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Cats are jerks. [pet behavior]

My cat is a funny creature. Whenever I live by myself, she can become almost intolerable because she doesn't get as much attention as she'd like. She becomes dog-like, sleeping all day and then greeting me at the door when I get home, meowing and making a big fuss of things for about 15 minutes before she settles back down. In Lincoln, she was very insistent that evenings were Kitty Lap Time, so we worked out an evening routine where I would sit in a chair and read/knit/surf the 'net and she would sit in my lap.

She does not seem to like it at all when I leave to go rowing early in the morning, or when I am at work late and she doesn't get her lap time. At least, that's judging by how she resorts to crying in the middle of the night during such periods.

[personal profile] scrottie is concerned that I am inadvertently rewarding the crying by giving her attention. I can see how this could be the case: he pointed out that dog owners who neglect their dogs then have dogs that are outside, barking at night. When the owner goes outside to tell the dog to be quiet, the dog interprets it as a social reward for barking, and the cycle continues, and we, the neighbors, don't get enough sleep.

It seems to me that her crying in the middle of the night may take several different forms, though. I'm still not sure. Right after I moved to Texas, when I was living by myself, she would come and cry for seemingly no reason, and I found that I could get her to stop by saying, "NO!" accompanied by a squirt from a spray bottle.

Maybe the problem now is that she's being more sneaky and crying in other parts of the house where I can't find her, and I am making the mistake of thinking that she can correctly interpret verbal warnings without the physical deterrent. I wish there was a way to use positive reinforcement (rewards) instead of negative reinforcement (punishment), but I don't see a workable method for the case of night-crying.

also, it's very difficult to carefully think this matter through either while mostly asleep or after a night of poor sleep due to a crying emo cat.

Meanwhile, now that we have given her full attic privileges, she has been delighting in using the attic ladder as part of a display run.

Cats, man.

This entry was originally posted at http://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1172126.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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( 1 remark — Remark )
shellynoir
Aug. 9th, 2017 08:23 pm (UTC)
Crying at night is kind of an "I am old" thing and not a "I am lonely thing," maybe?

( 1 remark — Remark )

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