A man, nicknaming himself as the ‘Human Scratching Post’, recently shared his story on Slate, and it quickly became viral. The poor guy feels like prey in his own home: predated upon by his pet cat.
Though he loves his cat, Nick Greene described his problem: “[He] has been a loving, cuddly cat most of the time, but he gets violent on occasion. I had female cats for most of my life and I’m used to rough kitten play, but this guy can be a terror. He is intact, for now, and will be neutered next month. He has high places to climb, lots of toys, a clean box, a cat tree, and more, but his favourite target is me.”
Desperate for a solution
Certified feline behaviour consultant Ingrid Johnson responded to the man’s plea by explaining he was probably seeing ‘play-deprived’ or ‘prey-deprived’ behaviour.
Johnson goes on to say that this behaviour will most likely calm down once the cat is neutered, however, it won’t make it disappear completely.
The main reason the cat is acting out in this way, is actually pretty natural: “What happens is they chase things that move, like your ankles or your hands while you’re talking and gesturing,” Johnson says.
“This is incredibly entertaining for him, and what makes it even more exciting is that his prey (that’s you, the kind human giving food and shelter) jolts or shrieks in response. He goes after you like a gazelle because you kind of act like one. It’s super fulfilling and very fun. That keeps him doing the behaviour.”
These things take time
Johnson then offers four main ideas that could help Greene tame his wild kitty:
Don’t leave interactive toys scattered around the house. This makes the toys boring.
Interactive toys should only be taken out when the cat’s attention needs to be re-directed. They should be ‘special occasions’, (this does not apply to solo active toys).
Try not to react when the cat attacks you – the more you squeal, the more entertaining it is to him.
If worse comes to worse, one of the best solutions would be to get a cat friend for him! As Johnson explains, “Cats are specially designed to wrestle and spar with other cats. It’s like Godzilla: when our civilization’s technology fails, only a rival monster can help.” Of course, Johnson does not suggest this is an easy feat, and ensures Greene that if he considers this option, he will have to do some serious research on safe introductions between domestic cats.
Johnson ends her advice column on a simple note: what it will take, is mostly patience. Good luck to Nike Greene, we hope he finds a way to calm his crazy kitty!