Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Having a little fur ball who is damned and determined to be alpha of the whole house is not easy. I know people who think it's all right to swat their cats with a newspaper to discipline them. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM.

But this cat was different from anything I'd ever had to deal with. Honestly, if you even glared at him with a disapproving look, his ears would lay flat, his little fuzzy butt would start to wiggle, and you would have blood dripping down your arm or leg. He was a mean little critter. He did like to be rocked for about 30 minutes and cuddled first thing in the morning and having his little face rubbed. But the rest of the day was chaos.

People have said "I'd get rid of him." Not me. I was as determined to be alpha-mama as he was to be alpha-cat. The game was on.

Finally, I discovered the perfect defense. I had to carry a large squirt bottle with me every time I walked across the floor. This turned into a great game. Kittens love to play chase and I would chase him with the squirt bottle. He was getting exercise which was calming him down for awhile and my leg wasn't bleeding.

Things began to change when I discovered that cats have a language they convey with facial expressions. When you looked him square in the eye with that disapproving look, you had just challenged him to a fight. If you're blinking fast, you're showing you don't trust him and he won't trust you either.

I began to look him in the eye and then slowly close and open my eyes one time. At first he looked at me like "Are you kidding me!" I began to refer to it as a "lovey face". He began to respond with the lovey face.

Then I bought some Whiskas Temptations kitty snacks and started using them as rewards for good behavior. Good behavior in this case means lay down and stop standing in front of the stupid television so we can see it.

No longer do I get attacked on the way to bed because guard cat now knows he'll get a little bedtime snack right before I lay down.  I no longer get attacked on the way to the kitchen to get my morning coffee.

But there is one thing alpha-cat has refused to give up. Whenever I head to the sunroom, where I spend all my time, he runs full speed ahead, gets in front of me, slows down and pulls himself up with every bit of dignity he can muster and slowly leads me through two rooms and to my desk chair. And I let him because it's so obvious he wants to be King Coon Cat, and lead the parade.  Well hey, it is Mardi Gras.

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