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Service Cats: Am I Training My Cat Or Is She Training Me

MeOW Welcome back to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We wanna fank you all fur your patience while we try to get caught up from our week off. We’ve been dealin’ with a small flood here in our apartment fur the last couple of days, so we’re still behind. However, t’ween the flood and a couple of emails we received this week, we’ve decided to take a look at the lighter side of Training this week. Me will tell you more ‘bout that in a minute. We’d like to remind you that you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu. You can submit your questions or post suggestions by leaving a comment or sendin’ us a purrivate e-mail via the form on our Contact page. Purrlease ‘member to be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions. Now, let’s get the business outta the way and get on with our posty.

 

Raena posing in her harness on the small cat perch

 

 

 

 

The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

Dezi looks full on at the camera while sitting ion the stroller outside

 

 

 

 

 

     We often receive comments like,I’d love to train my cat, but, he/she trained me.”, or “My cat does that, but…”. As you know, mommy says all Training should keep the animal and it’s natural behaviors and size in mind, and to be realistic in your expectations. All of mommy’s Training Tips/Techniques involve things cats/dogs do naturally and just tweaks them a bit to accommodate the human need/desire. Mommy says a cat’s curiosity makes us the perfect animal for Training, just as the dog’s desire to please. We cats also want to please our humans, we just don’t show it the same way a doggy does. So, it’s up to you, our human to understand our language for the gratification you’re looking for. Since we’re cats, we’re going to focus on cats today, but as always, most of our Tips can be used for other species.

 

Dezi cares for Raena atop the Liberty cat tree

 

 

 

     Most people know that we cats communicate with other animals through scent, rubbing, nose touching, etc.; we reserve most verbal communications for you humans. The more interaction you have with us, the more vocal we will become and the more we will interact with you. The more cat-like you interact with us, the more cat-like responses you will get from us. We’ve told you in earlier posts, that mommy plays the “Scent Me Up” game with all her kitties. It helps us to form a stronger bond with her. It’s also mommy using natural cat behaviors to communicate with us. Let me refresh your memory: Mommy rubs her cheeks, chin and forehead against our faces, chin, ears and forehead in an exchange of scents. This is how we cats would greet one of our family members or beloved housemates; even our larger wilder cousins do this. Our face contains all the good feeling scent glands, so this exchange brings us kitties pleasant and calming feelings. It also makes us very receptive to Training. But, what kind of Training and who’s doing the Training?

 

 Raena lays in mommys lap and starts to massage

 

 

 

     Let’s take a look at what mommy calls “Massage”. Kitties knead (make biscuits) naturally. We do it the minute we’re born. It helps move our mother’s milk into the teat so we can suckle and eat. Kneading makes us feel good by bringing up good memories. Kneading is most often accompanied by purring and a form of closed or open mouth suckling. So, mommy takes an innate behavior and makes a few adjustments such as where we knead, Training us to keep our claws sheathed and to knead on demand and it becomes a kitty massage. For Training Tips on Kitty Massage click here

 

 Dezi kneads and suckles the cat bed

 

 

 

     As most of you know, one of the most beneficial Tasks we perform for mommy especially when she’s out and about, is alerting before she passes out. We often get asked just what we do. Mommy says our alerts have become more refined through the years, as she’s learned to read them and her desire to bring less attention to the whole thing has lessened. You know, no need for everybody to know what’s happening. Anyways, as me said before, us kitties typically reserve our verbal communication for you humans. When we first sense that mommy’s going to pass out, we paw at her to get her attention and then we do a little turn when in our stroller, or meow to get her to follow us to a chair when at home/loose. And, if at first you don’t succeed…try, try again. If mommy doesn’t respond the first time, we get a bit more vocal with our next alerts. Meowing and chuffing until mommy complies. Again, mommy’s using a cat’s natural abilities to her benefit.

 

Raena reaching out from the perch to alert mommy

Raena Alerting to Syncope incident

 

 

 

     A mother cat will chuff at her kittens to call them to her. Chuffing can also be used to alert others to one’s existence or whereabouts as an alarm, such as a male lion or tomcat defending his territory from intruders. A cat or dog wanting another to follow them may touch noses and turn around excitedly in an attempt to get the attention of the other. So, this is a perfect action for us to use to alert mommy to the need to sit down so she doesn’t pass out and hit the floor.

