Lamb Chop is in the terrible teens does time-out work? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Lamb Chop is in the terrible teens does time-out work?

Lamby is in her terrible teens I guess because some evenings around sunset she just starts running & literally flying around and crashing into stuff. Climbs up curtains, clothes and almost hit me in the head with a pole lamp she decided to try to push over. This not her normal behavior. Yes she does kitten stuff this is atypical. Rather than punch her in the face (kidding of course) I put her in her carrier for 15 minutes despite protests and she seemed calmer when I took her out. Does time out work for cats? I was wondering about the calming pheromones that are sold? This might also work for pedicure and bathing. She is normally very sweet and affectionate. Actually the most affectionate cat I have ever seen. Very brave little cat. I was told she was alpha kitten.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 08:40 AM
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From what I've heard time outs do not work for cats. You could try playing with something physically demanding around that time to burn off some energy. Da bird is great for that.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 09:09 AM
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I suggest a lot (and I mean A LOT) of active play sessions with Lamby. If you have one of those cat toy wands, make her jump up to try and catch the toy to expend the maximum amount of energy. Any activity you can turn into a play session, do it i.e. feeding treats, kibble. Newton was also acting up somewhat and bouncing around all over the place yesterday (and he was definitely the dominant cat of the litter). I was left with no choice but to sacrifice some of my reading time to interact with him. Fortunately, I have another cat, who shares play-time responsibilities, so Newton's attention isn't directed at me 100% of the time.

Is Lamby an only cat? Maybe she needs a companion?

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 12:36 PM
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Time outs DO work, the trick is in doing them properly.

First thing, how old is Lambchop? The 'teens' hit at about 9 months old. That being said we've always had night time crazies in our house right around 9 pm, and since the boys are 5 and still doing it I expect it to continue. It's not as crazy as it was when they were little though.

Ok, proper time outs:

1. NOT punishment. A time out should be when the kitten, or cat, is clearly too excited to calm themselves down.
2. You have to be calm. If you can't be calm then go put yourself in a time out. If you try to put the cat in the carrier when you're stressed and freaking out that's what they'll associate the carrier with, making your trips to the vet a million times harder.
3. You need to be able to 'catch' the cat without much fuss. If you're chasing the cat around the apartment then skip it, you're just going to get kitty more excited and then you're causing the problem.
4. Once you've calmly gotten the kitten in the carrier the time out should be 1 minute max under 6 months old, and 3-5 minute max for any other age (exception being if you need to clean up a mess, in that case it may be safer to leave kitty in the kennel until the clean up is done - but I don't think that's a time out). Longer than that and you're again dealing with negative associations with the kennel, aside from not 'teaching' them anything.
5. Before you get kitty out of the kennel you need a plan for preventing the behavior from happening again. So grab a toy and when you open the kennel do a playtime to drain that craziness before it can get out of hand again.

That being said planning ahead is always best, so if you know she gets crazies at 9pm, grab a toy at 830 and have a little play time before she goes nuts. She'll probably still do some running, but it'll be much less frantic.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 12:46 PM
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What fantastic advise!! A keeper for the months ahead.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 01:45 PM
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My cats get time outs, but like librarychik said, never as punishment. They sleep in a bedroom at night, after a long play session.

I was also going to ask, does Lamb Chop have a nice cat tree to climb? You can find a good one on Amazon, under $100, I like the Armarkat is not the best one, but it is good enough, and some of the other trees in that price range look great on the computer but they are garbage. My big Armarkat tree saved my sanity!!! Stephano was going insane, we got him this big tree and he zooms up and down that thing all day, and gets lots of exercise on it, and he sleeps at the tippy top of it, that is his spot. It really cut down on his curtain climbing He climbed the curtains until just recently (he is about 1 1/2) only when his butt got too big to comfortably pull himself up the curtains. My daughter has a cat a little over a year, he climbs the door jambs! All the way to the top! I've never seen a cat do that before. The teenage years are NOT fun, but soon Lamb Chop will be past this and well into lazy cat stage of his life
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by librarychick View Post
Time outs DO work, the trick is in doing them properly.
This. I use time outs with my cats and it's very effective, but the thing to remember is it's not a behavioral consequence, it's a way of calming an overstimulated cat who is acting out due to being overly hyped up. Rather than a punishment, time out works if you treat it as a relaxing downtime so your cat can separate herself from what's overstimulating her.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 03:11 PM
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I firmly believe in time outs for bad behavior (which I don't think your cat is exhibiting, just innappropriate pre bed time play) and BOTH my boys still get them. It just gives them a few minutes to decompress and get past any ...agression (on MowMows case) they may be dealing with.

MowMow just had one last night. He was chasing Book around with the solid intent to pound the living crud out of him and they ran OVER me (in bed). I grabbed Mow as he went by, tucked him under the covers (head sticking out) and went to sleep. By the time I fell asleep enough for him to escape, he was already zonked out and spent the rest of the night in my way.

HOWEVER, in your case (as you described above)... I would probably either batten down the hatches and let her have at it OR redirct her evening explosion with Da Bird or other interactive toy.

IMO you WANT her to get all that energy out before bed time (your bed time). I encourage full blown spastic play in the evenings. I egg them on like crazy to let them get it out b efore I head to sleep. She's young (I think) and NEEDS to expend that energy. Just like the saying goes "A tired puppy is a GOOD puppy".. same thing with kittens/young cats (and even my old MowMow).
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 03:17 PM
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I have a feliway and SWEAR by it. I keep saying that Book and I would be afraid to sleep at night if MowMow didn't have the Feliway to keep him calm. Trimming nails is SO simple. I just lay them on the bed, lay next and tuck them against my chest. (back facing me) and trim away. Of course, both my guys are really good about and have both learned that if they STOP struggling, I let them go.. so they submit pretty quick. That's not to say they don't complain..LOUDLY... but they hold still.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2013, 03:25 PM
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I think the best thing is to channel this energy into something constructive like play! Cats in the wild would be burning energy by running and chasing prey outside - that is what her brain is telling her to do, so that has to be duplicated indoors with play using feather toys, laser pointers or even rolling balls over the floor (my Lacey LOVES to chase balls!)

I have just about finished a book called "The cat who cried for help" by Dr. Nicholas Dodman. It goes into the psychology of cats by using real life examples. I've learned SO much about what and why cats think!! This book is a must for people with cats.
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