The Cat Owner’s Guide: Drawing The Line With Your Wild Feline

Keeping your cat happy

Cats are beautiful and fascinating creatures. They have minds of their own, and, whilst this is one of the many exciting and intriguing things about them, it does mean that cats have a tendency to wander off into the outdoor world without warning. Of course, this wild attitude is fine outdoors, but there have to be rules at home. You can’t let their untamed behavior go unnoticed indoors. Dragging in dead animals, scratching, and generally making a mess are all things which you can’t let slide. Here’s the cat owner’s guide to drawing the line with your wild feline at home.

House-train your cat.
It is possible to house-train your cat, no matter what the myths may say about cats being independent and free spirits who bow to no owner. First of all, cats can go to the toilet. You don’t have to just accept that they’re going to urinate everywhere; train them to understand the rules of the house. Think of a place that suits you; a litter box or perhaps the outside the world. Then, the next time your cat needs the toilet, take them to that place to go.

Make sure you praise your cat for doing a good job, as they’ll associate this affection with going to the toilet in the right place. Obviously, reinforcing good behavior goes for all forms of house training, such as getting them come home every time you call them from your garden or front porch. It’s all about your cat making mental associations to reinforce their good habits and diminish their bad ones.

Regular visits to the vet.
Your feline friend likely has mixed thoughts about the vet, but it’s important that you put your foot down and manage to get your cat to the vet regularly for check-ups on their health; they may like to venture off into the outdoor world to freely explore and do their own thing, but that’s all the more reason to get them checked out for infections, illnesses, and injuries. You’ll want to look out for cat worming because this is a pretty nasty intestinal parasite. Of course, even the small cuts and scratches, which are wounds your cat will pick up a lot in its outdoor excursions, are things you should check out; you don’t want a small cut to become infected and make your furry buddy sick.

Simple toys for cats

Keep them entertained.
Cats are wonderful pets when it comes to entertainment. A simple ball of string or a toy mouse can keep them happy for hours, but it is important that you give them toys. Animals are like humans; they become restless when they’re bored. A restless cat is sure to make you restless and cause a fuss around the house, so giving them forms of entertainment is a great way to ensure that they’re not going out of their mind and they’re not making you go out of your mind either. A happy household leads to a happy cat.

Great Ways To Integrate A New Dog Into The Home

bringing-a-puppy-home

Getting a new dog is an amazing experience, but it isn’t without its pitfalls. Sadly, not all pooches take to their new surroundings like a duck to water. In fact, some lash out like a hormone engorged, moody teenager. Of course, this is the last thing you want, especially if you have just been shopping or decorated. So, it’s important that you try and make the process as easy and simple as possible. To do that, you have to integrate the dog so that it feels like it is part of the family. If you don’t know how these tricks will come in handy.

Don’t Overwhelm It

Obviously, everyone will be excited at the prospect of adding a new member to the family. But, you can’t let the excitement boil over as it will overwhelm the dog. Instead, you have to act as if it is just another day in the household so as to smoothen out the process. With this in mind, there should be no welcome home parties or any functions of any kind. Also, refrain from crowding around and smothering the animal. Dogs, especially rescues, like their space and will bite back if strangers get too close.

Give It A Hearty Meal

Like men, the way to a dog’s heart is through food. Seriously, a good meal can do wonders because it shows your new pooch that you care. It is also a sign that this is its home. After all, not too many people feed pets that they don’t own. Snacks like chicken dog treats are also good for developing a bond. Indeed, you can use treats to for training purposes. If it does something good, reward it with a snack as positive reinforcement. There is a reason a dog is man’s best friend!

Walk It Around The House

There are lots of people that like to let a new canine wander around the house of its own volition. Although this is a smart move, so is introducing it the rest of property ASAP. That way, nothing will surprise the dog when it leaves the comfort of the living room or kitchen. Anyway, it has to go upstairs or outside at some time, and it may as well be sooner rather than later. If you are scared this will overwhelm it, don’t be as it only has to be a fleeting tour. After that, you can let leave it alone.

Establish A Routine

Dogs like to have a routine. Even though they don’t have cognitive reasoning, they do have instinct. As such, they know when something should happen, such as a daily walk. The quicker you establish a routine, the better for the animal. Then, there will be fewer surprises and less free time. As soon as it has something to do, it will take its mind off the move. And, when it does have some free time, it should be tired and go to sleep.

The process is never easy, but it isn’t as difficult when you follow the guidelines above.

The naughty dog (Day -294)

A moment of reflection

The results from a survey have just been published by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) looking at the reasons that vets are asked to euthanise healthy pets. Sadly over half (53%) of the vets that responded said it was not a rare occurrence and more shocking 98% of vets said the reason the guardians gave was their pets behaviour.

The first thing that sprung to my mind was that just imagine how the world would be if we took the same logic and applied it to children. I definitely wouldn’t be here now I am sure and many of my friends would not be either.

However when I think about consultations where the dog is trying to escape and bite me I am not as surprised as I was. Why? Because whilst the dog is trying to do this often the guardian is telling the dog it will be ok, is giving the dog loads of attention, and is cuddling the dog.

Maybe this would work for a child (or maybe not I don’t know humanz sorry!) however for a dog what this does is tell it that it is ok to bark, ok to try and escape, and ok to try and bite me. A dog doesn’t understand human language – a dog understands the tone of voice, the actions, the feelings of the guardians, and the cuddles as positive things. The dog then associates these positive things with the actions performed so next time the actions will be increased to get more attention.

This is why vets will often take your dog or cat back to a treatment room to have a nurse restrain them to carry out the procedure. Being calm and giving the right message along with reinforcing positive behaviour is going make the next visit easier.

Now if you consider this scenario, and how easy the wrong behaviour of the dog was encouraged with the vet you can imagine how easy it could be for a guardian to reinforce bad behaviour at home. Personally I believe that there is no such thing as a bad animal, it is the environment, socialisation and interaction with humans.

It’s almost like having two countries where in one they speak dog, and in the other they speak human. On my second day here in Slovakia I went to the supermarket, and here all ham is sold on the deli-counter. So I pointed at what I wanted, and the person working said something I didn’t understand, I said I didn’t understand and they said it louder. It ended up with them shouting at me. Now this made me think I was crazy to be in Slovakia, to not want to be there, and extremely frustrated as I wanted ham and I couldn’t get it.

So what is the solution? If we as humans take guardianship of an animal then it is our responsibility to find out how to communicate with them. It is our responsibility to realise what they are saying even is this is difficult.

I heard a story once of a dog that kept taking the guardian’s shoes – the dog associated the shoes with going outside as the guardian put them on every time they went out. So the dog wanted to go outside so took the shoes to the guardian so that they could go out.

If you have problems with a pet then you can get help – vets are learning more about behaviour and can help you – and there are plenty of behaviour experts that are available on vet referral to work with you as well. If you would like to find out more about behaviour in your pet then I would recommend visiting the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors here.