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Continuing To Love Your Crazy Cat: Helpful Tips And Reminders

Updated on September 27, 2013

Oh no, the cat's done it again!

Whether you've adopted your feline friend from a local shelter or simply had your cat or kitten show up at your door, you know exactly how easy it is to fall for those four-legged creatures. They may act shy, bold or scared when first getting acquainted with you but it doesn't take long for them to become part of your everyday life. Having said that, I believe it's essential for current or future cat parents to keep the feelings of love and patience abundant even after their initial cuteness starts to wear off. And if you haven't had a cat living with you for a long period of time, sometimes the only thing keeping you from going a little crazy is their cute faces and silly demeanor. While some cats are more difficult to keep up with than others, it is important to realize that every cat can become a wonderful companion.

We've all heard stories about the things that cat's do to make us humans crazy. I remember hearing numerous complaints from friends and family members about their feline companions. Stories about cats scratching the furniture, leaving cat hair on virtually everything, tearing holes in your clothes and puking up their too quickly eaten food kept me away from wanting to become a cat parent. But after watching many cat videos, rescuing a starving kitten, and googling different cat behavior, I knew there had to be some positive experiences with slightly more difficult cats that were not being told.

My Experience: I adopted my first cat, Maxwell, from a local shelter. He was 1 year old and wasn't getting the same attention as the younger, smaller cats. Maxwell struck me as a calm, friendly, and observant cat. I decided to take him home after spending time with him. However, after a few days, I began to wonder why I had decided to take home this black and white creature. He didn't sleep at night, meowed loudly whenever I left him alone, and didn't like to be pet for more than a few seconds or be held at all. Not to mention he chewed on anything resembling feathers or string. As months passed, I continued to take care of him and hoped that eventually he would grow out of his ruthless behavior. I was patient with him even when he ruined my clothes, pulled up the carpet, got into the cabinets, knocked over the trash and continued to wake me up every night. It was tough! Gradually, things started to improve and one morning I woke up and realized he had slept the whole night at my feet. I felt victorious that I had made progress and knew that I had to continue giving him the proper attention to get him to trust me even more. After almost 2 years of loving him and taking precautions for his curious nature, he is now a trustworthy cat to leave at home (most of the time).

I think what helped me overcome the difficult stages of looking after a rambunctious cat was the fact that I could utilize my ability to find common ground in an uncomfortable situation. On top of this, I have always had an abundance of compassion and sympathy for animals making it a little easier to relate to a pet's situation. If you put yourself in your cat's situation, it becomes easier to continue to give them the same amount of love and attention as you did when you first brought them home. How would you react if you were transported to an unfamiliar home with unfamiliar faces all in one afternoon? Like people, cats have their own personalities, emotions, bad days, good days, favorite foods, and bad habits. Once you begin to realize that you both need to eat, sleep, release energy and get regular health check ups, it'll be easier to forgive their mistakes. It may help to keep in mind that you probably don't follow all the rules all the time either!

Another thing I'd like to mention if you are having a hard time forgiving your cat's behavior is that cats are raised in a variety of environments (just like people). If you haven't been in your cat's life from the moment of birth, you cannot possible know what they have gone through in the time before they met you. You may have an idea of what their life was like but you can't relive it. This is especially true for shelter cats. If you've recently adopted an older cat, realize it may be harder for them to adjust to changes in their environment and that some cats may be used to certain treatment (good or bad). It is perfectly fine to be frustrated but knowing how to handle your frustration is key. Knowing when to step back and analyze the situation can be useful for new cat parents and for cat parents who want to continue to keep the bond that they share with their furry friends.

Trust is important.

Some cats may like to observe you before they can trust you completely. They might hide from you if they feel they might have done something wrong.
Some cats may like to observe you before they can trust you completely. They might hide from you if they feel they might have done something wrong. | Source

Simple guide to reacting to your cat's behavior

  1. If they made the mess or destroyed an item of yours hours before you arrive home, they won't understand why you are mad at them when you walk through the door.
  2. Do not scream at your cat. They do not speak our human languages. You are only frightening them.
  3. Do not hit or kick your cat! This is counterproductive when you are trying to gain the trust of a new friend.
  4. If you catch them in the act, the best method I have tried is firmly saying no and removing them from the area immediately.
  5. Know that the spray bottle method might not work on your cat. They might simply get used to it or lick their lips with delight. However, my cat does not like air being blown in his direction. If need be, I get empty paper towel roll and blow air through the tube. He hates it and it doesn't really cause him any harm. You might want to try it.
  6. If you absolutely cannot stand the sight of your cat when your favorite shirt or school work is destroyed the best thing I have tried is to simply put the cat in the carrier. My cat calms down if he is running wild and I get to clean up without having distractions.

Some cats want a place of their own.

Two things can make almost any cat happy: a cardboard box and warm blanket.
Two things can make almost any cat happy: a cardboard box and warm blanket. | Source

Tips on leaving your crazy cat at home while at work.

