MeOW and welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We thought we’d do somethin’ a little bit different today. This post will still be educational and pawrt of our Service Cat series, as we’ll be focusing on feline behavior along with some training tips. But, we’ll also be introducing you to one of our give away products this month. You’ll have to come back Wednesday fur the give away. So, let me get the business outta the way and we can get right to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday 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 Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, 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. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Our Service Cat Monday posts include Training topics for all cats, not just Service Cats. We believe all cats can live happier lives with a little basic Training. We previously discussed inherent behaviors that drive each and every cat on the planet whether big or small. Today, we’re going to focus our discussion on Scratching. All cats have the need to Scratch. We are against declawing!!! However, even a declawed cat has the need to scratch. Please, DO NOT DECLAW your cat.
Let’s take a look at the feline paw and talk about why cats Scratch. Visible to the eyes are the paw pads, and claws; although mine are hidden by fur tufts. What the eye doesn’t see are the bones, tendons and ligaments that make the feline paw so special. Most cats have the ability to extend or retract their claws at will. Like the human fingernail/toenail, the tip of the cat’s claw is dead. And, just like with the human fingernail/toenail, a portion of that claw is also alive, and connected to the paw by bone, tendons, ligament and muscle. The paw pads also contain scent glands. As we discussed in a previous post, cats see their world through scent more than through the eyes. You can NOT remove a cat’s claws without removing bone. That bone is similar to a humans first knuckle. Do Not Declaw!!!
Cats communicate with other cats and animals through Scent. A cat may mark their territory, announce the desire to mate, or send other messages by urinary spray and/or Scratching. Cats also Scratch to sharpen their claws and remove dead claw sheaths. The act of Scratching also strengthens the muscles in the cat’s limbs. Scratching is an innate behavior that Can Not be stopped. Inappropriate Scratching has led to far too many cats being relinquished, killed and/or declawed. Whether you have an only cat or a house full, providing kitty with appropriate surfaces for Scratching is a must. It’s just as important as litter boxes. Think of your cat’s need to Scratch the same way you would their need to eat, sleep and void.
There are plenty of Scratching options on the market, and we suggest having a few different ones available for your cat. Some cats like to Scratch vertically and others horizontally. While others like to do both. A good Scratcher is sturdy, and large enough for kitty to stretch, dig in and pull. Cats also have preferences as to the texture of their Scratching surfaces. You may need to try out several before finding kitty’s favorite. Among the most popular Scratchers are Corrugated Cardboard and Sisal. Another popular option is Carpet. Regardless, it’s always good to have two or more options available at all times. Prices are as varied as styles, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred. It’s not as important to have the most expensive Scratcher as it is to have one kitty will use. It’s also important to replace Scratchers as needed.
Most of the time kitty’s curiosity will cause him/her to start using the Scratcher immediately. If kitty is reluctant, you can always add a little catnip or silvervine to the Scratcher to entice kitty to use it. If kitty is Scratching inappropriately, place a Scratcher next to the area and redirect kitty. It’s always best to try to find a Scratcher that closely resembles the texture of the item kitty has chosen. Another way to introduce kitty to a Scratcher is to mimic their Scratching behavior on the new Scratcher with your own fingers while kitty watches. You may also gently put kitty’s paws on the Scratcher and use their paws to mimic Scratching.
We suggest purchasing cheaper Scratchers in multiple textures until you find kitty’s preference. Once that’s been achieved, we suggest investing in several Scratchers to place in different areas of the home. Think of your kitty’s Scratcher as necessary furniture. Corrugated Cardboard is among the cheapest Scratchers and come in many different shapes and sizes. Scratchers have come a long way and many are made to fit in to your home’s décor. Sisal Scratchers are among the more expensive, but tend to be a favorite among kitties. Cat trees usually incorporate Sisal along with Carpet to offer kitty options. An important thing to remember when purchasing a cat tree or standing Scratcher, is that it will be sturdy enough for kitty to stretch out or up and pull back or down without it falling and/or moving. The Scratcher’s base should be wide enough to offer proper support and tall enough for adult kitty to fully stretch. A general rule of thumb is about 3 feet tall with a base of 16” – 18” X 16” – 18”.
Doesn’t this Scratcher look pawsum???
