I haven't been doing much at all in the way of long form blogging here, but over on Facebook the perilous adventures of TribbleJ are well documented. After he broke two (more) glasses in less than 24 hours over new year's eve I was a broken woman and conceded that maybe one day he might have to go back to the Cat Haven from whence he sprang. It's too much to recreate all of the fun and games here, but I wanted to cobble together some of my notes on where we are and where we might go.
My working theory with TribbleJ is that I'm his favourite cat toy, and that he wants to do whatever I'm doing. The house is full of potential disasters, but his favourite play spaces are the two places in the house where I'm most likely to be doing something interesting (where I'm conscious, basically) - laptop area and kitchen. He's my stalker.
He's at his most troublesome (i.e. attempting to get my attention) when my energy is lowest and I'm least able to entertain him. Unfortunately at such times my ability to cope is also at its lowest.
In the kitchen I've gained a measure of control by encouraging him to sit in a basket on a ledge where he can watch me, rather than getting on the actual benchtop and poking the things that I'm poking. It works for whole seconds at a time, but he's definitely getting better at it. I think we need a bigger basket.
One of his more annoying habits is to poke at the edges of my laptop, and particularly at the small collection of stationery I have on the lap tray it sits on. Until now I've responded to these pokes with a soft but firm push at his forehead (this is cat body language for "please stop what you are doing, I really don't want to fight you over it but I'm prepared to if necessary") plus the usual tssk tssk noises and "No Kitty!" Today I wondered if it had become a game to him, so I chose not to engage and sure enough after a couple of pokes he stopped on his own. Maybe I should just let him play with my favourite pencil and my precious rubber and remove the mystique completely. He's abandoned nearly all other cat toys unless I happen to be holding them.
Right now he doesn't seem to understand how heavy he is, nor where his feet are. By far my worst injuries have been when he's attempted to sit (or rather flop) somewhere on my person, slid off, then hung on with claws that suddenly seem an inch long. I was considering clipping them, but some have blood and nerves running almost to the tips, so we can't take much off anyway. Blunt claws can sometimes make more ragged wounds, so I'll leave him with his surgical scalpels for now. His play fights with Buffy are getting noisier as she has to fight more strenuously to get away from him. He's taller than her at the shoulder and weighs more. She's still dominant, but has to work for it and finding it a bit of a strain. No sign of actual bloodshed yet (plenty of mine, but no-one else's), but it's clear Buffy's summer ruff provides less protection around her throat than her winter fur and his teeth are getting too close for comfort.
His eyes are always wide and his tail is forever twitching – I find it hard to relax under those conditions because to me it means trouble. He very rarely responds to the slow blink which has always calmed other cats, but perhaps he's too young to understand that particular signal. He does respond in kind when he's already sleepy, but that hardly seems to happen. I can work on my reaction to his body language, and must remember he is not even 10 months old yet.
My plan: give him lots of positive attention and provide entertainment by pottering about the house as much as possible. He seemed to really enjoy today's paper shredding session as much as I did.