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Service Cats: Calming the Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Part 2

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re still tacklin’ that really tuff topic, “Aggression”. So pull up a chair, get you a cup of coffee, tea or whatever your drink of choice is and get ready to explore the world from the feline point of view. As always, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Trainin’ can be kind’a borin’, but it’s necessary. Every furry can benefit from trainin’. The Tips, Tricks and Techniques we offur have been used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. As always, we invite your questions, suggestions and comments. Ifin you ask a behavioral question, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. We do want to help, but we can’t read minds. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can click on the links below. Befur addressin’ the topic of Aggression, we introduced you to the origins and natural instincts of the housecat here. And, ifin you missed the initial steps to take when dealing with an aggressive cat, you can ketch up by readin’ part 1 here. Today we’re going to look at the “Alpha cat” and the importance of “Scent” in having a happy peaceful house.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

We want to reiterate, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!!  An “Aggressive” cat is trying to tell you something. Aggression can occur in a single cat household or multiple cat household; and can occur suddenly without warning, or evolve over time. It is important to try to find and understand the source of your cat’s Aggression. You will need to “become a cat”. When humans prepare for a baby/toddler, they have to look at their home through the eyes of a child to find the dangers and make them safe. (ie: outlet covers, stove knob locks, cupboard locks, etc.). The same is true for figuring out why your cat is acting out/hiding/acting aggressively, etc.. All the “pheremone” sprays, drops, collars and plug ins are essentially a band aid. They treat the symptoms, but not the core problem. However, if you find they help, Use them. Mommy suggests using the drops, collars, sprays and spot ons on all cats in the house. The reason will become clear in this post. However, you still need to treat and train the core issue. Last week we talked about how cats like routine and despise change. Any change in a cat’s health, surroundings, both inside and out, can affect your cats personality.

 

Lexi rides in her travel carrier home from BlogPaws Nashville

Fank da catz I’z used to change.

 

Cat people know no bounds. Mommy says, most dog peeps favor a particular look, size or breed, but cat peeps, they love them all. And, as a result, would have a houseful if they could. While that may be awesome for the human, and wonderful for the lives saved, a crowded house could also breed problems and ultimately Aggression in multi cat households. All cats in a house must be confident and feel like they own a space. Ideally, every cat in the household should own the whole house. In multi-cat households, there is always a “head cat in charge”, or the “Alpha” cat. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 cats or 20, one cat is “The Cat in Charge”. It’s important to watch your cats and figure out which one that is, and “cater” to it. Mommy wants me to remind you, that no matter how “in charge” your Alpha cat is, it’s also important to remember, that You, are the ultimate Alpha. This is even more so in a single cat house. After sis Lexi died, mommy had planned for me to be the Alpha cat; but me doesn’t have the “Alpha” traits. Me liked being the little sisfur and mommy’s baby girl.

 

 Lexi and Dezi loving each other in fromnt of the electric fireplace

Yep, sis Lexi was the Alpha. She was a gentle Alpha, but she

always held the top spot.

 

The “Alpha cat” will be the one, who all others look to and take their cues from. The “Alpha cat” will also spread their scent around to everybody, regularly. It can be so subtle, you might not recognize it at first, but it’s happening. The occasional hiss or swat, is perfectly normal. Your cats’ are communicating with/teaching each other. But, Do Not ever let it become a full blown fight. Cats live in a world of smells. They have scent glands located on their chin, lips, cheeks, either side of the forehead, paw pads, tail and of course there’s also the anal glands and urine. The scent glands in the head area are all friendly communicators. That’s why mommy loves the “Scent Me Up” game so much. A cat recognizes you and it’s home by Smell and Not Sight.

 

 Dezi pats Raena on the head

Me’s tellin’ Raena, she’s bein’ a little too much.

 

When you’re scent swapping, it’s important to rub your towel or whatever scent soaker you’re using on the cat’s head and not their paws or backside. The scent glands on the paws, make a statement. Think of your cat using it’s scratcher. An enthusiastic scratcher, is aggressively saying, “I own this scratcher, you can use it, but it’s All mine”. And, the scent glands on the tail and backside, communicate aggression and fear, as well as sexual readiness in unaltered cats. In a multi-cat household, ALL  the cats smell like the “Alpha”. Obviously, humans can’t smell this, but we cats can. Keep this in mind if you have a cat that is separated from the others in the house. A separated cat Does Not smell like the others and probably not even you. So they won’t be recognized by or recognize any other kitty in the home. And, remember, cats see with their noses and not their eyes. Think about that last Vet visit where only one cat went and the return home. 

 

 Raena checks out the Cat Claws Butterfly scratcher

Cardboard cat scratchers are great scent soakers. Be sure to

scent them with scents from the facial scent glands if presenting

them to an already Aggresive cat.

