My human has acquired this really bad habit and I would like to know how to break her of it. When I’m relaxing on her lap, she spends all her time talking on the phone. That is so rude! She’s supposed to be sitting there quietly, or petting me or giving me skritches, not hurting my ears with her incessant chatter! I don’t expect to teach her manners overnight, but I would at least like her to be quiet when I’m trying to chill. Any suggestions?
Silence of the Lap
There really is no excuse for your human to be using the phone when you are hanging out and trying to doze. Acceptable activities are: petting you, giving you skritches (both of which you’ve mentioned), watching television, reading a book, needlework or maybe texting if she can do it without disturbing you too much. If she were doing any of these activities, she would be too preoccupied to talk on the phone. It sounds to me like she has no clue when it comes to lap etiquette, so clearly some training is in order. First you need to discourage her phone habit. When she starts talking while you are on her lap, jump off, but sit close by and begin to drown out her chatter with your own vocalizing. If she gets up and leaves the room, you can either follow her and continue to meow, or you can just stay where you are and find something fragile to knock over. Either tactic will draw your human’s attention away from the phone. Of course, you want to do more than just get your human off the phone — you also want her to sit so you can curl up on her lap. So while you are showing disapproval for one activity — her talking — you must show approval when she is behaving. Whenever she is sitting quietly, jump up onto her lap and make yourself comfortable. But do more than that — purr loudly, softly knead your paws on her lap (make sure to be gentle here, so you don’t scratch her) and rub your face against her. Gaze up at her and give her the contented, half-open eyes. Make it obvious that you love it when she is making her lap a nice place to be. But if she gets on the phone, start your disruptive tactics again. After you repeat these steps for a few days (or, for really dense humans, a few weeks), your human should get the idea and modify her behavior accordingly.