Taming a Cat: Mog's Story
Taming a Cat
I never thought I would be spending this holiday season taming a cat.
On Saturday I brought home a 7 year old cat named Mog by his previous owners. I was expecting a well-socialized, mature cat who had lived with his first family for many years. I had initially been told they were giving him up due to being transferred overseas and wanted to find a good home for him so he would not have to go to the shelter. Our local shelter has so many cats that adult cats are immediately euthanized.
My 25-year-old cat, Bubba, had died two months ago. I was not sure I was ready to adopt another cat, but after thinking about this situation for a couple of days (I wrote about it here) and considering the merits of orange cats, I decided to bring Mog home.
I have adopted a number of cats in my life, but I have never met a cat like Mog. It turns out that poor Mog has been left alone a lot in his life. He has not been properly socialized, and now has a rather severe problem with aggressive behavior. If anyone comes near him he growls, hisses and even bares his teeth and lunges at humans.
Since Mog has so few options at this point, I have decided to see if I can tame this cat. I will post my updates here and ask for feedback from my readers.
Starting from Scratch - How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat
Got a cat with unacceptable behavior? Hopefully it isn't as bad as Mog! This book can help you with behaviors in your adult cat, no matter how long they have been a problem.
You can download this book to your Kindle or your computer immediately and start addressing your cat's bad behavior right away.
Taming a Cat Poll
Have you ever tamed an aggressive cat?
How Mog Became an Aggressive Cat
Mog's situation was not entirely clear prior to his adoption. For some reason, my friend and I misunderstood the reason for his family relinquishing him. The picture became clearer in the hours and days after I brought him home. Here is his story as best as I understand it now.
Seven years ago the teenage son of this family brought home a kitten. His parents were surprised, because their family had never had a pet before, and they did not know their son was interested in animals. No one in the family had any familiarity or experience in raising a cat, but they allowed their son to keep the pet.
This family was originally from overseas and traveled frequently for long periods of time. When traveling they left Mog alone in the house and someone would come to the house twice a week to refill his food bowl. Mog was often alone for weeks at a time with no human interaction.
Not long after he brought Mog home, the son graduated from high school and then moved out of the family home to attend college in another state. After college graduation he moved overseas. The cat continued living in the house with the parents.
In fact, it turned out that Mog had only ever left the house twice in his life: Once when he went to the vet to be neutered, and one more time when the son attempted to take him to the vet for another appointment. At that time he was so aggressive that no one at the vet's office was able to get near him. The vet told him to take him someplace else, because he seemed to associate their office with the pain of his surgery. However, Mog never did go to another vet. These are the only two times he has been out of the house, until he came to my house.
Mog was also allowed to play aggressively with his humans. The wife told me that when he plays you have to remain very calm with him. As long as you hold still and remain calm, he will not break the skin; but, if you are the least bit nervous you will get hurt. I found this out after he had already been in my home two days.
Earlier this month the parents contacted my friend who works for an animal shelter to find a new home for Mog. My friend was under the impression they were moving out of the country at the end of the month, but as it turns out they are only going away for two months.
This family had never had a cat and had never been around cats before. They came from a culture that does not typically keep animals inside the house. They repeatedly stressed their inexperience and lack of knowledge about cats' needs and behaviors. I do not think they had any bad intentions at all. They are nice people who simply did not know better, and the result is a large adult cat with wild, aggressive and inappropriate behaviors.
This is how I unwittingly ended up with the job of taming a cat.
Growls & Hisses: Mog's First Days Home
Taming a Cat
Mog was shy toward me when we visited him at his first home. He came up to me immediately, sniffed and licked my hand, but he did not let me pet him. I just interpreted this as shyness.
His aggression did not really surface until I brought him to my house. I anticipated he would be frightened and planned to let him acclimate slowly by keeping him in the bathroom. However, he got loose in the house and spent his first day huddled by the back door, growling and hissing at anyone who came within 10 or 15 feet. I did not think too much of it, since it was his first day and he was very scared.
