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Service Cats: Is Your Shy Cat Being Beat Up

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.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

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.

 

Dezi with bowed head praying on the pet stepsPurrlease send comfurt to our furiends.

 

 

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.

 

Angry cat face emoji

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!!!  

 

 Cat chasing cat emoji

 

 

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. 

 

Dezi and Raena circle each otherA little posturin’ never hurt anykitty, but don’t let it get outta hand.

 

 

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).

 

 Dezi and Raena sleep together on the floor

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 

 

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 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective      Hands Are Not Toys

Does My Cat Need A Friend

Service Cats: Hands Are Not Toys

Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We ‘purreciate ya’ll bearin’ with us last week. We’ve got a great post fur ya’ today. Let me get the business stuff outta the way, and we’ll get 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. 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.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

Our question today comes from awnty Juliea and her new kitty Patzy, described as a calico/tortie mix. Now, they don’t have a blog of their own so we don’t know a lot about Patzy; just what awnty Juliea has said in comments on our posts. Patzy was adopted after awnty Juliea lost her beloved kitty Izzy. Her question refers to Patzy as a “new wild kitty” who is about 1 year old. She was adopted from their local animal shelter, so we doubt Patzy is truly wild/feral, but rather YOUNG and Kittenish. Having lived with a mature kitty, mommy says you’d be amazed at how much one forgets about kittenhood. Now, the question is, “Patzy is a loving kitty who enjoys being with me, but, she plays really rough, which I (Juliea) attribute to her calico/tortie side. I would like for her to recognize love pats as well as play pats.” She also asks about adding a “Buddy Cat” for Patzy. We’ll address the “Buddy Cat” in another post. Today we want to focus on appropriate petting. We’d also like to remind people that a cat’s color pattern or breed DOES NOT mean they are naturally Aggressive. So, Patzy’s behavior has nothing to do with her being a calico/tortie mix. 

 

 Dezi gets loving while laying on the arm of the chair

 

 

The Petting question is a great one. More than once mommy has seen people playing with their cats improperly and then wondering why kitty bites/scratches their hands or feet. We’ve heard numerous stories about those kitties that attack their owners feet while they sleep. Our immediate response is: HANDS ARE NOT TOYS!!! FEET ARE NOT TOYS!!!  The only thing hands and feet should be associated with is LOVE and Exams!!! What may be cute from a 6 week old fluff ball, isn’t so adorable from an adult 10 pound cat. It’s never too late to Train/Re-Train a behavior, but it’s always best to start with the appropriate expected behavior.

 

 Dezi gets her chin scratched while wearing her new tiger harness

Mmmmmm Me luvs a good chin scritch.

 

 

Never, Not Ever, No Way, No How should one ever use their hands as toys!!! A kitty who has learned that hands are toys, are the same kitties that bite VETs, company, children and certainly their owners. This is totally inappropriate behavior. Before bringing a new kitty or any pet for that matter home, you should already have in mind what behaviors you’re willing to allow and which behaviors won’t be tolerated. Keep in mind that some behaviors are are innate and can’t be changed. A cat needs to scratch; even a declawed cat will use a scratching post. (Please, Do NOT declaw your cat. There are other options available.) This is a behavior you can’t change. However, you can make sure kitty scratches appropriate areas with a minimal amount of Training. 

 

 Raena lays in mommy's lap and gets loving

 

 

 

So, you’ve adopted a kitty that already sees hands as toys, how do you stop that behavior and Train kitty to a more appropriate behavior? Redirection is key. When the first sign of aggression appears, immediately remove your hand, say “NO” in a firm but gentle voice, and offer kitty an appropriate toy to bite or chew on. If kitty is laying beside you or in your lap, throw the toy away from you so that kitty must chase it, and totally ignore kitty until the aggression has subsided. Do Not reward kitty’s inappropriate behavior with treats or soothing words. Even when kitty goes for the toy instead of your hand, keep silent. There’ll be plenty of time for love and rewards later.

