MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline of Furidays. Each week we answer your questions ‘bout the general care, health and behavior and offur Training Tips fur the felines in your lives. Ifin you’ve missed any post in this series, you can check them out on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page in our menu. And ifin you have questions or topic suggestions you’d like to see, just let us know in the comments section below or by sending us a purrivate email via our Contact page. Last week angel Lexi came back to give you Tips fur making a local move with kitty. She’s back again today to tell you how to make a successful long distance move with your furry purrer(s). Raena and me have meowed it over and we’d luv to make a move, so ifin anypawdy has a shed, spare room or even a rental property you could spare, till we could get on our paws feet let us know. Anyways, let’s get the business outta the way and get on with today’s post.
The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.
Thanks Dezi. I’z actually loved moving from one place to another. New windows to look out and wildlife to see; and lots of new hiding places to explore. But, us kitties aren’t always fond of change, so moving can be a bit scary. I’z here to help and give you Tips to make the move as stress free as possible for you and kitty. Remember to have a Decompression Room available so kitty can escape the hustle and bustle, especially if you have an already skittish kitty. We also highly recommend Harness Training kitty before you leave/move. We recommend you read the Harness Training post as it also gives Tips for driving with kitty.
Visit kitty’s V-E-T and get a copy of kitty’s records. These should be packed with your other “important” papers. Depending on where you’re moving from and to, you may need to keep out proof of kitty’s current vaccinations. We also recommend you take a gallon of water from your tap unless you give kitty bottled water. Water tastes different in different areas of the country, and we suggest a slow switch; just as you would when changing kitty’s food. You’ll also need a gallon of water for the actual drive/move.
It’s always great when you have the new place picked out in advance, but kitty will do just fine in a motel room with you while you find your new home as long as you pack appropriately. It’s also a good idea to check out the V-E-Ts in the new area beforehand. With the internet, that’s not hard to do. Check reviews, call and speak with the office, and if you know people in the area, ask for referrals. Of course you don’t want kitty’s first experience in the new place to be a trip to the V-E-T, but you also don’t want to find yourself in a new area with an emergency and no clue where to go.
As I’z mentioned last week, most kitties love a good box. So, don’t be stingy with your moving boxes, let kitty investigate and explore as you pack up each room. Keep out a few of kitty’s favorite toys, a mat or bed, favorite food and water bowl/fountain and a heavily scented towel. Remember, your smell/scent is calming to kitty. You’ll also want to leave kitty’s carrier(s) out and open so kitty can get comfortable. That heavily scented towel will go into kitty’s carrier/ptu when it’s time to load up and move. These prized items will be the last things packed up and should go into an overnight bag instead of a box. Think of them the way you would your own toothbrush and other daily grooming products. If kitty is on meds of any kind, keep those out and easily accessible as well. These items will be in kitty’s Decompression Room at both ends of the move.
What? You wanna pack this too now?
The day is here and the moving van or if you can afford them, the movers are right outside. If possible, close kitty in their Decompression Room and place a note on the door alerting everyone that kitty is inside and the door is not to be opened. If that’s not an option, go ahead and put kitty into their carrier/ptu and place them in a bathroom out of the way. Mommy likes to poke her head in once in a while and say hey and remind us that she loves us. You don’t have to do this, but it is calming and reassuring since we can hear the raucous outside. Again, no matter where you put kitty(ies), place a large note that alerts everyone to their presence. We have been known to escape a carrier or two. Once all the boxes have been loaded and you’re finally ready to go, load up kitties safely in the vehicle with you.
For safety and legal reasons we make this statement: Kitty should be in his/her carrier/ptu and be secured by a seat belt. It is true, this is the best and safest option. Now we’ll tell you how we and mommy do it. First and foremost, harness and leash kitty. The harness is a safety precaution as well as calming, if properly harnessed trained. I’z hated not being able to see out. I’z could be quite happy in the carrier, so long as I’z could see what was going on outside, as witnessed by the photo below. Dezi couldn’t care less about what’s going on around her so long as mommy’s close. I’z hear Raena is like me and wants to see everything. If you’re alone or the driver, we don’t recommend allowing kitty to be in your lap, but you’ll have to be the judge for yourself. Mommy makes sure that we’re strapped in the seat belt with her. And, our stroller is a great height for seeing out the windows.
