Is your kitty shy? How do you bring her out of her Shrinking Violet shell? (Image copr. Missi Hostrup)
Working with fearful cats can be a challenge. Does Sheba hiss at strangers? Dive under the bed when the doorbell rings? Attack other pets (or humans)? And what can you do to stop bad behavior if even a mild correction sends the cat into fearful meltdown? Alexa posted her Ask Amy question to my Facebook page and the answer is in today’s video.
We often feel that our fur-kids must have been abused and feel bad to make THEM feel bad. But they still need to know limits. One of my favorite ways to train is using positive rewards. Instead of waiting for kitty to scratch the wrong object and then interrupting the behavior–why not REWARD her when she scratches the RIGHT object? Using kitty clicker training can also build confidence in shy cats by teaching them what happens is in their paws. Over at my puppy-centric site, y’all can find similar tips for how to clicker train puppies. Yep, it builds canine confidence, too.
While a normal dose of caution keeps cats from becoming coyote kibble, extreme fear makes cats miserable and disrupts your happy home. Hiding cat may not bother you, constant anxiety increases stress that can make cats sick. For instance, stress can aggravate bladder inflammation (cystitis), which in turn prompts hit-or-miss bathroom behaviors. Even when the bladder doesn’t hurt, anxious cats use potty deposits or will increase scratching behavior as a way to calm themselves—sort of the way nervous humans bite their fingernails. Here are tips for helping your scaredy cat.
Do you have a shy cat? How does s/he react to strangers or new situations? What tips have you used to bolster confidence? Are you concerned (like Alexa, below) about damaging your pet relationship during training? How do you avoid that?
Of course you can find lots more fur-kid care tips in the pet books. But I hope anyone with a burning furry question (or heck, ANY question! *s*) will share in the comments and perhaps it’ll be a future Ask Amy feature!
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!