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Service Cats: Ode to Lexi: Letter to Heaven

MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline. We’re takin’ a small detour today fur mommy to pay tribute to an amazing Service Cat, me’s sis Lexi. A lot of you remember her; but fur those who don’t, she was mommy’s Service Cat fur 17 years. Sadly, kidney disease took her from us 2 years ago today. You can read more ‘bout sis Lexi, here, here and here. We’ll be back next week with our regular Service Cat posts. Fanks fur letting us honor sis Lexi’s amazing life and her memory.

 

Lexi forever badge from Ann

 

 

 

My Dearest Sweet Lexi,

Hello my sweet angel. I miss you more than words can say. My heart aches, each and every day. Today marks two years since I last saw your beautiful face; and felt your paw resting on my hand, or the look in your eyes when they met mine. I’ll never forget the purr that could be felt and heard from across the room when our eyes met and we shared a slow blink. In that moment, no words were needed to express the love we shared.

 

Lexi and her littermates the day they were born

110 camera image

 

I’ll never forget the day you were born…So tiny and yet so loud. You must have been terrified from the horrors that had brought you into this world. But, what I remember most is how you immediately quieted your screaming and started to rumble all over the minute I held you in my hand for the first time. You seemed to know, everything was going to be okay. You seemed to know you were home. You would have been happy to lay in my arms all the time. You never really needed a space of your own. I remember all those every 2 hour feedings when you preferred sleeping in my arms over eating. I remember when I would try to lay you down to sleep afterwards and you would wriggle your little body up under my shirt or arm or whatever you could so that you could stay close to me just a little longer.

 

3 week old Lexi waddling through the house

110 camera image
Lexi at 3 weeks

 

 

 

I remember the look on your face the first time you heard me call your name. And I remember the love I saw in your emerald green eyes as they focused in on my face for the first time. I remember seeing the world in a whole new way through your eyes as you experienced everything fresh and new. Each day was a wonder and every experience a welcome challenge. I remember the fear when you thought you might have to leave me and the utter joy when I told you we’d be together forever.

 

 

Lexi rides in her travel carrier home from BlogPaws Nashville

 

 

 

I remember the perseverance and utter determination you had when learning each new task. And, the pride you felt when you mastered those tasks. You would strut around and chirp loudly as if announcing it to the world. I remember each night as I laid my head on the pillow and you began to massage my head and purr away the stresses of the day. I remember waking each morning to find you curled up next to me and how you would gently put your paw on my cheek and purr.

 

Lexi at 16 years old in mommy's lap

 

 

 

 

I remember each day that we spent together and never gave a thought to how it might end. I never imagined a day without you. Through all the ups and downs, you were always there. I remember how you fought the disease that wore your body down. I remember when you could no longer stand, but still managed to massage my head as I laid on the pillow each night. Near the end, I remember seeing that fear in your eyes once again when you thought or maybe knew, our time together was coming to an end. You had been my reason for living and the heart that beat in my chest. Maybe you wondered how I would go on.

 

Lexi with outstretched paw rubbing head in mommy's hand

 

 

 

 

I can tell you, it isn’t easy, and each day I miss you more. From an abandoned kitten to Queen of the Service Cats, you were that and so much more. Saying that final good night to you hurt me to my core. But, I wouldn’t have missed sharing your life for anything in the world. Dezi and Raena help me now, and fill my life with love. But no one or anything will ever fill the space occupied by your memories, your devotion and love. Those I cherish and think about every day with a smile.

 

Lexi with mouth open meowing on 3/9/2016

3/9/2016 One of the last photos ever taken of Lexi.

 

 

 

I take some small comfort in knowing you’re pain free and happy again. I will always love you and miss you till the day we meet again on heaven’s beautiful shores. Forever here didn’t last very long, but someday it will have no end. Until then my sweet, my Lexi, enjoy your hereafter and think not of my grief or sorrow. Only think on and remember my love. I know you’re in the best of hands, those of our Lords’.

