We’ve adopted a cat with real discipline problems. I’ve come to believe the reason the animal was found abandoned next to our apartment has something to do with the fact that he gets a bit bite-y, switches at a moments notice between loving and hating people, only scratches at the nicest furniture items, and only eats the most expensive food. For a stray, he certainly acts like the most spoiled little brat.
This morning I woke up to him sleeping on my pillow and chirping at me. Yes, chirping. It’s more like a bark than a meow, but I’m not sure I can accuse a cat of barking in public. Why was he barking? you ask. I thought maybe he wanted to be petted, but when I reached out my hand he tried to bite it. I thought maybe he needed food, but when I checked Marissa had clearly already fed him. He still had some left! I thought maybe he needed water, but Marissa had taken care of that too. So I cleaned his litter box and went back to bed. A few moments later he jumped up on my pillow and resumed chirping. Apparently all he really wanted was my bed to himself. I kicked him out of my bed and out of my room. He responded by running immediately to the couch where he began to scratch at it while watching me over his shoulder.
It isn’t like we don’t have an proper place for him to scratch. Marissa bought a cardboard scratching plank. We know he likes to scratch cardboard by the way he destroys boxes left in the house. Marissa even picked him up and set him down on said scratching area. She mimed how to scratch to him. He scratched the cardboard and we rewarded him.
He still loves that plank. He loves to sit on it while he scratches at the couch.
This morning he ran over to the plank and started scratching it. So I rewarded him. Then I left the room, when I came back he was sitting on the plank scratching the couch. He was also looking over his shoulder.
I’ve developed this discipline voice for him. It’s half growl, a quarter Batman, and a quarter shout. It scares him. It also scares Marissa. I use it to remind Toby that there is a kill shelter in Anderson just waiting for him to show up. Sometimes I remind him that I’ve eaten cat, and it wasn’t bad.