This is an article by Elen, a visitor to PoC.
We humans are claimed to be divided in to two categories, Cat people and Dog people. I basically agree. I do love dogs myself; I do however not feel I have a natural way of communicating with a dog, I call this ‘I don’t speak dog language’. If you do not speak the language of a foreign country and something happens to you whilst visiting this foreign country, you might end up feeling totally helpless in regard to your matter if the natives of that country are not able to understand you. This is the reason I have never had a dog as a pet, I don’t want to feel helpless and not able to communicate with the dog when it comes to the moment when I have to teach it something. It does not come naturally to me, and therefore I know that I could never have authority over the dog in my house. This means life would become unbearable to myself, as ANY animal has a natural way of claiming the place where they live as their territory. I don’t have a natural ability to want to make life unbearable for myself, so a dog is not an option for me to have as a pet.
A cat, will do the same, it will claim it’s home as its territory, and unless you speak cat language your life will soon become unbearable in your own home. Many people (families with small children that wants a pet, for example) will opt for a cat rather than a dog, simply due to thinking that a cat is EASIER to keep due to many things. You will not need to get up early in the morning to take a cat for a walk: true, a cat will do its poops and pees in a litter box, also true. A cat does not smell; true, and a cat is not as expensive to keep (food etc.), also true. Still, all this does not mean that a cat is easier to keep, if you do NOT speak cat language.
The first thing that you will get -desperate- about is the cat scratching your furniture and walls (cat’s love wall paper) and objects of any shape or form standing upright, and if made of wood, all the better for the cat, cats love wood!
Now, in addition to the first part of this article of how to stop your cat scratching your furniture and other stuff, I mentioned that you need to become the kittens mother from the moment you bring it to your house. That -role- you can never leave. In nature a kittens mother would obviously eventually leave its offspring to fend for itself once it has taught it the necessary things for its survival. This will never happen with you! You will be your cats mother for good. Period.
As I said in part one, lift your kitten the way it is used to naturally, as its mother has done so far, by the neck.
This will impose a natural form of authority on the kitten, and it will simply start regarding you as its mother. As the kitten is programmed by nature to LEARN from its authority, the mother, it will automatically start accepting your authority over it and try and imitate the things you do, and learn what it is NOT supposed to do from YOU.(My cats go to the toilet when I do, eat when I do, sleep when I do, get up when I do) Therefore, keep up the lifting the kitten by its neck even when it becomes bigger. It SERIOUSLY does not hurt nor harm the cat as long as they are used to you doing this from the very start. You obviously have to take into account that as the kitten becomes heavier, your grip on its neck needs to be over a bigger area of the neck. IF the kitten cries out, you are doing it wrong! Please understand I am NOT teaching anybody to hurt their cat in any way! All the reverse, i am trying to tell you how to AVOID hurting your cat in the worst possible way, by de-clawing it! This will only happen if you did NOT become its mother.
My two youngest kittens are 6 months old now, and by the time they were 3 months old they had already stopped trying to scratch the furniture. My older cat looked at me whilst training them with a sympathetic look in her eyes, knowing very well what it was I was teaching the little ones. Occasionally when my 6-month-old ones forget what they are doing (usually when playing around with much excitement) and one of them happens to dig in their nails in the couch or my wooden table, they suddenly remember quick as a flash! They will turn around and look at me with a look that tells me -oops, sorry, I forgot! Still, if and when the going gets too rough i will still lift them by the neck and as an additional reminder sometimes close them (just one at a time, so they don’t continue to play) in the bedroom for about 10-15 mins so as to reinforce that -this is my territory and you were not allowed to do that! Again, you are not hurting your cat (my cats never say a peep when i lift them by the neck) and the few minutes isolation will teach your cat that your feelings are hurt because it did something you have taught it not to do. This is all a part of what i call -talking cat language. Remember ALWAYS, you have to FEEL your authority GENUINELY! You have to impose your will – GENUINELY, and do so only when you truly feel it. Cats are VERY intuitive creatures, and in order for a real bond of trust and respect to form in regard to your authority -always show your true feelings to your cat companion.
