Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Albert, AB, Canada
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.