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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
MeOW Welcome to Service Cat Monday. Sorry ‘bout last week, seems winter has arrived and with it winter storms. Anyways, let me get the business outta the way and we’ll get on with today’s posty. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
So, the last topic we dealt with was inappropriate licking and Chewing. We’re going to take that a bit further today and meow about something called Pica. Pica is an actual defect that goes beyond the casual curiosity chewing of cords and other non food items. Did you know that some humans are affected by Pica too? Sure ‘nuff, but today we’re dealing with kitty/doggy Pica. First let’s explain what it is. A cat/dog with Pica will regularly eat or try to eat things like wool, socks, plastic (baggies), cotton, cords, boxes and other non food items. Pica is actual ingesting and not just chewing/suckling. Pica is not about your animal being hungry. Starvation is a whole other issue and not one a well cared for pet should be in danger of.
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This behavior (Pica) can be extremely dangerous, even deadly. Eating any of these items can cause tummy upsets, choking, unknown health issues/diseases or obstructions that require expensive surgery. We often see kittens kneading and “suckling” those soft floofy blankets/throws and think it’s cute. We have some really cute videos of me doing just that. You just watched one of them. Mommy needs to replace our blanket and throws every year because of it. Thankfully, me doesn’t actually eat the blankets/throws, but some kitties/doggies do. And, it’s NOT cute, it’s very Dangerous.
You can sort of see the suckled parts of this throw. Sis Lexi
and me both luvved it.
What causes Pica you ask? There are several possible causes: Nutritional Deficiency, Boredom, Anxiety, Teething, Early Weaning, Compulsive Disorder, and some Diseases and Health Problems, such as Diabetes, Leukemia, Tumors, Anemia and more. So again we say, Pica is not cute. It’s an outer symptom of an inner problem. If your cat/dog is exhibiting signs of Pica, DO NOT jump to conclusions or think the worse!!! We are NOT Vets nor is this post a means of diagnosing an illness.
See that spot behind me that looks a mess? Well, me just couldn’t help
me’s-self. Every meownin’ and night when me would give mommy a
massage, me would suckle the blanky.
What should you do if you cat/dog is exhibiting signs of Pica? Make an appointment with your VET to rule out any medical causes/diseases/illnesses or Nutritional deficiencies. Once kitty/doggy has been given a clean bill of health, remove the tempting items from kitty/doggy’s reach. This is a cautionary step and one that is often hard to continue for the life of the pet. Altho’ your pet’s health should be just as important as your own. However, we suggest finding the cause of the behavior and Re-Training/Directing the animal to proper behavior.
Me just can’t help me’s-self.
We believe in treating the underlying issue so that kitty/doggy can live a full and happy life. Put on your detective’s hat and watch kitty/doggy closely for signs of stress, anxiety and/or boredom. Try to determine the Triggers, the Duration of the Licking/Chewing, what type of Object is chosen (the item may be different for different triggers), and the time of day/month/year. Holidays may cause your pet to become more stressed and thus cause Pica to be more prevalent at those times. Do you have guests? Is there a new family member, furry or not? Are you away from the home more than before? A little detecting will lead you to discover the cause or behavioral Pica.
Inneractive play helps keep kitty from getting bored.
Some quick fixes/things to try, can be to set up a Decompression Room. Or, just spending more time with kitty/doggy. If kitty/doggy is bored, implement more play time. Maybe Train kitty to wear a harness and take them for walks. Please be aware of dangerous things kitty/doggy might try to eat while outside and avoid them. Redirect kitty/doggy immediately to an appropriate toy to play with. Include interactive play. Remember, Do Not Punish kitty/doggy, instead Always use Positive Reinforcement when they respond to Redirection. NEVER Hit your kitty/doggy. This will accomplish Nothing and only serve to diminish your relationship. You may also try medications. These should only be used under the direction of a licensed VET, and as a last resort. (in our opinion)
Who? Me? I’s only suckle mommy.
One last thing, Suckling and Eating are 2 separate things. However, a cat/dog that suckles may progress to eating, so keep an eye on your pet and make sure that doesn’t happen. There’s no way we can cover every possibility here, but we do hope we’ve helped you to begin to understand Pica and how to help your kitty/doggy.
We’re gonna wrap it up today. Remember, ifin ya’ have any questions or topics you’d like us to address, leave them in the comments section, or send us an email. And, as always, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed by clickin’ the links below.
