This bites! A bizarre way to help your overstimulated cat!
Walking into a shelter and saying "I want a cat that bites."
Who does that??? No one, right?
This week, a client requested a Kitty Konsultation with me about her newly adopted 3-year-old cat who, after a week of good interaction, started unexpectedly biting. She was worried for herself, her kids, her cats and her dog. And rightfully so. She'd been told by one family member," Maybe you need to take him back."
That was a thought that physically made her sick. I could hear it in her voice and it was a feeling I knew all too well.
It was breaking my heart as I thought back to how I felt introducing Jayna Rey, our 10- year-old Maine Coon mix. She, too, had developed the "this it great, this is great, this is great . . . AND NOW I'M BITING YOU" syndrome.
But here we are a year later with Jayna and we're all okay! So what do you do if you're facing a similar dilemma?
STOP. PETTING. YOUR. CAT.
YOU: "Wait, KJ. WHAT??? How is my new cat supposed to know that I love him and he's safe and he's going to live happily ever after with ME if I don't pet him??"
ME: I knowwwwwwwwww.
Here's the deal (and I thought it was crazy too when my trusted cat consultant told me):
Cats are little fur balls of big energy and when the little body has no place left to store the big energy, what happens? The big bang!
Every time you pet your cat, it's like revving an engine. In the beginning stages of your relationship, revving isn't exactly what you want. You want calm. You want to build trust. You want to establish repeated interactions that tell your new cat, "You are SAFE."
You see, while you're in the "OMG . . . he's the cutest thing ever and I want to love him and pet him and give him smooches and cuddles all day long" phase, new kitty is in the "Where am I? Why did I get moved? Will there be enough food? There's so many smells I don't know. Are those smells dangerous? These people seem nice but am I in danger?" phase.
It took a little convincing but my client agreed to give the "No Touchy New Kitty" plan a try. She followed my advice and let new kitty come to her, rub on her, SNUGGLE with her (Oh yeah, that happened!) and by NOT petting him, new kitty has made amazing progress in just a few days. No bites!
Now, there will be a time when the "No Touchy New Kitty" plan can be phased out. However, by just BEING a safe human until your new cat can take in his new surroundings can work wonders for the long-term relationship you've entered in with him.
Especially when introducing adult cats, we need to keep in mind that we don't know how other humans have treated them. Let the cat take the lead on how he wants to interact with you.
Remember: You didn't get a new cat. You entered into a new RELATIONSHIP.
If I can assist you and your cat in working through your relationship issues, please reach out here.
Warm wishes & whisker love,
Your Kitty Correspondent