Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re still tacklin’ that really tuff topic, “Aggression”. So pull up a chair, get you a cup of coffee, tea or whatever your drink of choice is and get ready to explore the world from the feline point of view. As always, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Trainin’ can be kind’a borin’, but it’s necessary. Every furry can benefit from trainin’. The Tips, Tricks and Techniques we offur have been used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. As always, we invite your questions, suggestions and comments. Ifin you ask a behavioral question, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. We do want to help, but we can’t read minds. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can click on the links below. Befur addressin’ the topic of Aggression, we introduced you to the origins and natural instincts of the housecat here. And, ifin you missed the initial steps to take when dealing with an aggressive cat, you can ketch up by readin’ part 1 here. Today we’re going to look at the “Alpha cat” and the importance of “Scent” in having a happy peaceful house.
We want to reiterate, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!! An “Aggressive” cat is trying to tell you something. Aggression can occur in a single cat household or multiple cat household; and can occur suddenly without warning, or evolve over time. It is important to try to find and understand the source of your cat’s Aggression. You will need to “become a cat”. When humans prepare for a baby/toddler, they have to look at their home through the eyes of a child to find the dangers and make them safe. (ie: outlet covers, stove knob locks, cupboard locks, etc.). The same is true for figuring out why your cat is acting out/hiding/acting aggressively, etc.. All the “pheremone” sprays, drops, collars and plug ins are essentially a band aid. They treat the symptoms, but not the core problem. However, if you find they help, Use them. Mommy suggests using the drops, collars, sprays and spot ons on all cats in the house. The reason will become clear in this post. However, you still need to treat and train the core issue. Last week we talked about how cats like routine and despise change. Any change in a cat’s health, surroundings, both inside and out, can affect your cats personality.
Cat people know no bounds. Mommy says, most dog peeps favor a particular look, size or breed, but cat peeps, they love them all. And, as a result, would have a houseful if they could. While that may be awesome for the human, and wonderful for the lives saved, a crowded house could also breed problems and ultimately Aggression in multi cat households. All cats in a house must be confident and feel like they own a space. Ideally, every cat in the household should own the whole house. In multi-cat households, there is always a “head cat in charge”, or the “Alpha” cat. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 cats or 20, one cat is “The Cat in Charge”. It’s important to watch your cats and figure out which one that is, and “cater” to it. Mommy wants me to remind you, that no matter how “in charge” your Alpha cat is, it’s also important to remember, that You, are the ultimate Alpha. This is even more so in a single cat house. After sis Lexi died, mommy had planned for me to be the Alpha cat; but me doesn’t have the “Alpha” traits. Me liked being the little sisfur and mommy’s baby girl.
Yep, sis Lexi was the Alpha. She was a gentle Alpha, but she
always held the top spot.
The “Alpha cat” will be the one, who all others look to and take their cues from. The “Alpha cat” will also spread their scent around to everybody, regularly. It can be so subtle, you might not recognize it at first, but it’s happening. The occasional hiss or swat, is perfectly normal. Your cats’ are communicating with/teaching each other. But, Do Not ever let it become a full blown fight. Cats live in a world of smells. They have scent glands located on their chin, lips, cheeks, either side of the forehead, paw pads, tail and of course there’s also the anal glands and urine. The scent glands in the head area are all friendly communicators. That’s why mommy loves the “Scent Me Up” game so much. A cat recognizes you and it’s home by Smell and Not Sight.
Me’s tellin’ Raena, she’s bein’ a little too much.
When you’re scent swapping, it’s important to rub your towel or whatever scent soaker you’re using on the cat’s head and not their paws or backside. The scent glands on the paws, make a statement. Think of your cat using it’s scratcher. An enthusiastic scratcher, is aggressively saying, “I own this scratcher, you can use it, but it’s All mine”. And, the scent glands on the tail and backside, communicate aggression and fear, as well as sexual readiness in unaltered cats. In a multi-cat household, ALL the cats smell like the “Alpha”. Obviously, humans can’t smell this, but we cats can. Keep this in mind if you have a cat that is separated from the others in the house. A separated cat Does Not smell like the others and probably not even you. So they won’t be recognized by or recognize any other kitty in the home. And, remember, cats see with their noses and not their eyes. Think about that last Vet visit where only one cat went and the return home.
Cardboard cat scratchers are great scent soakers. Be sure to
scent them with scents from the facial scent glands if presenting
them to an already Aggresive cat.
Here’s where it can get a little tricky. Remember, it’s important to “cater” to your “Alpha cat”, but ultimately, all cats should see you as the glue that keeps the family together. This is really important for the cat that is separated. We told you last week to leave a worn piece of your clothing as a scent soaker, but we didn’t get to the importance of the attitude you had while wearing that item. Cats smell fear, worry, upset, joy, and every other emotion you have. Cats will also respond to your emotions. Mommy calls it “feeding off your emotions”. When she’s angry, we’re on edge and there’s a lot more hissing going on. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. MOL To have a cohesive smell in our house, mommy lightly sprays the sheets (we sleep in the bed with her) with perfume. The same perfume she wears. She also lightly sprays our harnesses, sitting chair, cat trees and cat beds with her perfume. Mommy has always been a perfume girl. It’s her one guilty pleasure. Anyways, our furs pick up that scent. It’s very light, but we smell like mommy and therefore, we smell like each other. So, when we sniff each other, we know we belong together.
You don’t have to spray your sheets with perfume, but you do need to keep in mind, how your scent changes and try to present the most cohesive scent possible when approaching your Aggressive cat. Ideally, before entering the room to spend time with your separated Aggressive cat, you should hold and “scent up” with all the cats in your house; save the Alpha cat for last. That will be the strongest scent. And, remember, try to get those scents from the face area so you’re presenting as relaxed and friendly.
Scent is so important to a cat. It is, after all, how we communicate our intentions with others. It’s how we know our housemates and humans. Remember, a cat sees the world thru smells. That’s why a blind cat can still function and live a happy life. Just thought me would throw that in there in case you’re thinking about adopting a special needs kitty.
We’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We’ve given you a lot to think about and smell. MOL Me would like to repurrt, that uncle Pete’s been workin’ on buildin’ the confidence with the other kitties in their home thru play, and the ‘Aggression” issue they were having has gotten much better. Confidence and Scent go a long way towards a happy and peaceful home. ‘Member to click on the links below to ketch up on any topic you may have missed. And leave your questions, suggestions and comments below.
Till the next time……………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle