Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kitten Picture of the day

Awww, ain't she cute? Of course, if you look closely, you can see the little blood specks under my beard where she clocked me while tiring herself out playing.

Ah, but it's my fault. I let her rough-house on my chest and encouraged her to play. I expect to spill some blood in this stage of training a kitten. There are only a couple of commands I expect a cat of ours to know, and the most important one is "OW!"

Don't laugh, I'm serious. "OW!" means "whatever you're doing hurts, stop immediately." The way I taught Oz and Banzai this was just to play with them when they were young, but when they grabbed on too hard with claws or teeth, I'd freeze and shout "OW!" in such a way that they knew play time was over until they backed off. They pick it up pretty quickly, though it occasionally meant just sitting there with claws in my arm for a while. Let's face it, yanking your arm back is just going to make the situation worse anyway. Better to tough it out and teach the cat a lesson.

With Sydney, I usually also put my hand on her and just gently hold her down so she can't play any more. I could never get away with that with Oz (too big and strong by the time we had him) or Banzai (who was just too wild as a kitten). Sydney actually plays pretty gently, but those little claws and teeth are sharp, and sometimes she gets carried away. I think she's going to be a strong cat like Oz, so I need to get her trained early.

Oh, the the regular Monday Minions cartoon post is up at Minions at Work.


  1. Found this blog through a conan site (remember the Superman III incident) and after reading a little, I am shocked at how "industrialized" writing has become. I had no idea that there was this group of mercenary writers pumping out cookie cutter stories. Not because that's what they wanted but because it paid the bills.
    Are we living in the light beer age of writing? Will technology soon allow a new age of liberated authors to write great books similar to the recent explosion in microbrews?

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    She's adorable!

    And I have to tell ya, honestly, I had NO idea cats could be trained. My cat is SUCH a BRAT! But I love her anyway. She's a holy terror to the furniture and leaps up and grabs you as your walking by minding your own business. She's so naughty. And orange! That's why she's such an imp. It's because she's orange! LOL

    Great pic!

  3. Piper, cats can be trained, within reason, though not in the same way dogs can. The professionals say that cats are just as trainable as dogs, and can learn quite complex tricks. But while dogs will work for a pat on the head, cats need a food reward.

    What I'm doing is different through. I'm letting them do what they'll do (which, as kittens, is attack everything that moves, including the owner), but I'm just modifying that.

    They respond to "ouch," by backing off on the teeth and claws. She still attacks my hand with as much enthusiasm as she did a week ago, but now the claws hardly come out, and when the bites too hard, I can get her to quit. It took me quite a few scratches to get to that point, but better now than when she's stronger and heavier.

    Now, getting her to stop climbing up our legs is something we're still working on.

    Furniture is another issue too, of course. I feel like when you take a cat into your house, you have to meet them half-way. That means some damage is going to be done, and you just aren't going to be able to have in your house.

    Chris loves rattan, but cats find it irrestible for clawing and climbing. You pick your furniture, and you pick your battles.

    Our guys are never allowed on kitchen counters or to climb bookshelves, or to walk on keyboards. In return, they get access to pretty much everything else. Scratching on furniture is mostly a lesser offense, but we provide them lots of scratching posts (the kind that hang on door-knobs are handy for locating around the house) so that was rarely a huge problem with Oz and Banzi. We'll have to see how the little girl does.

    And by the way, you are SO right about orange/yellow cats! They are trouble, but they're also so much fun.