 

 

 

Loving You Always,

 

Mommy  

 

Lexi sitting on cat tree in paint

Till the next time………………………….Be Blest

 

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

with Mommy A

Service Cats: How Long Does It Take To Train A Cat Pt. 2

MeOW and welcome to a new installment of Service Cats and Everything Feline. Keep the questions coming. ‘Member, there’s no stupid question, we can’t all know everythin’ all the time. We do want to remind you to be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions. We want to give you the best Training Tips to correct the unwanted behavior. Well bahaved kitties mean more kitties stay in their furever homes. And yes, a lot of mommy A’s Training Tips can be used to Train dogs, horses and other species, not just the finicky feline in your life. You can ketch up on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ on Training Tips and Everything Feline on our menu bar. There you will find the links to all our Educational posts and Training Tips. Today’s posty is a continuation of last weeks post where we began to address the question, “How long does it take to Train a Cat?” Let’s get the business out of the way and get this pawrty started.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

 

 

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

Raena sits posing in her tiger harness

 

 

 

Last week we explained that we couldn’t really put an exact time table on Training because there are a lot of factors to be considered, such as age, breed, abilities/disabilities and personality. But, all kitties/cats can be Trained and actually enjoy Training. We briefly told you about how long it took Shad, mommy’s first Service Cat, to Train herself. You can read all about Shad here. We then moved on to Lucky and sis Lexi,  mommy’s first “driving” (wheelchair) kitties. The greatest thing you have when it comes to Training, is an animals’ curiosity and desire to please their human(s). A Bonded animal will go to great lengths to get their human’s approval and love.

 

 Lexi lays in wheelchair

 

 

 

So, let’s take a look now at how long it took sis Lexi to learn to drive mommy’s first wheelchair. As we mentioned it took about 3 months for Lexi to get over her fears of the wheelchair. You have to remember, a wheelchair isn’t just a big chair, it’s a big, heavy moving piece of furniture. Unfortunately, many a kitty has probably had their tail run over more than once by someone in a wheelchair. Unintentionally of course, but me’s sure it hurts just the same. So, we left off with Lexi trying to push the joystick one morning after having watched her brother move the chair the night before by doing just that. Altho’ the chair was plugged in and wouldn’t operate, mommy praised Lexi for her attempts and told her how proud she was. Once mommy was in the chair herself, she held Lexi in her lap while letting Lexi rest her front paws on mommy’s driving hand (mommy could still move her upper body well in the morning’s at that time). As mommy’s hand and Lexi’s paws pushed the joystick forward, mommy continued to praise Lexi and say “Good girl. Let’s go to the potty room.” yes, the first thing mommy ever needs to do in the morning is hit the bathroom. Seems everybody including the kitties all have to take advantage of the facilities first thing in the morning, so Lexi had jumped out of the chair and after using the litterbox took up her watchful place on the bathroom sink’s vanity.

 

 Lexi's signature pose

Mommy did well under the ever watchful eyes of sweet Lexi.

 

 

 

The next stop mommy always makes is the kitchen to prepare a kitty feast. Again, Lexi sat in mommy’s lap with her front paws on mommy’s driving hand as they headed to the kitchen. And again, mommy praised Lexi and said “To the kitchen, it’s time for brekky.” Yes, mommy’s always used a lot of baby talk with us. This pattern was repeated off and on during the day for the next several months. Training sessions lasted about 15 minutes each time for each kitty, Lexi and then Lucky. Remember, Training is ALL about Repetition and Rewards. In this case, taking kitty for rides and praising them throughout each session. Lucky caught on much quicker than Lexi and was driving without mommy’s hand in about 4 months. Lexi took her successful, no help from mommy drive about 2 months later; for a total of 6 months Active Training. That means a total of 9 months passed from the time the wheelchair entered the house to the time Lexi successfully maneuvered it by herself. When we say “by herself”, we mean that mommy’s hands were no where near the joystick. However, mommy did and still does use her hands to steady and support us on her leg.

 

 Dezi checks out the new Powerchair

 

 

 

The joystick extends anywhere from 6 to 12 inches from the arm. The wheelchair’s arm is approximately 2 to 3 inches wide, so there’s technically not enough room for us to stand, lay or sit on the arm and drive. We must remain in mommy’s lap and stretch/lean forward to connect with the joystick. This “stretch” makes us a little unsteady, especially when the chair is in motion. Because the chair can continue to move slightly even after pressure on the joystick stops, means that it can be extremely dangerous if we were to fall, thus the need for some support from the rider/mommy.

