MCFH: Terrified Cat Comes Down From Kitchen Cabinets

Show: My Cat From Hell
season 9, episode 1
Episode Title: Scout's Honor

Scout on the kitchen cabinet

Scout on the kitchen cabinet

Cat:  Scout

Scout is an all-black female cat that lives in fear of the family’s other cat, Caramel.

Guardian:  Carter

Carter is the mother of three: 13-year old twin girls (Mattie and Molly) and their 10-year old brother, Landon. Carter is doing almost all the pet-care — cleaning, feeding, scooping litter boxes, and playing with them.

Scout pooping on the kitchen counter (!) :(

Scout pooping on the kitchen counter (!) :(

How Bad Is It?

Scout has fear issues which are causing many problems. She’s been relieving herself on kitchen counter tops (!) and living within the confined spaces inside and on top of kitchen cabinets, all out of fear of the family’s other cat, Caramel.

Issues

  • Using the kitchen counter as a litter box
  • Hiding (what Jackson calls ‘caving’) inside kitchen cabinets
  • Living in fear, living as prey

Physical Approach

Caramel "the aggressor"

Caramel "the aggressor"

Jackson was able to lure Scout out of the cabinet using baby food.  This told him that Scout was willing to try living outside of the cabinet and cabinet tops; she probably just needed more confidence to do so.  How to create that confidence?  Here’s what the family’s homework looked like, physically:

Sequester the aggressor.  The family kept Caramel in a separate area in order to allow Scout to roam – free from attack – throughout the day.  This helped raise her confidence.

Note the catification work: the shelves along the top portion of the walls.

Note the catification work: the shelves along the top portion of the walls.

Catification.  The family put up cat shelves along their living room wall, which was adjacent to the kitchen.  These were places for Scout to feel safe while traversing, exploring, or even just relaxing, in a wider area of the home.  Again, another confidence-building routine.

Play time.  Caramel, who was bullying Scout, was given more play time.  By doing this, Caramel’s energy — which used to manifest as aggression toward Scout — was released in a healthy way.  Scout was given playtime, too.  This helped her to experience strength and success in ‘hunting’ her own prey, which raised her confidence.  When she stopped behaving like prey, she stopped being treated as prey.

Jackson gets Scout's "cat mojo" going with a wand cat toy

Jackson gets Scout's "cat mojo" going with a wand cat toy

Litter box location.  Finally, the litter box was moved OFF the kitchen counter and onto the floor in the next room.  Socially, cats usually need litter boxes in meaningful areas; that is, areas that support the cat to ‘claim meaningful territory’ with their scent.  For example: a litter box way off in the last corner of a little bathroom of the house is less meaningful than along the wall of a family room.  Don’t worry; this type of placement doesn’t mean the litter needs to smell up you house.  It does mean your cat will feel territorially secure, preventing/reducing problems related to insecurity, such as aggression and spraying.  A cat’s sense of smell is so much better than ours that even if we don’t smell it, the cat does, and that’s all that’s needed.

Emotional Approach

Carter was at her wits' end.  A multiple-cat home is not easy, especially if you have no help. And Carter hadn’t been getting (or asking for) any help from her children.  At 10 and 13-years old, they were old enough to shoulder some of the work of feeding, cleaning, and giving the cats exercise with playtime.  If the family didn’t unite and work together, Scout would need to be re-homed.

When Carter finally started expecting her children to show responsibility, and when they did, things got easier for everyone: people and cats.  As the family pitched in together, the cats felt less of their tension in the air, and there began to be more peace in the house.  Which also meant more peaceful lives for the cats.

Holistic Approach

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, JACKSON ALSO USED JACKSON GALAXY HOLISTIC SOLUTIONS FOR ANIMALS:

BULLY SOLUTION

Jackson used this solution on Caramel, the aggressor. Bully Solution is used to help decrease aggression in a domineering animals; it help them relax and let other animals go about their business.

SAFE SPACE FOR CATS

Jackson used this solution on Scout, the aggressor’s target. Safe Space For Cats helps give cats a sense of territorial relief when they don’t feel safe. Scout was hiding in the kitchen because she didn’t feel safe around Caramel. This solution helps cats establish appropriate boundaries and reduce territorial stress that may manifest as spraying, inappropriate elimination, or other stress-related behavior.

PEACEMAKER

Carter and her family have several cats. In a multiple cat home, this solution is always handy. Cats, like humans, have their own individual personalities.   This solution is a go-to in helping different personalities live more peacefully, with less conflict.  Peacemaker is formulated to help reduce or eliminate aggression, tension and jealousy between animals.

INSIDE INFO FROM JACKSON:

“When it came to Scout and Caramel, one of the things you don’t notice in the show, because, y’know, we can only tell these stories in the course of a 20 minute episode, but it’s important to remember that there were many cats in that house.  We could only focus on Scout and Caramel because that’s where the conflict was.  So Peacemaker goes throughout that entire house.  … don’t forget, this is not a case where you just give [solutions] and hope for the best; you have to demonstrate to Scout that the world is a safe place…  In a multi-cat household, Peacemaker is always in the water, just, period.  Cuz you never know what’s gonna go wrong; when you’re living with a lot of other beings, bad days happen, and you might as well have Peacemaker on hand to help those bad days not happen.”