This past year brought the arrival of Ivy the Wondercat into my life and whether I was aware of it or not, in becoming a first time pet owner I would also get my first taste at parenting. Also, whether I knew it or not, I was probably destined to take after one parent more than the other in terms of parenting style.
The first few months I think we can disregard as unrepresentative, as both Ivy and I were all over the map. Ivy was just getting used to her new fur-ever home and her new life as an indoor cat after being a stray, living a hard life on the streets for 9 months.
In return, I was overthinking and reading too much into her every action, and interrogating my friends and colleagues wondering if any slight misstep were potential signs of behavioural problems. Thank heavens for good friends to point out the obvious: that she was a cat, curious about her new surroundings, and just adjusting to her new life.
Just the same, whenever Ivy would jump on counters or the dining room table, I thought action was required on my part or else risk being stuck for 20 years with a cat with bad habits. I tried products and tricks to try to keep her off the counters including aluminum foil, a drop or two of lemon juice, shaking a can of coins. Nothing that would hurt her of course, but just to act as a deterrent. Yet she seemed relentless.
One day, she jumped on the dining room table while I was busy doing dishes. Without really thinking about it, I just slowly walked up to her on the dining room table, gently stroked behind her ears and sweetly asked, “What is it Sweetie? Is something wrong?” She immediately jumped off the table, ran downstairs and sat down by her little exercise ball. It ran out of kibble. Once I added more kibble to the ball, she was fine. That is all it took.
The next time she was up on a kitchen counter, Continue reading