 

Here’s where it can get a little tricky. Remember, it’s important to “cater” to your “Alpha cat”, but ultimately, all cats should see you as the glue that keeps the family together. This is really important for the cat that is separated. We told you last week to leave a worn piece of your clothing as a scent soaker, but we didn’t get to the importance of the attitude you had while wearing that item. Cats smell fear, worry, upset, joy, and every other emotion you have. Cats will also respond to your emotions. Mommy calls it “feeding off your emotions”. When she’s angry, we’re on edge and there’s a lot more hissing going on. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. MOL  To have a cohesive smell in our house, mommy lightly sprays the sheets (we sleep in the bed with her) with perfume. The same perfume she wears. She also lightly sprays our harnesses, sitting chair, cat trees and cat beds with her perfume. Mommy has always been a perfume girl. It’s her one guilty pleasure. Anyways, our furs pick up that scent. It’s very light, but we smell like mommy and therefore, we smell like each other. So, when we sniff each other, we know we belong together.

 

 Raena playing on the sheets

 

You don’t have to spray your sheets with perfume, but you do need to keep in mind, how your scent changes and try to present the most cohesive scent possible when approaching your Aggressive cat. Ideally, before entering the room to spend time with your separated Aggressive cat, you should hold and “scent up” with all the cats in your house; save the Alpha cat for last. That will be the strongest scent. And, remember, try to get those scents from the face area so you’re presenting as relaxed and friendly.

 

 Dezi and Lexi lay on the bed together

 

Scent is so important to a cat. It is, after all, how we communicate our intentions with others. It’s how we know our housemates and humans. Remember, a cat sees the world thru smells. That’s why a blind cat can still function and live a happy life. Just thought me would throw that in there in case you’re thinking about adopting a special needs kitty.

 

We’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We’ve given you a lot to think about and smell. MOL  Me would like to repurrt, that uncle Pete’s been workin’ on buildin’ the confidence with the other kitties in their home thru play, and the ‘Aggression” issue they were having has gotten much better. Confidence and Scent go a long way towards a happy and peaceful home. ‘Member to click on the links below to ketch up on any topic you may have missed. And leave your questions, suggestions and comments below.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty To Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions    Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train      Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes

Calling Emergency Help      Just What Is Kitty Capable of

Shad: Original Service Cat      Harness, Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest      Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response      Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train      Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling For Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat     There’s No Bully Cat Breed

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1

Service Cats: Calming the Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Pt. 1

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re runnin’ way late today, but we’re here. We’ll be honest and tell ya’ we’ve been lookin’ furward to tacklin’ today’s topic, with a little excitement and a lot of trepidation. Trepidation, you ask? Cats get such a bad rap in society, that we hate to focus on any feline negative. BUT, ifin those negative issues aren’t dealt with, then peeps won’t know how wonderful and special all us kitties can be. So, let’s get the business outta the way and get on with today’s posty. The followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. We believe in a Pawsitive Reinfurcement Trainin’ Method. The tips, tricks and techniques we talk ‘bout are/have been used/developed by mommy thru her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin ya’ have any questions, suggestions, or comments, purrlease leave them in the comment section or send us an email to: lexi.dezi@yahoo.com, or use the form on our Contact Us page. It’s completely purrivate; nopawdy sees it but us. And, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible ifin you’re askin’ a question ‘bout behavior. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posty’s in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

The topic today is all about Feline Aggression. Our dear sweet awnty Ellen of 15 and Meowing asked, Is there any hope of Re-integrating sweet Jinx into the family? When out with the other kitties, he automatically goes for the kill; straight for the other kitty’s throats and the fur flies. And, our dear friend Timmy and his dad, our pawsum uncle Pete asked how to deal with the sudden onset of aggression without provocation. And lastly, our sweet friend Valentine asked about littermates who have never gotten along and try to avoid each other as much as possible. And we’re sure there are many more of you out there facing some sort of aggression issue in your house. First, we’d like to remind you to read our Prep post There’s No Bully Cat Breed. This post helps explain the origins of the house cat and what motivates your furry purrer.

 

 Angry Tiger emoji

 

These three questions, altho dealing with aggression, are completely different. However, anytime there are behavioral issues/abnormalities with your kitty, the first thing you need to do is, Take Kitty to the VET. You want to rule out any possible medical reasons for kitty’s behavior. Cats DO NOT act out of spite or just plain meanness. There is always a reason as to why kitty does what they do. Now some of you may be wondering how mommy can speak to aggression, since we’re Service Kitties who get along, as did sis Lexi and me. Well, let’s just say, things weren’t always rosy in mommy’s house. We rarely talk about it, because it was a moment in time, and something mommy dealt with as soon as it reared it’s ugly head. But we feel we need to give you a little background with a look into the past.

