black cat in a bed

Manage – Don’t Suffer or Punish

Question:
I have a little cat of horrors. He is a 4 year old black American Short hair and when he is hungry he will attack my feet and hands. I am a diabetic and he leaves long lasting wounds that take forever to heal. None of my other four cats do this. He will not attack my children or my husband. I tried playing dead and ignoring him, nope, he is not stupid. He even screams in my ear “Feed me Seymour, Feed me!!” Your articles state not to spray with water. You are right, that does not deter him. So I get up and feed him, meaning less sleep. Please help before I get infected wounds.

Dr. Nichol:
Pets choose their person; we don’t get a vote. Seymour, a rather assertive fellow, will never take “NO!” for an answer. He owns you. He has time and motivation for his demands because, living indoors, he doesn’t have much else to do. He’s unemployed. Instead of sharpening his skills as a rodent hunter he lives large by his demands for food in a bowl. You live to serve.

I advise feeding this fuzzy little tyrant, and his feline brethren, from food-dispensing toys and puzzles. Believing that they will not survive another day unless they figure out how to extract sustenance from moderately challenging devices all of your cats will have to work for a living. What a concept? Search Kong Wobbler for Cats and Food Puzzles for Cats.

I’m sure you’ve tried closing your bedroom door. I’m betting that Seymour stands outside, loudly protesting your cruelty when you fail to immediately dance to his tune. Try managing his attempts to distort your life by feeding him a small amount in a bowl at bedtime and then leaving out loaded food toys for early morning snacking. This may buy you enough time for adequate sleep and wound healing. You will find a complete list of Feline Environmental Enrichments on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Cats are wonderful companions when they are not behaving badly. Thanks for not spraying Seymour. No one should be hosed unless they catch fire.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.