Cat Mom

by Shannon

Playing the

Playing the "door" game

I have three cats. They get along fine until I sit down in the den. Then they fight over my lap. Sometimes the fights get serious (almost, but no blood drawn--just a lot of growling and spitting). They nap together when I am not around, but will not share ANY space near me. How can I ease this jealousy? One cat is particularly aggressive, and one is particularly passive (and tends to lose out on lap time). The other is in the middle. What is going on and how can I ease this tension?

Answer by Kate

My goodness you must feel popular? The problem here is that you cannot verbally tell them not to fight and by just separating them they will not understand what they have done wrong. This could be rather tricky.

Basically it is you who will have to be as they say cruel to be kind. What I mean is that you will have to dish the discipline out so that they understand that none of them gets the lap if they fight. This could take some time, as they will be used to this behaviour, so you will have to be strong and patient and persistent with the discipline. Now when I say discipline it isn't as harsh as that word sounds. Basically cats understand discipline with positive and negative reactions. Eventually they learn that their behaviours which create negative reactions i.e. not getting what they want, is pointless and so will change or stop this behaviour.

A negative reaction in this case is from you, not looking at them, not talking to them or making any sound and walking away from them. So as soon as the fighting begins, you have to get up and walk quickly away from them. You will have to do this every single time (and this can get a little wearing but is the only way they learn).

I have written a web page about this negative positive discipline, which you may find of interest. Here is the link best wishes Kate

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