By bedtime he had taken up residence under the kitchen table and was growling and hissing at us as we ate. We ignored him. He seemed especially angry toward my teenage daughter, but it was unwarranted because she had not bothered him at all. After we left the kitchen he became agitated if we walked back into the room for any reason. At bedtime I made sure our bedroom doors were fully latched shut, and hoped tomorrow would be better.
Sunday morning Mog was nowhere to be seen. He had found a good hiding spot. I still do not know where he was, but we found him mid-afternoon in front of the big living room window, watching some squirrels raid the bird feeder outside. He seemed quite content and I thought we had reached a turning point. My daughter and I sat in the living room, and he pretty much ignored us as he watched the scene outside the window.
After the squirrels left though, he turned his attentions toward us. First he walked over to me and actually let me pet his head a couple of times before he started growling and hissing at me. Then he hopped up on the back of the sofa where my daughter and I were seated. He went behind our heads and started growling at us and hissing at my daughter. I spoke softly to him, but otherwise we ignored him. Then my daughter moved her head about 2 inches, and he suddenly rared back and bared his teeth then lunged for her head. I threw my arm up and blocked him from landing on her with his outstretched claws. He retreated and so did we. I took my child out of the living room and let him be for a while.
After that, whenever one of us would walk into the living room, he would growl at us from the top of the sofa. If I walked to the coffee table, he would start hissing at me, and if I tried going closer he would rare back with his teeth bared as if to spring out and attack. By now I had serious concerns for our safety, as he had not been provoked and he had approached us and began his aggressive behaviors.
I managed to use a broom to encourage him to get off the sofa, and was able to set up a situation where he would run into the bathroom. So I shut him in the bathroom, which was okay until we needed to use it. While he was loose in the bathroom he growled and hissed at anyone who dared to open the door. I decided it would work better if he were inside the enclosed shower stall. I tried spraying him with a squirt bottle of water, but this had no effect on him. He would shut his eyes, lay his ears back and say, "Uff." He did this every time I sprayed him, but he did not budge. When I stopped spraying, he resumed the growling and hissing behaviors.
Eventually I got him into the bathtub using the broom again, and as soon as he hopped in, I slid the shower doors shut. I went to bed that night thinking this was not a safe situation for us, but particularly for my daughter and my little pug. I thought I would have to call the original owners and see if they wanted him back. I had never had such an aggressive animal in my house and was not even sure how we would be able to get him under control enough to move him again. I thought I might have to call Animal Control to handle the situation if he was still like this in the morning.
By the time I woke up the next day, he was more subdued. I could open the shower door and talk to him a little bit before he started growling at me. I thought maybe using the right techniques he might be amenable to taming. I realized I would have to completely resocialize him. I had some friends who had done it before, and with their help I thought it was worth a try. This poor cat was out of options.
So I committed myself to give it a week and see if any progress had been made. His original owners leave for Taiwan in eight days and will be gone for two months. Unless I want to have him here for two months, he has to go back to his owners and his original lifestyle within the next week. I really do not want him to have to endure two months alone in the house, but the alternative is probably being put to sleep and I do not want that either. I feel like I am this cat's last hope.
It is not what I expected or what I wanted, but now I am in the position of taming a cat in order to save his life.
Taming a Cat Debate
Do you think I am doing the right thing by trying to tame this aggressive cat?
How to Tame a Cat
My Set Up for Taming a Cat
I borrowed a large dog crate from a friend and went to work. Another friend came over to help me and we set up the crate with his litter box and a bowl of fresh water.
When we opened the shower door he began growling and hissing at us. If anyone reached into the bathtub for any reason, he would go into attack mode. Clearly picking him up and putting him into the crate was not an option. No one could get anywhere near him.
We put the crate as far into the room as it would go. We moved the sliding doors to the center of the side of the tub, with space at the foot and the head of the tub. Then, with oven mits on her hands, long sleeves and heavy work boots, my friend stuck the broom into the tub at one end.