 

 Baby Dezi looks up at Lexi laying in the wheelchair

35mm camera image

Hey sissy, how’d you get up there? Me wants to be just like you.

 

 

 

Let’s move forward a bit to the time me joined mommy, and sis Lexi. By this time, sis Lexi was 10 years old and pretty much everything was old hat to her. Meaning, she was fully Trained and wasn’t learning anything new. At least that’s what mommy thought. We’ll come back to this a little later. So, me came to live with mommy and sis Lexi when me was about 2 1/2 – 3 weeks old. Me was very tiny and very sick. Thankfully, me was in the purrfect home with just the right mommy. Me had picked mommy instead of her picking me, so me bonded with her right away. Oh how me loves and adores mommy and me’s then sis Lexi. Me wanted to be just like sissy. Even though she was huge compared to me, me tried to do everything she did.

 

 Baby Dezi her first week at home

35mm camera image

Yep, me was so tiny the only potty box me could reach was a foil bakin’ pan.

 

 

 

 

Mommy remembers one of the first showers she took after me came to live here. When mommy would get in the shower, sis Lexi would automatically jump into the shower with her and stand at the back or on the other side of the shower curtain that was in the tub. This time, mommy had just stepped into the shower accompanied by sis Lexi when she heard a banging echo on the tub. She pulled back the curtain to see little o’l me trying desperately to jump into the bathtub with her and Lexi. Me wasn’t even as tall as mommy’s ankles, so the tub was certainly to tall for me to get into. And, ya’ know what? Those tubs are slippery. There’s nothing for a kitty to grab onto for climbing. But me had watched mommy get into the shower accompanied by sis Lexi for a couple of days, and remember, me wanted to do everything sissy did. Anyways, sis Lexi jumped on the edge of the tub and laid down to comfort me while mommy continued her shower. Mommy says shortly after she got into the shower, she could hear me meowing me’s squeaky meow like crazy. And, when she came to, she found me laying under her wet hair on the floor. Little did mommy know at that time, but me had been trying to tell her that she was going to pass out.

 

 Lexi lays in bathroom sink while Dezi lays on vanity beside her

Me sure did luv me’s sis Lexi.

 

 

 

Mommy says this topic is lengthy, so we need to wrap it up fur today. But, we’ll be pickin’ up where we left off next time. We know you want to know all ‘bout how me learned to help mommy and how long it took, so be sure to click that follow button ifin you haven’t already done so. And don’t furget to submit your questions, whether about us, Training, Health issues or Anything Feline in the comments or via email thru our contact page. Mommy has experience with other animal species as well, so just leave your questions and we’ll try to give you an answer. And, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed or just want to re-read by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu above. Well, that’s it fur now, see ya’ soon. 

       

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

 

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

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

MeOW and welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline. What do ya’ think about our new name? Anyways, we’re getting some great questions, so keep ‘em comin’. ‘Member, there’s no dumb questions. Even the experts can still learn somethin’. Mommy says the day you think you can no longer learn anythin’ more is the day you become a fool. You can ketch up any time on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ the Training Tips and Everything Feline link in our menu board above. Please leave your questions or post suggestions in the comments below or send us an email via our Contact Page from the menu above. We’re glad ya’ll enjoyed last weeks post and hope we simplified the definitions somewhat and made it easier to understand the difference in the classifications of our Animal Helpers.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

 

 

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

 Raena sits posing in her tiger harness

 

 

 

We were asked, “How long does it usually take to Train a kitty to perform a task?” Our general answer is going to be: Each kitty is different and there are a lot of factors that need to be considered when Training kitty; so the time it takes will vary. Any kitty can be Trained regardless of age, breed, “disabilities” or personality. Successful Training is always, always about Repetition and Rewards. Remember, when it comes to Training mommy says, “Learning doesn’t take a day off”. Mommy used to give piano lessons to humans of all ages. While most teachers give 30 minute a week lessons over the span of 10 years or more, mommy insisted on 1 hour a week lessons for 1 year without breaks or vacations. No summer’s off for mommy’s students. However, if they stuck it out, there’s nothing they wouldn’t be able to play, and in most cases could rewrite music into any key they wished in just minutes. Mommy is very serious about Training of any kind.

