by Joyce Sammons
(Hodges, SC, USA)
Furby on the washer and on the stove. If these upset you, don't get a cat
I've had a lot of people question me on how I get cats to trust me so soon into a relationship. So I decided to write a few quick paragraphs on the secrets to my success with cats. These may or may not work for you, but it's the method I live by.
1. On first meeting a stray cat or kitten, I automatically assume the animal will love me. I'm not being conceited, it's just the way my mind works. I love all animals and I feel they know this. I approach a cat or kitten using a kind, musical voice. Much the same as a mother will sing to her newborn baby. Most of the time I'll sit down to be at a less offensive level. This lets the cat know I'm not going to make any sudden, scary moves.
This is the method I used to "catch" my cat Furby. He was a starving feral kitten the day I found him. He crossed the road in front of my car and I turned around and went back to look for him before he got himself into more trouble. He was sitting at the corner of an old barn and he was starring up at me. I reached down, scooped him up and started petting him. A part of me was shocked when he didn't fight me.
Furby has really been the exception to dealing with a feral kitten. He's tolerated everything we've had to do to save his life. This has included everything from bathing for fleas to lancing an abscess on his neck when antibiotics alone didn't work. It turned out he had a fly larvae growing in his neck. He was neutered at 5 months of age and is a wonderful cat.
2. Boundaries. Furby loves to get on the kitchen counter while food is being prepared. This would upset a lot of people who haven't come up with a back up plan for entertaining the cat. I have a cat carrier large enough to hold three cats. It has a soft blanket and Furby and his cat mama Lola enjoy playing in it. If either of them will be an inconvenience while preparing food, they are lovingly picked up, kissed and put in the carrier. Usually it's for less than ten minutes. My daughter Laura and I allow the cats to eat when we eat. Another tip along the lines of food preparation is to make sure all knives are turned down in the dish drainer. This is a MUST for homes with or without a cat.
3. Lola and Furby are both spoiled to quality human food. We eat a lot of baked chicken and green vegetables. I've studied what foods are toxic to cats and don't even keep them in the house. Furby is the really happy cat at dinner time. He loves chicken, broccoli, lettuce, and green beans. All the cats know is we spoil them. They love being handed food from our plates. They have quality dry food available at all times just in case.
4. My animals have NEVER been yelled at or abused. Anything they might get into was a mistake on our part for not having placed it in a better place. Cats who are verbally abused take on a completely different personality. They try to shrink and hide. I hope mine never have to face this. The worst to happen in my home is the vacuum cleaner. I don't believe many cats ever learn to trust the "loud roaring monster." At least they know we're not going to harm them with it.
5. Learn to listen to what your cat is saying. Many years ago I had a cat named Sissy. She was a beautiful Maine Coon who reminds me a lot of Furby. She jumped in my lap while I was sitting on the bed and proceeded to urinate on me. Instead of getting angry, I realized something was wrong because she'd never done this before. The litter box was kept clean so I knew that wasn't the issue. I scooped her up and took her straight to the vet. As it turned out, she had a kidney infection that required antibiotics. She knew exactly how to tell me something was wrong.
6. Get a cat for the right reasons. They're not toys to pick up as a whim and turn them into a shelter when you get tired of them. Before you adopt any pet, realize this animal will be with you for YEARS. To look at adoption or rescue any other way is just asking for trouble.
I hope this helps. It's the rules I live by and so far they've served me well.
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