This entry was posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2011 at 6:11 am and is filed under Cat Scratch Reconditioning, Cat Training/Teaching, CatAWhack, Declawing, Feline Family Member Care. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
This is Kitten. Kitten lives next door to the CatAWhack Crew. Kitten is a vertical scratcher. He purrfers the sides of couches and chairs. Although his human provided him with a scratching post, it did not dissuade him from scratching the furniture. Why? Because the scratching post merely provided a scratch outlet…It did not establish a designated space that set up the conditions for the creation of territorial boundaries and scratch perimeters within an inter-species household. His human didn’t know what to do. The veterinarian offered no information about cat behavior, cat scratch reconditioning, nail trimming, or alternatives to declawing. Kitten was scheduled for a declawing procedure at the same time that he was to be neutered.
When the CatAWhack Crew discovered that Kitten was three days away from being declawed, they sent Bret with the new CatAWhack Unit. Kitten’s human was totally unaware that declawing was an amputation of the distal toe digits. However, with this new information, she was open to considering other options. The following was proposed:
- A 14 day period to help Kitten change his established scratch practice (It takes 14 days to break a habit or change a behavior)
- Washing former scratching haunts with a pet odor remover and covering with double-sided tape
- Positioning the CatAWhack Unit next to former scratching haunts to encourage transfer of scratch practice to the designated surfaces of the unit
- Positioning the CatAWhack Scratch Panel in a vertical position since Kitten purrferred the sides of furniture
- Reinforcing scratch practice on the CatAWhack Unit by providing rewards that appealed to Kitten’s pawticular purreferences (treats, catnip, affection, pawsitive praise, play time)
- Gradually moving the CatAWhack Unit away from the former scratching haunts and toward a more permanent location in order to establish Kitten’s purrsonalized designated space creation within the home environment
- Placing the CatAWhack Unit in front of a window with a view for environmental enrichment; mental stimulation; in order to stimulate Kitten’s predatory claw sharpening preparation in response to outdoor critters (birds, squirrels, rabbits)
- Ensuring that Kitten’s daily living activities (eating, drinking, sleeping, snacking, playing, scratching) occurred on or around the CatAWhack Unit Space Creation. This created pawsitive associations with the space and made natural recurrent scent placement a reinforcer for return visits and repeat purrformances.
- Removing double sided tape or Sofa Savers from furniture after new scratch practice was established.
- Placing citrus scents on or around old scratching haunts to make these areas less desirable and therefor deterring a potential cat scratch relapse (i.e., orange rinds;natural orange spray; bitter apple sprays or repellents) NOTE: If spraying directly on furniture, rugs, or carpets, be sure and test on an unseen area before applying
- If Kitten experienced a relapse and began scratching the furniture, exploring what may have triggered the behavior: Was there anything new or different in the environment? Did something such as a loud noise startle or spook Kitten when he was occupying his designated space or practicing his scratch behavior? Was Kitten bored?
- Consider moving the CatAWhack Unit occasionally (every 4-6 months) to another desirable location to keep Kitten engaged, curious, and stimulated OR reconfigure the CatAWhack Unit by moving the scratch panel, bed, or leaf toy OR introduce a new component such as a box, a blanket over half of the unit, or a new toy
When Bret checked in with Kitten’s human at the end of the 14-day period, she reported that Kitten was scratching the CatAWhack exclusively. YES! Way to go Kitten!
Check out these pics of Kitten (When he received his CatAWhack; got a reward for using his CatAWhack; and weeks later as he perches on his CatAWhack and looks out the window):
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