 

Shad lays on chair back

Shad (110 camera image)

That being said, let’s take a look back at some of the Service Cats mommy has Trained and how long it took to learn specific tasks. We’ll start with Shad, since she was mommy’s first Service Cat. If you missed Shad’s story, you can read it here. Shad actually Trained herself, but we can look at the sequence of events that occurred leading up to her first act of calling 911 for help. Mommy’s accident occurred in November. A lot of her problems were immediate including passing out. Shad’s first Service Cat act was to dial 911 on the telephone when mommy passed out and hit her head on an end table. She did this in March of the year following mommy’s accident. Mommy surmised that Shad had been observing her since November and realized that when mommy hit her head she was out longer and often more confused when she came too. The next task Shad taught herself was to move the shower curtain away from mommy’s face and push mommy’s head away from the water flow when she passed out in the shower. She first did this in April following the accident. Again, mommy surmised after receiving praise for her attempts to get mommy help, Shad stepped it up and wanted to do more to help. Shad was a small girl, weighing in at only 12 – 15 pounds on average, so she did the best she could considering mommy’s weight and size.

 

Lexi lays in wheelchair

Now let’s move to a Service kitty most of you are familiar with and one that mommy did Train, Lexi. Mommy determined that if Shad could learn those things on her own, then surely mommy could teach other cats to perform those tasks as well as others. When Training, one must always keep in mind the size and natural instincts and abilities of the animal being Trained. For example, you can’t ask or expect a kitty of 6 pounds to pull a manual wheelchair. You must have realistic expectations to be successful in your Training attempts. Since all kitties have the ability and desire to “knead”/”make biscuits”, Massage is one of the first tasks mommy Trains a kitty to perform. Even the smallest of kitties has some power in those paws. After all, that’s how they work more milk into the mother cat’s teats. Lexi’s mother had been killed while she was giving birth, so mommy had raised her from the beginning. Even tho’ Lexi didn’t have to “work” for her milk, she still had great kneading capabilities. The trick here is teaching kitty when and where to knead/massage and how not to use their claws. You can read mommy A’s Training Tips here. A kitten’s eyes and ears are open by the age of 3 weeks, and that’s when mommy started Training Lexi. Lexi was successfully giving mommy massages on demand by the age of 5 weeks. Only occasionally would she get over excited and bring out her claws. Please Do Not Declaw Your Kitty, they can be trained not to use them on you but on appropriate surfaces!!!

 

 6 month old Lexi laying on the couch

Lexi at 6 months (110 camera image)

 

 

Mommy started teaching Lexi about the phone when she was about 7 weeks old. She learned the number pattern to dial in about a month but wasn’t big enough or heavy enough to actually push the buttons down until she was about 4 months old. We know it’s hard to believe, but sis Lexi was that small at one time. She had 2 brothers at the time who she watched help mommy in the shower every day. At about 4 months old, she jumped into the tub on her own and tried to help them. She was too small to make a difference, but she learned what to do by watching them and eagerly took her place beside them when she finally got big enough. Lexi was about 3 years old when mommy got her first wheelchair. At that time, Lexi and 1 brother, Lucky remained with mommy. They took turns learning about the wheelchair.

 

 Lexi and Lucky lay on bed

Lexi and Lucky laying on the bed. (110 camera image)

 

 

 

It took about 3 months before Lexi was comfortable enough around the chair to even ride in it. It was her brother Lucky that gave mommy the idea to train them to drive it. At the time, it was the only chair mommy had, so she sat in it most of the time. One night she and Lucky were relaxing in the chair watching television when he got up, pushed the power button, bit the joystick and propelled them forward. He seemed a bit shocked, but didn’t jump down. Lexi came running over and jumped up in mommy’s lap too. Mommy moved the chair back to where they had been and Lucky proceeded to repeat his actions. This happened over and over that night until mommy plugged the chair in and they went to bed. The next morning when mommy awoke, Lexi was sitting in the chair biting the joystick and trying to push it. A wheelchair will not operate when in charging mode.

 

 Lucky lays in wheelchair

Lucky laying in wheelchair (110 camera image)

 

 

 

We’re going to stop here for today. We’ll pick up where we left off next Friday, so be sure and stop by to see what’s next. And ‘member to leave your questions and post suggestions in the comments section below or send us an email via our Contact page. You can ketch up on any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from the menu above.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle       

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