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dust bunnies
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How To Train Your Cat
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How to Train Your Cat

What makes a good cat? One that doesn't leave mounds of fur on the couch and countless balls of dust-bunnies that circulate your hardwood floor? One that chooses to ignore the innate urge to jump on the counter and "help" every time you make beef tips? Have you ever wondered how all those other people train their cats?

The truth is a cat is going to do what a cat wants. So how can you have your cat and eat your cake too?...or how ever that saying goes.

Well, if you can't beat them, join them!

I'm not talking about joining in with the innumerable puke bombs conveniently located in each door way or the wild shredding of leather couches. I'm talking about learning to think like a cat and tweaking little things that result in a "trained cat." It all boils down to one thing: understanding your cat and learning what he wants and needs. When you finally see your cat from this new perspective it will change your relationship and your life!

Here's where to start: watch your cat, his behavior and habits. What does he do when he first wakes up? Hop on the bed and meow at the top of his lungs? What does he do when you come home from work? How about at bed time? Does he have any "bad habits?" What is the underlying reason he does what he does?

When I started paying more attention to my cat one of the first things I learned about was his constant early morning wake up call. Instead of lying there angry, helpless and tired, I started following him and found that every day he led me to his food bowl. I realized that at that point he hadn't eaten for about 8-10 hours. I started giving him "night time dinners" right before bed and since then I've gotten my 8 hours of sleep.

Every morning my cats woke up full of energy and made their rounds chasing each other through the house like wild beasts. Although it was very entertaining our leather couch was taking the brunt of it. My husband and I started using their favorite "bird" toy to expend all that energy while saving the couch. The cats love it so much that we now have to spell "B-I-R-D" because they expect to play when they hear the magic "bird" word.

I once made the mistake of letting my cats go outside. Since then, they yowl, and cry, and nag at the door almost daily. I don't want them to go far for fear of cars or a neighbor dog getting the best of them. To compromise, we now have a play house in the back for them to lounge in the shade and have a harness with a long rope for our little fence jumper. We are currently in the process of upgrading our fence to a netted cat barrier which will allow them to all enjoy playing safely out in the back yard.

After time and time again of my poor husband stepping into the center of a slime-covered furry puke bomb I decided to do a little research. The obvious reason cats vomit is because they swallow their fur while grooming themselves; another reason is "scarf and barf."(This was where Yuki got his nickname, Yuki Puki) Our little cat family was guilty of both. I found a healthier cat food that helps prevent hairballs and aids in digestion, and I also stopped free-feeding them. I now feed them three smalls meals each day. This drastically reduced all the nice toe-oozing surprises. It also manages their weight a little better.

My husband's cat adores him! So much so, that he helps him record his music by hopping into his lap every time my husband picks up his guitar and also doing "shark-kitty" back and forth directly in front of the monitors when it's time for homework. Although the intent was appreciated, productivity suffered. Now my husband has a small cat bed on the shelf next to his desk so Yuki has his own place that he can be a part of the action without being such a HUGE part of all the action.

Daisy loves to be "up." The highest place in our house was my husband's closet where she spent most days sleeping. The only way to the top shelf was straight up my husband's suits and button up shirts, not to mention the accumulation of cat fur because of that route. After many different unsuccessful methods we finally accepted that a cat will do what a cat wants and installed shelves in a step like fashion so she could bypass his wardrobe. We now have prevented further clothing snags and gained a happy top-shelf-kitty.

Remember to be patient, frustration never helps compromising with a cat. Watch your cat, understand your cat and then take the necessary course of action he needs in order to result in a good, "trained cat."

Street Talk

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