The cat came flying out the other end of the tub. I was standing behind the crate, so he did not go over. Instead he ran right into the crate. I should have had something to use as a shield in case he did decide to vault over the crate. A large piece of cardboard or maybe a garbage can lid might have worked.
As soon as he was in the crate, he freaked out. He tried to crash out through the sides and top of the crate several times. Anyone standing near the crate at this time could have been injured, especially if they had had their hands on the crate or their faces nearby.
He also did not like the crate being moved, but it could not stay in the bathroom doorway, so we moved it into my bedroom and then left to let him settle down.
The crate is set up with his litter pan, a bowl of fresh water and his bed from his old house. I bring him his food and sit down and talk to him while he eats. So far he only growls at me and does not eat. I am told that if I continue to bring him food and speak gently to him, that in a week or two he will come to trust me and bonding will take place.
I will post regular updates here and report the progress I make in taming this cat. Can Mog become a loving and playful family member? Stay tuned to find out!
Taming a Cat Poll II
Do you think I will be able to tame Mog so that he can be a loving member of the family?
A Video You Can Watch Now - These Couples Are Going Nuts With Their Aggressive Cats
One couple is overwhelmed and do not know what to do when they realize they are fostering a feral cat. The other couple is trying to figure out how to handle their cat who can go from sweet to satanic with no warning at all.
Can these cats be tamed? Watch the video now and find out!
More Resources for Taming a Cat
- Socializing a Feral Cat
Step by step instructions for taming a cat, along with suggestions, tips and helpful hints.
- Dealing With Aggressive Cats
The causes of cat aggression and how to deal with the problem.
- Cat Adoption Guide: Socializing Adult Feral Cat
Blog by my friend SGolis, a cat rescuer who cares for a colony of feral cats in her neighborhood.
- How to Tame a Feral Cat
More about capturing and taming a feral cat in the neighborhood.
- Aggression in Cats | ASPCA | Virtual Pet Behaviorist
Information about dealing with aggression in cats.
- Aggressive Cats
How to handle a cat who suddenly or sporadically becomes aggressive.
The Crate You Will Need for Taming a Cat
Many experts advise keeping the aggressive cat inside a large dog crate like this one in order to control him during the taming and socialization process. Make sure you have the proper equipment before bringing home an aggressive cat.
This is about the size you will need. Your crate will need to be large enough to hold a litter pan and food dishes and also give the cat room to stretch out and lie down. It can be bigger, but should not be smaller than this size.
Diary of a Cat Tamer
Diary of Taming a Cat - Part 1 - Mog's First Weekend Home - November 19 - 21, 2011
These are my Facebook status updates from the weekend Mog first came home. Some of the remarks are in response to questions or comments by my friends about the cat.
- 11/20 - Yesterday we adopted a kitty named Mog. He lived with some world travelers who left him alone a lot & decided it wasn't fair to him. He was very terrified & his aggression scared me a little. This morning he was hiding & I couldn't find him. This afternoon he is enjoying the scenery out the front window (squirrels raiding my birdfeeder) & we changed his name to Johnny so he would feel part of the family. He is still nervous, but I think we're all going to be okay.
He is not happy about the dog. If he comes where the dog can see him, the dog barks. The dog is on a leash, so she can't get to him. Johnny still growls & hisses at Frischette and me. :-/
He would probably be happy if we went to Asia for a couple of months and left him alone in the house, as that was his previous routine. :-(
He is not interested in eating. I gave him some canned food. I probably just destroyed any budding trust he was developing when I chased him into the bathroom using 2 brooms and my superior brain. :-/
Frischette and I will have to hold it until next Tuesday. :-(
Okay, he is docile now & we were able to use the bathroom. I have never had a cat like this before! Oh my!
- 11/20 - The cat is guarding the bathroom door and will not let us in. I tried to chase him back into the bathtub and he went into attack mode. This is not good.
Okay, he is closed in the shower stall now. He has food and water. I don't care if he poops or pees in there. The only way out is over the top, so it is not 100% secure. Unless someone has a better idea, I think I may call animal control in the morning to see if they can come get him. This is horrible. It would take an absolute expert to tame this poor kitty. It is so sad.