Just remember, kitty must Scratch, so it’s up to you to provide them with appropriate surfaces if you want to keep your furniture in tact. Never scold kitty for Scratching!!! Redirect, Redirect, Redirect any inappropriate Scratching, and Praise and Reward Kitty for all appropriate Scratching. Please consider a cat’s innate drives before adopting one. You can have nice things, a kitty and a happy home. With just a little Training, kitty will prefer his/her Scratcher to the furniture any day. If you can’t devote the time and energy into Training kitty, or you don’t think you can handle kitty’s Scratching, PLEASE rethink adopting kitty. Declawing is not a solution!!!
Well, we’re gonna wrap it up for today. All this talk about Scratchin’ has me itchin’ to visit the Scratchin’ post. Again, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below. And, leave any questions or post topics you might have in the comments section or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
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
Hissssssss RaenaBelle!!! Stop jumpin’ on me. It’s time to write our Blest Sunday posty.
But sissy, I’s wanna play. You’re no fun.
There’ll be purrlenty of time to play later Raena. Right now, it’s posty time. And, we’ve gotta get to writin’ while mommy’s still awake to take meow-tation. Ya’ know, she kept conkin’ out yesfurday.
She does that all the time sissy. ‘Specially when she’s tired. I’s guess she was really tired yesfurday, cuz even after takin’ that nap, she still conked out over the keyboard. All we can do is hope we weren’t visitin’ one of our furiends at the time. Ifin so, our meow-tation wouldn’t make any sense. I’s just hope she’s ketchin’ up on all that sleep she missed. Mine’s eyes are doin’ much better, and I’s feelin’ all spry and happy now.
Yeah, you’re feelin’ a little too spry ifin ya’ ask me. You’ve been doin’ zoomies and bouncin’ off the walls fur the last couple of days. Not to mention jumpin’ all over me ever chance ya’ get.
I’s just feelin’ sooooooo good sissy. All I’s want is fur you to play with me. But noooooo, you’re just bein’ an old fuddy duddy. By the way, what ‘zactly is a fuddy duddy? The weather’s coolin’ off and I’s got all this energy inside, and I’s just gotta let it out. MOL
Yeah, it is getting’ cooler isn’t it Raena?. Ifin ya’ don’t know what somethin’ is, then ya’ might think twice ’bout meowin’ it. Anyways, it’s also startin’ to turn dark earlier too. That means we’ll get to eat dinner an hour earlier.
We will sissy? Did anypawdy tell mommy that? Cuz I’s know I’s can’t tell time, but I’s purretty sure we ate dinner an hour later than usual last night.
Well, mommy’s just gotta ketch up with the time, that’s all.
Hmmmpht By the time she does that, it’ll be time to change all our clocks. Ya’ know, crazy humans think they need to play with time. They should just do what us kitties do…run on tummy time.
Yep Raena, that’s purrobably the smartest thing you’ve ever said. Anyways, we’re here to meow ‘bout our blessings, not meow the fat ‘bout time and other such nonsense.
There ain’t nuffin’ nonsensical ‘bout noms and dinner time sissy. But you’re right, such blest kitties as we are should fur sure meow ‘bout ‘em. Even tho’ I’s didn’t wanna go to the V E T, I’s feelin’ much better now that I’s did. Altho’, fur some reason you and mommy keep complainin’ ‘bout mine’s smell.
Oh Raena, you’ve got a nose. And me knows you can smell it too. Y, You even grumble right befur you pass that wind. Ya’ almost ran mommy and me outta bed last night with the smell.
Seems that vaccination made me a little gassy, sissy. I’s grumble cuz mine’s tummy’s rumblin’. I’s sure hope it goes away soon.
So do we, Raena, so do we. But, me knows mommy and me are fur sure happy you’re feelin’ better, stinky or not. Me believes you’ve even put on a few pounds since your visit to that pawful place.
Yeah sissy, mommy’s had to make both of us seconds at each meal the last few days. she says she’s so happy we’re eatin’ so good. I’s just grateful we have enuff noms to get those seconds. ‘Specially when just a few short days ago, we ran out.
We are blest Raena. We’re blest to have so many pawsumly amazin’ furiends too. Me knows we’re behind in our visits, but me sure hopes things slow down a bit now and we can get ‘round to see everypawdy soon. We miss so much when we can’t visit.
That’s the truth sissy. Even tho’ we might not make it by to visit with them, they’re always in our thoughts and purrayers. We are all so blest to have each other. I’s sure wanna say a meowsy big fanky fanks to all of them fur their purrayers fur me.
Well, Raena, let’s link up with the Kitties Blue fur Sunday Selfies and go play. We also wanna remind everypawdy to take a minute today and every day to give thanks fur the many blessings in your lives.
