Daily Archives: June 20, 2016

Service Cat: What To Look For

Meowllo everypawdy, welcome to miserable Monday. It’s not miserable, we just like callin’ it that cuz it’s da end of da weekend. Anyways, you ask and we’re gonna tell. Today’s posty will be in the human English flavor so it can be translated and/or easily read by anybody as it’s one of me’s educational postys. We were asked many times while searchin’ for a new kitty just what qualities or traits would make a good Service kitty? Is there a particular breed that is predisposed to being good Service kitties? And we’ve been asked many times, “I already have a cat at home, can she be trained as a Service Cat for me/my child/etc.”. And we even had an application turned down by a rescue who didn’t want their kitties to be working cats. We don’t blame the rescue, we blame ignorance. But me will save that for part 2.

 Dezi close up on arm of chair

Now remember Service Animals are different than Therapy Animals, Companion Animals and Pets. For a complete description please see our Service Animal page in the menu tab or click here. And Please, DO NOT pass off your Therapy animal, Companion animal or Pet as a Service Animal. And remember, there are always exceptions to every rule. You are dealing with living, breathing, thinking sentient beings. The amount of time you spend with an animal will also play a role in their personality. Alright, let’s jump into this.

Let’s answer the last question first. Mommy believes any cat can be trained. So, if you already have a cat that you are bonded too, then YES, he/she can be trained as a Service Cat. The operative word is “Bonded”. A cat will be most closely bonded with it’s primary caregiver. If you don’t have a cat or aren’t bonded with the cat in your home then we do recommend getting a kitten. Kittens have very short attention spans, and see training as an adventure. We recommend adopting a kitten under the age of 8 months. For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on a young kitten between the ages of 6 to 8 weeks.

 Dezi in her work harness on cat ledge

So, you’ve decided you need a Service animal and you want it to be a cat. Keep in mind cats are fairly small animals so there are limits to what they can do. Don’t expect your Service Cat to perform tasks contrary to their nature or size. Also keep in mind that the ADA doesn’t recognize them as Service Animals. For the full definition please see our Service Animal page. Okay, you’ve thought it over, looked into the laws (state/country and federal) and you’ve determined a cat is the right animal for your needs; where do you find one? Most likely you will have to train the kitten yourself, so decide what training method you want to use and Be Faithful with it. Training is repetition, day in and day out. You can find your Service Kitty in Training anywhere. Rescues, shelters, breeders and neighborhood strays are where you start. We do not recommend ferals or semi-ferals as too much training time is lost just getting kitty to trust humans.  

Things to keep in mind when searching for your Service Cat:

  • How big will kitty be when he/she grows up?

  • Is kitty chatty or quiet? 

  • Does kitty appear to be outgoing and confident or shy and withdrawn?

  • Will you need kitty to travel outside your home to perform his/her duties?

  • Does kitty have long fur or short?

  • If long, can you provide daily grooming?

  • Does kitty appear healthy? Get kitty checked by a VET ASAP after adopting!

 

Knowing a little about the breed of kitty will help answer some of these questions. Remember, breed profiles can tell you a lot, but kitty’s environment will also play a role in kitty’s personality. For instance, Oriental breeds like Siamese are known to be very vocal and slender. Persians, while beautiful, have very long fur that requires a lot of maintenance. The generic Tabby cat is known to be hardy with few health issues. So it’s best to check breed profiles before you start your physical search. Knowing what tasks you need kitty to perform will help determine which kitty would be right for you and fit into your home and lifestyle. A mixed kitty will exhibit some of the traits of it’s purebred ancestors, so use some common sense and choose the best fit for your needs. Or better yet, let kitty choose you.

CFA Cat breed chart

We were asked if Ragdolls made better Service kitties than other breeds. The general answer is No. Sis Lexi was one of mommy’s best Service Cats and she wasn’t a Ragdoll at all. And mommy didn’t start her search looking for a Ragdoll, that’s just where we ended up. God had a plan and Raena is it. For the tasks mommy needs performed, Ragdolls do make an excellent choice because of our size and we are considered “soft pawed”. That means we don’t use our claws. Since one of the tasks mommy needs is massage, she says it’s nice to not have claws digging into her head and body. For those of you who are new to our blog, mommy has had several Service kitty’s thru’ the years. The first was Shad, a Persian, and then Devon the Himalayan, sis Lexi a Mau, Lucky, a Siamese mix, and Ransom, a Ragamuffin. Mommy says the best Service kitty is the kitty who wants to be with you. 

 Raena on brown cat tree

So, you need kitty to accompany you outside the home. Look for a confident and outgoing kitty. By confident and outgoing we don’t mean the one that’s bouncing off the walls, but rather a kitty that seems to be interested in new things and curious but also enjoys quiet time with you. Altho’ you can train shy kitty to be outgoing and confident, it’s easier for most people to just start with one. A Service animal must be under the control of their handler at all times and may not disturb others while performing their tasks. So while kitty is in public there must be no excessive meowing, hissing, scratching, trying to escape, etc.. Kitty must also be leash trained and comfortable in their harness. We highly recommend a pet stroller if kitty needs to accompany you. Kitty stays safe but still has access to you. We are very capable of alerting mommy to a Syncope incident from inside the stroller.

