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If you shamefully misuse a cat once she will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward. You will never get her full confidence again.

— Mark Twain

Stanley’s Ads

Manipulations by a Scottish Fold

It seems to me that the Scottish Fold in my household may be rather manipulative . . .

There is a quote by Donna McCrohan that says “A cat can purr its way out of anything”.  Well, Stanley seems to think he can purr his way into anything. 

Purring has been a weak point for Stanley.  I remember the first time he purred.  He and I were lying on the floor near his make shift home and I was petting him ever so gently when he created this new sound.  At that point, he startled himself, looked around, got comfortable again and purred again.  Remember, he had had no exposure to cats in his life.  This — and so many other things he has “known” to do without a feline role model — has amazed me.  But, that’s another story.

So, at nine years old, he has figured out that I like it when he purrs.  In fact, when he purrs, I say, “Ohh, purring,” and pet him briefly.  I say briefly because petting isn’t his favorite pastime.  He rather considers it mauling I think and only tolerates it to a point.  (Although he is getting better at tolerating the mauling because he has to put up with it to get the treats he requests . . . but that’s another story.)

Anyway, early in the morning when I am still in bed, he will climb up onto my chest and start purring.  As soon as I am awake enough, I reach out from under the covers to pet him as I’m saying, “ohh, purring.”  That’s when he jumps over to the night stand where there is a bamboo shaped metal canister filled with crunchy treats for his gum and dental problems.  He only purred to get a snack.

If I don’t get the snack, he reaches over and taps me on the head, shoulder or sometimes face.  All tapping is done clawlessly, of course.  If I continue to ignore him, he gets more insistent.  He may try the purring on the chest ploy or stand above my head peering down at me as he adds an impatient call to his repertoire. 

Another, more recent, ploy is to try to look under the covers.  Stanley stands on the nightstand and tries to look under the covers.  As a kitten, he used to like to sleep under the covers.  As soon as I start to lift the bedding, he retreats back to the nightstand wanting his snack.  I think this new ploy started with him realizing that I lift the covers when I get out of bed to give him a snack. 

Anyway, after any of these maneuvers, I will open my eyes and ask what he wants.  When I then say, “Do you want a snack?” He will make that same impatient call as if to say, “What do you think?  How clear do I have to make myself?” 

So, I comply – but not until I scratch him along both sides of his face or under his chin and give him a couple pets which he is tolerating longer and longer.  Not having cuddled with him much as a kitten really did take its toll on him not liking to petted later.  That and not having a mother cat around as a kitten.  So, I have been adding petting as a condition to get a reward and he really is mellowing out as a result.  I think that’s why he’s figured out his new ploys:  the purring on the chest thing and the trying to look under the covers thing to entice me to give him a snack.  Smart cat.

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