When making long trips, we recommend putting a litterbox in the back floorboard for kitty to use. When you stop to eat, gas up and refill drinks, make sure kitty gets food and water and the opportunity to use the litterbox if they’re crated. If kitty is free roam in the car, Do Not open doors or windows until kitty has been safely secured. If you’re driving a moving van, the litterbox will go in the passengers side floorboard. Do Not dine in and leave kitty in the vehicle alone. If you have to go inside to order, crack the windows and lock the doors. Return to the vehicle as soon as possible. Mommy likes to talk to us about where we’re going and how wonderful the new place will be. She also sings to us and tells us how much she loves us and how proud of us she is.
Remember, YOU are our home, our safe place and our everything. Music has a calming effect on most animals. You don’t have to sing yourself, you can use the radio to soothe everyone’s nerves. Do Not use this time to change kitty’s food and do pick up some of kitty’s favorite treats. Kitty may or may not eat during the trip, and may or may not use the litterbox, but both should be offered. Mommy likes to take a medium sized syringe so she can give us water if we’re not drinking it from the bowl. You don’t want kitty to get dehydrated. If your move requires more than one day to travel, make sure you choose a pet friendly motel/hotel for your overnight rest stops. Check the rooms before releasing kitty for anything that might be a danger. We’ve found poison traps for mice, loose nails, and peeling paint in even some of the nicest motels. Before you leave the motel/hotel, pick up after kitty so that they’ll continue to be pet friendly. The same goes fur those of you with dogs…scoop woofies poop.
Your New Home:
Once you’ve finally arrived at your new home, set up kitty’s Decompression Room first (Your bedroom is ideal for this). Ideally, kitty should stay in the carrier in the bathroom until you’ve set up your bed, their litterbox, food and water and a few toys. Then you can take kitty in, set the carriers down with the doors opens and go about the business of unpacking. Mommy recommends putting some catnip or silvervine on the floor/cat bed/mat/scratcher. Until all items are off the moving trucks and into the house, kitty should remain in the Decompression Room with the door closed. Don’t forget to place a note on the door alerting all to kitty’s presence and not to open the door.
Once everything’s in the new house and the movers if hired, are gone, open the door of the Decompression Room and allow kitty to come out and explore. Sprinkle a little catnip or silvervine around the house for kitty to find. Mommy likes to take this time to place the litterbox and food and water in the space that will be their new home. During the first few hours, she will take us to the spot where the litterbox is now housed and puts us in it. She calls it homing in. We never stay in the box, but we also never forget where it’s located. This is extremely important for older kitties or blind kitties.
Over the next few days to week, the house will start to look more like home. Kitty will locate new favorite spots and windows. Keep an eye out for these spots and place cat trees and perches in these spots. Give kitty extra love and attention and extra play time, it will help reassure kitty and relieve stress. Talk calmly to kitty as you unpack and set up your new home. Let kitty explore the boxes just as he/she did when you first packed them up. Take frequent unpacking breaks just to pet kitty and offer a treat or two. Moving is stressful for everybody, but it can be successful if you remain calm. Before you know it, everyone will acclimate and it’ll be old hat. Routines will be back to normal, or at least a new normal, and kitty will rule their new domain just as kitties should.
Kitty’s Overnight Bag:
Kitty’s overnight bag should contain enough of kitty’s regular food to last four days. You never know what might happen. You’ll also need a food dish or paper plates. A water bowl or fountain and a gallon of water from the tap of the old house. A few of kitty’s favorite toys and a fresh package of catnip or silvervine (whichever your cat prefers). A gallon baggy of extra litter and litter scoop (mommy always forgets the scoop) MOL. Any meds or supplements kitty may need or be taking such as probiotics, Rx meds, food toppers, etc.. Spoon, can opener, paper towels or napkins for messes. A wash cloth and towel (you never know). Kitties favorite treats (not the cheap stuff). A small cardboard or hanging scratcher. Kitty’s vaccination records and rabies tag if kitty doesn’t wear it (copy, the originals should be with your “important papers”). A folder with a list of emergency numbers, V-E-T’s name and number, any conditions kitty may have, any allergies kitty may have, food and litter preferences, your cell number, old and new address, kitty’s name and any nicknames he/she responds to.
