March 26th 2013 12:27 am
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It is often said that the best way to deal with negative behaviors is by distracting the animal with something positive to do. Quite unintentionally, I managed to do this with Uno, at least temporarily.
Whereas it's common for kittens and young cats to chew on things while teething, Uno's teething has been more like that of a German Shepherd puppy. After a German Shepherd puppy gets adult teeth, he/she then chews even harder to set the teeth in the jaw and develop and strengthen the ear and jaw muscles. Uno too, chews more and harder after she got her adult teeth than she did while she was actually teething. Thus, Uno has earned herself a new nickname "Chomper", taken from the name of the baby Tyrannosaurus Rex in the movie Land Before Time II.
Unfortunately for me, Uno's favorite things to chew are computer ethernet cables, cellphone cords, and USB cables, especially my USB trackball cables. Although fortunately for me I know how to splice and repair cables and cords, I would much rather have no need to do such repair tasks. Bitter apple, tabasco sauce, etc deters Uno's chewing but only for a short time. The way I usually find out the deterrent is no longer working is when I have to again repair a cord. (If anybody knows of a teething device for small dogs that has a soft consistency similar to a cord that I could try for Uno, please let me know. Gummy bones are a bit too thick and not soft enough to appeal to her.)
The new big cat tree has given me at least a temporary reprieve from Uno's "Chomper" antics. It is large, fairly heavy, stable, and has several carpeted shelves and little houses at different heights, with sisal wrapped support posts, all features which cats prefer when it comes to things to climb and scratch on. Big cat trees such as this really save furniture from a lot of wear and tear. The most important qualities to look for when buying a cat tree are stability, little or no wobbliness, and a rough surface to claw on.
Since I got the new cat tree, I've seen much less of Uno except of course when I'm eating or sleeping. The cords also have seen much less of Uno's chompers! Just like kids with a new toy, Uno and some of the other cats spend most of their time in and on the cat tree. Many of their games they play on the cat tree are clearly organized, with individual cats taking turns being "it" or being "king of the hill" etc.
I'm sure the reprieve my cords and I are receiving from Uno's chompers is only temporary. Just as the novelty wears off of a kid's new toy, in time the novelty will wear off of the new big cat tree. Then I'm sure Uno will be making sure I don't forget how to repair cables and cords!
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