I wish there was someone who could/would take him, but I know that is probably not possible. I don't know what to do. He really can't stay here. :-(
If it was just me here, I could probably work with him. He needs to be in a home with only adults and no children or dogs, or maybe even other cats.
I am worried about the safety of Frischette & Libby (my pug). One attack from this aggressive cat could permanently scar my daughter (I have a scar from a cat scratch I got at age 8) or blind my dog. I had Bubba for 15 years. He never hissed at anyone and the only time he ever growled was when he got excited about birds or squirrels outside. This is not normal behavior. We have done nothing to terrify this cat, but he is like this. I have never seen a cat act like this. If you go to you tube and look up "evil cat" you will see videos of cats behaving the way this cat does. Those cats are being provoked, but the only thing we are doing is coming into the same room where he is. We cannot live this way and neither can he.
I think (the previous owner) hinted around about these problems, but if she was not deliberately concealing the problems she was definitely soft-peddling them. Although, in retrospect she said enough to me that if I had been suspicious I might have picked up on them. I did not know enough to realize these were red flags. Last night she called and asked me if he had been making any "strange sounds." Right now he is in the bathroom all alone and hissing his little head off. Maybe that is what she meant. I think he has been neglected to the point that he is not right. It is a tragic thing.
I have transverse myelitis and supposed to be reducing stress because it is in a progressive state. I use a cane or walker on good days and a mobility scooter on bad days. There are times (occuring more frequently now) when my legs cannot support my weight and I cannot even stand up. The sacrifices in human terms would be too great for it to make any sense for me to try to rehab this cat. I would hate to see him euthanised, but I realize that might be best if the original owners will not take him back.
- 11/21 - I got a dog crate, thanks to my friend, Jane, and her wonderful hubby, Paul.
How am I going to get him from the shower stall into the crate? Hmmm....
- 11/21 - The cat is in the crate in my bedroom. Thank you to Maryellen, for coming and helping me get him transferred from the bathtub.
He has his litter box, dry food and water. I covered the far end with a towel so he doesn't feel so exposed. He's in my room, so he is getting my attention. He doesn't seem to appreciate it much. When I talk to him he growls at me.
Wow! I hope we have success. This little guy doesn't have much of a future unless he can convert to the side of light and goodness.
Music for Taming a Cat
I played an album for Mog that is no longer available.: A Walk in the Woods, by Windham Hill. It is so soothing and relaxing, and just perfect for this time of year! The soothing music calmed Mog right down and made a noticeable difference in him. I believe it had a tremendous impact on our success.
Unfortunately, this particular album is no longer available. Here are some similar albums that I believe would have a similar effect on animals and humans. Clicking on the links will allow you to listen to samples of the music.
Diary of Taming a Cat - Part 2 - My First Days as a Cat Tamer - November 22 - 28, 2011
- 11/22 - Update on Mog: He used his litter box last night & then decided to lie down in it. That was when I realized he did not have a good place to lie down. So I put his bed from his old house in there with him. Had to use the broom handle to get it in. He was quite agitated about the experience. But this morning he was lying on it. This may have been the first time he slept since arriving here Saturday afternoon; I"m not sure.
He let me talk to him for about 15 seconds first thing this morning without growling or hissing, but that was as long as it lasted. Whenever I go in to see him he immediately starts his growling and hissing.
.I have to reach in pretty far to give him his food & he takes swipes at me. He is still not eating, but was very mad when I took his food dishes away.
- 11/22 - Mog is still growling and hissing at me when I go in to talk to him, but he is not growling as loudly.
He is still not eating. He took a swipe at me when I brought him his dinner. He was not the least bit interested in it. I sat down on the bed and sang a song about a cat named Mog who liked to be in charge of everyone. He seemed to like the song. He stopped growling and started grooming himself. He got kitty litter in his water, and when I changed it he got very mad and came forward to take a swipe at me when I brought it back.
