By Barbara George,
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
Monday morning it was cold and wet after the heavy storm – Ginger Jim pee’ed in my slippers.
This behaviour is his way of asking for help – and it works well! He makes sure he has my full attention, then ‘writes’ his message for me to decode. Usually he will ‘talk’ to me or give me some sign as to what is bothering him; this time he ran away to hide.
In trying to understand his problem, I noted another unusual behaviour – he refused to go near the kitchen, and reacted with extreme fear when I opened the back door to ‘his’ garden. Very strange.
It was raining and cold, but that usually doesn’t bother him, and there is some shelter under the trees. So what was so scary in the garden? The property behind us has an electric fence which was sparking and crackling, maybe that was the trigger? Not too serious, when it stopped surely he would be fine?
Since he would not go near the food bowl, I gave him some food where he felt comfortable – under the spare bed. He stayed there most of the day, not wanting to be touched or comforted, which is also unusual behaviour.
Ginger Jim asked to be let out into the front garden a few times in the afternoon, and waited to be let back in, then out, then in, and out again. The last time out he managed to go around the house and come racing through the back garden to the cat flap. Great progress, much spoiling and treats!
We found this behaviour odd, but went along with it as kept him from pee’ing in the house again.
Even when the electric fence stopped sparking, Ginger Jim would not go as far as the back door.
Finally, we came to the conclusion that Ginger Jim had done one of his stunts, climbing a tree and jumping onto the garage roof behind us, and had been shocked by the wet electric fence! No wonder the garden suddenly felt scary.
Apart from a sore head, he appears not to have suffered any physical side-effects, although going into the back garden is still a problem. By Tuesday he had gotten as far as sitting in the doorway, and by Thursday he was back to using his garden as normal.
Let’s hope the memory of the scary electric. Fence remains in force and he doesn’t go out of the property again!