 

 Tiger jumps at you from the screen

We have quite a few friends that have joined us this past year and never met mommy’s first black tabby cat love, me’s sweet sis Lexi. Mommy was a foster mommy for newborns without a cat mommy when sis Lexi came into her life. At all of ten minutes old, sis Lexi started working her feline magic to make mommy fall in love with her. Mommy already had two kitties at the time and had no plans to add a third, so altho’ she loved Lexi, she had no intentions of making her part of the family. Me knows it’s hard to believe, but sis Lexi was a tiny kitty girl. This was no surprise as she was an Egyptian Mau that should weigh about 6 pounds full grown. Sis Lexi was special and grew into a large, not overweight, 30 pounds, due to her early cow milk diet that strengthened and caused her bones to grow much bigger. Anyways, since she was a foster, mommy would take her regularly to be shown at adoption events where she was caged and unfortunately poked and prodded by onlookers/possible adopters/children. She was also a little bullied by her more outgoing bigger brofur and littermate, who was the alpha of the litter.

 

 Young teenager Lexi

Lexi as a little girl. Here she is at about 7 months old.

 

Lexi grew to hate those events. She had already decided she wanted to stay with mommy. So, what’s a kitty girl to do when the human isn’t paying attention to all the signs? On adoption days, Lexi would hide and hiss and growl her displeasure at being crated up and carried off to be caged for the day. Mommy ignored all the early signs, until one day, Lexi took her frustrations out on the resident kitties. Yep, teeny little Lexi attacked mommy’s resident kitties and drew blood. She made a stand. She was saying, “I’s don’t like those cages or the people poking at me.” She had been saying it, mommy just hadn’t been listening. But, with the site of blood, mommy finally got the message. Yep, mommy adopted sis Lexi herself and changed her name from Lana to Lexi. Mommy explained to her that she’d never be caged and prodded again, and that she would live with mommy and the boys (Devon and Lucky) forever and ever.

 

 Devon, Lucky and Lexi on bathroom sink

Devon yawning, Lexi with arms and legs around Lucky in sink.

As you can see, the boys are much larger than Lexi.

 

The boys were three times the size of Lexi and very laid back. At first, the boys’ gave Lexi a wide berth, while mommy was spending time reassuring her, that she had a forever home and helping to build her confidence through love and play. After a couple of weeks, Lexi and the boys not only co-existed, but as you can see by the above photo, they learned to love each other. Mommy continued to foster other kitties. Until that is, shortly after sis Lexi’s spay surgery. Lexi once again, found herself in a cage being prodded by strangers. Obviously, she didn’t understand the whole thing, but cages brought back bad memories. While mommy was gone to a rescue meeting, sis Lexi broke into a large crate with one of the foster kitties mommy had, and she killed it. Mommy was devastated. But, she loved Lexi and understood that she had acted out of fear. Through love, patience and a lot of confidence building, sis Lexi was once again, the loving kitty mommy always knew she could be.

 

 Devon and Lexi together on sink

Me on the bathroom vanity luvvin (massagin’) on sis Lexi in the sink.

 

The point of all this, is that Lexi wasn’t born mean. She certainly wasn’t raised to be mean. But early circumstances and experiences had caused her to fear cages and strangers. Now let me tell you, the rescue organization that mommy fostered with, had wanted to kill Lexi when she drew first blood. But mommy understood that Lexi had been giving her warning signs before she took those actions and knew that with stability, patience and love, she could overcome it. In Lexi’s case, her behavior wasn’t motivated by any medical causes but rather, Fear.

 

 Lexi and Dezi lay together on window perch

Sis Lexi and me in our old window purrch. We luvved

each other very much.

 

So, the first thing one needs to try to establish with an aggressive kitty, is the motivation behind it. If you’ve ruled out medical causes, then Motivation is the next step. Unfortunately, when adopting a kitty from a rescue or shelter, you don’t always know their history. However, ALL  kitties send up warning signs before they start taking action; humans just need to be aware of what to look for. When adopting a kitty, try to find out as much as possible about their past. Were they a stray? Owner Surrender and why? Formerly Feral? Abused or Abandoned? These things can often help you to see into the kitty’s mind. By the time a kitten is 6 months old, their experiences will determine how they see the world; humans, other cats and animals. But don’t be discouraged if you adopt an older kitty. Although you can’t change the Natural instincts of a cat, you can change most of their Learned behaviors.

 

 Stressed out cat clip art

 

Cats like stability. Old folks and cats hate change. Did you know something as simple as rearranging the furniture can cause your cat to be stressed and act out? A cat that’s been bullied by others, may become aggressive when placed in a new environment with other kitties or animals? It’s the old, “the abused becomes the abuser” story. We suspect that might be the case for our sweet friend Jinx, but we don’t have enough information to truly make a diagnosis. The big key in having a happy and peaceful household with multiple cats is that all kitties be confident and own their territory.