(The previous owner) sent his food. She bought him something different each trip to the store so he could enjoy variety. He got dry, canned and treats. She said he loves to eat and each morning he would be very vocal in letting her know he was ready for his breakfast. I have been offering him the food she sent along with some canned Little Friskies.
- 11/23 - I am learning it can be hard to sleep with a litter box next to one's bed. Ugh!
Next comes scooping, and that is going to be more exciting than I care to think about. Anyone want to come video it? It promises to be dramatic!
The digging woke me up at 4:30 am & I haven't been able to go back to sleep due to the odor. It is only urine, but oh my! What strong urine this kitty has! :-(
Oh dear. Perhaps this will not work. My house is small. There is really no other place to do this besides my bedroom.
I don't want to give up. I think it is having an effect. He was calmer this morning and hardly growled at all.
If I knew anyone else who wanted to take this on I would hand him over in a heartbeat. I just hate to see him put to sleep. Besides, I have done harder things than this.
- 11/23 - Mog is still not eating. I tried a different kind of food & he looked at it. He did not take a swipe at me when I put it in his crate. He growled a little bit. I sang him a song and he actually turned his back on me and laid his head down on his bed. I am playing music for him now....some new age stuff piano that is very nice and relaxing. First I put on some jazz, but he growled at that. Then I tried this one and he started grooming his paws, so I think he likes it.
I left the food dish in his crate and came in the kitchen. Maybe he will eat when he is alone and I can work up to being there while he eats. What do you all think of that? I am starting to become anxious about his anorexia.
Someone said a few days ago I would be surprised how fast this works, and I am. We are still a long way from success, but there is definite progress already.
I just went in to see him. He had knocked his food dish over. He is at least drinking water apparently. I gave him a treat, but he did not eat it. He is still growling at me. He batted at me & since I had gloves on I did not budge. He either has terrible aim or he was not trying very hard to hit me.
I could just let Mog live in the basement. We hardly ever go down there, and if we did, he could just hide. There are plenty of hiding places down there. Hmm...
The basement would be a last resort. He would basically become a feral cat living alone in the basement. No one really goes down there except for during tornado warnings, other than my assistant goes down there to do the laundry one day a week.
- 11/23 - It's getting closer to bedtime and my room smells like a litter box. I am very unhappy. Still have not figured out a solution to my problem and starting to thikn there isn't one. :-(
I just went to scoop the litter and Mog was remarkably nice! I turned on the music he likes. He growled when I opened the door to his crate, but then when he saw what I was doing he relaxed and just made little low rumbles in his throat. He was not at all threatening, although he kept making the rumbling sounds. He knew what I was doing and he wanted it done. It would be nice if there were another place for this crate/litterbox to go.
This is a situation that will be resolved in the next 48 hours one way or another. Either I find another place for the crate or he goes back to the original owners. If I cannot do either of those things, then on Friday afternoon he will have to go to the shelter.
No, I can't do it. That is making a decision for him to be put to sleep. :-(
I want to give Mog a chance. It is not his fault he is like this. This poor animal is out of options, which is why I took him in the first place.
I may be able to move the crate to the area where the Christmas tree is stored.I just have to put it up a little earlier than I expected. That's not really a huge deal to do that. Surely he will be out of the crate by the beginning of January!
- 11/23 - Some of Mog's growls are starting to sound more like he is talking to me. Maybe. I'm not sure. He is only hissing now if I lean over toward him.
I have also discovered he hisses if he sees my feet. If I sit on my bed with my legs on top of the bed where my feet are extended over the side of the bed, he will hiss. He doesn't like to see my feet in the air. They must remain on the floor.
- 11/24 - Hmmm....Sometime between 10 pm and 1 am, Mog's litter pan somehow tipped over and spilled half of its contents into his bed. This kitty is just one opportunity after another to exercise my problem-solving skills. :-/
- 11/24 - This has not been a good day for Mog. He hisses at me when I go into my bedroom. I gave him a can of cat food and left it in there with him. He did not eat.
