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 Is Mila, my egyptian mau, bored/lonely?

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Mila

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PostSubject: Is Mila, my egyptian mau, bored/lonely?    Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:23 pm

Hi,

I adopted an egyptian mau kitten about 6 weeks ago. She has a wonderful personality, she's about 4 1/2 months old now. My only concern is that she's lonely or bored.

She's an indoor cat only. I bought a huge variety of toys hoping to keep her stimulated and entertained. However I've noticed a few things about her behavior:
1) She sleeps all day when I'm away. She has her "safe place" in her cat tower hideout, a canvas cat tower with 5 cubbies that hangs on a door.

2) when i'm home she's up and about, and active, however she demands my attention. This is fine, but, there are times when I need to focus on work, and I can't play 'fetch' with her (her favorite game, which also requires my undivided attention)


Any advice? How can I keep her happy and entertained? Also, do you know of any toys that she might play with on her own?


Last edited by Mila on Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Laura_Wintermuse



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PostSubject: Re: Is Mila, my egyptian mau, bored/lonely?    Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:11 am

Hi,

I've had my Mau for over 2 years. I am absolutely certain she is the happiest cat in the world. She does all the things you described. It may only be a matter of degree. However, Maus are very social creatures. If you're not the type to give her a lot of attention, another cat would help. This is *not* a low-maintenance cat. However, Maus are also very intelligent, and if she's bored, she won't sleep - she'll steal your stuff, shred paper towels, and cry. Smile

4 1/2 months old is not very old. Usually they're very curious at that age, but also easily scared. And she might be scared due to something you can't even sense, like the smell of a long-gone cat or dog, or a neighbor's pet, or something on your clothing. It's hard to tell. The size of your apartment confuses things, for reasons I'll describe below.

Okay, onto the behaviors - I worked from home for various parts of my cat's life. She likes to sit right in front of my keyboard and stare at me. I pet her, and pet her, and she won't move. So, I understand your pain about working. The thing is, Maus are very smart and they train you. If she has the option of playing with you, or playing by herself, she will want to play with you. If you are firm in your refusal, she will eventually play by herself... IF she has things that sufficiently entertain her. Don't ignore your Mau, but don't cave to everything.

My Mau has a metric crapton of toys, but the ones she plays with consistently are things that move along the floor. In our narrow hallway, little mylar mice (99 cents) will slide down the length, bouncing off the walls, so one good bat from her, or one throw from me, will lead to lots of entertainment and chasing. I also cut little paw-sized holes in a cardboard box (free!) and put toys in there, so she has to grab them out. It takes awhile, and she has a good time.

I also tie toys to string, then tie that string to stuff. Any stuff. An old toy plus a new string is a new toy. An old toy on an old string on a NEW surface is a new toy. Seriously. I don't buy her new toys any more - I just get creative with what I have.

When I don't have time to entertain her, I open the window, and she happily sits and sniffs the world. If I need to pace to think about work, and she is winding, I carry her around and let her sniff things at eye level. The stimulation of a toy is not the only type of stimulation. There are a lot of things that can engage their minds, ears, tongues, noses, etc. Even talking to her is stimulation.

My cat sleeps a lot when I am here, and she slept a lot when I was on vacation. When I watched her on webcam, she was frequently sleeping. Cats sleep a lot naturally, so don't be too concerned.

If she's under your bed or in her cat cubby a lot, I would suggest you give her more boxes. Cats love feeling secure. Put a box next to you, another one farther away where she can still see you, maybe make a tent out of some fabric and another box. This variety might stimulate her but also get her moving around more. Hide little piles of dry food in the boxes to engage her hunter instinct.

It's really normal for cats to like these kinds of hiding spots. Every night, my cat sleeps with me in bed. When I actually lay down, she follows me in. My husband comes in to 'tuck me in'. She hides under the bed. The instant he leaves, she's out and on the bed with me. And she loves my husband, trust me. Cats just like hiding.

But what you should worry about is if she hides away from you. If your apartment is a studio, then your bed is nearby, and that's fine. You know, think again about smell. My cat loves my bed, and my chair, and my clothes, because they smell like me, and that comforts her. Maybe your bed smells like you when she can't have you, and that makes her feel safe.

But if you think she is hiding to be alone, that's very unusual Mau behavior. So, use your judgement there. A cat that hides is sometimes a sick cat. Maybe she can smell her own litter, and it bothers her.

I would suggest you get some sliding toys, some dangly toys, add some boxes, and mix in some more low-level stimulation (hidden food, puzzles, talking, windows). Give her reasons to come out from under the bed. She's just a kitten, and it's only been 6 weeks, so I would definitely make sure she is eating and gaining weight and all that to make sure she's feeling alright, too.

Good luck. Also, we need photos of her!
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Mila

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PostSubject: Re: Is Mila, my egyptian mau, bored/lonely?    Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:43 pm

Hey Laura,

Thank you for your reply! It's great to hear your input. I'm probably overly worried. Also, another pet is definitely not an option, I meant to type I *can't* afford another kitten.

Mila is lovely, we were partial to each other when we met. You make a great point, if she was bored, she would shred things, steal things, cry, etc. She doesn't do any of these things. She did steal and hide a gold necklace once, and i'm not sure what to make of that, but it was too funny.

She is such a sweet kitten, and very healthy. She's not easily scared or skittish, very friendly, and very curious. She can be standoffish to a degree with other people, but she warms up to both people and animals quite easily.



Last edited by Mila on Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Laura_Wintermuse



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PostSubject: Re: Is Mila, my egyptian mau, bored/lonely?    Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:20 am

She is very cute, but does not resemble an Egyptian Mau. Is she from a shelter?

Regardless, all that you mentioned is normal; hiding toys, following you, playing a lot. She is a kitten. The singular joy of a kitten is that they play a lot and are adorable doing it. Many normal house cats grow out of it and become inactive lumps so I would enjoy this time with her and assume her play demands will diminish.

Onto training: It is easier to hide your shoes than train a cat.

In general, it's easy to train a cat to do things it doesn't care much about, like climb, or to do things it has a natural proclivity to do, like come, or beg.

It's harder to train a cat to NOT do things it wants to do. It's hard to reward the absence of something. This is really going to depend on the intelligence of your pet. Kittens grow out of many behaviors, too.

Treats are good, but so is your loud, clear NO. Your pet is very attuned to your voice. Always say No. They're not like humans who read facial expressions or can translate 'Stop being so annoying!' into 'NO' or who can understand 'Please do this thing for me, be a good kitty' is not a whole new set of ten instructions. Be clear and consistent and don't say a lot of other stuff because that ceases to be clear.

Move her away from you, which is another punishment.

For treats, I use Friskies cat treats. She is gaga for them. However, you might get more mileage out of a whipped cream can because it has more servings, humans can eat it, too, and it has an associated sound, for a similar price.
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