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Unread 08-23-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default Emotional butt scooting???

This is a weird one.

One of my new ones, Tweetie, engages in what I refer to as "emotional butt-scooting". Normally, when a cat scoots their butt across the carpet, I would be concerned about (1) parasite infestation, (2) diahrrea, or (3) anal glands needing to be expressed.

Tweetie, on the other hand, only ever engages in this practice under one circumstance: when he wants petting and I intentionally ignore him. I've tested this on a few occasions now -

Standing up, I'll talk to him and lean down and pet him and he'll want to be picked up. If I don't pick him up, but maintain eye contact, after about 15 seconds, he'll butt-scoot for a few inches, stand up, and look up at me expectantly. He's purring wildly when he does this. If I don't then pick him up, he'll repeat. Once I pick him up and give him some lovin', he's fine.

I've never witnessed him scoot his butt except under this circumstance.

Last night he was sitting on the arm of the sofa, and I would periodically pet him. He then decided that he wanted more of my attention than I was giving him. He reached out a paw to tap me (since he was declawed prior to my adopting him, he doesn't yet feel comfortable jumping onto my lap or shoulders the way my other cats do; he wants to be picked up). I looked over at him and he squinted several times, purring loudly. I just looked at him. He then tilted his head a little and scooted his butt along the arm of the couch.

I wonder if, under previous ownership, he had an untreated parasitic infection or diarrhea, and the only way he got attention was when he butt-dragged, so now he's come to associate that behavior with getting attention?

P.S. He was just at a vet last week for his post-adoption exam, and they did a fecal analysis. He passed the exam with flying colors. He's perfectly healthy, and as I said he only ever does it in this exact same situation, so I seriously doubt it's anything physical.

Last edited by PolkSDA; 08-23-2009 at 12:54 PM.
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Unread 08-23-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkSDA View Post
I wonder if, under previous ownership, he had an untreated parasitic infection or diarrhea, and the only way he got attention was when he butt-dragged, so now he's come to associate that behavior with getting attention?

.

I think this may be the most sensible explanation. Somehow, some time, this scooting brought Tweetie attention of some sort, so he has learned to do it for attention.

If you want to train him out of it....you will have to give him loads of attention for everything he does EXCEPT the scoot!

When he does the scoot turn your back, and/or walk away. When he stops the scoot to follow you, reward him with your attention.

Let us know how it goes!
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Unread 08-23-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Whomever said that cats were dumb never had cats in their life. I would agree with Gail and follow her suggestion. Cats learn to do things that exhibit a reaction from their humans and we always fall for it hook line and sinker. I'm starting to discourage my furbabies from biting our fingers and so when they bite our fingers I push them away and say No. When they lick our fingers we pet them and give them a hug and a kiss and say Good boy (Darby or Liam) I'm encouraged by how fast they are learning.
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