Unless something drastic happens, I think I will call his previous owners tomorrow. Even if I were to get him to the point I could let him out of this crate, could I ever trust him to be around all the blind children who visit my home? Would my friend be able to bring her 2 year old niece over? I would feel awful if anything happened to someone's child. Wish I could find a home without children where he could be the only pet.
- 11/25 - Wow! Mog just took treats from my fingers, let me pet him and purred for the first time! Doing happy dance!
He is acting like a regular cat! Woot!!!
He must have known I was about to give up on him. lol
He growled at me everytime he saw me yesterday. It is pretty amazing. Frischette's theory is that the music is helping.
Diary of Taming a Cat - Part 3 - On the Upswing - November 24 - December 2, 2011
- 11/25 - Took Mog some food & he ate it, and no kidding while he was eating he was saying, "Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!" I wish I had a video! When he talks it sounds like growling. But I think I may have solved part of the Mog mystery.
Mog is wearing a red collar with a little bell on it. I am not sure why he needed this since he never went outside. Problem is, it looks like it is tight on his neck. Could this collar have damaged his vocal cords and made his mews sound like growling? He was talking to me after he ate and it still sounded like growls. Also if he is in pain it would explain quite a bit, including how he will let me scratch behind his ear, but if I go lower he tries to bite me. How can I get this collar off?
I cannot touch him yet, so I don't know (if my fingers will fit under the collar). He just puts the back of his head up to the side of the cage and lets me scratch him for a moment. I don't think a finger would fit. It looks like his hair is worn off down to the skin. When I saw it it made me feel kind of sick, but I am not sure how bad it is. I can't notice it usually when he is sitting up, but when he bent his head over to eat I saw it. The hair is worn away. I see no reason why he needs a collar as an indoor cat. I would like to remove it if I can do so safely.
Yes, now I have had a good look and the fur is worn off. He is rubbing it against the side of the litter box and also with his paw. But, when I opened the door of his crate he got upset and growled and hissed and actually reached out and pulled the door shut again. He must be pretty smart! Then when I opened the door and called him, he took a swipe at my hand and this time he hit me. I was wearing a heavy work glove so it did not hurt me at all. But there is no way he is letting me close enough to remove that collar. If I could get it off I'm sure he would feel much better. It might be a lot of the problem. His owner put that collar on right before we arrived, I think. He cut the long tail of it off while we were there.
Hmm...I got (some bandage) scissors, but they are not long enough to reach through the cage, past his head to his neck. He saw the scissors, of course, and totally freaked out. I tried offering a treat, but he scratched me and knocked it out of my hand. There is no way to cover his head with anything, because he knocks it off, and there is no way he is going to let me grab any part of him but especially the scruff of his neck. I don't know how to do this.
What if he had never worn a collar before? That would probably make him act the way he has been acting, don't you think?
This is probably also why he was rubbing against everything when he was at his old house. He was trying to get the thing off. I thought he was scent marking and I thought it was a bit excessive. Oh dear, I have to find a way to get this thing off of him. If only I could make him understand what I am doing. What if I demonstrated on a toy cat with the extra collar they gave me? Do you think he would get it?
The demonstration on the stuffed animal did not work, but he seemed to understand better when I did it on myself. Still, he will not let me do it to him. So now I am trying to grab him by the scruff of the neck, but I cannot figure out how to accomplish this. It requires reaching behind his head and he does not want me to. How do you do this without the cat's cooperation? Is there a trick to it?
- 11/25 - Mog is going to sleep, but I can't reach his collar. He's too far back in the crate. I don't know whether to laugh or scream. Everything about this cat is a comedy of errors. If it weren't so tragic it would be hilarious!
I think they put this collar on him right before I arrived to get him. The husband trimmed off the extra after we got there. For all I know it is the first time he has worn a collar. It would explain a lot!
- 11/26 - Mog never ate his tuna. I guess he does not like tuna. What a weird cat!
