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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       

Service Cats: Q & A About The New PowerChair

MeOW and welcome to our first Service Cat post of 2018. We’ve been chompin’ at the purr-verbial bit to get started. Me wants to point out a few changes we’ve made in an attempt to make these posts easier to find, and easier for you to ask questions. First, take a look at our menu options. We created a whole page with the links to every post in this series called Training Tips and Everything Feline. We will be adding descriptive tags so that you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for. We had hoped to have that done already, but as most of you know, we’ve had a few challenges keeping us busy elsewhere. Rest assured we will be doing that in short order. You will also find a contact form on the page that is completely private. Just fill it out with your questions or post suggestions and we’ll receive an e-mail readable only by us. If you’ve missed any posts in our Service Cats series, you may check this page to get all caught up. As Always you may continue to ask questions in the comments of our posts; we luv, luv, luv hearing from you. Remember when asking behavioral questions to purrlease be as specific as pawssible. Let’s get the business outta 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.

We had a lot of questions last year regarding the new PowerChair/WheelChair. Just in case you’re new to our blog, let me explain. Mommy’s PowerChair broke last June. One of the motors went out and the chair wouldn’t do anything but turn in a circle. Being over five years old, Medicare wouldn’t pay to repair it; so, we had to go thru the procedures to get a new one. Unfortunately, that process is long and tedious. We finally got approved and received our new PowerChair in January of this year. Here are some of the questions ya’ll asked about the new PowerChair and our Training/Ability to use it:

 

 Dezi lays in the wheelchair

Old chair, but the joystick is the same on most chairs. It’s made of a

flexible rubber type material. 

 

 

 

Q: Isn’t the joystick hard on a cat’s teeth?

     A: The joystick is covered in/made of a fairly soft rubberized material, so it’s not any harder on a cat’s teeth than many of our toys.

 

Q: Does a repairman come out and evaluate the chair, and what steps are required to get a new PowerChair?

     A: Yes, a repairman comes to our home to determine what’s wrong with the chair and if it can be fixed. If a PowerChair is over 5 years old, Medicare will not pay for repairs. So, the repairman must take measurements for a new PowerChair. The measurements required are the length of a persons arms, legs and torso. Measurements are also taken of the person’s width between the arms and weight. Other questions that will be asked is if the person has problems with incontinence, diabetes, ulcers or sores on their hiney, and the width of all doors and hallways in the home. Once those measurements are taken, the repairman will submit a request for a prescription from the person’s doctor. The person, (ie: mommy), must then see the doctor for a mobility evaluation, as well as a physical therapist. They will submit their evaluations along with a prescription to the PowerChair repairman who will submit it to Medicare for approval. The approval process can take as long as a year. There are emergency situations that can speed up the process, but it’s always best to expect a bit of a wait. 

Dezi checks out the new Powerchair

 

Q: Does the new PowerChair come with instructions or do we just have to figure it out ourselves?

     A: The new PowerChair comes with a packet that explains how to assemble the chair and connect the control panel to the batteries as well as a description of the control panel. A small booklet with care instructions is also included. There’s no instructions on how to drive, which is why mommy ran into everything the first time she powered up. 

 

Q: Why does it take so long to get a new PowerChair and do we have a manual chair we can use in the meantime?

     A: We don’t know why it takes so long, but if you ever figure it out, let us know. MOL As for a manual chair, the answer is NO. Medicare and most insurance companies “rent” equipment in a succession based on health. That simply means they start with things such as canes and walkers and move up. Mommy skipped the manual wheelchair step because certain movements required to power a manual chair would cause her to pass out. She went straight from a cane to a PowerChair. So, when it’s broken, she’s left to get around however she can. In her case, that means crawling for several hours a day.

 

 Raena lays in new powrchair

 

 

 

Q: Once the new PowerChair arrives, are we able to drive it or does it require re-Training

     A: Quite a few of you asked this question; but, until the new PowerChair got here, we couldn’t know for sure how to answer it. This is mommy’s third PowerChair, and each have been a little different. The first and second chair rode and drove pretty much the same and required no additional Training. Our new PowerChair however, rides and drives much differently than the previous chairs. The differences are subtle, but they are there. Enough so, that we will both require some new Training. Actually, me should say all three of us need some additional Training. The first time mommy powered on, she ran into everything and even fell off the sidewalk outside.

 

 Dezi climbs on the new powerchair

The view seems better from the new chair. And, the arms seem wider.

