PARANOID PET PARENT ALERT!
Ok - I have two loving kitties, Tumbler (boy) and Juice (girl) who are 9 months old. They are brother and sister. Tumbler has cerebellar hypoplasia and wobbles, falls, tumbles. Juice is fine. She is very protective of him, like a second mother figure, and takes great care of him. They do, however, play like a normal brother and sister would some of the time.
Here's the thing - Tumbler is mentally challenged in a lot of ways in addition to his physical condition. He doesn't understand the concept of using what I call a "soft paw." He always plays using his claws extended. So when he swipes at Juice or paws at her, he can actually hurt her. He has pulled clumps of her fur out and thus far she hasn't had any injuries, but she does jump away and run to get her breath before being heading back to play. I am just afraid he's going to get her eye or her face one day. He doesn't mean anything by it AT ALL. He snuggles with me almost asleep in my lap and still "pets" me with his claws extended so they get caught in the fabric of my clothes or unintentionally scratch me. He does not feel unsafe or feel the need to protect himself. He just doesn't understand that claws are not for 100% of the time. He uses his claws to do everything, because he can't really walk well without digging his little claws into things.
I cannot de-claw due to his condition (he needs them for balance and walking) nor would I even if he didn't have CH. I also cannot trim his claws because if he doesn't have the full "hook" he can't get around right or haul himself into chairs to be with his sister.
The ratio of them snuggling together vs them play-fighting together is about 70% to 30% so it's not a BIG issue, but I do worry.
I'm having so much trouble teaching him to use his soft paws with her, my husband, and me or showing him that what he does when he play-fights with Juice is not allowed. He doesn't respond to ANY usual reprimands because he's mentally not capable. If I spray him with a water bottle he just lets himself get soaked. He doesn't care. If I bat him with my hand softly on his butt, he doesn't care a wit either. If I yell, he doesn't even flinch. And any loud noises like change jars and other things have NO effect.
Juice won't teach him a lesson because she loves him too much and thinks of him as a baby. What do I do??? Any suggestions?? Juice has already had 1 corneal tear that left her eye so sad looking permanently. I don't know that it was from Tumbler since she came home with us from the shelter with it and we took her for medical attention for weeks. But I don't want anything happening to her good eye.