Till the next time…………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Raena: Navy Blue
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
Hey, is anypawdy out there? It’s me, RaenaBelle. I’s still alive!!! They tried their bestest to do away with me, but they failed!!! Fanky fank da cats mommy was there to purrtect me. She’ll bare the scars of her luvs and devotion to me furever. Sorry, ‘bout that mommy, I’s was just sooooooo scared, and you were right, mine’s claws do need clippin’.
RaenaBelle, fur kittens sake, nopawdy was tryin’ to kill ya’. (whispers under her breath) ‘Cept maybe me when ya’ jump on me’s back. (meowing audibly again) Anyways, what was up with you? You luv goin’ to town with mommy. But yesfurday you were tryin’ to hide, and escape the stroller and meowin’ to high heaven. Mommy says you even made a scene in the car. you could’a caused ya’ll to have an accident ya’ know?.
See mommy? Mine’s eyes look so much better. I’s don’t
need to go anywhere.
Oh sissy, after askin’ all our furiends to purray fur me, mine’s eyes were doin’ much better, and I’s decided I’s didn’t wanna go to the (whispers) V E T. And, I’s was right. They were just pawful. It smelled and there was this poor kitty somewhere in there that meowed to me how they were torturin’ him. Bless his heart, I’s couldn’t help him at all, so I’s scurried back into the stroller and pleaded with mommy fur us to leave post haste. What did she do? She just sat there luvvin’ on me like it was just any other day. Like I’s didn’t know what was gonna happen. The doctor came in with a needle bigger than me to stick me with.
A needle bigger than you huh?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t bigger than me, but it was still huge. You know, I’s lost some weight cuz mine’s eyes and all the drainage makes me not wanna eat so good; so any needle is too big fur mine’s poor little bony body.
Yeah, you might be built different than me Raena, and thus smaller, but there’s nuffin’ poor, little or bony ‘bout your body. Ifin that was the case, mommy would’a took ya’ to the V E T much sooner. You know mommy doesn’t get any joy outta takin’ us to that place. But you also know you’ve kept us all awake all week rubbin’ your eyes. Mommy’s exhausted and scared you might go blind ifin she doesn’t find a way to fix ya’. So, did you get any medicine?
Yes sissy, I’s did. Fanky fanks to awnty Vonda who sent some green papers in case the charges were more than we could charge. Ya’ know we can only charge a hunnerd dollars, and mines medicine alone was almost $25.00. They sent home some of those pawful eye drops I’s hate so much. They help, but mommy doesn’t wanna use ‘em long term. The V E T told mommy to see how I’s do when winter comes. And ifin mine’s eyes clear up, we’ll know it’s fur sure allergies. But, ifin they don’t, I’s gotta go back. Hmmmmpht Can you believe they want me to come back?
Yeah Raena, they do like takin’ our money. But, your eyes are very ‘purrtant, so ifin ya’ need to go back, then ya’ need to go back. We’ll just purray things get better and you don’t have too. Did the V E T say anythin’ else? Guess with you clingin’ to mommy so, she didn’t get any fotos
Oh sissy, I’s healthy, happy and gawjus she said. You know they couldn’t get enuff of me. All grabby and stuffs they just kept wantin’ to touch me and coo over me. As fur the fotos…ya’ know, the funniest thing happened. I’s was so busy tryin’ to avoid getting’ dressed and you were so busy hidin’ UTB so you didn’t have to go, that neither of us reminded mommy to put the camera in her purrse. We were halfway to Ardmore when mommy realized she furgot it. By that time, it was too late to turn ‘round. So, there’s no foto evidence of mine’s horror visit. But, meowin’ of fotos, we got a great box that we’re gonna be tellin’ everypawdy ‘bout this month and we decided to share some of it with our new furiend Nubs. Mommy asked ifin she could take fotos of Nubs and Ms. A said it was okay. So, we have a foto of Nubs to show everypawdy. By the way, we’re gonna be givin’ one of those pawsum boxes we got away this month too. I’s think we’ve told ya’ll, we have a few great give aways comin’ up this month. Any of the items would make a pawsum Christmas gift fur your bestest feline furiend. As a matter of fact, we’ve got one comin’ up fur ya’ next week.