 

 Raena playing with Petafe cheese and mouse toy

 

Cats learn confidence from things like play, interaction and ownership of their surroundings. Having their scent present in their home, the furnishings, toys, and cat furniture is very important to establishing ownership for a cat. Co-mingling scents in multi cat households is a must. When introducing cats slowly, site swapping and scent swapping are also a must. The human scent is just as important as all the other kitties in a household; so a piece of worn clothing can be left in the area with the “aggressive” cat as well as a towel, blanket, or other highly scentable cloth with all other animals’ scent. And be sure to spend quality time with the “aggressive” cat, playing the “Scent Me Up” game and with toys.

 

 Dezi and Raena square off and get ready to rumble.

A confident kitty can walk or stand their ground in the middle

of the floor while their housemate passes.

 

We’re gonna wrap this up fur today. We knew this was gonna be a really long post ifin we addressed it purr-opurrly, so we’ve decided to break it up into several installments. Aggression doesn’t happen overnight, so fixin’ it, isn’t gonna be a snap either. But, keep the hope alive in your heart, your kitty can be helped and everypawdy/kitty can live happily. To recap, see the VET to rule out any pawssible medical reasons fur kitty’s behavior. Excluding medical causes, look fur kitty’s Motivation. This may require you to look into the past, but take the time to try to figger out why kitty may be acting out. Are there any triggers? Does kitty give warnings and what causes them? Again, you might have to look into the past, but kitty didn’t start attacking without giving a warning furst. Make a list of your findings, so you can reder back to it during training and just in case you need it in the future. And lastly, help all the kitties be more confident thru play, ownership, scent swappin’ and the “Scent Me UP” game. Spend quality time with each kitty. We think this is a lot of work, but by next week, ya’ might have a better handle on what causes your kitty to be “aggressive”, and fur sure, you and kitty will have fun implementin’ these techniques. Remember, THERE’S NO BAD CAT!!! 

 

Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, ketch up by clickin’ the links below. And be sure to leave your questions, suggestions and comments below. We hope you all have a pawsum week and join us next Monday fur the second installment in dealing with Cat Aggression.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

What to Look For   Training Foundations   Train Kitty To Massage

Smelling Disease   Do You Need One   Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions   Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train   Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes

Calling Emergency Help    Just What Is Kitty Capable of

Shad: Original Service Cat    Harness, Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest    Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response    Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train    Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling For Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat   There’s No Bully Cat Breed

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair

Service Cats: Going For A Walk When You’re In A Wheelchair

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Grab your coffee, tea, coke (soda pop) or whatever your purrfered drink is and pull up a chair. Today we’re gonna be lookin’ at leash trainin’ and basic commands from a different purr-spective. Befur we move on tho’, we’d like to reiterate a sentiment from our last Service Cat Monday posty. After readin’ some of the comments, we wondered ifin some had actually read the post?. So again, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!!  CATS DO NOT ACT OUT OF SPITE!!! NOT ALL CATS OF A SPECIFIC COLOR PATTERN ACT THE SAME WAY!!! 

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

Now, as with all our Service Cat Monday postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our posts are not meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our posts consist of Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purr-ticular. 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 post.

 

 Dezi outside in walking harness

 

MeOW, Our disclaimer seems to get longer and longer each week?. Anyways, we got a question from a puppy owner that we felt needed to be addressed before the puppy became a full grown untrained/misbehaving dog. The question was: “How do you train a puppy/dog to heel while on crutches or in a wheelchair? How do you keep said puppy/dog from running into the wheelchair’s wheels and getting tangled up?” Being disabled and using a cane/wheelchair herself, mommy realized she had been remiss in dealing with training issues for a fairly large part of the population; the disabled. Mommy says you don’t realize how tricky every day living can be when you lose a basic ability/motor function. The whole world is set up for fully functional people. However, as medicine improves, both humans and animals are living longer. And, as technology advances, there becomes more ways people can have accidents and/or become disabled, even if only temporarily; such as after a surgery.  Fur the purr-puss of this post, we’re assuming kitty or doggy is already trained to wear a harness or collar with a leash attached. If not, please see our post “Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing”.

 

 Raena goes for a walk outside

 

Just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have a pet. That being said, All kittens and puppies need some basic training. As anyone who has ever had their life blest with a kitten or puppy knows, they are full of energy and into everything. It’s the nature of youth. For their safety and yours, they need to learn the rules and at least a few basic commands. Before we proceed, we’d like to remind everyone that there are often puppy classes offered for free or a small fee by some of the local pet stores or humane societies. These classes help you bond with puppy and learn how to teach them to sit, stay, heel and usually a few tricks, along with socialization techniques. These classes are usually very beneficial, and you can find out what’s offered in your area by calling around or looking online. Your VET might even be a great resource in finding a puppy class.

