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June 26, 2017

Do Not Punish Cats

03.22.2015 Do not punish cats when they do unwanted behaviors. When cats act out they’re not being bad. They’re responding to an event or circumstances in their environment. Because punishing cats can make them more stressed and feel insecure, it can escalate problems and cause others. Punishment also ruins relationships. Kitties associate the punishment with the punisher—it breaks the bonds between them and their people.

Instead of punishment, identify and then address the causes of the behaviors. Behavior does not happen in a vacuum. Once the reasons are pinpointed they can be addressed—cats taken to vets, litter box situations improved, neighborhood cats managed, etc.
For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Don’t punish cats. Instead, identify and address the causes of the behavior.

Don’t punish cats. Instead, identify and address the causes of the behavior. by Shutterstock.

Help Feral Cats Survive the Winter

02.22.15 Help feral cats survive the winter by building simple shelters for them. Take two large, but different sized plastic storage bins that fit inside each other—with about 3-6 inch clearance on all sides. The smallest box needs to be large enough to comfortably house at least two cats. After measuring and creating a template, cut “U” or “O” shaped entrances in one side of both bins, making sure they align. Put insulating material on the bottom of the large bin and then place the smaller one inside it. Stick straw, egg cartons or other insulating materials between the two boxes to help keep them warm. Straw on the bottom will also help with warmth and make the make-shift shelters more comfortable. Put the lid on the smaller box, put insulating material on top and then snap the cover on the large box. Face them away from the wind and against walls or other structures so that they do not blow away.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook

Cats Scratch Objects When Stressed

02.01.15 Cats will do a number of behaviors when they feel stressed or conflicted. In addition to self-soothing, many of these behaviors help change or eliminate the causes of the stress. Scratching objects is one of these. Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, including when they are anxious and conflicted. While helping them cope with their feelings, they are marking their territories when scratching.

Cats will scratch objects when they are stressed.

Cats will scratch objects when they are stressed. by Marilyn Krieger, CCBC.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Best Cat Carriers for Veterinarian Visits

01.25.15 Vet visits are notoriously stressful for cats and people. The best cat carriers for veterinarian visits are hard shelled with detachable tops. Tops are easily removed, allowing veterinarians to do partial and sometimes complete exams while the cats are still in their carriers.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Train Cats to Scratch the Right Furniture

Set up for success: cat scratching info-graphic

Many cats are unnecessarily declawed because they scratch household furniture. Although cats have to scratch, they can be easily trained to scratch appropriate objects and avoid scratching couches and carpets.

This info-graphic describes why cats have to scratch and how you can train cats to scratch the right furniture. It is my hope that it will help keep cats from becoming declawed. It first appeared in an article I wrote titled How to Train Cats to Scratch Only Where They Should for Catster.com

You are welcome to use and distribute it as is, without alteration.

Cats can be trained to scratch the right furniture by Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

For lively discussions about cats and behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Make Cat Carriers Fun for Cats

Cats can be persuaded without being stressed or traumatized to willingly go into their carriers. Start by keeping the carrier out at all times—your cat will become used to it. Than encourage her to hang out in it by giving her treats and playing with her in it. Place an article of clothing with your scent on it in the carrier to help reassure her that it is not a scary place. Make cat carriers fun for cats.

Leave cat carriers out.

Leave cat carriers out. by Marilyn Krieger, CCBC.

For lively discussions about cats and behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Jacobson Organ

01.11.15 Cats have a couple of organs that allow them to smell odors. One is the nose. The other is the Jacobson organ, also referred to as the vomeronasal organ, located in the hard palates of mouths. It is used for primarily smelling pheromones as well as other odors. Your cat isn’t just making a funny face when she is grimacing, wrinkling her muzzle and opening her mouth—she is flehmening, opening the passage that leads to the organ in order to sample specific odors.

Cat flehmening

Cat Flehmening by Shutterstock.

For lively discussions about cats and behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Some Cats Eat and Drink with Their Paws

01.04.15  Some cats eat and drink with their paws; scooping food and water from their bowls before eating. The bowls may be too narrow and deep or in poor locations. Whiskers, with their own nerves and blood supply, are sensitive. Some cats are bothered by the sensation of their whiskers touching the sides. It is also difficult for cats to see possible threats when they are eating out of deep bowls. Bowls should be shallow and wide so that whiskers don’t touch the sides and views aren’t obstructed. Locations matter too. Cats need to feel safe while eating. Place bowls in quiet areas, away from other resident animals and threats; in places kitties can see and escape possible threats.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

The Right Way to Greet Cats

12.28.14  The right way to greet cats. Instead of approaching or cornering the cat, position your index finger about 8” above the ground and point it towards her. She may be as close as a couple of feet from you or across the street. If she wants to socialize, she’ll approach you and touch your finger with her nose. Then she’ll turn her head until your finger is on her cheek. She will probably rub your finger and hand, marking you with pheromones produced by scent glands located on her cheeks. This is your invitation to pet her.

Maulee, the author’s cat, greeting her.

Maulee, the author’s cat, greeting her. by Marilyn Krieger.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Opening Holiday Presents with Cats

12.21.14 Opening holiday presents are fun for everyone—including the family cats. Keep an eye on your cats and kittens during the festivities. Make sure they do not become tangled in ribbons or other wrappings. Don’t let them play with fragile ornaments or small objects that can easily be chewed up or swallowed. Place candy, cookies and other food in areas that are inaccessible to your cats.