You may remember a post that I wrote a while back about dealing with adolescent cats and the problems that they can cause in a home. If you haven’t read that post, and have some new kitties in your house, I strongly encourage you to go back through that post and then come back here. We have been implementing all of what we talked about, but sometimes that may not even be enough, and there are times when you should recognize when to give up on trying a certain approach.
Specifically, over the last month or so I have realized that I’ve been stressing out way too much about how our cats get into things that they shouldn’t. There have been two areas where we didn’t want our cats to go – on our aquarium and on the counter tops in our old kitchen. The first is obviously a bad place for cats to go, while the second isn’t so bad when you really think about it, unless you have food or something. Since they were in our old kitchen, we didn’t.
The problem that we have been having, is that they just will not stop breaking the rules, no matter what we do. We scold them, we say NO. We took down every little trinket from around the aquarium and have stopped leaving stuff on the old counters. I have even splashed aquarium water on their faces in an attempt to dissuade them from the water, since cats don’t like water. They even jump on the counters and the aquarium when we are around – right in front of us! Nothing has worked…so we have decided to give up on training them the traditional way.
Instead, we are just letting them jump on the old counters. Well I should say they WERE jumping on them. See, I had a theory about this whole situation – that they were only curious about those two spots because we were so heck bent on keeping them away from them. So I just decided to let them go to it, wondering if, like humans, once they had what they wanted, they would get bored and leave it alone. Sure enough, it worked with one area. I don’t think that they are jumping on the old counters anymore. I have left small trinkets on the counter overnight and they aren’t touched anymore. They must have gotten board.
The aquarium, however, hasn’t changed much. They have started dipping their paws in the water now! So to get around that, we have started placing a blanket over the entire thing every night and when we are at work. They have started leaving it alone now, since they are finding nothing of interest there anymore.
Knowing When To Give Up
The moral of this story is that there is sometimes a time to just throw in the towel when it comes to controlling an ‘uncontrollable’ situation. If there is nothing you can do about something, you should especially just stop worrying so much – something like a fear of flying. There is nothing you can do about the flight of the plane – so why worry so much?
In a situation such as with pets, this is a perfect example of setting a trigger to lower the pets interest in something they should be interested in, and just knowing when to give up to the situation. By letting the cats have their way, while altering what they experience, we were able to dissuade their bad behavior. Although I have a feeling that they would get interested in the aquarium again if we stopped with the blanket.
What are your thoughts on when to give up on something and try something new?