 

 

 

     What are those differences, you ask? Well, for starters, the old chairs had a 360° turn without moving forward or backwards. The new PowerChair moves slightly forward when turning to the right, and slightly backwards when turning to the left. That may not sound like much to you, but due to limited space in our apartment, it can mean the difference in successfully turning around or hitting doors and walls and any other furniture that might be near, as well as falling off the curb. We have a very small kitchen and bathroom, so turning around becomes difficult in this chair. We’ll be doing more “backouts” instead of actual turning around. Mommy also says this joystick is very touchy. One little push or pull and the PowerChair starts moving. Altho’ that’s a good thing, it’s not something we’re used to and will require a few hours of additional Training. After all, we are cats and do find ourselves occasionally re-scenting the joystick with a little face rub. We for sure don’t want to go wheeling through the wall just because we showed the joystick some love. MOL  The speed control on the new PowerChair is a dial up instead of a push button. Mommy hasn’t decided yet if that’s a good thing or not, but we’ll keep you posted as we go along. One small detail that others wouldn’t have given a second thought, is that the power button and horn are in the opposite positions from any chair we’ve ever owned. And the back wheels not only touch the floor all the time, they’re also the same size as the front. 

 

 Raena lays in the new Powerchair

 

 

 

     So, a lot of little changes mean a lot of extra Training. Remember, altho’ the old chair was broken, we still had some form of Training each day, we just didn’t move. Getting used to moving again, is going to take a little time. However, mommy’s confident we’ll be ready for the races in no time. 🙂  

 

Well, we hope we’ve answered the questions you all had about the new PowerChair. We’ll be posting more about our Training as well as tackling any other questions ya’ll might have. ‘Member, there are no stupid questions. Ifin you’ve been wanderin’ somethin’, you can rest assured you’re not alone. And be sure to check out our menu page Training Tips and Everything Feline to get caught up on any post you may have missed in this series.

 

We have a favor to ask. As you all know, we really want to go to BlogPaws this year. It’s a state over in Missouri. That’s just too close to miss, we think. Anyways, it’s time to submit your favorite blogs fur the Nose to Nose Awards. We fur sure would luv to be recognized and receive one of those pawsum awards. We’d really appreciate your nomination of our blog fur one or more categories. We’ve tried to make this as easy for you as pawssible, so, you can just do a copy and paste of the links. Here’s the categories we qualify for and the information you’ll need to submit us. Purrlease take a couple of minutes and fill out the form here. Fank you all so very much. 

Best Cat Blog:

https://dezizworld.com/2017/07/31/service-cats-fighting-or-posturing-introducing-cats/ 

Contact/Creator Name: Audra High

Our email address: lexi.dezi@yahoo.com that’s lexi (dot) dezi (at) yahoo (dot) com. No spaces of course.

Our BlogPaws Profile:

http://community.blogpaws.com/members/lexi-dezi/profile/ 

Our Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/Alexandra.Furiends

Our Twitter Page:

https://twitter.com/DezizWorld 

Best Written Pet Blog Post: Use the links above, unless you think another post was our best. If you choose another post, purrlease let us know which post you nominated. You may nominate more than one post or blog, it just has to be on a new form. Posts that are qualified for nomination/consideration: Any post created/published between January 2017 through February 2018.

 

Best Photo on a Pet Blog: We had a lot of trouble trying to narrow this one down. Purrlease feel free to choose one of the following, or you may choose any other foto of us on our blog:

https://dezizworld.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/dw-dezi-n-raena-brown-treedscn8326edit-1024×807.jpg

https://dezizworld.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/dw-raena-bathes-tongue-out-0362.jpg

https://dezizworld.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/dw-dezi-looks-up-n-hisses-at-raena-on-liberty-cat-tree-9355.jpg

Best Written Blog Post, Sponsored

https://dezizworld.com/2017/03/22/lllt-a-safe-non-invasive-way-to-treat-many-pet-maladies/ 

We really ‘purreciate ya’ll takin’ the time to nominate us. If you’ve chosen a post or foto different from the links we provided, just let us know. We’re always innerested in knowin’ what you luv ‘bout us or our blog.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

Chatting Cats: Preparing For The Races

Hey, is anypawdy out there? It’s me, RaenaBelle. We furinally got some sleep and are ready fur the IndyCat 5000.

 

 Dezi and Raena check out the new powerchair

 

 

 

          Raena!!! What in the world are you meowin’ ‘bout? Just what is the IndyCat 5000? 

 

Y, It’s a race…isn’t it sissy? Ya’ know, fur cats with wheels?.

 

 Dezi looks over her shoulder

 

 

 

          Uh, No. Raena, there’s no such thing as a race fur kitties with wheels. And me thinks the real race you’re thinkin’ ‘bout is the Indy 500 fur crazy men in cars. 

 

You mean they let crazy men in cars race, but they don’t let us kitties race? That doesn’t seem fair.

 

          Who said life was fair, Raena? Me knows you didn’t hear that ‘round here. Nuffin’ ‘bout life is fair, ya’ just make the bestest of what life throws at ya’. We’re purretty blest ‘round here, but even fur us, things don’t always go as planned.

