An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Octopus Makes It Right!

Dear Greyce, Although it hasn't been very long since you posted your blog about me (Oliver's Twists, 3/4/10), I am already noticing a change for the better. Or maybe it's my humans who have noticed the change because they haven't been such good prey as of late. They took your advice so they no longer react when I am biting them and instead blow in my face (which is worse than dog germs!). Needless to say, I haven't been biting much anymore. Okay, I confess, I still do it if I am REALLY angry but now I'm down to a nip rather than a lockjaw bite. They seem to regard this as a great improvement.

As you suggested, all of my humans have been spending more time playing with me. Herself went out the other night and to my kitty delight, brought home a three-story sisal scratching post AND a fishing pole toy that makes my whiskers curl! It is a fuzzy octopus with a hard head (rattle inside) and crinkly arms just like the crackling plastic bags I love; it's long enough for me to wrap all of my limbs around. I can bite that octopus head as hard as I want - just like I used to do to human arms. And I don't have to worry about anyone getting upset with me. I am REALLY HAPPY!

Here is a picture of me with my favourite toy: the pipe cleaner.

I haven't had a chance to pose with the octopus yet but I thought you'd like to know how we are doing.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Going Strange with Strangers

Dear Greyce, I am a big, indoor-only, senior guy (10+ years) with a black and white coat and share a residence with a human male. While I am in good health, I behave in a way that makes my purrson want to enrol me in etiquette classes for he says I lack a sense of hospitality.

From time to time, my purrson goes away and leaves me in the care of a pet sitter. One day I was sitting in the front window when she arrived. She entered the front door and I approached her, hackles up. And what does she do? Says "hello", then ignores me and goes to the kitchen. "Definitely worth watching," I thought to myself. As she bent down to clean up my feeding area, I started to yowl in pre-attack mode. That got her to retreat into the living room and sit down while I re-assessed the situation and gave her a good sniff; then I went under the dining table. She returned to the kitchen and prepared my food and then headed downstairs to scoop my litter box. Meanwhile I ate my meal and returned to my place under the dining table. In time, I went down the hall to the bedroom and jumped on the bed. She spoke to me from a distance and then left.

I admit that I wasn't at my best. But I was unnerved by the situation. That's obvious, isn't it? I confess to being like this from time to time, usually when a stranger who has a loud manner comes into my home or catches me by surprise. At that point I am beyond reasoning, so my purrson takes me to the bedroom to let me cool down (or until the stranger departs). Then I behave as if nothing ever happened.

I admit to having a penchant for a bite or two when having a stranger in the house just gets to be too much for me. I understand the local technical institute offers course in Hospitality Management. Do you think I need to get a diploma or would just a few courses be in order? Inquiringly, Cosmo.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Guess Why I Won't Use the Box.

Dear Greyce, I'm a 8+ year old, orange tabby who is affectionate and playful though skitterish at the noise from construction outside. I'm an only cat doted on by two adult purrsons. I don't want to use my litter box and my purrsons don't like that. Here's the situation:

I go outside on a harness and leash when the weather is nice. Last fall I developed a prefurrence for going to the bathroom outside. I really like to use the garden or the dirt by the back fence for my toilet. But the folks think I should like the stuff they have provided inside the house, especially in the winter when they believe it is too cold to go outdoors.

I had two, uncovered litter boxes: a large one on the basement landing near a wall, and a smaller one on the main floor bathroom beside the washing machine; with the good weather and the chance to do my business outdoors, the small box has disappeared. There used to be liners in my boxes but, thank goodness, that is a thing of the past - since I caught one of my claws in one! My litter is that fine to medium, unscented, clumping clay type. I like my boxes to be kept clean and my folks comply. I really, really, really DON'T want to use these boxes!

I used to go anywhere in my box, dig a bit, do my business and then cover it. Now I go near the edge of the box and don't cover. Sometimes I will sniff the box and the run away. Right now, if I need to pee I hold it until the folks come home and put me in the box. Yes Greyce, they put me in the box and only then will I go (because I have no alternative and I'm in need). When I have to poop I get all puffed up and when I feel I'm about to go, I bolt through the house and find a spot upstairs on which to deposit my waste.

I am in pretty decent health (though the vet is after to me lose some weight), but I had a problem with my stomach a long time ago because of something I ate. I have had no history of urinary infections or diarrhea. I've also been given some new food to deal with constipation issues.

Greyce, this problem is driving us all nuts. I'm hoping you'll be able to help. Max.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oliver's Twists

Dear Greyce, As you can see from my photo I'm an adorable one-year-old Holstein cat and I am VERY spunky. I share my home with four humans and there is usually someone around to keep me company, except at night when I sleep in the basement on my fuzzy blanket on the couch. Everyone tries to take time to play with me and I usually have two play sessions a day (5 to 10 minutes) at morning and at night. I have a variety of toys - fishing pole type (which bore me), mice toys (who cares), balls ( I am SO over them), laser pointer, and the like. What rings my chimes are pipe cleaners tied in a knotted circle (to keep the pointed ends from poking me); I like to hide them under furniture and then seek them out at another time. I even put them in my food and water bowls.

As you can guess, I'm an energetic guy who needs a lot of action. Sometimes when my purrson walks into a room, I will stalk her and then leap out and bite her hard in the legs. Sometimes if she reaches out to me, I bite and don't let go; instead I wrap my body around her arms and bite down hard. Needless to say, she is concerned; so this is a problem for both of us and I'd like your help.

Just in case it is relevant, you need to know the following:

First, I like to bite other things too: wooden things especially the legs of chairs, as well as plastic and rubber (corners of laptops, corners of laundry baskets and rubber slippers). I can't resist rubber slippers. And none of the deterrent sprays (smelly or bitter) can stop me.

Second I stay indoors. There are a lot of wandering cats in my neighbourhood and they even come into my backyard, so my folks don't want cat fights. Besides I get to focussed on whatever it is I am chasing that I don't notice what is happening around me; and that can be dangerous. I am fearless and approach anything I am afraid of; even loud noises don't bother me much. But I am also clumsy - bumping my head when chasing a toy or miscalculating my step and having quite a fall.

And third, like Elvis, I shake - even when I am calm and usually when I am falling asleep or already asleep. I look like I'm shivering. I am completely aware and responsive when I'm shaking, so I don't think I'm having seizures. (At least that is what my vet thinks.)

To be honest Greyce, the biggest issue is my biting my folks. The rest they can live with. What do you advise?