Thursday, March 13, 2014
Teaching Charlotte to play
Since Charlotte is skittish in new situations and with new stimuli, each opportunity to play brings new challenges to do it in a way that teases her kitten instincts and pushes them to over come her fear.
Here is a video of how she plays with a toy she is used to playing with. She tends to 'retreat' to safety and wait and observe before needing to pounce again.
The first time I broke out the turbo scratcher and made the ball go around she ran and hid for quite some time. Then she would come out and observe it from the safety of her 'Basket of Safety" - for some reason she has deemed this basket a safe place, akin to being under the sofa.
After watching it for a while she'll reach out and attempt to play with it, but it is hesitant and she is still quite unsure of it. Most kittens can not resist looking at the ball when it spins around the track very quickly, so after Charlotte got used to the sound and realized it wasn't growling at her, I spun the ball VERY quickly..
She seems to really like it, but you can feel the internal turmoil in her of the want to play and the want to get away.. you can't really see it in the video above, because you can not see the entire room, but she will hunker down next to the toy, and when I spin it, she will often get up, run over the toy, do a circle run around the room sometimes even running back over the toy again, and end up hunkered down next to it again waiting for me to spin it again. At one point in the video she has climbed up on my shoulder and I attempt to show her on the screen.. it really is far cuter in person then it is on this video.. I can only hope I captured some of it for you.
She still hesitates when playing with the fishing pole toy too. As much as she loves it, after one of her more spectacular moves she'll run under the couch and .. well frankly I don't know why she does it.. but I recorded us playing and it went from an almost four minute video to what you see below with all of her 'time outs' edited out..
I think we are at the point where I can't do much more for her here. I'll try to bring her upstairs to another room and see how long it takes her to adapt to change. I wish I could bring her to work, because I know it would be a huge benefit to her... so much so I am tempted to do it over the weekend when there is no one to object.. She simply needs to be introduced to new stimuli and survive, and each time she does it will build her self confidence that she can tackle new things and it will help her be a better pet.