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"Punishment" is not in your cat's vocabulary. Positive reinforcement of good behavior -- with treats, attention and verbal praise -- solves most kitty behavioral problems.

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How You Can Bring in a Stray Cat

By The Daily Cat experts

How You Can Bring in a Stray Cat

Imagine if an individual that’s more than five times your size and from another species grabbed you. Your first inclination would probably be to run for your life, since there’s an automatic predator/prey dynamic in place. You, of course, don’t have those intentions with your new cat, but it does not know that yet. Its initial instinct is to protect itself and to run away to safety. This can all be changed, however, with socialization.

Socialization is when your cat learns how to properly react to other cats, people, places, situations and more. Ideally, it takes place when your cat is just a kitten, aged about 2 to 7 weeks. During that period of time, the kitten is curious about everything and has a more open mind. That can be dangerous, since the kitten hasn’t fully learned about dangers, and it requires the protection of its mother and possibly a caring human. It’s also a good time because fears have not set in.

Your cat probably had a tough life, either as a feral or in the home of someone who didn’t provide much care -- or both. All behavior can be modified, but such changes become more difficult as the individual ages, since there’s been more time for the undesired reactions to set in. People are no different. If you are afraid of public speaking, for example, you can become better and more comfortable with practice, but the whole matter is much easier if you have been exposed to, and participated in, such events over your entire lifetime with positive outcomes. Before long, the skill becomes second nature.

In addition to age, the temperament of the individual cat is a factor, as are its parents. Cats with feral parents tend to be more difficult to socialize; however, with time and patience, it can be done.

You might first try creating a safe room for your cat: a quiet, closed-off room with a comfy bed, food, water, a litter box and other amenities. In that room, just sit quietly with your cat for a while in order to gain its trust. Offer a tasty food treat. As your cat approaches, slowly pet it, perhaps while it is busy investigating the food. When your cat becomes more comfortable with your attention, put a blanket or towel on your lap and hold it for short periods, again petting it in a slow and soothing way.

Repeat the sessions over a series of days, introducing new toys, grooming tools and other objects. Through such sessions, you are teaching your new pet that you are not a danger and, in fact, are someone it can trust and look forward to seeing.

Tags: cat behavior

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Posted on March 26, 2012

Barbara says: I had a stray kitty come to my door last month – but he was too scared to come in and when he saw me he ran. Poor boy! So I started putting out some treats for him and built up trust. I’d make sure to get some Perfect Bites treats from the store and leave them on the porch, then watch him through the window as he’d eat and run. Eventually he didn’t run so far when I opened the door, and one day he came in the house, and now he’s my cat!

Posted on April 30, 2012

Cashlin says: It wouldn't be fair to the cat or the dogs or you. The dogs were there first, so why sterss them out by bringing in a new cat? Why endanger the cat (either by injury or death) by putting it in a situation where it would be constantly confined and frightened? And you, always afraid the cat will get out of your room or having to always know the dogs' whereabouts in order to keep your animals separated how sterssful. You wouldn't be able to completely enjoy your dogs or your cat.

Posted on May 1, 2012

Sai says: Firstoff, the dogs came first. Their welllbeing and care come first. If the cat makes them neuvors, stressed, or uncomfortable, don't get it.It's completely unfair to the cat to keep it locked up in your room. This will probably just result in extreme shyness and unwillingness to adapt to new situations or people, should you have to move it or have it exposed to the rest of the house with time.Again, you know the answer.Let the kitten go to a different home.

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