 

 Raena lays in mommy's lap and enjoys some loving

 

 

Let’s talk a bit about how to PET your cat. Some kitties really like what mommy calls the “Long Pet”. The “Long Pet” has the hand moving down a kitties back from the head to the tail and can include tail scritches. But, the reality is, that most cats get overstimulated and often start nipping at the hand. Remember, the head and face of kitty is welcoming and calm, the tail and hind end of kitty is used to express aggression and ownership. Click here to read about the importance of kitty’s scent glands and what each means. Almost all cats love a good chin scratching, behind the ears and around the face. Petting kitty’s head, chin, neck and upper back around the shoulder blades rarely cause over stimulation. Do Not Rub against the natural direction of kitty’s fur. Do Not “ruffle” kitty’s fur, instead commit to the pet and gently stroke kitty’s head down to the shoulder blades. At the first sign that kitty is going to bite, Remove your hand, Redirect kitty’s attention and Ignore kitty. Before you know it, kitty will enjoy receiving pets as much as you enjoy giving them.

 

 Raena getting mommy love while laying in her lap

 

 

As for the late night, early morning foot attacks, ignore kitty. Do Not encourage kitty’s attacks by moving your feet and toes. You might want to keep a few of kitty’s favorite toys on the night table to employ Redirection. Like the toilet paper rolls, this isn’t something you will have to do for the life time of kitty, only until kitty learns. Each cat learns at a different pace. You must remember to be Consistent. Training Never Stops or takes a vacation. However, once kitty has learned that hands and feet are not toys, there will be little need for continued Redirection. While teaching kitty that hands equal love, it’s a good idea to occasionally run your hands all over kitty’s body the way a VET would during an exam. This will help make kitty calmer during an already stressful situation. And as always, remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. And, Hands and Feet Are NOT toys.

  

Well, we hope this has helped. Ifin ya’ have any questions about this post or any other topic, please leave it in the comments section of this post or send us an email to lexi.dezi@yahoo.com. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, 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

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective

Service Cats: Calming The Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Part 3

Welcome, it’s time fur another Service Cat Monday posty. Fank you fur bearin’ with us last week durin’ our time off. Mommy’s not completely thru with lease re-cert stuffs, but she’s gettin’ there. Seems every time we turn ‘round, there’s somethin’ new or old bein’ thrown at us. And, we’ve got an inspection to purrpare fur this week on top of it. Anyways, that’s not what we’re here to meow ‘bout today. As always the followin’ will be writtten in human English fur reader and translator ease. We welcome any and all questions; just leave ‘em in the comments or send us an email. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible ifin you’re dealin’ with a purrticular issue. We want to offur the bestest advice and tips we can to help you and others. Our Trainin’ posts are not meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual; but rather, Tips, Tricks and Techniques mommy has used/developed throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Remember, Training never stops. it’s all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this or any Service Cat Monday posty.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

We’ve been dealing with the issue of “Aggressive” kitties. Unfortunately, Aggression can be the result of so many different issues that we could write about it every day for a year and still not cover it all. However, the base of Aggression is one of three issues: Fear, Illness or what mommy calls Alpha Aggression. Alpha Aggression includes territorial issues and interactions between other dominant cats. In our last Service Cat post, we talked about catering to your Alpha Cat. We got a couple of questions asking what we mean by “catering”. The Alpha cat is always greeted first when coming home or walking into a room where your cats are present. The Alpha Cat should be fed first, get treats first, be brushed first, nails clipped first…You get the idea. Alpha means first/beginning, so the Alpha Cat should get all the firsts. It’s as simple as putting down the Alpha cat’s plate first or saying hello to them first, etc.. It doesn’t mean they get their food and eat and finish before anyone else. And remember, THERE ARE NO BAD CATS!!!

 

 Angry Tiger emoji

 

We’ve also covered Scent swapping, Site swapping (when dealing with kitties who are separated from others in a household), Confidence boosting and what drives the behaviors of house cats. Once you’ve ruled out any possible medical reasons for your cats’ behavior, then you need to figure our what’s behind the Aggression in order to treat it. We are all about feeding the strays and feral cats. However, if they are hanging around on your porch, in your backyard, or other areas that could be causing your house kitty to feel insecure or threatened, you need to feed them further away. It can be at the back of your property or a backyard shed. Just keep it off your porch if outside kitties are a problem for your house cat’s well being. As much as we love and pity the kitties who have to live outside, your house cat has to be the priority.

