Normally I’m the one who initiates our evening play/training sessions with the flying caterpillar and scratching post. Meaning: me trying to coax Rupert out from hiding behind the chair, but last night when I went into the room, he was relaxing in his bed, so I just starting swirling the caterpillar in the air over his head so that he could swat it to the ground, at which point, I would make it wiggle as if it were injured. This sort of thing captures his attention 100%, and last night it caused enough engagement that Rupert lunged out of the cat bed and tackled the caterpillar right in front of me. He didn’t even think to get nervous about being exposed this time. He just continued right on playing.
Scratching on the post.
After about 25 minutes, he seemed finished, so I gave him a treat before leaving him to do his ‘after the hunt’ stuff.
He’s already learned that cuddling (allogrooming) with me is comforting and it feels darn good. Now he’s learning that playing with me is also fun and feels good. I still can’t get too close to fast or it frightens him, but that, too, will pass. It does make it somewhat difficult to engage, but I do the best I can and it seems to be working. The Nekko flies give you a nice long string on their toys so that you can get action and distance. Some might mention the laser pointer, but I am not a big fan of it. I do happen to think it’s cruel. In order to build confidence in anything, human or animal, the participant needs to succeed at something. Just doing something is not sufficient. It’s the accomplishment at the end of the doing that matters when it comes to building confidence. Success = Confidence. There is no success with a laser pointer, just frustration. They can never catch the red dot. Can you even imagine how aggravatingly pointless that kind of doing is? I can. Which is why I don’t use them. With each successful engagement, Rupert grows less fearful and defensive. Each time he catches the caterpillar. Each time he ventures out into the open and nothing bad happens. All these little things add up. Bravery comes with Confidence. You don’t get it any other way.
Now if Moon could just stop smacking Rupert upside the head for no good reason, that would be great.