 

Raena lays in powerchair

 

 

 

Ain’t that the truth, sissy. We’re so grateful to have the new power chair, but it seems a bit strange. Mommy said she was gonna have to call mr. Travis back out to fix it. Ya’ know, mommy’s really tall, so it looked really funny when she wheeled up to the counter to make us brekky and couldn’t even see over the counter, much less reach it. Seems mr. Travis thought mommy was either really really tall or has really really long arms. 

 

 Dezi sits pretty in front of fireplace

 

 

 

          Yeah Raena, he delivered it on his day off and had several other chairs to deliver, so he didn’t make adjustments to it the day he dropped it off. Mommy got the directions out last night and learned she’d have to take the whole seat off to make it taller. Since it’s too heavy and bulky fur mommy to meow-neuver, she’s gonna have to have mr. Travis come out and do it fur us.

 

I’s sure hope he can come soon sissy. I’s can’t wait to take it fur a spin. 

 

          Me’s sure you can’t. While we’re on the subject, mommy thought it would be helpful ifin we ‘splained a few things ‘bout power chairs in general. We have a furiend whose mommy has been wantin’ one, but we don’t think she’s considered everythin’ that comes with it. We hope her mommy’s up to readin’ this posty. The furst thing to consider is how long it’s gonna take to get a power chair. As many of you know, we’ve been waitin’ fur well over 6 months. And, this isn’t our furst power chair. Mommy’s had one fur goin’ on 20 years now. Ya’ might be askin’ yourself what difference does that make?. Well, ifin you’ve already had a powerchair, then you’re guaranteed to be approved fur another one, so long as your old chair is a full 5 years old. Gettin’ approved fur one initially can take even longer. There are exceptions, but don’t be surpurrised ifin it takes up to a year to get approved fur your furst ever powerchair. 

 

Dezi and Raena together

Ain’t that the truth, sissy. Once you’ve gotten your powerchair, there’s lots of other things to take into account. Lessen you live in a handicap ‘pawrtment or home, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble reachin’ counters and cabinets and stuffs. Ya’ can’t detach anythin’ on a powerchair. The foot rest can fold up, but the wheels come out ‘bout a foot from the actual seat in both the front and back, and they can’t be removed. The joystick controller on the arm also extends about a foot out from the actual seat. Obviously, ya’ can’t remove it either.

 

 Dezi checks out the new Powerchair

 

 

 

          Yep Raena, and a really big thing to consider is that the power chair is bulky and heavy. It can’t be pushed ‘round like a manual one. And, ifin the batteries die or somethin’ goes wrong, you’ll be without your powerchair till a repairman can come out and look at it. That could take anywhere from a few days to 6 months. In the meantime, you’ve got nuffin’ to help ya’ get ‘round. Trust me when me says, we luv our powerchair, and livin’ without it is a real pain, but, it ain’t fur everypawdy. Ifin you’re gettin’ ‘round with a manual chair or walker/cane, ya’ might wanna think twice befur wantin’ a powerchair.

 

 Raena lays on the Liberty Cat Tree

 

 

 

We hope our sweet furiend unnerstands that we’re only tryin’ to look out fur ‘em when we tell ya’ these things ‘bout a powerchair. Under the right circumstances, they can be a great big help, but they can also be a hinderance ifin you’re x’spectin’ to make adjustments to it off and on when ya’ need to get to counters or up close and purrsonal to furniture and appliances. Anyways, that’s the low down as bestest we can ‘splain it. Of course ifin anypawdy has any questions, we’ll be happy to answer ’em as bestest we can. And, we’ll meow lots more ‘bout our new powerchair startin’ in February with our Service Cat postys. Trust me, ya’ don’t wanna miss those. Mommy says this chair ain’t nuffin’ like the ones she’s had in the past, so there’s likely to be lots of fun and x’citement comin’ your way.

 

 Dezi lays on scratcher

 

 

 

          Yep Raena, kind’a like mommy runnin’ off the sidewalk and into the grass yesfurday. Kittens!!! Did you see the look on her face? 

 

I’s think mommy thought she was gonna end up face down in the dirt, sissy. She sure did look funny. Eyes big as saucers and holdin’ on fur dear life. MOL  Guess we better wrap it up, mommy needs to call mr. Travis. We hope to be by to visit everypawdy soon. I’s gonna go see ‘bout those races. Surely there’s somewhere we kitties can compete?.

 

We also wanna ConCatulate our furiends Erin the cat Princess, Gracie of Animal Shelter Volunteer and The Tribe of 5, Feline Opines fur winnin’ the heated pet mats and cat shelf in our recent give away. We can’t wait to hear how much ya’ll luvs your purrizes.

 

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

 

Raena: Navy Blue 

Dezi: Vibrant Blue

 

 

 

Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

RaenaBelle and Deztinee

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