Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toto's Training

For over three years now, Toto has been our baby...She's slept with us every night, right in between us on our pillows. We're not sure whether she considers herself human, or she considers us cats. Whatever the case, she's pretty attached and feels she can do whatever she pleases.

Up until now this hasn't been a problem. She's a pretty laid back cat -- she doesn't jump or climb around like a lot of cats, thank goodness. We've never seen her on the kitchen counter or island, and she won't eat human food. She sleeps most of the time and always goes in her litter box. Pretty low maintenance. But emotionally, I'd say she's high maintenance. When I get home from an outing, she goes a little crazy, kind of like a dog, jumps on me and rubs her face against mine, purring. It's cute, but I won't be able to afford her this attention three months from now.
So, in order to make it easier on her in the long run, we've started a three-phase training program.

The first phase is trying to eliminate the risk of injury to the baby. This can never be fully eliminated with any animal, of course. But I think Soft Claws help a lot. We put these little plastic caps over her paws and she can't scratch anyone or anything. So far, so good. She's had them on for over a month with no complaints. When one falls off (when her nail sheds), we just replace it. Very easy and much kinder than declawing.

Toto Jo's grade for phase one: A+
The second phase is banning her from our bedroom. The baby will sleep with us for a while because it will be much easier this way, and we really don't have another room to properly fix up for him/her. So, that means Toto has been displaced. Of course we can't risk her cuddling up too close to the baby, even innocently, and also, we just don't want her hair shedding in that room anymore.

Last night, history was made when I closed Toto out of our room. It was really sad, but we have to start somewhere. She scratched and meowed at the door for about 5 minutes before giving up and going to sleep. I got up around 6am to use the facilities and get a snack. She didn't look very pleased with me, and tried her hardest to slink into the bedroom with me. She scratched and meowed for a little longer that time, but eventually gave up. So, she deserves credit for sleeping her first night without us. I was pretty happy with her performance because I thought she'd get upset and pee somewhere out of spite.

Toto Jo's grade for phase 2: B+
(She did well for the first night, and I think she will improve slowly over the coming weeks)

Phase three is simply her keeping on good behaviour around the baby. It's impossible to grade her on this phase right now obviously. We will be keeping a close eye on her when the time comes, and if there is any sign of aggression, we'll have to think about other options. I'm pretty positive, though, that she'll adjust well. She's proven to be a pretty adaptable and easy-going animal, so I hope she continues to impress us.

Toto Jo's grade for phase 3: To be determined


Mama Seoul said...

Great that you are the making the changes before the baby comes. It will make the transition for her much easier and she won't associate being soft clawed or kicked out of the bedroom with the baby as much.
It is sad to hear your fur babies crying, though.

Sarah said...

Yes, I think giving her three months to get used to this new arrangement is the kindest thing we can do for her right now, although she doesn't know it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the grading scale!
I was surprised to hear about her 'claw covers' and that they work; I'll have to suggest them to some friends.
How are you feeling these days? We should try to meet up before your due date. I'll message you on FB.