Till the next time……………………………………Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty Internal Disputes
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Help Options Pt. 1
Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3
MeOW and welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We thought we’d do somethin’ a little bit different today. This post will still be educational and pawrt of our Service Cat series, as we’ll be focusing on feline behavior along with some training tips. But, we’ll also be introducing you to one of our give away products this month. You’ll have to come back Wednesday fur the give away. So, let me get the business outta the way and we can get right to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Our Service Cat Monday posts include Training topics for all cats, not just Service Cats. We believe all cats can live happier lives with a little basic Training. We previously discussed inherent behaviors that drive each and every cat on the planet whether big or small. Today, we’re going to focus our discussion on Scratching. All cats have the need to Scratch. We are against declawing!!! However, even a declawed cat has the need to scratch. Please, DO NOT DECLAW your cat.
Let’s take a look at the feline paw and talk about why cats Scratch. Visible to the eyes are the paw pads, and claws; although mine are hidden by fur tufts. What the eye doesn’t see are the bones, tendons and ligaments that make the feline paw so special. Most cats have the ability to extend or retract their claws at will. Like the human fingernail/toenail, the tip of the cat’s claw is dead. And, just like with the human fingernail/toenail, a portion of that claw is also alive, and connected to the paw by bone, tendons, ligament and muscle. The paw pads also contain scent glands. As we discussed in a previous post, cats see their world through scent more than through the eyes. You can NOT remove a cat’s claws without removing bone. That bone is similar to a humans first knuckle. Do Not Declaw!!!
Cats communicate with other cats and animals through Scent. A cat may mark their territory, announce the desire to mate, or send other messages by urinary spray and/or Scratching. Cats also Scratch to sharpen their claws and remove dead claw sheaths. The act of Scratching also strengthens the muscles in the cat’s limbs. Scratching is an innate behavior that Can Not be stopped. Inappropriate Scratching has led to far too many cats being relinquished, killed and/or declawed. Whether you have an only cat or a house full, providing kitty with appropriate surfaces for Scratching is a must. It’s just as important as litter boxes. Think of your cat’s need to Scratch the same way you would their need to eat, sleep and void.
There are plenty of Scratching options on the market, and we suggest having a few different ones available for your cat. Some cats like to Scratch vertically and others horizontally. While others like to do both. A good Scratcher is sturdy, and large enough for kitty to stretch, dig in and pull. Cats also have preferences as to the texture of their Scratching surfaces. You may need to try out several before finding kitty’s favorite. Among the most popular Scratchers are Corrugated Cardboard and Sisal. Another popular option is Carpet. Regardless, it’s always good to have two or more options available at all times. Prices are as varied as styles, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred. It’s not as important to have the most expensive Scratcher as it is to have one kitty will use. It’s also important to replace Scratchers as needed.
Most of the time kitty’s curiosity will cause him/her to start using the Scratcher immediately. If kitty is reluctant, you can always add a little catnip or silvervine to the Scratcher to entice kitty to use it. If kitty is Scratching inappropriately, place a Scratcher next to the area and redirect kitty. It’s always best to try to find a Scratcher that closely resembles the texture of the item kitty has chosen. Another way to introduce kitty to a Scratcher is to mimic their Scratching behavior on the new Scratcher with your own fingers while kitty watches. You may also gently put kitty’s paws on the Scratcher and use their paws to mimic Scratching.
We suggest purchasing cheaper Scratchers in multiple textures until you find kitty’s preference. Once that’s been achieved, we suggest investing in several Scratchers to place in different areas of the home. Think of your kitty’s Scratcher as necessary furniture. Corrugated Cardboard is among the cheapest Scratchers and come in many different shapes and sizes. Scratchers have come a long way and many are made to fit in to your home’s décor. Sisal Scratchers are among the more expensive, but tend to be a favorite among kitties. Cat trees usually incorporate Sisal along with Carpet to offer kitty options. An important thing to remember when purchasing a cat tree or standing Scratcher, is that it will be sturdy enough for kitty to stretch out or up and pull back or down without it falling and/or moving. The Scratcher’s base should be wide enough to offer proper support and tall enough for adult kitty to fully stretch. A general rule of thumb is about 3 feet tall with a base of 16” – 18” X 16” – 18”.
Doesn’t this Scratcher look pawsum???
Just remember, kitty must Scratch, so it’s up to you to provide them with appropriate surfaces if you want to keep your furniture in tact. Never scold kitty for Scratching!!! Redirect, Redirect, Redirect any inappropriate Scratching, and Praise and Reward Kitty for all appropriate Scratching. Please consider a cat’s innate drives before adopting one. You can have nice things, a kitty and a happy home. With just a little Training, kitty will prefer his/her Scratcher to the furniture any day. If you can’t devote the time and energy into Training kitty, or you don’t think you can handle kitty’s Scratching, PLEASE rethink adopting kitty. Declawing is not a solution!!!
Well, we’re gonna wrap it up for today. All this talk about Scratchin’ has me itchin’ to visit the Scratchin’ post. Again, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below. And, leave any questions or post topics you might have in the comments section or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
Till the next time…………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle