How to Fix These Five Annoying Cat Things

As a cat training consultant, I get asked about the same challenges, over and over. So here's the top five questions... and what to do about them.

Prickly paws. It's a wonderful thing when our cat leaps on our lap and starts "making biscuits." It's not quite so wonderful when they get carried away... and start jabbing those razor-sharp claws into our delicate areas.

It has been my experience that our cats are zoning out at such times. We cannot train them "not to do that" because they are honestly not aware that they are doing that! Trying to break them out of their happy haze will simply hurt their feelings, not teach them anything.

So the best thing to do is to keep a blanket, fleece, or throw handy to put over our lap or other danger areas. Then they can say, "You're my momma!" without hurting us.

For a fuller explanation, see Kneading and Nursing at Any Age.

Night crying. Are the cats keeping us awake, wailing outside our closed bedroom door? There's the problem! Our cats are lonely. They miss us. The true solution is to invite them into our bedroom, for them to be a part of the night-time ritual we need to establish.

We best do this by leaving our door open, so they can come and go as needed. Cats cycle their energy much more quickly than we do, so they are not going to sack out for the eight or so hours we need. This is also far too long a time to miss us. It's a compliment that they want to be with us, so we should take it as such.

For more, gain understanding of The 3 AM Problem.
Cats love to sleep with us. We need to train them so we're both happy.

Up too early. This is another part of the energy-cycle mismatch. We cycle 8+ hours. Cats are, at most, 4+ hours. If we leave our bedroom door open, our cats can find a toy and play with it, visit their litter, have a snack, and come back to bed... all without disturbing us.

Young and energetic cats might need more, so we should come up with things for them to do. Now is the time to activate a battery operated toy, or sprinkle treats on the cat tree or puzzle box. If our cat still demands our attention, we gently hug them. This teaches them that when they try to get us up, we will hug them. If that's what they want, great! If not, they must find something else to do.

This is part of teaching them "how humans work." For more about keeping our cats engaged, see why cats are morning people

Bugging us for food. At least, this is how we see it. To our cats, that might not be the case. We think they are asking for food, but it might be that what they want is amusement, interaction, and communication.

So often, we think it's about food, when it's about attention. Remember, our cats ask for things, and we assume it is about food. But it might not be. It might just be about love.

Find out when cats are always right

Trying to trip us. We are all familiar with the times cats throw themselves in front of our feet. This is actually the way they let their mothers know they needed food. Everytime this still works, we have trained our cats to get our attention, in this way.

We need to re-train them. Teach them to move aside when we use the word "Gangway!" by saying the word, and then clearing the hallway with a can of air (aimed at the ceiling) to let them know it's their safety we are worried about. And it's true, isn't it? Soon, we say our magic word, and the cats clear the area.

Understand when they use Cat Communication Move: Roadblock to remind us that they need attention.

Our cats can't help but use their instincts to get in touch with us... even when this does not work. So we need to work on our mutual communication so each of us gets the right message. Find out more about the fun and easy ways to train our cats. So we are both happy!
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