P. 662

An Urban Experience
Destructive Scratching
The motivation for this behavior is it is a normal marking behavior. It is self-reinforcing and consequently, it cannot be ignored. Prevent the behavior by providing an appropriate outlet. Keep the cat’s nails trimmed. If the cat is scratching an inappropriate object, interrupt the behavior, call the cat away, reward, and redirect to an appropriate area.
Prevention is so important. Teaching the cat to tolerate restraint and handling at an early age is much easier than treating a cat that is aggressive with handling. Use tasty treats or a feather on a string as a reward to desensitize and counter condition the cat to handling. If the cat becomes frightened and aggressive, avoid punishment. Verbally reprimanding the cat may inhibit its behavior, but it does not make the situation any more pleasant for the cat, or client.
Crate Training
Most cats know that the cat carrier means, “We are going to the Vet!” To prevent this negative association, use the crate at all times. Make it a comfortable resting spot for the cat. Hide treats in the kennel and feed special meals in the kennel.
Obedience Training
Cats can learn just as many tricks as dogs. Finding the right motivator can sometimes be a challenge. Small treats, a lick of tuna juice, or a feather on a string are potential rewards. Teaching the cat to come when called and to sit on cue can easily be facilitated with minimal effort.
Integrating a Kitten to a Multi-cat Household
Integrating a new cat to a multi-cat household can be stressful for the new cat as well as the resident cats. To provide for the most harmonious integration possible, it is best to take a proactive approach and systematically provide for a gradual introduction. Although the process may seem tedious, it often can progress quickly. However, if owners decide to “just see what happens,” a negative initial introduction could result in a much longer acclimation process or even worse, an inability for the cats to cohabitate.
The kitten or new cat should be set up in one room. The room should have all necessary resources, including a litter box, scratching station, food, water, bedding and toys. It is also a good idea to include a large multilevel cat cage. The kitten should be provided with numerous opportunities to interact and play with the owner throughout the day. For the  rst few days the new cat should be kept con ned in a room. This will give the resident cats the opportunity to become accustomed
to the new cat’s scent through a closed door. The
procedure can be helped along by exchanging bedding between the animals. The scents of the cats can also be mixed by allowing the new cat to explore other parts of the house while con ning the resident cats to a room. Another method to mix the scents of the cats is called arti cial allomarking.
Ideally the resident cats and the new cat should become acclimated to their own individual multilevel cat cage. This will aide in the visual introductions of the cats. Alternatives to the multilevel cat cage are either a travel carrier or a harness and leash. However, all the cats must be comfortable with the con nement method or harness prior to starting the introduction process.
Start at a distance that the cats can see each other but are not dissuaded from eating their special meal (the furthest distance possible for the layout of the house is best). Each day move the cages a foot closer, until they can be next to each other while eating. Once this has been accomplished, if the resident cats are not overly interested in the new cat, the owner may consider keeping the new cat in the cat cage for supervised periods of time (if using a travel carrier, place the carrier up on a table or elevated surface) while allowing the resident cats to be loose in the room. This will help to facilitate habituation to the presence of each other. The next step would be to allow the new cat to be loose in the room and the resident cats to be con ned to their cat cage. Once it has been determined that amicable interactions are occurring between the cats and they are relaxed in each other’s presence, supervised periods of time loose together can be allowed.
Pheromone products such as Feliway® may also be useful if the resident cats or the new cat are stressed during the process. The entire process may take 2-6 weeks to accomplish new introductions depending on the individual cats.
Fear Free Foundations for Kittens and Puppies

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