Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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Stardust

Stardust seems to have resumed being litter-trained now. I'm not terribly sure what brought this about, though. Buying the cat tree didn't cure her, at least not immediately, and I never did get around to buying Feliway. I did try buying a cheaper variation of Feliway that uses "simulated" feline pheromones instead of real ones, but the simulation didn't seem to be good enough to fool Stardust, because that didn't cure her immediately either. Then I happened to catch her in the act of peeing on the carpet, and ran to fill a glass of water, and attempted to pour it on her. I mostly missed, but I got a bit of her tail wet. This was probably not really a good idea at all, because punishing a cat who's engaging in stressed behaviors is just likely to make it all the more stressed. Nonetheless, later that same evening I caught her in the act of actually peeing in her very own litter box, for the first time in over a month. I then ran to give her canned cat food immediately. That was about a week ago, and I've resumed leaving her unsupervised in my bedroom ever since then, and as far as I can tell, she's been behaving perfectly ever since. I guess B. F. Skinner was right after all!

Well, either him or my decision to drug her with catnip. I'm not generally a big fan of giving cats massive quantities of catnip, so I'd previously only offered her very rare and very brief exposures to small amounts of it. But since the vet suggested that if nothing else resolved her Incontinent by Choice issues, he might prescribe anti-anxiety drugs to her, I concluded that she was sufficiently in need of being drugged that it made sense to try just giving her massive doses of ordinary catnip. Large doses of catnip actually seem to affect her less than the smaller doses, but maybe giving her more frequent doses has some sort of calming effect. I hope so.

Meanwhile, she's getting a little more comfortable with the cat tree, but she's still a little afraid of it. She climbs on it, plays with the toys dangling from it, and uses it as a scratching post, but she doesn't sleep on it or even relax on it for more than a minute or two. She sleeps under it constantly, but never on it. She also still doesn't usually venture up to the higher levels of it. I think the higher levels are just too narrow for her; she can squeeze either under or into the tunnel on top, but neither is really very easy for her, because she's a little too large to fit comfortably.

But with the help of catnip and toys, I persuaded her to pose for pictures on the parts of the tree she's most comfortable on.




The large loops of ribbon hanging out from the ball are loops she's pulled out of their original positions.




Hmm . . . it could use just a dash more salt.




Hunting is more fun when you go after a different toy with each paw.




Let's see what's under here!




The black ball must die.




I scattered catnip all around the inside of the little cubbyhole thing, as you can see in the photos. The idea was to encourage her to go inside and get comfortable. It encouraged her to go in for a moment or two, but she's still too afraid of that particular area to ever sit down inside it and stay there, even for a minute or two. The closest she's come to sitting comfortably on any part of the cat tree is when she sat on top of the cubbyhole area for maybe two or three minutes while I was photographing her.

Tags: photographs
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