Mommy is home with us 24 hours a day so she doesn’t really look for specifics cuz she knows that kitty will act a bit differently in our home than it does in a rescue, shelter or breeders house. And she has been training animals, specifically cats for many years. We Do Not recommend the hybrid breeds like Savannahs, Bengals, etc. for Service Cats. Altho’ they are very smart and easily trainable, generally people with disabilities don’t have the ability or space to properly take care of them. Sex isn’t important as your Service kitty should be spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. Kitty will also be required to be up to date on their vaccinations if they accompany you outside the home. And please inform the rescue, shelter or breeder that you intend to train kitty to be a Service cat.

 Raena licks lips atop the Liberty Cat tree

ConCats, you’ve found the perfect kitty and brought he/she home. What in the world do you do now? Where do you start? Mommy calls this time “Bonding with Kitty” time. At 6 to 8 weeks, kitty is too small to really to do much; but during this time you can build a strong relationship with kitty and focus some of their natural behaviors that you will turn into tasks later. Mommy prefers a love reward system as opposed to treats simply because there are tasks we are required to perform where treats would be impossible to get to. And because unlike dogs, cats aren’t ruled by their tummies. This is why bonding is so important. Don’t get me wrong, mommy does employ treat training on occasion, but usually for those really complicated and detailed tasks.

Well me thinks me will wrap it up fur today and let ya’ digest all of this. We will cover the bonding process and turning instinct into tasks next time. If ya’ have any questions about what we’ve covered today or about choosing, training, or Service cats in general, leave them in the comments and we will get them answered in a following post.

 Dezi and Raena together

On the newsy side, we have 2 pawsum digital cameras, thank you awnties; but the memory cards are full. Because of the nature of catputers and crashin’ mommy refuses to erase said cards because they contain fotos of sis Lexi. So until we can afford to buy more memory cards we won’t be posting any “new” fotos or videos. We hate this as much as you do cuz Raena is growin’ like a weed and we’re in the getting comfortable stage of our relationship. But alas, no money means no money and Raena has to go to da VET fur her furst round of kitty vacs this Furiday.

Do you have any questions about today’s posty?

Is there something you would like us to expand on? 

Till da next time………………………………….Be Blest!!!

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

Dezi and RaenaBelle    

Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs

I'm Dalton, a Rat terrier mix and I came here in Sept, 2017, I was rescued from Hurricane Harvey. My birthday is 8-20-2016. My Gotcha Day is 8-27-2017. And I'm Pipo, I'm a Siamese, my birthday is 12-26-2004; my Gotcha Day is 2-14-2005. We also have Angel MrJackFreckles, (2-5-2018); and also we have Angel Minko, (6-18-2017). There are also Angels Groucho, Simba, Suki, & Toki. We meezers used to be known as WeBeesSiameezers. We'e all from Michigan, Dalton came here from Texas.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

marvelousismarvelous.wordpress.com/

Tails of a Persian Tabby

Adventures in Cheeseland

Possibly the Only WordPress Blog Hosted by Mice

Suburban Hobo

Samson, Bo and me in Savannah

catablissblog

Letting your cats experience the world one bag at a time.

It's A Wonderpurr Life

Presented by Kimberley Koz

Adventures in Cat Fostering

or what is too many cats?

Lorna's Blog

When Wine Goes In Wisdom Comes Out!

Pawcific Purrsea

The trick to being a cat and boating

LIFE OF A CAT

Morrisson

erinthecatprincess

Princess on a mission

THE MEANDERINGS OF NUMPS

Life as a wandering black cat

Toby In Charge

3 Crazy Cats, 1 Goofy Dog, and their slightly off-the-beam human mother!

Dash Kitten's Mewsings

The Kiwi Kitten with a lot to say.....

daisychainvet

Small vet. Big world

Tails from the Street

Saving the world one cat at a time!

Bad Cat Chris

The Baddest Cat You'll Ever Love

~Plucking Of My Heartstrings~

Blogging on a variety of things that pluck at the hearts' emotions & more

mikehartleysr

The happenings in our multi cat house hold

Meow Lifestyle

Home + Cats: Health, Happiness and Style

Orange Marmalade Press

I love all kinds of art and hope you do, too!

The Adventures of Noodle

The Life of a Rescued Stray

martythemanx2

Musings of a Manx

Create With Joy

Infuse Creativity In All You Do

zooeyandgandalf

cats pictures, cat drawings, and more cat related stuff

The Gypsy Mau

A faceless feline with immortal tales to tell as she continues to be a vagabond…

Welcome to the Deck!

4 happy cats blog about life!

creekviewcarol

life in the not-so-fast lane

Feral Cat Love

Feral cats are beautiful!

Musings of a Senior Kitty

random thoughts from my 15 year old cat

The Kitten Kaboodle

Life as a sometime kitten foster mom

Deziz World

The Life of Service Cats

Foxyslife

Learn about me as I learn about you

%d bloggers like this: