Reflections and the single-minded kitten
October 7, 2011 6:29 PM   Subscribe

How do I distract my kitten when she refuses to stop trying to catch the reflections of light off of computer screens and ipads?

My really awesome kitten Triceratops (now slightly bigger, but even more endearing) loves playing with pretty much everything. Especially the reflections of light off computer screens, television screens, ipads, passing cars, etc. Once she notices that there is a reflection somewhere, she MUST attack it. If it's on the ceiling, she attempts to climb the wall, launches herself from bookcases, etc. If it happens to be reflecting on somebody's body, they get a similar treatment. Nothing will distract or dissuade her from the staring/mournful meow combination - not toys, not food, not launching the adult cat in her direction - and she works herself up into a frenzy of wall attacking and sad noises for a good half-hour to an hour.

I'm afraid it's become like a laser pointer, but there's no way to get rid of the reflections and leave a pile of kitty treats in its place. How do I go about distracting her and keeping her from developing kitty OCD?
posted by ChuraChura to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
I've had some luck, during our very rare laser pointer sessions, ending with the dot on a mousie and then, once the pounce has succeeded, turning it off. You could do that with the reflection by dropping a cloth over the reflective surface. Hopefully then the kitten (who is adorable) will be entranced by the object she can actually disembowel.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:36 PM on October 7, 2011


Shut her in a different room away from the light and give her some catnip and another toy.
posted by TheBones at 6:52 PM on October 7, 2011

Who cares? She's seriously cute!!!!!!!!!!

In all honestly, do try to remember your kitten is there to remind you that life is play. It's a great job kitten's have, don't you think?

We went through this with our cat Kitty. She eventually grew out of it. And started killing small mammals, but that's another story altogether.

(Hey - if it doesn't work out between you and your cat, Memail us. We have room at our house:))
posted by jbenben at 7:37 PM on October 7, 2011

I know of two techniques, 'administrator mode' and 'reboot'.

Administrator mode: Grab the cat's scruff. They will stop moving. You can then move them away.

If the kitty persists, try a reboot. You have to give the cat more stimuli than they can handle. For example, in rapid sequence: pick the cat up, blow (gently!) in its face, drop the cat (again, gently), and clap your hands. If you did it right, they will forget what they were doing, shake their head, and go on their merry way.
posted by zug at 8:14 PM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]

How to turn a cat off
posted by atomicmedia at 10:06 PM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

I like corporal cuddling. 1-Pick up your (crazy adorable!) kitten. 2-smooch her all over her face while carrying her away from the reflections. 3-Continue cuddling until she forgets what she was doing. She may try to push your face away, so persist!
posted by apricot at 7:35 AM on October 8, 2011

One cat training book suggested using a laser pointer for energetic playtime to get it out of the cat's system. And start & stop the light from the same place every time, like the top of your foot, so when the light goes back to your foot, Kitty knows playtime's over. IIRC it's the same principle of stopping a dog from nuisance barking by teaching it to bark on command, etc.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:37 AM on October 8, 2011

Get some of those little mice made out of fur. Kitten comes over to smack the iPad, HURL a mousie across the room. Guaranteed to make Kitten go, "OMGWTF IS THAT GOTTA GET IT!" and tears ass all over the house in a wild frenzy of pouncing, chasing, and hitting the mousie. When the mousie stops moving, Kitten will likely trot over and drop the mousie in your lap, and look up at you expectantly, to make you do that thing with it again so it can go freak out a little more.

That's what I did with Princess Asuka when her kitten-sweetness was starting to piss me off. She's a lion trapped in housecat's body, so the hunt really appeals to her.

Also, it's just a year that they'll be like this. Soon she'll mellow out.
posted by mornie_alantie at 7:51 PM on October 8, 2011

A combination of corporal cuddling, throwing mice, and kitty-rebooting seems to be the most successful. It's hard being a small, fluffy dinosaur.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:52 PM on October 27, 2011

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