The Catification Lady: The Best Cat Advice
Posted by Kathie, the Catification Lady on 9/20/2013 to The Catification Lady
The Vertical Cat - The Catification Lady blogOne crazy cat lady explores the depths of Cat Behavior, Catification, and Environment Enrichment.

Over the years I've run across some great advice involving cat behavior that has been very helpful. Two particular bits of advice have been especially good.

The first involves Cat Kisses, or the Slow Cat Blink. Cat Behavioralist Jackson Galaxy has shown the technique on his Animal Planet show, My Cat From Hell, but I ran across this trick years before as a shelter volunteer.

What you do is stare a cat in the eyes and SLOWLY blink allowing a couple seconds between blinks. Most cats will blink back or soften their eyes eventually. That's really all there is to it. It helps you gain a connection with that kitty. And yes, it really works! At least on the lion's share of kitties.

This is especially helpful in a shelter situation where you need to be able to connect quickly with a cat or calm an anxious kitty down, but I also use the technique on my kitties at home. If you've never done this with your cat, give it a try. You might be surprised at the results.

The second awesome piece of advice involves cats that don't get along.

The Vertical CatThere's nothing like the horrible sound of cats fighting or seeing two cats you love attacking each other to destroy harmony in the house. I should know. I have two cats who are not fans of each other. George is my charming old long haired boy, about 10-years-old, and Ziggy is my rambunctious three-year-old who believes he owns every surface that can be sat upon, including any that George has tried to claim. Ziggy (the black cat) and George (black and white) are pictured at the right.

Things have calmed down dramatically, partially due to incorporating techniques I learned from Jackson Galaxy and other cat behavioralists, and partially because Ziggy's gotten older and settled down a bit.

Over the years I've studied the problem and know that most cat fights are over territory. So one thing that can help with the problem is to adjust the territory.

I got this piece of advice from Jackson Galaxy during a conference call with Carol's Ferals after they won our $1,000 Catification Shelter Makeover giveaway. The discussion was about the space we were going to supply cat furniture for and about cats that didn't get along. Cat fights can be a big problem when shelters have free-roaming community cat rooms.

Jackson's suggestion was to take masking or painter's tape and put an X on the floor in the spot a cat fight initiated. So every time there was a fight, an X goes on the floor. After a week you can easily see where the biggest problems are. Here's a picture of Carol's Ferals main adult cat room after they tried this technique and put blue Xs on the floor.

The Vertical Cat at Carol's Ferals

The suspicion in their case was that perhaps this had to do with the food set up at the time.

So what to do? If your problem is a food set up, perhaps create more than one feeding area. If there are less obvious reasons, try putting a chair or cat tree in the area to see if that changes the flow of the space. If you have a narrow hallway, perhaps putting up some shelves or a doing something temporary to adjust the layout of the trouble spot. Temporary placement of a box, chair or cat tree can disrupt the behavior, and then you can slowly, by a few inches a day, move the temporary box or tree to a more acceptable position.

After you adjust the space, again put the Xs on the floor when fights happen for a few days and see if there's been any progress.

This visual gives you an excellent picture of problem areas. Once those are identified, making an adjustment in the environment can be a minor, and often temporary, price to pay to reclaim that harmony for both you and your kitties.

Have you gotten any great pieces of Cat Advice? Let us know and we'll make it the subject of a future blog posting.

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Irishcatlady Date 5/1/2014
Great advice! I heard about slow blink a while ago and love blinking with my cats. Two of them don't get along so I will be trying X marks the trouble spot over the next few weeks :) Thanks K
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