 

But, let’s say the classes didn’t work for you; or due to your disability or lack of classes in your area, you need to train puppy yourself. And of course, everybody knows, there are few if any kitten training classes; so training kitty is all up to you. We stated last week, that one should NEVER walk a puppy or kitten while on crutches. That’s an accident waiting to happen. Crutches are very often a temporary situation, so we would highly recommend having someone else walk puppy until you’re off the crutches or at the very least can get by with a cane. Clicker training is very effective for puppies and dogs, and even some cats. Before you start training, you need to decide which Reward system you want to use. Mommy highly recommends “Love Rewards” because it’s simple and you don’t have to remember to have treats on you all the time.

 

 Raena goes for a walk outside

Raena in a “Sit & Stay”

 

Because we don’t recommend walking a kitten/puppy while on crutches, we’re not even going to address it further. However, if you’re on a cane or in a wheelchair, there’s no reason you can’t train a kitten or puppy to behave properly. Of course you want to start with the “Scent Me Up” game with kittens, and you can even do it with puppies. They don’t have the same scent glands, but will enjoy the time and love you spend with them. The next step is “Sit”. If using treats as rewards, show the animal the treat, let them sniff it and then say “Sit”. Move the treat over the animals head. As the treat moves further back, the animal should respond by sitting and tilting their head to follow the treat. Have them hold that position for 5 seconds before giving them the treat. DO NOT give the treat if puppy/kitty stands back up; instead, start over from, the beginning. If you choose “Love Rewards”, move the empty hand over the animal’s head and after 5 seconds slowly drop the hand to pet the animal and tell them how good they are/proud you are/how much you love them, etc.. If the behind doesn’t go down, gently push the animal’s behind down with your free hand as your other hand goes over the head, while saying “Sit”. Repeat these steps until kitty/puppy sits every time.

 

 Dezi walks outside in her harness on a leash

 

The next step is “Stay”. While the animal is sitting, put your hand in front of their face and say “Stay”. Don’t leave the room, but walk a few feet away while repeating “Stay”. After 5 seconds, reward kitten/puppy and continue to repeat until “Sit and Stay” are performed every time. “Heel” is basically the “Sit and Stay” command performed together while on a walk, where the animal sits by your feet. However, if you’re in a wheelchair, you don’t want kitty/puppy by the wheels where they can get tangled up and choke or get run over. We recommend a retractable leash so the animal can get far enough in front of you in order to avoid the leash getting caught in the wheels (3 to 4 feet should be sufficient to keep the animal safe and allow you to have control of the animal). Mommy also prefers the animal to walk in front of a cane as well. This will help keep the animal from winding around the cane and tripping you. Anytime the animal gets excited and runs back to you, STOP and repeat the “Sit and Stay” command. Mommy prefers the animal to “Sit and Stay” directly in front of your feet or the foot rest on a wheelchair. Again, this keeps the animal away from the cane or wheels. Don’t forget to offer Rewards and then begin your walk again. Remember to Reward any successful walk.

 

 

When starting the walk, Do Not allow kitty/doggy to rush out the door, but Do let them calmly exit in front of you. Start at the door with the “Sit and Stay” command and then say, “Walk”. This of course only works if you’re on a cane or an electric wheelchair. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, we don’t recommend walking an untrained kitten/puppy. Unless you have help, we would highly recommend adopting an older kitten/puppy that already has some experience with basic commands and walking on a leash. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, you’ll need to get an appropriate lead harness that can be tethered to the frame of the wheelchair. This is not a first time training harness! Puppy should already be comfortable walking on a leash and performing the “Sit and Stay” commands because it is hands free and you have very little actual control over the animal. DO NOT expect any cat, small dog or puppy to be able to pull you in the wheelchair. But, this type of harness will allow the dog to walk safely in front of you while allowing you to keep your hands free to propel the chair forward yourself. The above link is just an example. We’ve not used or tried the harness and therefor cannot endorse it.