 

Dezi atop the cat tree looking down

 

 

 

     These are just a couple of examples of our natural abilities being honed to accommodate mommy’s needs as a disabled person. So, to answer the question of Who’s Training Who, we could say a little of both. No doubt your kitty/doggy has Trained you to know when they’re hungry or need to go to the potty. By watching our behaviors, you too can learn how to hone those behaviors to accommodate your needs. We always say every kitty/doggy can use a little Training, even if they’re not going to be a Service Animal. Bonding with your anipal makes both your lives better, and Training helps to form a stronger bond. And, there are plenty of studies to show that cats only enrich the lives of their owners and help their humans to live longer happier lives. 

 

 Raena stands on scratcher with paw lifted

Who could resist this face?

 

 

Well, we hope you enjoyed today’s post. Altho’ Training is a very serious matter, remember to keep it fun and natural. Using your cat/dog’s natural abilities will make Training more successful. Don’t forget you can ketch up on any post in this series by checking out our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. We love hearing your questions and post suggestions and look forward to answering more of them in a future post. We have some great posts coming up, so be sure to meet us here each Furiday fur a new topic. You never know when it just might be something you’re wondering about or the answer to your question. Me so furgot to link up with Comdey Plus fur Feline Furiday, so me had to come back and edit me’s posty. Sorry ifin ya’ got it in your email twice. But, check out all the feline fun here. We’ll see ya’ soon.

 

Till the next time…………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle     

Service Cats: How Long Does It Take To Train A Cat Pt. 3

MeOW and welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We’re really enjoying this stroll down memory lane while explaining the length of time it took for each of us to learn specific tasks; and we hope you are too. Several of you expressed that you didn’t realize Training took so long after hearing about sis Lexi’s experience with the wheelchair. We never said Training was a snap, just that every cat can be Trained. That being said, kitty will learn more quickly any task that is in effect when they join a household. Me will explain that in more detail in a minute. Furst, we want to remind you to keep the questions and suggested topics comin’. You can post them in the comments section below or send us a private email via our Contact page. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series or just want to brush up on a purrticular subject, you can do so by visitin’ our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. Let’s get the business outta the way and pick up where we left off.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 you can check them out here and here. So we left off with me trying to be just like sis Lexi and help her help mommy while she was in the shower. Me was far too small to even get on the side of the tub, much less be any help; but me watched sis Lexi intently every day. When me was finally big enough to actually get in the tub, me pretty much knew what to do. Watching another cat perform a task can be a great Training Tool. Kittens learn to use a litter box, hunt, and more all by watching their mother. So, watching a Task being performed by another helps to Train the new cat. Thus, kitty will be able to learn quicker, because they won’t know any different. Me was about 4 months old when me was finally able to jump in the tub. Mommy had bathed me pretty regularly due to me’s sickly, wormy condition that left me’s bloomers quite a mess; so me wasn’t afraid of water at all. And of course, me had watched sis Lexi get in the shower for months, so me thought every kitty loved playing in the water. At 4 months old, me took me’s place beside sis Lexi to help keep mommy’s face out of the water flow when she passed out in the shower. Me was still too small to make a difference, but me was mimicking her actions and was finally able to be of help a few months later.

 

Young Dezi standing on whaeelchair arm with Lexi laying beside her

Dezi about 6 months old

However, the shower wasn’t actually the first task me performed. Me actually chose mommy instead of her choosing me; so me bonded with her right away. If you haven’t read about how mommy found and saved me, you can read about it here. Anyways, me was a teeny little thing back then. Me didn’t even reach mommy’s ankles when standing on all fours. A couple of days after mommy brought me home, she was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. Something she did a couple of times a day after feeding sis Lexi and me. Me suddenly started to mew me’s squeaky mew,  turn around and around and paw at mommy’s ankles with me’s front paws. Mommy didn’t have a clue what me was doing, so she just started telling me how cute me was and that she loved me. Me was persistent tho’, and continued me’s “dance” and squeaky mewing. Mommy finally picked me up thinking me wanted to be held and loved on. Me will never say no to loving, but me continued to mew and started patting/pawing at her face. After a few more minutes mommy started “seeing stars”, and put me down. She usually gets about a 30 second warning from her body that she’s going to pass out. After setting me down, mommy tried desperately to get to her chair to sit, but she didn’t make it. Yep, she passed out right there on the floor. If she’d only listened to me.  But she hadn’t. She had no clue that me was trying to warn her. 