Well, fanks sis Lexi, fur all those Tips. Moving sounds like quite the adventure. There’s no way we could account fur every situation that might pop up durin’ a move, so ifin ya’ have any specific questions or concerns, purrlease let us know in the comments section below or by sendin’ us an email via our Contact page. And ‘member, you can always ketch up or reread any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu above. Guess we’ll wrap this up fur now. We’re joinin’ Comedy Plus fur Feline Furidays. And, we’re sendin’ purrayers fur all in the paths of the storms. Stay safe.
Till the next time…………………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
with Angel Alexandra (Lexi)
MeOW Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It seems like furever since our last Service Cat Monday posty, but we’re back. We have a great question ‘bout specific trainin’ methods, but we want mommy to be tip top to tackle it, so tune in next week fur that post. Today, we’re gonna focus on a topic we got via email. Let me get the business pawrt outta the way furst. The followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual but rather Tips/Tricks/Techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section below or send us an email. Ifin askin’ ‘bout a behavioral issue, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Now, let’s get to our question fur today.
A new reader sent us an email and asked, “When bringing a new kitty into the home with a resident cat, how do you know when there’s a fight or just growing pains? And how do you know when it’s safe to leave them alone together?” That’s a wonderful question. And we’re thrilled that you’re adopting and saving another life. We have another friend going through this very thing right now, so this is perfect timing. This post is not about Aggressive Cats. If you’re dealing with Cat Aggression, please see our post series Calming the Tiger in Your Kitty (links below). So, you’ve decided to adopt a new friend for your existing kitty. Introductions and preparation are crucial to a long and happy relationship between all of you.
Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need before bringing kitty home. You’ll need a new litterbox. The rule of thumb is one per cat and one extra. Most cat owners will tell you that they can get by with less, but don’t expect to start out that way. Remember, if you set the stage for success, you’ll get success, if you set the stage for failure, you’ll fail; or your kitties will fail. The last thing you want is for your resident cat to start acting out. So, a new litterbox and a spare, new food and water bowls or a fountain. Mommy always likes to buy at least one new toy for the new kitty. Mind you, all toys are fair game for all cats in the home, it’s just that something special for the new kitty. And, it can be something as simple as the little dollar mice at the checkout. Since becoming bloggers, we’ve learned about the Yeowww nip nanna, and the wonders of kickers. If the kitty you are adopting is over the age of 5 months old and you already have a Yeowww nip nanna, PLEASE GET A 2nd banana before you bring kitty home or as quickly as you can. This will help avoid some territorial spats over the “mine” attitude. Yep, even sis Lexi and me had a few spats over the nip nanner until mommy got us a second one. Mommy also recommends some of the prime grade A treats. You know, the ones your kitty flips over?.
Okay, you’ve got the extra basic necessities, now what? Get everything set up in a quiet secluded area (Decompression Room) where the new kitty will spend their first couple of days. You want this transition to go as smoothly as possible and be as free of stress as it can be for the resident cat. We don’t personally have the space for kitties to have their own rooms, but we’re going to address this today as if we do. When bringing the new kitty home, mommy suggests putting kitty in the carrier on the floor for a few minutes before taking them to their “Decompression Room”. This will allow the resident kitty a moment to smell the new kitty and vice versa. There may be a hiss or growl, but don’t leave the kitty long enough for this to escalate. Take the new kitty to their room and leave the carrier door open. It will be tempting to stay and coax kitty out and spend time with them. Do Not!!! Resident kitty needs to know they are still valued and that nothing has changed. Leave new kitty to come out and explore their new room in their own time. Return to resident kitty and give them extra love and some of those Grade A treats. Trust me, we’re not fooled. We know something’s up.
down, pinpointed pupils
Anyways, once you’ve gotten to the introductions and kitties are spending time together in your presence, you need to start watching body language. There will likely be some hissing, growling and posturing. These are all normal. You’re looking for signs of acceptance or a fight. Try not to over react. There may be a tussle or ten. This is also perfectly normal. You know your resident kitty, so watch them especially, for signs of stress. Curious cats will approach one another with ears alert. If kitty’s ears are flat and the back fur is standing erect, Do Not Panic, but be alert, especially if both kitties are displaying this behavior. This is the tricky part. Mommy says, in your mind, you must be thinking positively. Believe this will go well. Expect your kitties to get along. Do Not let them see you sweat. (MOL) An exchange of swats is normal. As long as the claws are retracted, you have nothing to worry about. If kitty’s ears are flat, fur is standing on end and they begin a low rumbling growl and/or bob/lower their head or turn it slightly, remove new kitty immediately and try again later over some of those Grade A treats or a favorite toy.