 

 Dezi lays on Liberty cat tree

 

Well, we’re gonna wrap it up. We do hope this helps some of you. Being disabled doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership, you just have to be more aware of the added dangers to you and your pet. Take precautions to keep your pet safe around any medical equipment you might have while making sure they’re comfortable with it. We know this post was more tailored to the doggies, but as you can see from the fotos, more and more kitties are goin’ fur walks these days, so we hope to hear some of you kitties are enjoyin’ your leash time with your humans. We’ll be addressin’ some aggression issues next week, so stay tuned. And ifin you have any trainin’ questions, general questions, or suggestions, leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ‘member, ifin you’ve missed any of our Service Cat Monday postys you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty To Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions     Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train     Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes

Calling Emergency Help     Just What Is Kitty Capable of

Shad: Original Service Cat     Harness, Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train     Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling For Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty    

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat     There’s No Bully Cat Breed           

Service Cats: There Is No Bully Cat Breed: The Instincts of Cats

Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It’s cold and windy here, but fur the moment, we have sunshine and shadows. Mommy wanted me to let everypawdy know, that we might be writin’ a couple things today that will upset a few folks; but ifin you’ll stick with us, we purromiss you’ll unnerstand our point. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions. The only thing we ask, is that when askin’ a trainin’ or behavioral question, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible. We’re not mind readers, and do wanna try to help ya’ out. But without specifics (you can even include an example) we can’t be sure ifin we’re actually givin’ ya’ the right tips. You can leave those questions/suggestions in the comments or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in Human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our Trainin’ posts include tips, tricks and techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ on the links at the end of this or any Service cat post. We’ve got some great questions to address, so let’s get to them.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

The question we’re gonna address today, was left last week. We’re not sure if this is an ongoing situation, or one from the past. Never the less, it’s weighed heavy on our minds since it was posted and we feel we just have to address it. The thought of it has haunted mommy all week, because there are currently breed laws in effect in many States against certain dogs because of misconceptions. And mommy couldn’t live with the thought of that happening to kitties. We’ll sum up the example given fur you: A person adopted a female Tuxedo kitty as well as an 8 year old human boy from a chaotic, violent, drug filled environment. Said kitty was terrified of the human boy and retreated to live in cabinets in the basement. Whether or not kitty had been abused, is/was truly unknown to the adopter. It also appeared that the adopter already had a resident Tuxedo male kitty in the home, possibly her littermate (the comment wasn’t specific). When the female Tuxie finally started to venture out of the basement she was bullied by the resident Tuxie male to the point that the adopter had to pen him so that he couldn’t get to her. And here is the question that was asked: Do you think it’s normal for some breeds to just be bullies and pick on those kitties who didn’t have such a good start in life? 

 

 Baby Dezi puffed up for intimidation

Me’s not a bad kitty, me’s just assertin’ me’s claim.

 

The short answer is NO!!! Absolutely Not!!! First, let’s take a look at Cat Breeds in particular. ALL cats are descended from the Middle Eastern Wildcat. That’s right, those smooshed faced Persians, Color Pointed cross eyed Siamese, Floofy, floppy Ragdolls, and every other breed descended from the Felis Silvestris. Through natural gene mutation, cats adapted to their environments. Until that is, humans got involved. Breeders started cross breeding, inbreeding, and manipulating nature to create more desirable traits so they could make money. Don’t you go and hit that unfollow button. Me has a point to make. The results are not always in the best interest of the cat species. Now don’t nobody get angry with us, we’re only presenting the truth. And you know it too. Let’s keep going here. There’s conflicting evidence as to exactly when cats became domesticated, but for sure we’ve been part of human’s lives for at least 9000 years.

 

 Felis Silvestris

Felis Silvestris

Now let’s take a look at a cat’s natural behavior. Yes, we have a point for all of this, so just bear with us. A cat has four basic functions bred into each and every one of us, wild or domesticated, naturally evolved or with breeder interference. We are born to hunt, eat, sleep and procreate. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on our innate nature to HUNT. Cats are preprogrammed to hunt prey to survive. Yes, even the adorable kitty purring in your lap. Cats have amazing smell receptors. The thing that makes us great Service Cats is our ability to smell the changes in mommy’s chemical make up before she passes out. That ability also lets us smell fear, other animals (prey and/or appropriate mates), changes in the weather, and other scents we encounter.

 

 Raena playing with wand toy

 

As most people know, cats are very territorial. Because of our need to defend and claim our territory, unaltered cats, especially males can exhibit unwanted/undesirable behavior such as marking or fighting. Spaying and Neutering goes a long way to alleviate this behavior. However, defending our territory is still paramount. The smell of fear often signals prey; and the scent of another cat, signals a possible change in the hierarchy. That innate need to hunt may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat, as we see them as prey. Cats desire live prey. Chasing is part of the hunt. A scared cat with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs and running away is a sure sign of prey. And that instinctual desire to chase, catch and kill kicks in. We can’t fight it, it’s part of our nature.

 

 Dezi rolls on the Yeowww nip nana while Raena prepares for an attack

 

And the need to be “King of our jungle” may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat. In the wild, only the strong survive to procreate and pass along their genes to the next generation. For these reasons it’s important for our humans to take appropriate steps to introduce new kitties to resident cats. A cat that exhibits fear, requires extra attention from his/her humans in order to rebuild his/her confidence.

