Okay so first I have to introduce myself I guess...
6 relevant facts about me...
1. I used to work in a nature center.
2. I've had cats my whole life. I have my 8 year old, Roux.
Roux was the runt of his litter and now he outsizes any other cat I've had...he also still has a napoleon complex. My other cat is a new female, Abigail.
She was a rescue...shes about 2 years old...when we bought her she hid behind the toliet for 2 days and i had to bring food/water to her. For weeks after she attacked my other cat and attempted to scratch us. We would get up and ignore her when she was rude and pay attention to her lovingly whenever she had a good behavior. Now, shes full of energy and does not scratch and she loves our affection.
3. I do not believe in anthropomorphizing. But you'll see me do it constantly. I don't make fun of anyone who does either.
4. I worked in a reptile zoo.
5. I'm a certified dog trainer.
6. I'm finishing up my last two years to obtain a B.S in environmental sciences.
My first Q:
This might be a hard one. I have animal care taking experience for over 5 years and am a certified dog trainer so I know about positive reinforcement techniques...but I've got a little exception to the rules living in my house.
Her name is Abigail
She has odd behaviors and we just try to listen to her needs and be affectionate and work with her with positive reinforcement. She doesn't think like any other cat I've ever had. I think what it is is that shes carrying feral cat habits still.
When I feed my cats I do it at various times in the morning. My older cat Roux knows exactly when I'm really going to enter the kitchen to feed him. Hes the cat that knows exactly how i work and i know how he works. What hes thinking what hes about to do. He knows whatever im about to do. So when I feed him in the morning he is quiet and patiently waits in the living room. When he hears the cupboard door open ...he calmly walks over. When he realizes its the right cupboard door he gets excited...but he still quietly waits for the food to arrive.
Abigail is the obnoxious opposite of that! The minute she hears either my boyfriend or I so much as make a peep in the bed in the morning shes whining and obnoxiously meowing her head off. We ignore the behavior because we dislike it...sometimes we are just rolling over to sleep or the alarm has gone off and we want to snooze BUT shes on top of us meowing her little heart out. We ignore it. She still does it every day. She doesnt stop until her food is put down. She meows incessantly and LOUDLY every morning from the time she believes we are getting up until i put her food down. She even trips my feet as im walking to the kitchen. it drives me nuts. Still i dont react to her.
Sometimes i just make sure they have kibble and then walk away and wait to feed them what she is begging for...because im trying to make it clear to her that her begging meows will NOT make food come. Shes not getting it thus far. It's like shes thinking...if i keep begging food will come eventually. and im not gonna starve her.
what normally works with pets is that you ignore the bad behavior unless it is destructive. you basically avoid giving them what they are wanting and begging for...until they are acting appropriately. this form of training hasnt helped at all!
I tried something new today. Whenever she started on a string of loud meows I would say "NO!" sternly and put the food i was working on back away and walk away to do something else. then 5 minutes later i would try again. and she would freak out and beg again. "NO!" i would say and stop again. what happened is that it scared her....she ran into the other room and wouldnt eat. seemed like she believed that i was telling her she couldnt eat. she doesnt associate her meowing behavior with my NO!
so id rather try something else...i dont want to scare her from eating i want her to realize her meowing wont help her get food.
im not just going to get up and feed her right away...shes too obnoxious in the morning leading up to me actually getting up. it needs to stop now.
i try to avoid passive aggressive techniques...but has the water bottle worked for anyone? im thinking about it at this point.
anyone have any other tips?? ideas???