AWL By Your Side Magazine Edition 8
Ask the Experts
Q. Why does my cat bite me?
A. There can be a number of reasons why a cat will bite its owner 1. affection 2. play 3. physical sensitivity. For the cats that are biting out of affection, they may start kneading, licking and then start nibbling/biting. It could be a suckling response or just expressing their love and trust with mutually grooming. Play biting is very common in kittens as they learn about life but it is important to train them out of it while they are young. If they are biting, make sure you end the play sessions or redirect their attention to toys. Remember it is fun to wrestle a kitten and use your hands as toys but it won’t be when they are fully grown! When cats are physically sensitive, petting can overstimulate and petting certain areas can make them feel protective. This protective instinct, which leads to biting, is common when we try to give belly pats because a lot of cats are just not a fan. What to do: - Get to know your warning signs - As soon as you notice their discomfort, stop patting before the biting starts - Avoid problem areas
Q. Why does my dog jump up and how do I stop it? A. Jumping up is a common negative behaviour in dogs and usually an attention-seeking behaviour. One of the most likely times your dog will be caught jumping up is by the door when you get home or when guests arrive. If you simply push your dog away and tell them ‘no’, you are giving them three of the things they want and this enforces the bad behaviour, you look at them, speak to them and touch them. The best things to do are: - Turn away from your dog if they jump up - Reinforce the 4 paws on the floor and reward sitting or stay - Reward desired behaviours using what the dog wants most (pats, treats etc.) - Educate and inform guests, visitors and strangers that the dog is in training - Ask your guests to work with you on the training - BE CONSISTENT Your dog should learn that they get what they want when they give you the desired behaviour, not jumping up. Things to remember: - One bad behaviour can put training back up to 3 weeks - Early intervention is best - Teaching your dog good manners no matter their size, breed or age is a must
If you think your cat is biting out of pain, take them to see a vet. Anna, AWL Animal Attendant with Cosmo
If you still need help with your dog’s jumping, why not come along to the AWL Mutts with Manners classes? Monique, AWL Behaviour Officer with Duke
Q. What do I need to know about getting a new kitten?
A. During the warmer months the AWL adopts hundreds of lost and abandoned kittens to loving homes, and for those looking to adopt now or in the future, there are a few things you should keep in mind: - It is important to spend time getting to know the kittens and to see which ones interact well with you - Remember that the kitten’s personality may change as it matures which a cat’s true nature developing at around 12-18 months of age - Ensure you have a secure, well ventilated cat carrier to transport your kitten - Provide your kitten with some fun, interactive toys and a secure environment - Feed your kitten a good quality food developed especially for kitten growth until they are 6 to 12 months old
- Most cats and kittens are lactose intolerant and therefore should not be given cow’s milk. You can supply kitten or lactose free milk but they do not need it. Fresh water must always be available. - Provide your kitten with various things they can scratch, poles with sisal rope, cardboard scratchers - Ensure the kitten also has collar identification as well as microchip ID If you are adding a new kitten to existing animals, don’t rush it! Use slow, controlled introductions and ensure each animal has its own space and feels secure during the introductions.
For more information on kittens,
cats, dogs and adopting, visit awl.org.au
Jo, AWL Special Projects Co-ordinator with a foster kitten
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