rascal he can be. Beau is my constant companion, and one of the most loving pets I’ve ever had the pleasure to own. I don’t regret getting him for one minute, and have learned patience and resourcefulness as a result. His behavior has slowly mellowed in the two years I’ve known him, and he’s learned quite a bit from me, too. It just takes time, love…and maybe a few headache meds for me here and there. But, he’s worth every bit of it in the end.