 

 Dezi pats Raena on the head

 

The person who left this question stated that the young boy hadn’t abused the scared cat, but was unsure about the adults in the previous home, yet the cat was fearful of the child initially. We’d like to take a minute not to suggest that the boy had abused the cat, but to relate that children don’t know how to treat animals until they’re taught. Children often approach animals wrongly. It’s not uncommon to hear of a child or even adult who’s been scratched after pulling a tail or trying to restrain a kitty to hard or for too long. Cats can acclimate to chaotic surroundings, but they are generally happier in more structured surroundings.

 

 Dezi and Raena play

 

When Raena came to live here, me was unsure about the whole thing. Sis Lexi had left abruptly, mommy and me had been alone for a couple of months and suddenly there was a new smell with an attitude in me’s house. Her innate drive to hunt caused her to chase anything, including me, that ran from her. It wasn’t till me’s tail went up and me stopped running and turned to face her, that she stopped treating me like prey. Because of me’s uncertainty and confusion about everything that had happened, me no doubt smelled like fear, and weakness. One of the most desirable traits of the Ragdoll, is the laid back nature we have. None the less, Raena initially presented as a “bully”. However, she was and is not a “bully”. She was only acting on her feline instincts.

 

 Raena carrying her new nip toy

 

In conclusion, we say again, NO cat or breed of cat are born “bullies”. Rather, we have an instinctual need to hunt and survive. Some cats have a stronger drive than others, but we all have it. We realize this isn’t much of a training post, but we have several questions about aggressive cat behavior, so we decided to address this issue by introducing the back story to where cats came from and what drives a cat’s existence first. And to stop the perception that any cat is a natural born “bully”. Since we all have the same DNA, that argument would mean that all cats are bullies, and we know that isn’t true.

 

 Dezi on Liberty Cat Tree

 

As me just said, we have an aggressive issue comin’ up. But next week, we’re goin’ to meow a bit ‘bout leash trainin’ do’s and don’t’s and include a question from one of our doggy furiends. In the meantime, mommy wants to stress that you don’t walk a puppy while on crutches…EVER!!! That’s an accident waitin’ to happen. ‘Member you can get caught up on any trainin’ posty you missed by clickin’ the links below.

 

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

 

 

 

Additional Resources: National Geographic (link above)

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train     Getting Kitty Ready for Outing    

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes 

Calling Emergency Help     Just What Is Kitty Capable Of 

Shad: Original Service Cat     Harness or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest     Round & Round We Go 

Tumble & Fall Response     Raena Calls For Help 

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train     Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling for Help Options Pt. 1 

Medicating Kitty    

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat 

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls    

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat             

Service Cats: Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Kitty

MeeeeeOW  Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re really excited today. We got some great questions last week, so we’ll be addressin’ some issues that can happen in any household includin’ those with Service Cats. So far, the sun is shinin’ here, so we’re gonna try to get our visitin’ caught up today. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions, so purrlease leave ‘em in the comments section, or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, but rather tips, tricks and techniques used and/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. And remember, Rewards don’t always have to come in the form of food. Mommy purrfurs the Love reward system when training any animal, including food motivated dogs. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clicking the links below. Now, let’s get to the questions.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

First, because it’ll only take a few sentences, we’ve been asked why mommy prefers “Love Rewards” over “Treats”. The answer is pretty simple. Mommy realized she might not always have a treat handy, when she needed the animal to perform a certain command, but wanted to be able to reward the animal just the same. And when she started training cats, she learned really quick that not all cats are food motivated. In fact, for every one cat that is, there are nine more that aren’t. Those of you in multiple cat households have probably experienced this yourselves. And besides, who doesn’t want a little extra loving?.

 

Raena sits in mommys lapI’s luvs mommy luvvin’.

Our second question today comes from our sweet friends, The Tribe of Five at Feline Opines.net. Their sweet Jasmine had been bullied by a previous kitty in the home. Because of that bullying, she lives sequestered in her own part of the house now. When we read that comment, it made us all cry. We know several kitties that live sequestered for a variety of reasons, and it always makes us sad. Let me be clear!!! We know these kitties are well loved in their respective homes and aren’t being “locked away” or sequestered out of meanness or to punish them. Kitties should NEVER be locked in a room for punishment!!! For that matter, Kitties should NEVER be punished. Never the less, it makes us sad to hear about a kitty who doesn’t have the run of the house, and the companionship of all their family members whenever they want. Jasmine’s lady human is really sad about this too. The bully kitty is no longer in their home, but Jasmine is still terrified and when brought out of sequestering, fearfully runs back to her “safe place”. Some of the kitties go and visit with Jasmine in her “Safe Place”, but she doesn’t want to join them out in the rest of the house.

