Friday, August 17, 2012

Behavior: Odd Grooming at Night

I have been working my cats and Rumpy every night at about 730 or 8 for a good 15-30 minute play. Then I give some treats and put the dinner down. I am trying to trigger the chase-eat-groom-sleep routine in Rump so he lets the other cats sleep without attacks.

I have a problem with his engagement. Most nights he is ready to go and while playing has a very intent look with large pupils and intense movement. About one out of four sessions he is just going through the motions. These are mostly the nights he causes problems with the others. Last night he was very engaged with play so I figured it would be a good night.

The whole crew was kind of off schedule and trickled in after I had fallen asleep. Tim, Toby, and Buddy are usually in place when the lights go out but it seems some nights every cat is doing some business in another part of the house. I was surprised that I had five cats in place at about two AM. They each have a spot staked out so all was well in bed world. Until 330 AM that is.

I happened to wake for my normal 90 minute change of position for pain and I caught Rumpy up and grooming. Now a normal grooming you never notice with the lights out since you do not feel the motion. Rumpy gets worked up and GROOMS. The bed shakes.

This is one of his triggers. He starts grooming and proceeds to really get going with strong head movements. Then he will start grooming any cat close by. This transitions to the other cat getting upset from the attention and BANG an altercation.

The funny thing is if I reach down and say "No Rumpy" while gently moving him away from the cat he has chosen he will stop but he keeps grooming. If there is another cat close by, like last night, he may choose the next cat to groom and we repeat whole moving him away routine. Last night he did Buttons then Toby then Tim.

I did finally get him to move back to his normal sleep spot next to my foot. He seemed to calm down a bit but then jumped down and headed off to the living room. Probably to chase Fitz since she was not on the bed.

As this was one of the times I caught his behavior before a full fight developed I worked to defuse his programming. He got quiet encouragement to be good the whole time along with head rubs. Maybe if he can be redirected enough it will change his behavior a bit.

This was not any solution but rather an intervention to prevent escalation. My Rough little Boy is a challenge. Thankfully we are past the days when I considered re-homing. I guess there has been progress. I do still get exasperated at times but then he jumps into my lap. Kneads a bit and settles in.
Who could be upset with this face looking at you!
Ah well we shall see what comes next with my Excitable Boy. Yes that will be his new name. The name of my boat from back when I was young and dumb. Remembering those days I had better give him a break. Maybe 10 breaks if he is anything like me. LOL

Have a great day


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