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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cat Eats Elastic & Fabric: Pica

Dear Greyce,

I am an adorable beige kitten who was rescued from a garbage dump. I am about 8 months old, male and  neutered. I live with Rosie, a 4 year old female and two purrsons, Herself and Himself, in a bungalow. Like all kittens, I have two speeds: "full on" during which I'm a bundle of energy  and "full off" meaning that I am asleep.

I am very outgoing and love people. I always comes to visitors for a pat of my furs. I enjoy being held, especially on Herself's knee every morning before she goes to work. Himself is retired and so spends lots of time with me during the day.

A few weeks ago I had to have an operation. Some elastic hair ties and pieces of fabric were removed from my tummy. Soon after I had my Elizabethan collar removed (it prevented me from biting my stitches), I went after the elastic pull tab on a laptop case. Themselves are frantic with worry.

Now I must admit that I haven't gnawed on all fabric, for I sleep with Themselves and they have sheets and everything. I also like to nap on an acrylic afghan on the couch and I'm not eating it. But I sure went after the toes of a cotton sock.

While I love to play, Themselves have become extremely careful about what I play with because they are afraid I will eat it. I enjoy a tin foil ball and various mice. My interactive play is limited to the laser pointer. I also enjoy looking out the window, especially since we live by an elementary school where there are periods of action with the kids coming and going.

My eating habit is apparently causing household distress, along with another habit I have. I come over to be petted and really enjoy it. I love to have my head and neck scratched. And then all of a sudden, I  grab Themselves' hand(s) and arms with my teeth and start to claw. Admittedly Greyce I am getting better. Now they pull me off and hold their hands and arms close to their bodies and say, "No" in an attempt to have me understand that fingers and arms are off limits for scratching and biting. And I usually stop then. I used to attack their ankles suddenly too; but that is becoming a thing of the past.

And now for Rosie. She came into the household when she was 2 years old and is a refined, spayed tabby. She is on the shy side. For example when we have visitors she comes to see them and then disappears. She is curious about new things and enjoys being petted when she wants to be - which isn't often. She seems to know when people are upset and comes over and gives a kiss or a nudge.

We met quickly. I came to my new home and that was it!

Rosie and I get along. We have food bowls side-by-side and dip into each other's at whim; we are free-fed dry food. About twice a day (sometimes more), I pounce on her and there is a big, brief skuffle and then we're done. We have two window perches and while I enjoy window viewing or napping on the afghan on the sofa, she favours the chair which is pushed under the dining room table. So all in all, I think we get along well.

Now back to my problems, Greyce. What do you advise?

Energetically yours,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Used to a Third Cat: Tommy, Gracie and Spike

Dear Greyce,

Things have developed s-l-o-w-l-y but we are at a loss for the next step. So let me review our progress to date.

We have undertaken scent exchange by getting to smell Spike's blanket (without Spike, of course). Gracie is interested, whereas I sniff and go.

Spike is housed in the Workroom adjacent to the Basement. He now has access to the Basement several times a day. He still is separated from us because there is a door (with a cat door) leading to the basement. It is locked when he is about. And we are elsewhere.

Spike goes outside from time and time and likes to look at us through the window. I usually ignore him unless he gets far too close (nose-to-nose except separated by a window) and then I hiss. Gracie is the flirt; she chirps and she puffs herself up.

Gracie has a ton of energy and wants to play all the time. We have several cat trees, cat scratchers and viewing places, along with lots of toys. Still she bugs me. So purrhaps having a younger cat to play with will keep her occupied. I'm more sedentary (I'm 10+ years after all) and I have a weight problem which makes jumping a hard task. Herself added some stairs to help me reach the bed at night.

So now what?