- 11/26 - Mog seems confused. He is hissing at me and at the same time he is coming over for me to pet him. Do cats get schizophrenia? This turned out to be a common behavior of feral cats in the taming process, and indicates although he is scared of me he is trying to overcome his fear because he wants to bond... a good sign.
I avoid eye contact with him. I also avoid letting him see me look at his food. He hates when I look at his food! So I go where he can't see me to look at his dishes. My theory when we are having a positive interaction is to leave him wanting more.
Just fed Mog from my fingers. He liked it a lot. He let me pet him quite a bit. Left him wanting more.
This is an emotionally challenging task. The encouragement (from my friends) is very helpful in keeping me going.
- 11/27 - Mog is coming up to the side of the cage for me to give him scratches this morning. As soon as I touch him, he pulls away and then comes right back. I accidently bumped the towel I have covering part of the crate and he thought I was playing. His former family allowed him to play rough. I don't. I told him no and walked away with him calling me to come back.
- 11/27 - Mog scratched me while I was giving him treats. In this case I think he got overstimulated. I dropped one, and when I reached to pick it up, he reached through the bars and got me. Funny thing is that I didn't really know he had hurt me until later. I guess the transverse myelitis (TM) has diminished the sensation I feel in my arms now. Sometimes that can be a good thing! lol
- 11/28 - He is now eating out of my fingers & lets me touch him for a second, but he is in control of it since he is in a dog crate.
- 11/30 - Mog let me pet him with the crate door open. :-D
He really is becoming quite sweet. It's amazing! I was able to check his collar, but not remove it. Could not get my scissors into the right angle fast enough before he pulled away. He doesn't like the collar, but at least now I know that it is not too tight.
- 12/1 - Mog has chosen this night to decimate his litter box. Oh, it is awful! Goodness! He woke me up 3 or 4 times tearing into it.
- 12/2 - Mog has something surprising in his crate. A pair of Frischette's outgrown socks! How on earth did that get in there? lol
Frischette is almost 14, so I have plenty of time when she is doing her thing to care for Mog. She is used to sharing me with an older sister, foster children, students at school and all kinds of things (including writing for Squidoo). Jealousy, on her part at least, has not been an issue at all. She is glad he is doing better, but now she does seem to consider him to be my cat and not our cat. :-/
Feliway for Taming a Cat
Several people recommended I try this calming spray to help tame my cat. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but desperate enough to give it a try. I believe that it did help Mog to adjust. I sprayed the area around his crate, as well the living room furniture after he was released. He has not urinated on any of the furniture since being free to roam the house again.
This is the calming spray that I bought. There are also diffusers that can be used to provide a continuous dose without having to repeatedly spray. The cat pheromones in these products are not detectable by or harmful to humans or other animals. If you are trying to tame a cat, or have a stressed kitty, you will no doubt find this product helpful.
Diary of Taming a Cat - Part 4 - Sweet Success - December 2, 2011 to Present
- 12/2 - Mog is out of his crate & exploring the house. He is letting me pet him. I was not expecting it, but I guess it is time.
Dog is sleeping. Frischette is at (her friend's house). Mog seems to have decided he is ready. He smelled the dog all day (I put the dog's blanket next to his crate. I was going to start introducing Frischette this weekend, but Mog just stepped out of his crate when I was changing his water & petting him. I just let him go. He obviously feels comfortable now, & he knows Frischette & Libby live here. We'll see what happens.
He is hiding in the living room, but when I go in there he growls and hisses, then meows and comes for pets. He is pretty affectionate. Seems very smart for a cat.
He's so cute hiding behind the ottoman he peed on 2 weeks ago. When I go in there he peeks his little head out and meows at me as if to say, "Here I am! I'm okay. I'm scared, but I'm okay. Don't worry, Mom!" Then he growls. Then he pokes his head out again and meows & says, "I'm okay, Mom. I'm right here."
We'll see what happens I guess. Lots of strange smells out there in the living room. I sprayed some of that Feliway around. He has to get used to everything. He can still come back to his crate, where he has his litter box, food and water. We'll see what happens.
