Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cat Territory – Don’t change the terrain

Watch what a Cat does in a new environment. Take for example a bedroom – the cat will hide under the bed surveying the remaining territory for seemingly endless time. Waiting for all other people to leave the room and then some. Ever so slowing (as they do in stalking prey) the Cat begins to emerge from the bed (always with a plan of retreat) and determines the geometry of every square inch of the room working the back and forth from the perimeters to a retreating back under the bed each time.

This method of creating exact blueprints of the room provides an infinite set of exit strategies in case a dog would suddenly emerge.

And so it is with Cat people. Watch as they enter a hotel room. Since they can’t fit under the bed the first action is to find the bathroom. Like the Cat under the bed this provides time to remember the metrics of the hotel room – inventory of furniture, closets space, balcony, and even testing the adjoining locked door to an adjacent suite
So the more expansive the new territory (as in a vacation rental home or friend house) the more time is needed for Cat people to acclimate to the new territory. The difference between a house and a hotel room is that there could be Dog people coexisting in the same territory with easy access to the Cat person’s space.
So how can a Cat person minimize the stress of a change in terrain?

(1) After a brief introduction to the new terrain – both of you should leave the room giving the Cat person time to evaluate the metrics (e.g. exit strategies). This also serves the purpose of identifying the perimeter (i.e. the broader territory – floor, hotel lobby etc.) and broader exit strategies.
(2) Be quiet once the new terrain is introduced – let the Cat person concentrate on their analysis. You might even leave the room to go get something thereby simulating an entrance of an intruder upon your return.
(3) Point out the secure nature of the new terrain
(4) Unpack some items to make the terrain seem normal
(5) Open and Close the drapes to any outside openings
(6) The smaller (and more securely contained) space the better

The key objective is to provide time and space for the Cat person to adjust to new surroundings. Remember if the surroundings are not adequately secure to the Cats liking, then there is no hope of interacting with any Dogs.

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