A note from Max: Noodles has done it again and with a tight schedule this time. He's written another great column. Enjoy and learn. If you have a question for The Great Noodles, send it to him at TheGreatNoodles@gmail.com. Questions from critters and humans welcome.
i've got a weird problem for you to solve.
for the last few nights, my furbrother has spent the whole night chewing on slave1's hair. he doesn't hurt her, but it wakes her up over and over again. she's tried changing his food (he barfed) and exercising him a lot just before bed (he barfed). she even changed her shampoo to something that smells vile, in the hope that it would keep him away, but it didn't.
the vet says all his 'numbers' are ok, whatever that means, but staff1 is still worried.
staff1 needs her beauty sleep. no sleep + sticky hair makes her grumpy.
can you help us?
Hey buddy! Sounds like your staff is getting harried (har har) – and that’s never good! A happy staff makes a happy home, so let’s see if we can come up with something. Sounds like they’re doing a lot of things right, even if they don’t seem to be the key.
By the way you describe the situation, it sounds like this behavior is somewhat new to the household. Given that, your household staff are doing the right thing in trying to rule out potential health problems such as intestinal obstructions, diabetes, or anemia.
It sounds like your furbrother has Pica, a condition that can also occur in humans if you can believe it!
Assuming all of the vet tests comes back as A-ok, your next avenue of exploration may be dietary (I understand your adventures in that arena have been less than helpful). If it’s related to diet, your brother may be seeking out more fiber. Rather than change his food, your staff might consider adding catnip, grass or sprouts to his daily routine. This may satisfy his need and free your staff to focus on more pleasant grooming products (for everyone’s sake!).
If the behavior continues, your staff may consider attempting to curb the behavior, by way of flavor. The stinky shampoo maybe stinky to your staff and intoxicating to us (we’re weird like that). Instead, suggest she try applying bitter apple. I’ve also heard that felines, such as you and I, are not fond of citrus scents/flavors, so that may be another deterrent to consider.
Should that also fail there are a few other options. Just like training staff to respond to our cries for food, or goofy behaviors for pettings, felines can also be trained. Your staff may consider a brisk tap to the nose followed by a firm “no!” when the behavior begins. If your bro persists your staff can get into more escalated responses such as “time out” or loud unpleasant sounds (these almost always come from a jar or can full of pennies shaken vigorously). That won’t work at night though when staff is trying to sleep.
So my final suggestion is one that I do not take lightly. My personal staff or food humans don’t let us sleep with them. I guess we’re too nutty, all the toe biting and smothering with our glorious big bellies turned them off long ago. On the one hand, we’d love to be in there with them, on the other… we get to get into all kinds of shenanigans when their door is closed!
I hope that your staff find some relief soon. I’m sending them lovely sleepy thoughts in hopes that they’ll catch up on their Zzzz’s very soon. As a feline, I know that sleep is a precious gift and anything less than 23 hours is unacceptable!