To end this story, I will tell you of when I had 6 cats (and feeding another 20 odd wild ones on a daily basis!) once upon a time. Time was coming up for three of them to go for their first visit to the vet. I lived in a very remote place and corner of the world and I did not have a cage, as there was no possibility to buy one where I was.
My closest neighbors (a very old couple) kept asking me how I would achieve taking three cats to the vet without a cage, in a car, driving 50 odd miles to get to the vet??
I said -I will tell my cats to get in the car and be still. The old man looked at me for a moment in total disbelief and then burst out in the wildest laughter i have ever heard! I laughed along with him! LOL!!
The day of the vet appointment came along and I called on the cats. Obediently they came running after me as soon as I did. I went in the car in the back seat and called on the cats with my silly voice, -come to mummy come!! come on, come to mummy! Using the voice i always do when it’s huggy times in bed. First, they looked at me utterly confused, but within 3-4 mins they were all inside the car, looking at me as if -what is going on, this is NOT bed huggy time??!!
I closed the door, crawled on to the driver’s seat and then used my -now you will be GOOD boys, stern voice.
And off we drove!
They all stayed in the back seat, complaining slightly every so often, the -what’s going on miauw?..looking out the windows and calling on me all the time..(not one of them went crazy with fear though)and i drove all the way answering their miauws with miauws..reassuring them with my -huggy time voice, all the way that -i love you guys, no need to worry!
The vet did not believe his eyes when i opened up the car door and let the cats out.
I will add, it was NOT to de-claw them!!!
Part 3: How to stop your cat scratching your furniture and other objects
I can tell already that my comments (scroll down) on how to bring up a cat, is upsetting certain people.
I will not go in to arguments or start commenting back on objections to how I bring up my cats and take responsibility for their and my OWN environment and give us all space to be together under the same roof. Cats are cats, as I state all over again, and you should NOT take a cat into your home unless you are prepared to make certain sacrifices in your home. Cats will run and play and brake things and be FUNNY doing just that, being CATS! I will never limit a cat from being a cat, it is the reason I have cats, because I love seeing them run about, play, play with me, play together, jump about and play rough! I love their energy of life and watch their movements, agility, how they jump and do volts and play with each other. Cats are the most beautiful AND loving creatures there is! I prefer having a cat any day over being in a steady relationship, I reckon I was a cat in another life, because I understand and get along with cats better then i do with humans, ever.
I will keep my opinions about legalized de-clawing of cats in America to myself, as I wish to insult no-one. I will also not answer to insulting comments about how i teach my cats a few basic rules on how to live a comfortable life under the same roof with me. If someone thinks my way of teaching a cat to respect me and my things as much as I respect its life and taking care of it with all my love and cherishing I have within, then, I will leave it to those people to express their opinions however, without me responding to them, as I know that communicating with people is basically useless, it all comes down to a lot of opinionating and being RIGHTER then someone else.
My point is not to be RIGHT, my point is merely to give someone contemplating having a cat a few possible tips on how to avoid big time trouble with a cat scratching stuff to pieces. The only purpose I do this is to hopefully save cats from being de-clawed in the future. Anybody saying that all I do is teach my cats to be in awe of me, are welcome to think so. I hope they post alternative advise themselves on how to stop your cat scratching stuff, and so, everyone can go with the method that is the most suitable for themselves. The only point being, that cat and human can live in peace and understanding under the same roof and for all involved being able to avoid emotional and physical suffering in any way shape or form.
Always have stuff around, like clawing boards or pieces of wood or RUGS that your cat IS allowed to scratch and use its claws on, as there is no point in expecting that a cat should stop its natural habits for your sake.
I have a massive piece of wood in the kitchen corner going out to the hall on the way to where the toilet is, and as we in our daily routines (simply stating that my cats always run after me wherever I go in the house, and I love that!) go through that doorway tens of times (and the cats more than I do), they have learned with much ease that THIS is the place where they dig their claws in and are allowed to do so. I have rugs in every room, woolly woven rugs that my cats LOVE, and they are allowed to dig in their claws in every single one of those and scratch away all they like. These rugs do not suffer from this treatment as they are meant to look rugged in any case!
I suggest you have at least ONE such small rug somewhere around for your cat to dig its claws in.
That’s all for me. Be happy with your cats, and may your cats be happy with you.