- 12/3 - Poor Mog! He cringes when my hand is above his head. :-(
Mog seems quite a bit more comfortable in the house now, but Frischette is not home & the dog has been asleep in her crate. Time for doggie rise and shine (she's quite lazy, it's almost 10 am). We'll see what kitty thinks in a few.
Mog is lying on my bed with me. He is in the far corner, as far as he can get from me, but he is here. He is not sleeping, but he is checking it out. He has been exploring EVERYTHING in the house. Just taking a break for now, I guess.
He cannot go everywhere in the house right now. My bedroom, the hallway, the living room, kitchen & bath. Everything else is closed off. This is enough world for him right now.
- 12/4 - Got Mog's collar off. He seemed to like that. I rubbed his neck a little bit, the way I used to rub my child's feet after I took off her shoes. He let me know he didn't like that. May have been sore after all.
Now he keeps scratching that area. Wonder if there is something I could put on it to help it heal?
Mog has decided to sleep with me. :-)
He is curled up next to me, just purring as loud as can be. He is not relaxed, and he's not cuddled up, but he's getting a whole lot closer.
I think he is going to be okay.
I had to go someplace tonight & I shut him in my bedroom for about 6 hours since Frischette was here with a babysitter. When I got home, Mog was waiting for me on the bed & came over to see me, looking so relieved. It was like he was saying, "Where were you? I missed you & didn't know what happened to you."
- 12/7 - Mog has taken on the job of making sure my feet are warm at night. :-)
Taming a Cat Poll III
Did you expect this outcome?
Update January 15, 2012
The Outcome of Taming a Cat
Mog is doing pretty well adjusting to being in a family. He mostly keeps to himself during the day. He hangs out in the living room and my bedroom. He does not hide, but if people come into the room he will often leave. He does not like company and will make himself scarce quickly if someone he does not know comes into the house.
Lately he has been going into my daughter's room. We think he is checking her out to see if he wants to be friends with her. If she ignores him he will hang out in there for a while and observe her. If she makes any move to interact with him, he will run away fast.
He sometimes will come into the kitchen and talk to me while I am cooking. I think he is asking for a bit of canned cat food. When I give him some it seems to satisfy him. He would not eat this for a while, but he seems to enjoy it now.
He has learned the dog is not a threat and will walk past her to get to his food. I have caught him a few times sniffing the dog's crate when she was not in there. The funniest thing was one time Mog was coming up from the basement and something startled him. He flew up the stairs to the kitchen. The dog was in front of the basement steps and he just jumped right over her without missing a beat to get to his safe place in my bedroom.
My main concern with Mog now is that he seems bored. He has a lot of toys, more than any cat I have ever known, but he gets tired of them very quickly. He loves watching birds and squirrels outside the window, but also seems agitated because he cannot get them. When he is bored and agitated, he gets into mischief and does things like knock things off shelves and tables, pulls down the towels hanging in the bathroom, and walks in the houseplants. He also claws the furniture and tries to climb the walls. I feel so sorry for him, but not sure what to do for him. I have bought toys, made toys and kitty proofed the house. I let him go into the basement to explore. Nothing seems to help.
The reward comes at bedtime. As I walk to my room, he flies in from the living room, jumps on the bed and waits for me. When I climb into bed to read for a while before sleeping..he claims ownership of my left arm, lies on it and purrs loudly. He does not want to be petted. He tries to bite if I pet him more than a few strokes, but he loves if I just let my hand rest on him. He loves me to sweet talk him or even sing to him a little. He practically drools with delight when I do. He is staying in this spot by my shoulders all night now. He was sleeping by my legs until just this week. I feel honored that he trusts me enough to sleep next to my head and I love waking up to find him there!
If you are starting out with a kitten, be sure you start out right. The proper socialization and training will prevent you from ending up with a cat like Mog.
Mog's Story was voted one of the
TOP 11 SQUIDOO LENSES OF 2011
on January 1, 2012.
Have you tamed a feral or aggressive cat? Do you have any tips or suggestions for me as I attempt to tame and socialize Mog?