We sure do Raena. All these give aways are a build up to me’s birthday. We’re so x’cited. Ya’ know we luv sharin’ so anytime we can share our blessin’ with our furiends, we’re really happy. Meowin’ of Christmas as you were Raena, we’d also like everypawdy to know that awnty Ann from Zoolatry is takin’ orders fur Holiday PhotoArt. You know, even ifin ya’ don’t have a bloggy, she could design somethin’ pawsum fur you to use as your Christmas Cards. Check out some of the amazin’ work she does here. And, you can contact her directly at: email@example.com. What do ya’ say we go play?
I’s right behind ya’ sissy. I’s think we purrobably oughtta keep it down tho’, I’s think mommy might need a nap.
Till the next time……………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Raena: Navy Blue
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
RaenaBelle and Deztinee
Hey, is anypawdy out there? It’s me, RaenaBelle. (Dezi and Raena pace in the living room waiting for mommy to put down the breakfast plates. Suddenly they hear the roar of the lawn crew. They look at each other and Dezi runs down the hall toward the bedroom. Raena runs behind her and then stops. She remembers passing mommy on all fours heading for the living room with her breakfast and turns back towards mommy. Just as she reaches mommy and starts to rub against her there’s a knock at the door. Raena steps slightly forward, looks out the slightly ajar door and hisses. Mommy, still on all fours with breakfast plates on her back, gently says)
It’s just the manager and bug man honey. They’re here for inspections and exterminations. (As mommy tries to get to the door without dropping the breakfast plates from her back, she contemplates how she’s going to open the door. Raena walks slowly beside mommy, rubbing against her occasionally. When mommy finally gets to the door, nobody’s there, and she feels a sense of relief. Mommy and Raena butt heads as they head to the living room. The noise of the lawn crew wanes as they move to the other side of the property and Dezi runs up and rubs against mommy. Breakfast plates down and mommy in her sittin’ chair, Dezi and Raena begin to eat.)
Sissy? Why do we always run when the lawn crew shows up? You know we’re s’posed to be helpin’ mommy. Besides, they’re just noisy. They can’t actually hurt us.
(Dezi stops and nonchalantly scratches her ear) Me doesn’t know why you run Raena. Me is helpin’ mommy. Me’s checkin’ fur those pesky intruders that scare her. You know, the last thing we’d want is fur mommy to get scared with our brekky plates. Now that wouldn’t be purretty. Anyways…(Suddenly, the lawn crew’s back, right outside the door and a rock hits the window, and then another and another; till Dezi runs off back down the hall. Raena sits and looks bewildered at first and then runs to the hall and into Dezi)
Oh, hey sissy, wha’ch’a doin’? (Raena stops and rubs her eyes)
Me heard mommy on the fone yesfurday Raena. Seems you’re goin’ to the V E T tomorrow. Ya’ better remind her to put the camera in her purrse tonight, or she’ll furget it tomorrow. Altho’ she might oughtta check the battery furst.
That’s okay sissy. I’s sure hope they can do somethin’ to help mine’s eyes. I’s know mommy doesn’t want me to be on antibiotics and steroids fur a long time, and quite furankly, I’s don’t like havin’ those drops put in mine’s eyes; but, they do seem to help clear everythin’ up. I’s know mommy had wanted to take me to a new V E T. But she says, we can charge mine’s visit with the old one, and we just don’t have any green papers right now. She said mine’s eyes just can’t wait any longer, she just hates to see me hurtin’. We’re so blest to have a mommy that loves us so much. As fur the camera, why can’t you help me remind her. Ya’ know, the more naggin’ the better. MOL
Sure ‘nuff Raena. Me sure hopes they can help ya’. Maybe ya’ll can go back to the store and get me a birthday surpurrise.
What ifin mommy already got you one, sissy? We’ve got a big box in the hallway to review that mommy says is gonna be your birthday surpurrise. Seems that should be enuff. (Hearing muffled talking outside Raena runs to the perch to look outside) Hey sissy, do you think we have a new neighbor already?
Me has no idea Raena. It was crazy. The day the new old neighbors moved out and turned in their keys, some lady moved a bed in there and hasn’t left since. She also hasn’t moved anythin’ else in. Can you ‘magine livin’ there with just a bed? And what’s she eatin’? And wearin’ fur that matter? Strange, me tells ya’, it’s just strange.
Yeah sissy, it’s fur sure strange. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Maybe she moved here from somwhere far away and her stuffs comin’ in one of those big trucks or somethin’. Anyways, let’s go finish eatin’ and play. I’s’ll be there after I’s ask everypawdy to purray fur me and mommy and our trip to the V E T tomorrow.