If you continue to come home to a mess made by your cat, don't despair!

  • Keep in mind that some cats are attracted to certain objects such as strings, paper, or plastic. Keep harmful items out of sight so that the chances of your cat harming itself are reduced.
  • If your cat is persistent on getting into cabinets or drawers, I recommend child proof locks on cabinets especially on those containing harmful chemicals or medications.
  • Make sure your cat has fresh water and food before you leave for the day. Their behavior could be out of hungry frustration.
  • Keep your cat's nails trimmed or try Soft Paws nail caps.
  • Keep independent cat toys in a basket in the same spot in the house. They will learn to keep themselves busy while you are away by going to this basket of goodies.
  • If your cat loves to look outside, keep at least one window easily accessible without heavy curtains or blinds. I leave my blinds halfway up and make sure he can move the curtains out of the way if he wants to bird watch.
  • If you notice your cat is following your house rules reward them when you get home with playtime or low calorie treats. I give my cat the chicken flavored cat dental treats.
  • Most importantly, get to know your cats dislikes and likes! It helps to know what you can do to improve their quality of life.

What are the benefits of not giving up on your pesky cat?

  1. They might drive you crazy but everyone has been driven crazy by something in their life. Why not gain a friend in the process?
  2. They can be comforting to be around when you are home alone or in a sour mood. Just watch how silly they can be!
  3. Learning to sacrifice my time for another animal's well-being has also benefited me. I really enjoy seeing my cat happy when I take time out of my day to play with him. Plus, when he's exhausted I can be reassured that he won't cause any trouble.
  4. I've also realized that because he has a place that he can forever call home, he no longer has to experience the confusion of being placed in an animal shelter waiting for a new home.
  5. Realizing that humans and cats share similar needs for love and attention will continue to remind me that every being has the right to be respected and given a place where they can feel safe.

Playtime is bonding time.

Regular playtime with your cat can help reduce the amount of damage done to your furniture. More energy used to chase a ball equals less energy to rip your cushions!
Regular playtime with your cat can help reduce the amount of damage done to your furniture. More energy used to chase a ball equals less energy to rip your cushions! | Source

What do you think?

Are cats easier to take care of than dogs?

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Quick Points:

  • Cat's come from different backgrounds, families, and environments.
  • Some cats will take their time in getting to know you and your limits before they trust you.
  • Be patient when learning the behavior and personality of a new cat.
  • Remember that everyone makes mistakes and mistakes can be forgiven.
  • Playtime is a good way to bond with your cat and release some of your cat's energy.
  • Some cats are more independent than others. Give these cats their own space.
  • Have fun and enjoy the benefits of being a cat parent!

Tell me your experiences!

If you've become a new cat parent or have been one for a long time, let me know what crazy things your cat has done while you were home or away. I'm sure your cat has done something you thought was unforgivable...until they gave you a look that can only be interpreted as, "Oops, sorry!"

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    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Max is adorable! I have 2 like him that no matter what, seem to get into everything (and they do, encourage eachother!) Lucky me, I have 2 really good girls who have never damaged a thing in the house! It's a balancing act! These are great tips, a great comprehensive hub! Welcome to hubpages! I voted up, interesting, useful and shared!

    • angiedrye profile image
      Author

      Angie 3 years ago from Texas

      I'm glad you got something out of this! Those darn furry creatures have me in a bind.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub contains excellent advice! I been very lucky in that none of my cats - even the adopted ones - have been big problems. I may meet a "crazy cat" in the future, though!

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Aww, not everyone can have Lindemann. My sweet boy's only "crazy" behavior is he gets car sick. Great article, tho -- thanks for championing the benefits of cat guardianship!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 3 years ago from Spain

      Good advice to see things from the cat´s point of view. I imagine by what you have written that your cat isn´t allowed outside, this would account for his need to look for distraction and release his natural instincts indoors, perhaps this is why he gets into such mischief. He´s a lovely looking boy and has obviously found a good home with you, shame he can´t go out and explore the world ( if he is kept indoors) but I´m sure there must be good reasons why.

      For anyone who adopts an anti social cat who doesn´t like being petted and strikes out at you if approached here´s a tip that really works, I know because it was given to me by the cat protection league when I adopted one of their cats and it really works. Completely ignore the cat, don´t make eye contact, don´t try to stroke it and don´t speak to it or try and cajole it into accepting you. When you put food down for him or her just put the bowl on the floor and walk away or stand near the bowl but do not try to pet the cat or even look at it, make sure there is clean water down at all times. I did this with my antisocial cat and it transformed her the very first time I did it. I put her food down on the floor and could actually see her looking at me wondering why I wasn´t trying to force love and affection on her, within seconds she was butting her head on my leg and actively asking me to pet her so I gave her a little tickle on the head and then left her to eat, honestly it was so quick and effective I was speechless. It may take a little longer with other cat´s but is worth a try especially if you have reached the point where you are thinking of returning the cat for someone else to adopt.

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