View Full Version : Meg (catlover4ever)

Tubby & Peanut's Mom
11-10-2004, 10:03 AM
I saw you new siggy and love it! I noticed that you included Merlin which reminded me that I saw this article and wanted to post it for you. It's from the July 2004 issue of Country Living magazine. I hope I'm not violating anything too horribly bad by copying it here, but I thought it might help with Merlin.

Tooth and Claw
You rarely forget the experience of a pet's bite or a serious scratch. Some children incur a lifelong fear of dogs or cats from such an injury and end up missing out on the joys of the human-pet friendship. And some people may condemn your pet for behavior that appears more dangerous than it actually is.

I'm speaking not of an attack by an aggressive animal, but of an isolated and defensive act from an otherwise friendly family companion. Dealing with aggressive pets is a separate, extremely serious matter. But even the most benign pet may lash out on occasion. For most, it is because they are frightened: justified or not, they believe that you are going to hurt them.

"A pet that feels threatened is the pet most likely to bite or scratch," writes Mary Jane Checchi in her book Are you the Right Pet for Me?(St Martin's;$6.00). "This is as true for a hamster or rabbit as it is for a dog or cat." When you lift an ear or come swooping over them with a grooming brush and they can't run away, pets may snap or scratch at you simply to protect themselves. But if you accustom them to gentle handling and routine brushing, then the fear eventually mellows into acceptance.
Conditioning can't always preclude a fear reaction by your pet. If injured and immobilized, animals protect themselves. A pet that feels cornered may panic. Or if you've adopted a pet, the animal may harbor fears from previous experiences.

My normally amiable dog Foxy tends to snap at people who wake her up by touch. It's not intentional. She survived in a graveyard by her wits and caution before joining us, so it's not surprising that her reaction to being startled is reflexive self-protection. We've learned to speak to her first when waking her, and we always tell visitors to do the same.

We once adopted a wonderful cat that was being chased by kids throwing rocks at a work site. Though Biddy would curl up happily in my lap, she always avoided children. If they approached her, and I wasn’t' able to intervene quickly enough, she would let fly a claw. Each of my children, unfortunately, underwent his or her initiation. I always warned young guests as they came in the house.

For a pet to take even a minor, protective bite or scratch-whatever the cause-is unsettling. Try to anticipate a pet's reasoning. Socialize with and keep boosting your pet's confidence to prevent mishaps. Avoid situations that put your pet in distress, for its good and for its good standing in the community at large.

I know Merlin isn't "an otherwise friendly family companion" just yet, but I thought some of this might help, and I guess it doesn't hurt anyone to know and understand this a bit better so they don't think a pet is just mean, but is only protecting itself. :)

11-10-2004, 10:58 AM
Debbie, thank you...I will take all the information I can get. He has mellowed a bit...but he still gets really excited at times. I try to anticipate as much of it as I can but that one day that he got me in the head...I had no warning at all.

I think he has become the neighborhood stray. He is getting big and his fur is so silky soft. He gets a good meal anytime he comes over to the house.

He still wants "IN" but he is going to have to wait until he calms down a bit and I can get him to the vet before I let him in.

11-10-2004, 11:32 AM
If he wants in..it looks like he might just get in one day.Wishes strong enough usually come true to most.Good Luck to all of you.:)

Tubby & Peanut's Mom
11-10-2004, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by catlover4ever
He still wants "IN" but he is going to have to wait until he calms down a bit and I can get him to the vet before I let him in.

That's great news! I didn't know he had progressed that far! But yep, that's a good sign that he will learn - and mellow. I bet once he makes his way in he won't ever want out again. ;)