I have never owned a cat before and this is my first kitten. My goal to teach Dragon to be ready to embrace the outdoors and come on adventures with us when he’s bigger and to be socialable.
Due to the nature of Russian Blues, they are known to be friendly, playful and loving so hopefully this takes away most of the hard work.
I’ve been pretty much been consistent three basic behavioral actions. All of which occur in conjunction with one another.
1. Handling and Desensitizing.
I have had a lot of experience with crazy cats. I always thought they were these bi polar, bat poop crazy animals. Where one moment they adore you and the next they scratch you. I don’t want Dragon to be one of those.
One if the major things in focusing on us constantly and consistently petting him and rubbing him. Making sure I access all the areas. Apparently most cats don’t like the belly being rubbed, so guess what? I’m rubbing the crap out of his belly!
I am ensuring that I try all different kind of petting techniques. Stroking, scratching, rubbing and patting. From the tip of this hair to between his toes, to the points of his ears.
When I access the areas that are known to be sensitive spots for cats I make sure simultaneously rubbing his favourite areas. For instance the glandular areas around a cats head are known to be green light areas. (Under chin, behind whiskers and ears, cheeks.)
Apparently the reason cats butt you with their chin, or cheek is because they are spreading their scent on you. These are key areas to touch.
I often flip him over on his back and rub his belly. I’m constantly aware of his responses and make sure he’s enjoying the movements.
I also roughhouse him a little too. In stages starting from gentle to gradually more playful.
Always read Dragon’s responses and make sure he’s enjoying it before I move onto the next level. For example, I’ll roll him into a ball and slide him across the floor. Or when he’s going crazy over some string I’ll flip him on the bed in all different positions.
While I play with Dragon, I’m always telling him he’s a “good boy,” using a happy upbeat tone and cadence. I repeat his name constantly, and so far he’s begun to even respond with a meow whenever I say “Dragon.”
Whenever I am petting him I am praising him. I call this the Pet and Praise, the most important part of teaching a pet.
I’ve read that cats don’t respond well to negative reinforcement. The best thing to do is to ignore them.
However, when Dragon is doing something undesirable, soon as I see it (ideally before he commits the act) I give a short hiss. “Tst!” This is when he’s clawing or chewing at cords or my plants. Then we go right back into playing and praise!
The claw thing is tricky, because I know it’s import at for Dragon to play and use his claws. It’s things like when he’s latching onto my skin or when he’s playing too rough that I hiss at him.
This is something I’m ensuring I’m consistent with. I really watch how far his claws come out and try to his when they hit a certain point. I have met cats that I thought were declawed because they had such amazing control and knew how to gauge the acceptable amount of claw.
To sum up, I’m really just playing with him a lot. Petting him a lot. Praising him a lot. Rough housing him a little and hissing at him occasionally. The biggest thing is being consistent with my actions, reading, reacting to his responses and giving Dragon as much love as possible !