As long as both kitties can get up/away from the other and they’re not greeting each other with ruffled furs and flat ears, it’s safe to leave them together. Now, we don’t mean after 5 minutes, but rather after several days of no knock down drag out fights. Remember, cats rolling around together is NOT a fight. Cats rolling around together with ears flattened, fur erect, claws out and teeth bared and gnashing at the neck of the other…That’s a fight. More often than not, these meetings will go successfully. Especially if you’ve set kitty up for success and expected it. We know that sounds silly, but remember, kitties feel your emotions and act accordingly. As long as you can remain calm, positive and expecting the best, things should go well.
Cats learn the boundaries from their mothers and littermates/housemates, so expect some biting and swatting. That’s natural and just your kitties way of determining rank. And remember, during this entire process, be sure to give resident kitty lots of extra love and reassurance. We know how easy it is to want to spend time with the new kitty, especially if new kitty is a kitten. Don’t!!! Resident kitty needs to know they’re not being replaced. Try to remember, that resident kitty’s life should be as stress free and normal as possible throughout this whole process. And lastly, sit back and enjoy, you now have two furry purrers to warm your lap and rule your house.
Well, we hope this helped. Mommy says the cases of one kitty trying to kill another or cause serious injury is actually rare. But you do want to take the time to transition successfully to avoid bad behaviors and increase the possibilities of a long and happy life together. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or send us an email. And remember, you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed in this series by clicking the links below.
Till the next time……………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty Internal Disputes
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Help Options Pt. 1
Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3
Welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We do hope you all are enjoyin’ these posts and that they are helpin’ ya’ with your own kitties, doggies, etc.. ‘Member, we’re takin’ any and all questions ya’ have, whether they be ‘bout Trainin’, Health, or anythin’ else kitty. We’ll also try to help with other animals ifin ya’ have a specific question. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ ‘bout behavioral issues. You can leave your questions, comments and post suggestions in the comments below, or send us an email via our totally purrivate Contact us page. As with all our Service Cat posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. These posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual, but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat Monday posty. Now, let’s get to today’s topic.
Our sweet Weimaraner furiend Phenny asked a couple questions a little while back, and we wanna address one of those questions today. Phenny said, “My aunt adopted a feral kitty. Is there any hope of taming him?” First up Phenny, thank your aunty for us. We’re really happy that she took in a totally unadoptable kitty. We say totally unadoptable, because the shelters say that. But the truth is, even a feral kitty can be trained and tamed. Anyone who has ever cared for a feral colony knows this, whether they realize it or not. What do you think is happening when you show up with food and they come running? The feral colony has been trained to show up at a specific time and place, and they will be rewarded with food and usually some sweet talk. Over time, they’re rewarded with love and vet care too. We’ve had ferals show up at our apartment many times through the years. They quickly learn when mommy is able to get around and give them something to eat and some fresh water. We know this to be true, because if mommy happens to get around earlier, there’s been no feral in sight. But, just like magic, around the same time each day, the feral kitty(s) suddenly appear.
Anyways, let’s talk about Training a Formerly Feral kitty to live inside. Last week we talked about a “Decompression Room”. A Decompression room can be used in many situations. Remember, us kitties don’t like change, and a feral is generally terrified of humans. You must understand, a feral is not acting out of meanness or spite, but rather, FEAR. Whether the feral is the result of abandonment by a past human or born from generations of ferals, their biggest motivator is survival. Part of that survival has conditioned (Trained) them to fear humans. So, when you adopt a feral kitty, you can expect to see many inappropriate behaviors as the kitty learns to adjust and Survive in their new territory. Once you’ve decided to take in a feral, make sure they can’t get outside again. Training is all about Repetition and Rewards and it’s hard to be repetitious with a kitty you can’t find.
