Showing Your Cat Who's Boss: An Impossible Goal?Published March 31, 2009
I am beginning to suspect that I am a true adherent and practitioner of the fascinating activity called, "The Bus Man's Holiday". Purrhaps this rather strange obsession is funded both by my passion for cats, and my love of writing. I am not sure about this, but that is not really important as I am a card- carrying member. One of the major outlets for my hobby is answering questions on a popular website where anxious cat owners pose questions about their kitties, which are stumping them. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering my time and knowledge and at the same time feel fulfilled when I have helped someone with a puzzling issue. I had to chuckle out loud the other day, when I ran across this rather humorous question, posted by an obviously frustrated cat owner who was more than likely having a mental "tug of war" with her kitty based on differences of opinions concerning the cat's behavior. She asked, "How can I convince my cat that I am the boss?" Boss me around? Yeah, right. After I picked myself up off the floor, tears of laughter streaming down my cheeks at the same time I felt the questioner's upset. So I composed myself, sat down with a strong cup of coffee and responded . . . "My cat was reading your question over my shoulder! He instantly shrugged his shoulders, made a small but substantial low pitched growl, then gave me an incredulous look and walked away shaking his head in bewilderment. He has no idea why domination over the feline species is so important to humans!" Seriously though... Why would you need to have your cat be subservient to you? Cats get along just fine being "equals" in relationship to their human companions. The popular expression, "dogs have masters and cats have staff" was more than likely coined by a completely exasperated feline, to get its point across. In our home, our cats get along with us very well as long as we maintain mutual respect and equality. The problems arise when these social boundaries are trespassed. However, of course there will be occasions when we must "take charge" of a situation and purrhaps overstep those fine lines of proper feline etiquette. We may need to take charge at times generally related with tasks which do not thrill them, i.e.; clipping nails, emergency baths, taking away a dangerous item which they got ahold of and with which they are playing, but this always requires a tactful, sensitive approach. We do not give much credence to human-feline hierarchies at our house. I then pointed the questioner to a an article on 'How to Dominate a Cat' for further help, adding, "Learning how a cat thinks and feels, and how to communicate with them is essential to maintain a harmonious household." Have you ever attempted to "boss" your cat? If so, do you keep a huge supply of bandaids in your medicine cabinet? Share your experiences with a comment.