And your eyes Raena, don’t furget your eyes.
Fanky fanks sissy.
Till the next time………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Raena: Navy Blue
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
RaenaBelle and Deztinee
MeOW everypawdy. Can you believe it? It’s already Service Cat Monday again. And, the second week in October. This year has just flown by. Anyways, we’ve got some good questions fur ya’ today, so let me get the business outta the way and we’ll get right to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, 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. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
So, our question today comes from awnty Ellen of 15 and Meowing. She asks, “Is there anything that will get Sammy to stop trying to beat up Brody?” First let us say, we’re so sorry you’re having this problem, especially since you were great enough to save Brody from a life on the streets. Secondly, YES, there is hope that Sammy and Brody can live together in peace. Ideally, we know you’d love to see them curled up together having a grooming session. While we can’t promise that, we can at least give you and others going through similar things some tips to help create an alliance/peace accord. We must address the fact that awnty Ellen’s house has gone through a lot of changes since Brody joined their family; the latest being the loss of our dearly beloved Phoebe.
As most of you know, cats don’t particularly like change. And, as we discussed previously, cats do have a hierarchy/pecking order when living in multi-cat households. Any loss creates a vacuum in that hierarchy and can cause a bit of turmoil until the cats figure out the new dynamics. The same is true when a new cat is added to the house. Brody came into the house at a time shortly after another loss in his new family. If we recall correctly, he was a bit timid and did some hiding out. While that may have helped Brody adjust to his new surroundings and family, it also marked him as prey. Although Sammy was the resident cat, he was also experiencing changes brought about by the loss of other housemates.
There are several reasons that Sammy could be acting out and taking it out on Brody. These causes could be Redirected Aggression, Fear or Posturing/Dominance. Causes of Redirected Aggression could be that another cat is acting out towards Sammy. Brody may act as prey and run from Sammy causing him to go into hunt, catch and kill mode. If this is the reason for Sammy’s actions, Redirecting him to an appropriate outlet for his aggression is key. At the first sign of any Aggression towards Brody/kitty, Sammy’s attention should be diverted. A loud noise such as a hand clap or the shaking of a coin can (aluminum can with a few coins inside) should cause Sammy/the Aggressor to stop and look for the origins of the noise. Immediately after the noise, say “STOP” in a firm but calm voice and throw a favorite toy for Sammy/kitty to chase instead. Remember, squirt guns, water bottles and the like Do Not help!!!
Sammy may also be acting out of Fear. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know and/or fix what might cause a cat to Fear. But Redirecting the abhorrent behavior will still work. In the meantime, it’s important to build Brody’s/kitty’s confidence in order teach him not to run away and act like prey. Interactive play in the presence of Sammy/the Aggressor and the other kitties will help. But, remember, the point is to help Brody/kitty gain confidence, so ignore any other kitty that may try to join in unless their presence emboldens Brody/shy or passive kitty. Whenever possible, have a second person making sure Sammy/the Aggressor doesn’t interfere with the confidence building exercise. This person might offer Sammy/the Aggressor treats, pats, or brushing during the session. But, only give Rewards when Sammy/the Aggressor is exhibiting the proper behavior and ignoring Brody/kitty. Never Reward Inappropriate Behavior.
Lastly, if Sammy is acting out due to posturing, it’s up to the human to figure out the acceptable pecking order within their home and Reinforce it. Although this may sound a bit silly, it will certainly make for a more peaceful home. Always greet the Alpha Cat first and then the next in line and so on. Food, treats, grooming and all other interactive activities should start with the Alpha cat and go down the line of succession as well. It is extremely helpful to have scheduled feedings as opposed to free feeding. Free feeding can often cause small spats over left over food bowls. So, to wrap this up, we suggest building confidence in the kitty (Brody) who is receiving the aggression, and Redirecting the more Aggressive kitty (Sammy).
2 happy kitties coexisting peacefully.
That’s it fur this posty. We know this scenario is one played out in many homes each day. We do hope we have helped in some way. We should also say that you have one last option, and that would be to start all over and slowly Reintroduce the kitties by separating them and going through the scent and site swapping methods we discussed in our Fighting or Posturing post or Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat (links below), if you have the extra space. But we do think Redirection and Confidence building is enough, as long as you’re consistent. Remember, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can click on the links below. And as always, we love hearing from you. Leave your thoughts, comments, post suggestions and/or questions in the comment section below or send us an email.
Till the next time…………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle