Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taming the tiger

This morning, I finally got an epiphany concerning Mia; her destructive chewing of the carpet, her eating elastic bands and plastic bags (yes... she ingests them) and her fuzzy bed suckling isn’t related to teething... It all stem from her being weaned to early. In other words, she’s got an oral fixation and she’s quite obsessive-compulsive about it. After seeing her ingest all sort of non-edible matter, I’m a bit concerned that she may develop pica (fingers crossed she doesn’t!) Scolding and yelling at her for being naughty would only exacerbate her condition. There’s no point in punishing her because she’s got a feline version of “bitting her nails”. The poor thing was found abandoned at a very young age (3 or 4 weeks we were told) and had to be fostered. She’s had such a shocking stressful start to life. She may act all cool and tough on the outside, but on the inside, she’s a marshmallow that needs all the tender nurturing she never got when she was just a wee kitten.

I’ve been trying to avert disasters through prevention (hiding all elastic bands and plastic bags, tapping the edge of the carpet so she can’t rip it up, etc...) and to a degree, it’s working... But she’s so determined that she’s been ripping up the tape to get to the carpet!!! Hubby’s been putting Mia in timeouts for 2 minutes (he nurses her like a baby in his arms.) It seems to calm her down. If she goes straight back to the scene of the crime for an encore, he simply scoops her up for another round. After a couple of go, she usually stops. Leave it to my soft-hearted husband to find an non-aggressive, non-threatening way of getting the point across. Perhaps this soothes her because her human foster mum may have bottle-fed her or comforted her in that way. After reading about pica on the cat forum (see link above), I decided to help Mia out by adding some supplements to her diet. I’m giving her Feline Tranquil Formula by Vetalogica. It’s a natural product that apparently helps in calming down nervous, anxious cats (so I’ve been told by many). If it helps calm her anxieties down and stops her from destroying our house, then I believe it’s worth a shot.

2 comments:

  1. It's a shame other adoptive parents aren't like you and D, who look for the causes of the behavior. Most just take the animal back to the shelter (which I'm sure exacerbates the situation). Mia is lucky...

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  2. Thanks luv. :) In his book “The Cat Who Cried For Help”, Dr. Dodman explains that when cats act out of sort, they are tried to tell us that they aren’t well.. That is the only way they can get the attention of us dumb and dense humans.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Who-Cried-Help-Psychology/dp/0553378546

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