 

Collage #Dezi as a baby and now at 6 years old

Dezi’s first day and now

 

 

 

These “Dancing Episodes”, as we call them, continued fur days until the light bulb finally went off in mommy’s head. While standing in the kitchen a few days later, mommy looked down at me dancing around and said, “Are you trying to tell me something sweety?” Nah, Duh. Me didn’t actually meow that, but that’s exactly what me was trying to do. Mommy gently picked me up and went straight to her chair to sit down. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later mommy got that “seeing stars” feeling and realized that me could sense and smell the change in her body chemistry. Me no longer dances around, but me still alerts mommy about 20 minutes before she passes out. That’s usually plenty of time for her to get to safety instead of ending up face down on the floor. All animals can sense/smell these subtle changes in the body chemistry, it’s just a matter of Training them to alert when they do. Or, in me’s case, listening when we’re acting strangely shortly before an incident happens. Especially if the actions are repeated several different times. We know many of you have heard stories about animals saving their owners from house fires, heart attacks, strokes and many other issues because our (cats) sense of smell is 14 times better than that of a human. Alerting mommy to these incidents has saved her many a bruise and embarrassing situation.

 

Dezi lays in wheelchairMe luvs the wheelchair

 

 

 

As for the wheelchair, well, me was never afraid of it. You see, unlike sis Lexi, me had never known mommy without one. So, mommy was able to start Training me immediately. Me’s Training started with just riding in mommy’s lap and getting used to moving around the house in the chair. Between 4 and 6 months, mommy started introducing me to the joystick and the power controls. Me had to be big enough to reach them. Again, me had been watching sis Lexi every day for all those months, so me thought this was something all kitties did as well. Once Training officially started, me took me’s maiden drive (mommy supporting me while me pushed the joystick on me’s own) within 2 months.

 

Dezi with telephone making a call for pizzaMe doesn’t really call the pizza place. MOL

 

 

 

Another Task we perform that people find interesting, is our ability to call for help with the phone. There’s no tricks or magic here, just an old fashioned land line. Mommy begins telephone Training almost immediately. Even tho’ kitty/me may not be big enough to actually push the buttons, we can get used to the repetition of numbers and what happens when the phone is activated and a call placed. Believe it or not, it’s kind of strange to us kitties to hear a voice we can’t actually see. An old fashioned answering machine is also helpful in getting kitty used to voices coming from the phone. By the time me was big enough to push the buttons down or carry the phone in me’s mouth, me was hooked. Me loves the telephone. Maybe a bit too much, according to mommy. Every time it rang, me would rush to answer it, even when mommy was holding it. More than once, me answered the phone while mommy was…indisposed (in the bathroom). Mommy says it wouldn’t have been so bad if me had just brought her the phone. But no, me wanted to push the buttons that accepted the call before bringing it to mommy. She’s always saying, there’s no phone in the bathroom for a reason. Me can’t imagine why that is tho’?. So, me had a little extra Training on only using the phone in emergencies or when mommy asks for it. Me does still occasionally get a little excited about the phone, but me hasn’t answered it while mommy was indisposed in years.

 

Raena reaching out from the perch to alert mommy

Raena Alerting to Syncope incident

 

 

 

As most of you know, Raena joined our family after sis Lexi went to heaven. She’s a smart one that Raena, and took to Training from day one. She’s been a master masseuse from the minute mommy let her out of the carrier here. Me had won a couple of automated toys to give to her as a welcome present; and she learned how to turn them off and on by herself almost immediately. She’s also built differently than me in that she’s longer and taller. So, mommy began her wheelchair Training a couple of weeks after she came here to live. Because our old wheelchair broke, her Training got derailed a bit, but she’s picking up the new chair like it’s been here forever. Mommy says she’s doing better than both of us. Raena has a very curious and open disposition, so she’s always done well in public. And, like me, she bonded with mommy right away and began alerting to mommy’s syncope incidents after only a few days.

