Guide to Keeping WereCatsbydragonfeather©
Providing a reward can be helpful in training your cat to be calm during procedures she may not otherwise like, such as nail trims, brushing, or having her tummy petted. Be aware though, that for some werecats, discomfort outweighs treats, so it may not work in all cases.
Timing is very important when training werecats, as they usually have very short attention spans, so the reward must come immediately after the behaviour. Otherwise, the werecat may not know what the reward is for. Only train for short periods of time, around fifteen to thirty minutes, or your werecat may lose interest. As soon as she stops responding, stop training. Also very important is consistency. Always use the same training technique for each behaviour, and make sure everyone in the family does as well.
TRAINING : TRICKS
Training your werecat to behave well is relatively easy. But once you're confident that she won't climb onto the kitchen counter or the furniture when she isn't allowed to, won't scratch people or furniture, or destroy your possessions, and will permit you to groom and pet her at will, you might start feeling more ambitious.
Rewarding your werecat for natural behaviours, eg. for using a scratching post instead of the sofa to strop her claws on, or not going into places where she isn't allowed, reinforces something she's already willing to do. This is relatively easy.
Introducing new behaviours is a little more difficult. This means teaching your werecat a new routine - to come when you call, for example. Call her name and reward her when she responds. Move to another spot, call her name, and reward her when she responds.
TRAINING : SLEEPING ON THE BED
It is of course up to the owner to decide if he will allow his werecat to sleep on the bed, or indeed to get on the furniture at all; most werecats will assume that it is their right to sleep wherever they choose, but it is possible to train this assumption out of your pet. Werecats do have a tendency to sprawl across as much of the bed as possible, if allowed to do so, and have been known to claw or even bite if woken unexpectedly. Additionally, if your werecat is allowed to become territorial about your bed, she may react badly and require significant discipline should you bring a lover or friend home for the evening.
The two most common solutions to the problem are a pet bed on the floor, or a cage. Sleeping on the bed with her owner then becomes a treat or reward for the werecat. Sleeping on the bed may also be treated as a privilege, which can be revoked as punishment for bad behaviour or disobedience.
A pet bed on the floor is a simple, straightforward, and easy solution. It is necessary to provide blankets, or ensure that the ambient temperature is not too low, as werecats can easily become ill if they get cold. Aside from this, however, there is little complexity to a pet bed. Cushions, bean bags, an old mattress, or even a rug on the floor will suffice. It is preferable, if providing only a rug on the floor, to also provide a pillow to ensure that your pet does not suffer from muscular aches in the neck as a result.
A cage is a more sophisticated solution to the issue of where to house your werecat. A cage provides all the same benefits as a pet bed does, and additionally prevents your werecat from wandering off unattended when you are not paying attention to her. Keeping your werecat in a cage when you are not actively training her, playing with her, or grooming or petting her also ensures that she cannot harass you or annoy your visitors, and possibly injure them during unsupervised play.
Depending on how the caging is approached, the cage may become a refuge and sanctuary for your werecat, to which she can retreat when she feels in need of comfort and you are not available, or it can be used as a punishment, or both. The psychology of a werecat is quite complex, and while the cage may be a sanctuary if she enters it willingly, it can also be a punishment if she is placed unwillingly into it as a result of being naughty or disobedient. This is especially true if being put in the cage is combined with being ignored and denied any attention or stimulation for a space of time.
BODY LANGUAGE AND AGGRESSION
To a werecat, most play has something to do with prey and hunting. Body postures of play aggression are the behaviours a werecat shows when searching for and catching prey. She stalks her target from behind a door or under a chair or table. she crouches, twitched her tail, flicks her ears back and forth, and then pounces. She will use these body postures and behaviours when playing alone, or with her owner.
This is completely different to defensive aggression. Defensive aggression occurs when a werecat tries to protect herself from an animal or human attacker she believes she can't escape. It can occur in response to:
- punishment, or the threat of punishment from a person
- an attack or attempted attack from another cat
- any incident that makes the animal feel threatened or afraid
Defensive postures include:
- crouching fully, with the legs and tail pulled in under the body
- flattening the ears against the head, hunching the shoulders and narrowing the eyes
Play is a vital activity, not just for kittens, but for adult werecats as well. Werecats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide her with the physical and mental stimulation she needs, and strengthen the bond you share. Playtime isn't just for werecats - it's for their people too. Interactive play cements the bond between you, and allows you the chance to admire your pet as she dashes about, trying to catch her "prey". Some werecats love to play 'fetch' with a small ball or bit of crumpled up paper; other will go crazy chasing a laser light pointer, or some ribbond or feathers on a string.
A comfortable perch by a window can become your werecat's personal entertainment and relaxation centre. Give her toys and scratching posts or punching bags to distract her from your household goods. Toys for your werecat need not be expensive; tennis balls or rubber bouncing balls, lengths of cord, and cardboard boxes can provide hours of fun. Your werecat's imagination can turn almost anything into a wonderful toy that she'll bat around or chase to her heart's content.
Like a three year old, your werecat can become bored with her toys. To keep them 'fresh', rotate your werecat's toys weekly, making only a few available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your werecat has a favourite, you might want to leave that one out all the time. Hide and seek is a fun game for werecats to play with their owners, and a found toy is often far more attractive than a toy which is readily available.
A climbing frame or set of scaffolding, while expensive and inconvenient to set up, will entertain your pet for hours due to her natural affinity for climbing things. Allowing your werecat access to the backyard, or taking her to a park where she can climb trees can also satisfy this urge. Equally, if you invest in some pole dancing classes and a removable stripper pole you may be able to combine entertainment for your pet and entertainment for yourself in one activity, as your werecat learns to combine dancing with her need to climb things.
Kitties of all types always seem to want to play with whatever you're using - knitting needles, pencil, mobile phone charger. If your werecat starts attacking your utensils, tell her 'no' sharply, then give her some of her own toys. Be sure she's not attacking when you give her a toy, or she might think she's being rewarded for pouncing.
Werecats also like to 'hunt' you when you're walking around. they'll jump out from behaind a door or under a chair and pounce on you. If your werecat doesn't pounche, or does an inhibited (gentle) pounce, praise her and tell her she's a good kitty. If she does pounce, tell her 'no' sharply and do not pay attention to her.
Withdrawing attention is the most drastic thing you can do to correct your werecat's behaviour and discourage rough play, if distraction and redirection don't work. The best way to withdraw attention is to walk into another room and close the door long enough for her to calm down. If you pick her up to put her in another room, then you're rewarding her by touching her, so you should always be the one to leave the room.
Keeping a pet werecat can be very rewarding, although it does present some challenges.
This guide should help you through the basics, but it is highly recommended that you look up your local BDSM / pet play club for more information. It is also important to make sure you understand your werecat's needs and concerns; no guide can cover all the possible variations on these, as each werecat is unique.
Lastly, please note that although this guide focuses on queen cats, the techniques and information here is equally applicable to tomcats. Tomcats are more inclined to roam, and often need a firmer hand during training, but they make wonderful, affectionate pets and are often easier to train than queens once you have gotten over the initial hurdle of establishing dominance.