 

 

 Scared Cat emoji Scared white cat emoji

 

 

It’s always good to be aware of loud noises that may scare your kitty(s). Obviously you can’t do away with many of those noises, such as the carpet monster(vacuum), lawn equipment, car backfires, and so on; you can eliminate or at least quieten radios, t.v.’s, your voice, etc.. We have a pretty quiet house; and as a result, we get a little scared by loud excited commotion. When somebody comes over, mommy’s always reminding them to act and speak calmly with their inside voice. We may not be able to control the sonic booms, thunder, lawn crew, or the likes, but mommy can control our visitors; and so can you. Even if you think it’s a problem for only 1 cat in your home, it’s really a problem for all if them. Us kitties feed off the energy around us.

 

 Stressed out cat clip art

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s there was an idea floating around that you could send “psychic” messages to your kitties/animals even when you weren’t at home, to help ease their stress. The idea was to picture your kitty in your mind and say things like, “I love you”, “I’ll be home soon”, “you’re safe”, and so on. While mommy never bought into that idea, she does believe that we kitties/animals can feel your emotions when you’re dealing with us. Whether that emotion is positive or negative, we will react accordingly. When dealing with an “Aggressive” kitty, most of the time, you’re already expecting the worse case scenario when you try to introduce said cat to the other cats in your home. Part of helping your “Aggressive” kitty is getting control over your own pre-conceptions and fears.

 

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Due to untimely deaths, mommy’s had a lot of experience introducing new kitties into the house. And because of sis Lexi’s early aggression issues, trust me, mommy had some fears. But, for the sake of all kitties involved, she couldn’t let that fear take control. Mommy believes part of her success in having smooth transitions is her positive , “there won’t be a problem” attitude. And of course, she also believes in the power of prayer. She suggests a little of that visualization to help yourself get past any fears you may have and to make sure you’re approaching the kitties with a positive attitude. Mommy says you need to expect the best instead of the worst when introducing an “Aggressive” kitty to the rest of the house. Be prepared to act swiftly, but expect the meeting to go well. We realize that sounds kind of silly, and is easier said than done, but, it really does work. Especially if you have followed the precursors of Scent and Site swapping and boosting the self confidence of all the kitties in your home.

 

Raena plays with the flying toy

I’s gonna ketch it this time sissy.

The best time to make introductions is after a good play session when all the kitties are tired and a little hungry, especially the more dominant kitties. A good introduction would include some major yummy treats for all kitties. Yes, even those on a diet. It’s necessary for all kitties to be involved in the introductions. If there’s been a problem between 2 specific cats, those introductions should be made separately. If you have a 3rd cat that’s kind of the peace maker, that kitty should be included in that introduction. They may be able to calm the other 2 and serve as a bridge for peace. In the end, a happy cohesive home is the goal. A place where all kitties own their space and co-exist peacefully. We can’t put a time limit on this because every cat is different. You know your cats and they’re yours for life, so take the time to do it right. Your rewards will be endless.

 

 

 Dezi and Raena bathe atop the Liberty cat tree

 

We’re gonna wrap this topic up fur now. We hope we’ve given ya’ some helpful tips to deal with “Aggression” and introductions of kitties. Ifin after readin’ these posts you still need help or would like us to expand on a specific training task, purrlease let us know. As we said earlier, we could cover this topic endlessly and still only scratch the surface. We weren’t given the specifics from any of those who originally asked about Aggression, so we’ve dealt with it in a broad manner trying to help as many as possible. We’ll be addressing a new issue next week, so purrlease come by and check it out. Submit any questions you have in the comments below or send us an email at lexi.dezi@yahoo.com or use the form on our “contact us” page. And don’t furget, you can ketch up on any Service Cat posty you may have missed 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

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2

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