The problem: Fighting cats
The solution: Play therapy
Total training time: Two weeks
Everyone knows that cats who live in a household with other cats that they do not get along with have been described as finicky, moody and set in their ways. But with a little play therapy they can also learn to be adaptable, playful and even tolerant of things they might have normally put their paw down to in the past.
We had this very situation going on in our house for quite sometime. Carolina the older eight-year-old cat had no tolerance for the little one and two year old cats we had recently acquired, Bali and Mulder. In our house it was the same thing every day, Mulder and Bali who were the best of friends would come racing around the corner in a game of tag, run unexpectedly into Carolina and a fight would ensue. Not a very harmonious relationship for all involved.
To learn to be tolerant of each other, I knew I had to have a way to get them together in the same room while they were not focused on each other. So I went out and got the one thing I knew none of them could resist. A feather toy! The particular toy I used was a three-foot pole that had a string with a feather tied to one end. (There are many different variations and toys of this type on the market).
I began by enticing all of the cats into the same room with the feather toy. Carolina would be on one side of the room, Mulder and Bali would be on the other. I would stand in the center of the room and take turns engaging each of them in play with the feather toy, for about thirty seconds each at a time, and rotating from cat to cat for about fifteen minutes.
The following night I would repeat the game but the cats would have to come in a little closer to each other to catch the feather. Each night I would bring them as close as they would comfortably allow, and they would always let me know when I had brought them too close. Within two weeks I had them tolerant of each other and playing with the feather at only three feet apart. What an improvement for cats who would not be in the same room only weeks before!
This three-foot boundary has even carried over into other areas of the house such as the food bowl, and I have even come home and found them all asleep on our bed together, comfortably three feet apart. Now that's harmony!
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