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Unread 02-02-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Claw clipping and social issues.

I have two separate questions, bear with me please.

First, I dont know if any of you remember me, but a couple months ago I explained that I had rescued a stray male kitten (Frankie), and I was having trouble keeping the peace in this house with my three other cats. He has now been here for about 7-8 months, and still, I have a big issue. He has fortunately found an ally-relationship with my male short hair, Gary. But the problem is with my female siamese, Leona. She has always hated Frankie. I mean, HATE. Even still, she persistently tries to beat him up. It's not just a swat and a hiss here and there, she will come out of nowhere, pounce on him and start scratching and biting him, all the while howling and hissing, he gets a new scratch on his face every week along with the scratches I cant see in his fur. I think she is trying to kill him. He is now just as big as she is, but wont defend himself. We always spray her with the squirt bottle and yell every time she goes after him, but she will run away and then come right back. We give her a lot of attention, he doesnt go near her to bother her. I was hoping this wouldnt last so long. Tried the Feliway plugins, still nothing.

He is allowed to run the house when someone is here(which is most of the day), but have resorted to a routine of locking him in my room when nobody is here or I am asleep in fear that she will seriously hurt him if nobody is available to stop her. Are we doomed to keep this routine forever?

Second question, I keep all of their claws trimmed for good reason. All are good with accepting the claw-clipping except Frankie. He has always not been a fan of it, but not that he is bigger and stronger, I can barely do it. He wont let me. I have never cut the quick on him, but when I sit him down to clip, he squirms, growls and sometimes bites me. I find myself being able to get one claw every hour, if that. Back claws are an absolute no-no. Any suggestions on making this easier and calmer for the both of us?

Sorry, I know that was a lot to explain, thank you for taking the time to read and thanks in advance for suggestions on both my situations!
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Unread 02-07-2010   #2 (permalink)
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With BOTH situations you need to find a way to re-install the idea in their heads that the situation they don't like is not a bad, horrible thing, but is good, happy and natural.

The most common and successful way of doing this is positive reinforcement, a.k.a TUNA! Or whatever it is that they love the most, be it treats or affection/sweet talking.

For nails, I wrap my cat, Ninja, up in a big towel, covering his head too. This makes him calmer and keeps him from squiggling. Then I poke out one foot at a time and quickly but carefully clip. Reassure him with sweet praising words so he feels like nothing "bad" is happening. Then once you are finished, release him from the towel and immediately reward him with a treat he loves so he can begin to associate nail clipping time to happy yummy treat time. If he will take them, you can offer him treats during this whole process.

For the big mean kitty, you could try putting Frankie in a crate or cage(a larger wire cage is best) and put Leona's favorite treats next to the cage. This way she can begin to associate being near Frankie, with yummy treat time, and she won't feel as threatened by Frankie being in her space.

If she won't even go near him, just move the treat bowl further away until she will eat, then very gradually move the bowl closer. This may several weeks of repetition. And Frankie might not care for his part in this either, so make sure he gets treats too.

Next, you may bring them both into a small, neutral room (such as an office or guestroom) along with their favorite treats and toys(and your squirt bottle!) Stay in the room with the cats for as long as you can to supervise.

Every time Leona displays ANY kind of unwanted behavior or hostility toward Frankie, give a sharp, loud "No!" and squirt her. Also try to keep her distracted with a toy she likes when she's near Frankie, so that she has less of a chance to pay attention/get mad at Frankie.

Every time she is near him and doing the right behavior, praise her and give her a treat. Repeat this as much as possible, whenever possible, always making sure to correct the wrong behavior and praise the good behavior.

The key is being persistent, consistent and very patient. Good Luck!
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