 

 Scared gray cat

 

Their question was, Would our training help Jasmine reintegrate back into the family and the whole house? In a word, YES!!! But of course, anybody who has ever been owned by a kitty knows, nothing is ever that simple in a kitty’s mind. So, what and how can they help Jasmine? Mommy says the first thing humans should remember, is that kitties can smell about 14 times better than humans; and scent lingers. No matter how long “bully kitty” has been gone from the home, it is possible for his/her scent to still be present in the house. Mommy recommends deep cleaning everything possible to neutralize the scents in the home. It’ll be kind of like starting fresh. Mommy loves steam, because it’s basically free, can be used on most surfaces and also kills bacteria. Now that you’re starting over, you go back to the beginning and play lots of “Scent Me Up” with all the kitties.

 

 Girl pets cat clip art

 

Do Not wash your hands, face, hair or clothes until after you’ve spread your scent as well as all the kitties scents on everybody/kitty in the house. Mommy also recommends wearing something you can live without for a while, because you’ll want to leave those heavily scented clothes with the sequestered kitty afterwards. We love the “Scent Me Up” game and play it several times a day. This helps to form a stronger bond with everybody/kitty involved. Now we’ll be honest and tell you, we’ve not had any luck with those Pheromone plug ins, sprays, collars or drops, but many people have, so if you’d like to implement their use, feel free to try them out. We would be interested in learning in how they work if you choose to use them. Mommy did find a spot on called Beaphar Calming Spot On that worked somewhat on me. They come 3 spot ons to a box and each one lasts a month. (We’re not being paid for mentioning Beaphar, we’re just trying to offer helpful ideas).

 

 Dezi lays in mommys' lap for some loving

 

The true goal here is to boost the self confidence of the bullied kitty. Mommy says you should make a small out of the way “Den/Hidey Hole” in the Living room, or whatever room the family traditionally congregates in your home. A carrier with the door off/open and towel over the top, is great. A closed box with a small opening cut out is also a good choice. A second “cubby” should also be placed in the sequestered area. Don’t forget to continue to play the “Scent Me Up” game every day. You can’t over play “Scent Me Up”, so have fun. Next you’re gonna want to swap sites and kitties. If at all possible, move the scared kitty in their “Cubby” to the open area and put the rest of the kitties in the “Sequestered” area. Don’t forget to close that area off, so scared kitty can’t get back in. Altho’ it sounds kinda mean, you’re forcing scared kitty to recognize there is nothing to be afraid of (anymore). The big bonus is that the other kitties are spreading their scent all over the “Sequestered” area.

 

 Raena watches worker clean the cat tree

A well adjusted, self assured kitty will have no fear

being in the middle of a room.

 

 

Whether scared kitty comes out of their “Cubby” or not, talk to them as if they were right in your lap. Hopefully, they’ll be there soon enough. Start with an hour and work your way up from there. If scared kitty likes treats or some kind of special food, or nip toy, give it to them while they’re in the congregation spot. If kitty’s still inside their “Cubby”, place the treats or food right in front of the “Cubby”, so they’ll have to at least stick their head out to eat. Same with the toy, place it right in front of the “Cubby”. And when allowed, give them lots of extra love. Do Not intrude on kitty’s “Safe Space” to pet them. Gradually allow one kitty at a time to join Scared kitty in the congregating spot. Mommy recommends when possible, that the first kitty should be laid back. Change out the scented clothing at least once a week.

 

Cat in under the chair hammockOpen Cubby example

 

Once scared kitty starts coming out of the “Cubby”, give them love and engage them with interactive play. Wand toys, feathers, mice, or whatever toy is preferred by kitty should be used. We’ve gotta tell you, those nip bubbles are great fun. Each kitty is different, so we can’t tell you how long this will actually take. But, remember, you must be consistent and do this every day. Work your way up to more and more play and feeding in the congregating spot and less and less fun and food in the “Sequestered” spot. If scared kitty hates getting their claws trimmed or brushing, make those the things you only do in the “Sequestered” area, so kitty associates the congregating spot with nothing but good things. And always remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. The pay off will be a smart, self assured happy kitty and home. We meowed a lot about the “Scent Me Up” game today. You can find the explanation/instructions in our Training Foundations post (link below). 

 

 Raena peaking out of a chewy box

Close da box so I’s can hide. MOL

 

We’re gonna call this a wrap. We do hope this helps some of you. And ‘member, you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed by clickin’ the links below. We’ve got some great things comin’ up fur ya’ this week, so stay tuned. We’ll be addressing another reader question next week, so mark your calendars. You don’t wanna miss it.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions     Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 

Easiest Task to Train     Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing 

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes 

Calling Emergency Help     Just What Is Kitty Capable Of 

Shad: Original Service Cat     Harness or Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair, the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help 

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling for Help Options Pt. 1 

Medicating Kitty    

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup, Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls                  

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