I’s hidin’ out. You can’t really see me. MOL
Making Kitty Comfortable
Kitty should be placed in a “Decompression Room” after seeing a VET to rule out any possible illnesses or diseases, and a spay/neuter. Remember the ‘Decompression Room” should contain a litter box, food, fresh water, scratcher, a couple of covered boxes/carriers (good for hiding), a few toys and/or cat furniture of some kind. If there’s a window in your “Decompression Room”, kitty should be able to look out. A couple of scent soakers should also be placed within the “Decompression Room”. We were asked last week what piece of clothing made the best scent soaker. Mommy says for women, the best scent soaker is a bra; and for men, it’s an undershirt or cotton t-shirt. Remember the scent soakers should contain the scents of all residents of the house. Don’t rush kitty to be affectionate or you may lose any progress you’ve made. And, be sure to place the litter box away from the food and water bowls. Altho’ a hungry kitty will eat close to the litterbox, ideally, kitties don’t want to eat beside their toilet, do you?
Almost all cats like boxes.
Socializing the Feral Kitty
The next step is socializing kitty. While kitty is sequestered in their “Decompression Room”, you should go in at least a few times a day to spend time with kitty. This excludes the times you come in to clean the litterbox or feed kitty. Anytime you enter kitty’s space, you should talk to kitty and use their name. This doesn’t mean to get into a stare down with kitty or try to pet kitty. Just act like you’re talking to another person in the room and continue on with your business. You can read to kitty, watch t.v. with kitty, sing to kitty or whatever you’d like. Just make sure you’re spending time in the room with kitty. At first, kitty may hide and not show themselves to you at all. Don’t worry, kitty is getting used to your presence and good things happening when you appear. Once kitty starts showing themselves and coming out of hiding in your presence, offer them some treats and/or play time. This may be awkward at first, because the feral kitty is unfamiliar with cat toys and interactive play. Don’t give up on kitty. A little time and patience will reward you greatly.
Signs of Affection
When, kitty finally shows the first signs of affection, Do Not Rush him/her. The first signs will most likely be rubbing against your legs. This is a positive sign. Kitty is accepting you and marking you as part of their family. As kitty continues to offer affection, offer your hand, palm open and facing upwards, below kitty’s head. Allow kitty to sniff your hand and/or rub against it. Do Not try to pet kitty at first. After a few days when kitty rubs against your hand, gently scratch kitty’s chin. At this point, kitty’s motor boat (purr) will probably be on overload. Kitty has now learned to trust you. Do Not Overdo it though. You want to stop petting kitty before kitty gets agitated and retreats. you know the old saying, “Leave them wanting more”.
No Longer Feral
At this point, when you leave the room, leave the door open so kitty may follow you and/or examine the rest of their new territory (your house, their furever home). Go about your normal day and let kitty adjust on his/her own time. Anytime kitty shows themselves and gives you any sign of affection, reward them with treats, praises and/or a quick chin scritch. Altho’ don’t be surprised if kitty returns to the “Decompression Room” when strangers or company appear. Trusting you, took time, and so will trusting the rest of the world. Altho’, kitty may never truly be comfortable with strangers. this can happen with any kitty, not just ferals. If you’re wanting kitty to be a lap cat, place a few treats on the floor and the area beside your lap. Kind of like a trail leading kitty to the desired place, your lap. When kitty crawls into your lap the first few times, ignore them. Yes, kitty can feel your excitement and your heart beating a hundred miles a minute, but don’t give in to the temptation of the pat/scratch. After a few times, you may reward kitty with a nice chin scritch/treat and plenty of praises. Remember to always speak calmly and quietly. Before you know it, you won’t even remember a time when kitty was so afraid they wouldn’t let you see them.
The rule of thumb is always remember, Repetition, Repetition, Repetition and Rewards. And, Always leave them wanting more. Mommy says that’s a good rule of thumb to follow for even the most sociable kitty. You never want to over-stimulate any kitty to the point where they want to get away from you, bite or scratch.
Well, we’re gonna wrap this up fur now. We do hope this helps. All kitties can be Trained and desire normalcy. Even a Feral can live a happy and contented life as an indoor cat if you take the time to let them learn they can trust humans once again. Don’t furget to leave any questions, comments or blog suggestions below. And, have a pawsum week.
Till the next time…………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses