MeOW and welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We’re really enjoying this stroll down memory lane while explaining the length of time it took for each of us to learn specific tasks; and we hope you are too. Several of you expressed that you didn’t realize Training took so long after hearing about sis Lexi’s experience with the wheelchair. We never said Training was a snap, just that every cat can be Trained. That being said, kitty will learn more quickly any task that is in effect when they join a household. Me will explain that in more detail in a minute. Furst, we want to remind you to keep the questions and suggested topics comin’. You can post them in the comments section below or send us a private email via our Contact page. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series or just want to brush up on a purrticular subject, you can do so by visitin’ our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. Let’s get the business outta the way and pick up where we left off.
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.
If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 you can check them out here and here. So we left off with me trying to be just like sis Lexi and help her help mommy while she was in the shower. Me was far too small to even get on the side of the tub, much less be any help; but me watched sis Lexi intently every day. When me was finally big enough to actually get in the tub, me pretty much knew what to do. Watching another cat perform a task can be a great Training Tool. Kittens learn to use a litter box, hunt, and more all by watching their mother. So, watching a Task being performed by another helps to Train the new cat. Thus, kitty will be able to learn quicker, because they won’t know any different. Me was about 4 months old when me was finally able to jump in the tub. Mommy had bathed me pretty regularly due to me’s sickly, wormy condition that left me’s bloomers quite a mess; so me wasn’t afraid of water at all. And of course, me had watched sis Lexi get in the shower for months, so me thought every kitty loved playing in the water. At 4 months old, me took me’s place beside sis Lexi to help keep mommy’s face out of the water flow when she passed out in the shower. Me was still too small to make a difference, but me was mimicking her actions and was finally able to be of help a few months later.
Dezi about 6 months old
However, the shower wasn’t actually the first task me performed. Me actually chose mommy instead of her choosing me; so me bonded with her right away. If you haven’t read about how mommy found and saved me, you can read about it here. Anyways, me was a teeny little thing back then. Me didn’t even reach mommy’s ankles when standing on all fours. A couple of days after mommy brought me home, she was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. Something she did a couple of times a day after feeding sis Lexi and me. Me suddenly started to mew me’s squeaky mew, turn around and around and paw at mommy’s ankles with me’s front paws. Mommy didn’t have a clue what me was doing, so she just started telling me how cute me was and that she loved me. Me was persistent tho’, and continued me’s “dance” and squeaky mewing. Mommy finally picked me up thinking me wanted to be held and loved on. Me will never say no to loving, but me continued to mew and started patting/pawing at her face. After a few more minutes mommy started “seeing stars”, and put me down. She usually gets about a 30 second warning from her body that she’s going to pass out. After setting me down, mommy tried desperately to get to her chair to sit, but she didn’t make it. Yep, she passed out right there on the floor. If she’d only listened to me. But she hadn’t. She had no clue that me was trying to warn her.
These “Dancing Episodes”, as we call them, continued fur days until the light bulb finally went off in mommy’s head. While standing in the kitchen a few days later, mommy looked down at me dancing around and said, “Are you trying to tell me something sweety?” Nah, Duh. Me didn’t actually meow that, but that’s exactly what me was trying to do. Mommy gently picked me up and went straight to her chair to sit down. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later mommy got that “seeing stars” feeling and realized that me could sense and smell the change in her body chemistry. Me no longer dances around, but me still alerts mommy about 20 minutes before she passes out. That’s usually plenty of time for her to get to safety instead of ending up face down on the floor. All animals can sense/smell these subtle changes in the body chemistry, it’s just a matter of Training them to alert when they do. Or, in me’s case, listening when we’re acting strangely shortly before an incident happens. Especially if the actions are repeated several different times. We know many of you have heard stories about animals saving their owners from house fires, heart attacks, strokes and many other issues because our (cats) sense of smell is 14 times better than that of a human. Alerting mommy to these incidents has saved her many a bruise and embarrassing situation.
As for the wheelchair, well, me was never afraid of it. You see, unlike sis Lexi, me had never known mommy without one. So, mommy was able to start Training me immediately. Me’s Training started with just riding in mommy’s lap and getting used to moving around the house in the chair. Between 4 and 6 months, mommy started introducing me to the joystick and the power controls. Me had to be big enough to reach them. Again, me had been watching sis Lexi every day for all those months, so me thought this was something all kitties did as well. Once Training officially started, me took me’s maiden drive (mommy supporting me while me pushed the joystick on me’s own) within 2 months.
Another Task we perform that people find interesting, is our ability to call for help with the phone. There’s no tricks or magic here, just an old fashioned land line. Mommy begins telephone Training almost immediately. Even tho’ kitty/me may not be big enough to actually push the buttons, we can get used to the repetition of numbers and what happens when the phone is activated and a call placed. Believe it or not, it’s kind of strange to us kitties to hear a voice we can’t actually see. An old fashioned answering machine is also helpful in getting kitty used to voices coming from the phone. By the time me was big enough to push the buttons down or carry the phone in me’s mouth, me was hooked. Me loves the telephone. Maybe a bit too much, according to mommy. Every time it rang, me would rush to answer it, even when mommy was holding it. More than once, me answered the phone while mommy was…indisposed (in the bathroom). Mommy says it wouldn’t have been so bad if me had just brought her the phone. But no, me wanted to push the buttons that accepted the call before bringing it to mommy. She’s always saying, there’s no phone in the bathroom for a reason. Me can’t imagine why that is tho’?. So, me had a little extra Training on only using the phone in emergencies or when mommy asks for it. Me does still occasionally get a little excited about the phone, but me hasn’t answered it while mommy was indisposed in years.
As most of you know, Raena joined our family after sis Lexi went to heaven. She’s a smart one that Raena, and took to Training from day one. She’s been a master masseuse from the minute mommy let her out of the carrier here. Me had won a couple of automated toys to give to her as a welcome present; and she learned how to turn them off and on by herself almost immediately. She’s also built differently than me in that she’s longer and taller. So, mommy began her wheelchair Training a couple of weeks after she came here to live. Because our old wheelchair broke, her Training got derailed a bit, but she’s picking up the new chair like it’s been here forever. Mommy says she’s doing better than both of us. Raena has a very curious and open disposition, so she’s always done well in public. And, like me, she bonded with mommy right away and began alerting to mommy’s syncope incidents after only a few days.
Well there you have it. This 3 part series has been an overview of the time it took to Train a few different kitties to perform a few of our basic Tasks. If there’s a specific kitty or Task you’d like us to expound on, let us know. Otherwise, we’ll start a new topic next week. Remember, all kitties/anipals can be Trained and even do better with some Training. And, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Don’t forget to leave your questions, blog topics and any comments in the comment section below or send us an email. And ketch up on any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. We’re doing something new this week and joining Comedy Plus for Feline Fridays.
Till the next time…………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
Hey, are ya’ll there? It’s me, RaenaBelle. I’s getting to write mines furst Service Cat Monday posty. Don’t worry, it’ll be in human English, like all our educational postys. And ifin you’ve missed any, you can check them out by clicking the links at the bottom of this post. Today is a continuation of Furidays’ post when I’s accompanied mommy to Ardmore to the dentist. And we also received a question from awnty Jeanne, Purrseidons’ mommy. The answer to her question will actually occur naturally in todays’ posty. So you’ll know, her question was, “What does mommy do when we alert her to the fact that she’s gonna pass out?” Basically, what are we expectin’ mommy to do?. So, let’s get to it.
We left off with mommy sitting at the business office desk getting told the cost of what needed to be done. You know the dentist had already told her what needed to be done, so now we were finding out how much all that was gonna cost. We’d been in the office for over an hour at this point and mommy was a little on the warm side. ‘Course she’s been running a fever now for a couple of weeks, so it could have been that, or that the temp outside was actually 72° and they had the heat on. Whatever it was, mommy says she almost passed out when the lady gave her the paper with the breakdown of the costs. I’s told mommy I didn’t sense that at all. She said it was okay, cuz it was a different kind of passing out that sometimes humans do when given really bad news. Mommy says similar actions could be a falling out of the chair, or pulling your hair out. Anyways, payment is due at the time of services, so mommy gathered those ugly photos of her and the estimate papers and we left.
Now you all know we live in a really small town that doesn’t have anything. Sis Dezi says they posted a video of our town a while back. So anytime mommy goes into Ardmore, she tries to make a day of it and stop off at Wally World and maybe the new Ulta store. Mommy loves beauty products. She used to be a licensed Cosmetologist. That means she did hair and makeup. She doesn’t wear makeup most days cuz she says she can’t afford it; but she’s got some for special occasions. The dentist wasn’t one of those occasions. Anyways, part of my training is learning to focus and be invisible when in public surrounded by the crazies. That means I can’t be singing the song of my peeps or clawing at the stroller trying to get out, or doing anything in general to draw attention to myself. Mommy says I was the perfect Service Cat while we were at the dentist. I laid quietly in the stroller and watched over mommy. Now came the real test.
The last time I had been with mommy in Walmart was after my spay day, and I was still a little groggy from having surgery. This time I was wide awake and alert as a hawk over a kill. We finally found a parking space and mommy got me unloaded and locked up the car. We headed for the doors and I could hear peeps saying, “Is that a…that’s a cat!!!” The wind was really whoopin’ around so I stood up and looked through the top opening at mommy. She said everything was okay, and I’s laid back down. Once inside, I could smell all kinds of things. And let me tell ya’, it was loud. There was a lot of peeps inside the store, and it seems all of them were talking at the same time. Mommy grabbed her a ride and bungeed me to her and off we went.
