‘Cocatitating:’ Contented cat cohabitation

Like it or not, one day you may be catapulted into a situation where you are forced to share your quarters with a cat. Even if cohabiting with felines is not your thing, there’s hope. Most people aren’t rejecting the cat so much as certain feline behaviors. Fortunately, remedies are available for most of these pet peeves. Believe it or not, you may be contentedly “cocatitating” in no time.

Perhaps you’re pissed off because a kitty is marking your territory. In order to prevent recurrences, thoroughly clean all soiled surfaces. Cats tend to mark about six inches off the ground. Use feline pheromone products to reduce incidences of spraying. Even better, make a pre-emptive strike by treating your entire home before introducing a cat to your abode. 

Some kitties choose soft, malleable items like your favorite T-shirt, today’s paper or the bath mat in lieu of the litter box. Minimize this risk by removing all temptation. Consider a rug-free home. Protect clothing and shoes from being targeted by keeping closets and drawers closed. Recycle piles of papers. Litter boxes should only be located on easy-to-clean surfaces like tile. Boxes with hoods minimize messiness and allow privacy for your puss. Promote good potty habits by regularly cleaning the litter.

Maybe you think your cat is a turd because the veggie garden has become a big litter box. Success has been reported with simple techniques like placing water-filled wine bottles or hanging old CDs throughout the garden. Their shimmering reflections can turn even the bravest felines into scaredy cats. Others swear by ultrasonic alarms, motion activated sprinklers, Coleus Canina plantings and even — are you ready for this? — lion dung. You might also consider laying fencing material between your plantings, placing vertical bamboo stakes every six inches or fencing the garden with chicken wire.

If it’s bird carcasses that are yanking your chain, you might try adding bells to your cat’s collar. Beware; this also makes Kitty more vulnerable to dogs or predators. Cat bibs are another solution and may prevent your kitty’s eradication of the neighborhood bird population.

Are you sick of finding upchuck de kitty fur and rat innards on your pillow? Regular doses of hairball prevention gels can minimize those hairy situations by keeping feline digestive systems clear.

If late-night caterwauling is a problem, do the neighborhood a favor and keep your kitty inside at night. Get your cat in with sunset feedings. Keep your cat in with steely willpower and decibel-defying earplugs. Eventually, your kitty will acclimate to this new routine. But you might want to keep a water bottle by the nightstand for the excruciatingly long first week. 

Spaying and neutering your cats can help cut down on many of these petty crimes. At the very least, it will eliminate the possibility that your single serving will become a dozen. If it’s the claws that give you pause, stay tuned to this column for an upcoming article that will hit the nails on the head.

Living with felines does not have to be a catastrophe. Don’t be pissed off. Be proactive. You’ll be a cat person before you know it. Happy cocatitating!

• Moksha McClure is the founder of Whiskers Resort, a pet hotel in Lihu‘e offering doggie day care, grooming and overnight boarding for cats and dogs for more than a decade. Visit www.WhiskersResort.com or call 241-PETS.

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