MCFH S6E3 - Excessively Licking Toes, OCD, Munchkin Breed

Show: My Cat From Hell Season 6, Episode 3
Episode Title: Real Housecat Of Orange County

By Beth

Photo: Animal Planet

Photo: Animal Planet

Cat: Albert
White and brown, Munchkin breed, about 2 years old

Guardians:

Christine and Sandeep.  Dating for two years; Christine is training for the 2016 Olympics.

How Bad Is It?

Albert’s constant licking is preventing Christine from getting her much needed sleep, and is affected her training for the 2016 Olympics. Sandeep doesn’t feel comfortable moving in with Christine if Albert continues this behavior, which he feels is “disgusting.”

Issues

  • Obsessive licking of feet, hands, and faces in the middle of the night is preventing household from sleeping
  • Munchkin cats have extremely short legs and as a result they have a difficult time jumping, playing, and doing regular cat activities
  • No designated furniture or toys to occupy cat’s attention in the home

Physical Approach

Teaching the cat “Yes” and “No” is a way to deter obsessive behavior such as excessive licking. Tell the cat “No” by making DIY citrus scented/flavored mittens and socks to deter the licking. Tell the cat “Yes” by playing, distracting them from the licking.

After ruling out any serious medical issues, we must realize that sometimes obsessive behavior can stem from extreme boredom and lack of stimulation. It is advised to distract the cat away from the obsessive behavior by using play therapy, and tons of it!  By using many great Jackson Galaxy toys, Albert was having a blast, and he even chose play over licking a tuna flavored set of toes!  (Jackson actually had all the humans put some canned tuna on their toes as a test...their toes weren't naturally tuna-flavored!!! ;) Designate a space for the kitty, and fill it with stimulating toys and tunnels and activities to stay occupied. Catify the space!

When dealing with a cat that has limitations, whether caused by breed, handicap, etc., it is great idea to get a piece of furniture to help them enjoy activities that any average cat may take for granted. Munchkin cats have extremely short legs and may not be able to jump up on windows sills and enjoy the view. Albert loved when Jackson brought in a beautiful furniture-style ramp to help him easily walk up to the window.

Photo: Animal Planet

Photo: Animal Planet

Emotional Approach

When an animal like Albert is so under stimulated/bored that he begins to display obsessive behaviors, we should take it upon ourselves to help divert these compulsions. How would we feel being in an empty room all day with nothing but a litter box? OCD can stem from feelings of boredom, anxiety, and even depression, so it is up to the guardian to do everything in their power to make their pet feel happy and satisfied. 

When animals, or even people, have limitations due to genetics, accidents, etc, it can be a struggle to overcome these obstacles. Think of Albert: with his tiny legs, barely enough stamina to play for a few short minutes, and can’t even jump up high and enjoy the view that cats love so much. We have the power to help them cope with (and possibly overcome) these obstacles and enjoy life the way they should. 

Holistic Approach

Spirit Essences remedies that might be helpful in this type of situation are:

Obsession Remedy

Obsession Remedy is formulated to help animals with obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as excessive grooming, self-mutilation, pacing, or over-vocalization. Using this remedy along with play therapy, home catification, and other efforts, can possibly help the animal to lessen or overcome these behaviors. It may have been helpful in Albert’s case, as he was displaying obsessive licking behavior and had no other medical issues besides a case of OCD.

Every pet is different, and has different needs and healing responses. Some other possible Spirit Essences remedies that may be helpful in this type of situation are:

Training Formula is designed to help while training an animal, helping to keep them focused, willing, and able to learn quickly, without excessive repetition. This remedy is also formulated to help with the breaking of bad habits. While using other tools to train your pet or distract them away from their bad habits, this remedy may help to shorten the transition time and keep them focused. This remedy could have possibly helped Albert lose that licking habit, along with his play therapy, “Yes” and “No” lessons, and the other great tips from Jackson!

MCFH S6E3 - Swatting and Scratching, Hand Shy, Aggressive Towards Children

MCFH S6E2 - Aggressive Cat, Vomiting on Belongings, Disruptive at Night

MCFH S6E2 - Aggressive Cat, Vomiting on Belongings, Disruptive at Night