 

Well there you have it. This 3 part series has been an overview of the time it took to Train a few different kitties to perform a few of our basic Tasks. If there’s a specific kitty or Task you’d like us to expound on, let us know. Otherwise, we’ll start a new topic next week. Remember, all kitties/anipals can be Trained and even do better with some Training. And, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Don’t forget to leave your questions, blog topics and any comments in the comment section below or send us an email. And ketch up on any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. We’re doing something new this week and joining Comedy Plus for Feline Fridays.

 

Till the next time…………………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle           

Spring Got Kidnapped

Meowllo everypawdy, and miserable Monday too. And me oh my it does look miserable outside. You know it’s May now and we needed da ‘lectric blanky last night. Mommy has already put it up till next winter tho’ so we did a lot of cuddlin’ and snugglin’ to keep warm. We just can’t believe this weather we’re havin’. Course we know it’s bein’ strange all over. Several of ya’ recently got snow. Me really thinks sumpawdy done went and kidnapped Spring.

Dezi sits on floor looking sad

See me’s ears? They’re lissenin’ fur those thunder boomers.

Mommy says me’s bein’ silly; but she doesn’t have to spend all day hunched over and hidin’ behind da chair. Okay, me knows me doesn’t either, but c’mon, those thunder boomers are loud and scary. Me thinks a lot of you would be joinin’ me behind da chair. Anyways, enough ‘bout da weather and da back of da chair fur today. Notice me said today? MOL

We had a couple peeps ask fur updates on Buddy and his new food. You know mr. W ordered a new bag last month, but not befur complainin’ ‘bout da price. Mommy hushed him real quick when she told him what she spends to feed just me. See, he makes quite a bit of money, he just doesn’t like spendin’ it on anypawdy but himself. Anyways, mommy asked him ifin he was ready to order some more, and he started hem hawin’ ‘round ‘bout how Buddy’s been throwin’ up and all. Trust me, dat’s a lie, cuz ifin Buddy had been throwin’ up, we woulda heard ‘bout it befur now. And fur those of ya’ wonderin’ why mommy’s doin’ da orderin’, it’s cuz mr. W doesn’t have a catputer and doesn’t wanna pay shipping and so we add it to our auto ship. But yes, mommy makes him pay fur Buddy’s food.

Buddy licking lips

Now me has to put me’s thinkin’ cap on and come up with somethin’ fur mommy fur Mother’s day; it’s this Sunday you know.  Me’s never been alone fur a celebrate mommy day, so me has no idea what to do. Sis Lexi always came up with da plans. Me sure hopes me has some help befur mommy’s birthday at da end of da month. Me has to have sumkitty to blame ifin me makes a mess. Like da time me left da can of coke under da wheels of da wheelchair. Or da crackers dat ended up in da bed where mommy rolled on them. You know sis Lexi always blamed me, so now it’s me’s turn to blame sum other kitty. Hmmmmmm maybe me can order a new helper. Does anypawdy know where to do dat?

Dezi sprawled out on the floor tummy up

Yep, me’s thinkin’ really hard. MOL

You know mommy blames our lateness on me since me’s da only one helpin’ her and all; but let me tell ya’, all this rain and cold means dat mommy’s movin’ slower too. In fact this very meownin’ me was dancin’ ‘round and tellin’ mommy dat she was gonna pass out and do you know what she did? She reached fur da camera. Yep dat’s right, she went right fur da camera. Me’s tellin’ her to sit down and take it easy so she doesn’t come crashin’ to da ground, and she thinks it’s a great time fur a foto shoot. Well me didn’t oblige, me sat right down and stared at her. She was finally forced to sit down befur she started seein’ stars and all fank catness. Me’s sure me can’t pick her up off da floor by meself. Not dat dat’s somethin’ we ever did, but just sayin’, me ain’t dat big. Me has to go rest up now. You never know what mommy might try to do these days, and me needs to be rested and ready. Any ideas fur mother’s day would be purreciated.

 

Dezi in a hypnotic photo with multiple little Dezi's

Maybe instead of stars, mommy sees somethin’ like this.

Do you get your human a Mother’s day gift?

Is it a gift fur you or fur her/him?

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

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

Dezi

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.

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