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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cat Leaves Home on Purpose: Sinbad's Tale

Dear Greyce,

I am a neutered, two-year-old male Siamese-cross with a problem: I no longer like living at home.

It all started when I was about a year old. When my humans were away at work, I missed them a lot. So I took advantage of my cat door and went exploring. That's when I found the humans and the two cats next door. And I've begun living there for more and more of my time.

Those two cats are older and tolerate me and I'm careful only to eat from their bowls after they have had enough. Their humans are home for about half the day so they provide company, too. And I like to sleep at the end of their bed. There is a cat door so I have access to the outside world.

But let me get back to the situation at my original home.

I am a human-oriented cat with a particular attachment to Herself. I'm okay with the rest of the family (Himself and the children) .The children are pre-teen (plus one baby, more about that later) and are good with me. I used to love to play with them and sleep on their beds.

I live(d) in a three-floor house. My food is in the basement washroom. My cat door is in the basement. And when Themselves confine me (in an effort to keep me at home), there are two litter boxes in the basement far from the feeding area.

I have free access throughout the house except for the children's bedrooms when they are asleep. My favourite napping spots have been on the beds of the various human occupants, as well as in a lovely enclosed basket high on a shelf which I loved to hide in until Bella started to use it. Now I'm no longer interested. ("Bella?" you ask - more about this pest later.)

I am allowed on all furnishings except for the kitchen surfaces. I have a scratching tree I seldom use.

As an indoor-outdoor cat my schedule was more like my wild counterparts': active in the mornings and evenings with plenty of time for naps in between. I'm a skilled hunter of birds and mice. I prefurr to stay inside during the winter, although I live in an area where the climate is mild enough year round.

Indoors I like to play with a mouse on a string. I am fed wet food twice a day and kibble is always available - in both houses. If I do eat at home, I do it late at night now.

Problem #1: An Intruder: Because I used to cry when I was left alone, Themselves got a female kitten (now spayed) called Bella. She is affectionate and we'd play together. But now she really annoys me. She hides and waits to pounce. Sometimes I like this game but it puts me on edge when I'm not expecting it. Themselves put a bell on her collar so I get a warning when she is up to no good. But I really just want to stay away from her.

To make matters worse, she barges into the feeding area to eat first!

Is there anything called being too affectionate? Because that is what Bella is to both me and Themselves. She never gives me space! She goes wherever I go, just like my shadow. She is even worse with Herself and wants to sleep with her under the duvet!  In fact, Bella is all over my humans.

In other words, Greyce, what was supposed to be a companion has turned into an intruder!

Problem #2: Changes to My Territory: To make matters worse,  Themselves had renovations done on the house. The builders made lots of noise for a very long time. They moved the location of my cat door several times. Thank goodness they have now left for good (yippee!). In the last few days I've popped in for some food but I don't stay long.

Problem #3: Human Invasion: Wait for it Greyce . . .  six months ago They had a baby! The good news is that Herself is now at home - with the baby, of course. Luckily the baby is happy and doesn't cry a lot but when it does I am curious and go and see what is wrong. But mostly, I just stay out of its way.

With all this commotion, do you blame me for moving out?

Themselves miss me very much. Herself is home with the baby so there is always the chance for human companionship but I am less interested now. When I occasionally return home, I am very nervous - even with Herself.

They have tried to entice me back in the following ways:
1. They used Feliway to give me a sense of comfort. No deal.

2. They confined me at home (by locking my cat door). I usually go to the bathroom outside. But when confined I have two litter boxes in the basement (well away from my feeding area). Still I poop on the floor.

3. When I'm confined, they give me a bit more space and do not pick me up. A good effort but not enough.

4. They tried to leave Bella outside so I can roam about the house in peace but she sat at the door and cried so much that they gave up on this. Too bad for me. When I'm confined inside the house, I keep my distance from Bella but never fight with her.

5. When I come home they give me a treat. So what.

6. They called me for every meal even if I didn't come home. Now they don't bother.

7. They asked the neighbours to discourage me from living with them, as that is the only place I go.

So Greyce, we have a problem. I'm happy living elsewhere with short, occasional visits to the old homestead. But the humans are not.

How can we make this a win-win situation?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Greetings

Dear Readers,

As you may know, I'm still recovering from serious illness. I'm well on my way but am still being monitored. This means that Herself keeps close count of my eating, drinking (and vomiting) habits, as well as what is coming out the other end. Coupled with holiday preparations, Herself isn't getting much beauty sleep and is noticeably grumpy.

And being under the weather has meant a significant slow-down in my ability to post entries and reply to inquiries. I hope to rectify this by the new year.

In the meantime, the Modern Cat  website has some stunning cat shelter ideas from architects in New York. And while I'm not sure how street-safe these are - or how practical - they ARE very inspiring. I suggest you not only click on the link, but also click on the Architects For Animals link mentioned in the article - because it provides a slideshow of the various shelter ideas. Besides maybe a new garbage can home is just what you need (take care to put a protective wide tape around the opening) - have a look at the photo on that site!

Here's to a warm and protected home for all felines this holiday season and throughout the year.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cat Stalks Humans: Tux's Trials

Dear Greyce,

I am a handsome black and white neutered male cat - a teenager really at 1.75 years old. I am curious, active and aloof, meaning that I'm not very cuddly though I prefurr to be around my purrsons whenever they are home and I do follow them from room to room. I'm left alone during the day and mostly sleep then.

The problem isn't with me, it's with Them and most particularly with Herself. For example, she was watching TV and I came up behind her, put my paws on either side of her head and bit it. No blood just a nip. But I was confined to my kennel!

After a time, I was let out and she picked me up (!) and so I bit her arm several times. How was I to know she was about to feed me dinner?

There has been a least one other incident. And now, since I'm stalking Her even more frequently, she says she is creeped out when she sits on the couch and I come around and stare her down very intently. According to her, I don't give any warning before I do the pounce-and-bite routine.

Now I've always been a bit on the nippy side but the last few months this has escalated. Sometimes I just sit very alert, not moving, but crouched low with my back arched. What gives with that?

And just in case you need to know, I live in a one-bedroom condo that has a kitchen, living room and dining room (all open into each other), an office, and a bedroom and bathroom. I'm not allowed in the bedroom when Themselves are sleeping. Ditto the bathroom. Other than that I have free rein.

I have a cat tree the overlooks the living room and a fair number of toys: a stuffed hippo, wiggly worm, small balls, twist ties/ribbons, mouse on a string. Themselves also use a laser pointer and finger gloves when they play with me - about 15 minutes a day. Though they do admit to lapses.

What's a guy to do Greyce?