It seemed like we went down every aisle. Mommy says it was to expose me to every thing and every possible situation she could. There were some situations that’s for sure. We encountered a few older ladies that wanted to ooh and ahh over me and chat with mommy about what I’s do for her. We also ran into a mean man that purposely bumped into my stroller and mumbled on about how mommy shouldn’t be bringing a kitty to the store. I stood up and wanted to give him the hiss of disapproval, but mommy said calmly and quietly, “It’s okay Raena, lay back down.” I settled down just in time to be met with sticky little humans running up and down the aisles and squealing at the top of their lungs. And then it happened…they saw me. One of those sticky humans came over and put their hands on my stroller and another went running off hollering for its’ mommy.
Apparently this was a test. A test mommy says I passed with flying colors. I didn’t see any colors fly, but I did remain quiet and laying in my stroller; even when the sticky little human started slapping my stroller all I did was look up through the top of the stroller at mommy. Mommy quietly but sternly told that sticky little human to stop and go find his mother. And mommy drove us out of the toy department. I think it was more stressful for her than me. MOL We wandered around the store a bit longer, and then went to the front of the store to stand in a line with other humans. Everybody in front of us turned to look at me and started cooing and talking about how well behaved I was. Seeing that we only had a loaf of bread and some treats, one of the nice ladies let us “cut in line”. And then we were off again, heading for the car.
Hmmmmmm What’s that smell? Ooooooh mommy’s gonna pass out, I thought to myself. So I stood up and started meowing and patting at the stroller. “Mommy, you need to sit down, you’re gonna pass out,” I mewed. Mommys’ hobble sped up and we reached the car. Once there, mommy opened the door and sat down and put her head between her legs and started taking deep breaths. Well, as deep as she can. She’s been having some extra breathing problems since her teeth got infected. Anyways, we sat there for what seemed like forever, but mommy was able to push (breath through) the episode away and get me loaded into the car again. Mommy says she had wanted to go by Ulta, but decided it was best if we headed home. She didn’t actually have a reason to go to Ulta, she just likes to see what’s new. But we got all buckled in and headed down the highway to home. Mommy told me how proud of me she was and I chortled my joy.
Once we got home I’s couldn’t wait to tell sis Dezi about all my adventures. And tell her how lucky she was to have missed the ordeal with the mean man and sticky little humans. Mommys’ appointment had been early, so she went to do up the breakfast dishes so we’d have clean plates at dinner time. While sissy and me were meowing about my day, we both smelled that familiar scent and headed for the kitchen to alert mommy. We both danced around meowing till mommy sat down. This time mommy said she didn’t really care and in short order she passed out. Sis Dezi and me both jumped in her lap and purred till she came back around. Once she got reoriented she loved on me and Dezi and told us how proud of us she was and how much she loved us. The perfect ending to a perfect day.
So in answer to the question asked by awnty Jeanne, when we alert, we want mommy to sit down and be aware that there’s a problem. She can often keep from passing out by putting her head between her legs and breathing through it; but not always. And sometimes, she doesn’t worry about it and just lets it happen.
Well, that wraps up my mommy and me day out. Mommy says I performed purrfectly; she couldn’t have asked for more. ‘Member. ifin you’ve missed any of our posts, you can check them out by clicking the links below. And you can donate towards mommys dental by either giving to our paypal at: firstname.lastname@example.org or the fundraiser here.
Till the next time………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
RaenaBelle and Deztinee
Service Cat Monday
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Meowllo and welcome to Service Cat Monday. One of da things mommy hears most offen when tellin’ peeps ‘bout us is, “Service Cats? I’ve never heard of a cat being a service animal?” And then da next biggest question is, “What do they do?” Once mommy tells a few of da things we do fur her peeps jaws drop a bit; some in disbelief and some in awe. We’ve covered a lot of topics in this series, includin’ trainin’ tips dat every kitty could benefit from. So, ifin you’ve missed any of our postys, purrlease click on da links at da end of this post. As with all our educational postys, da followin’ will be written in human English. Purrlease leave your questions, comments or topics you would like covered in da comment section below. We’ll be discussin’ da last of da questions we’ve received today. So without further adieu, let’s get on with it.
When people hear that mommy passes out and that we help her in the shower, it probably conjures all kinds of pictures in ones head. We guess that based on the question mommy is asked. And our friends Shoko, Kali and awnty Jean of the Canadian Cats made certain to ask, “Just what can an average cat do to help you in the shower? How do they Move you?” For all of you that are new to our blog, let us back up a minute and explain what they’re talking about. See, mommy passes out. This happens for many different reasons, none the less it happens daily and often while she’s taking a shower. And it was Shad, mommys’ first ever Service Cat that trained herself and showed mommy what a kitty is capable of. You can read Shad’s story here and here. Please be aware the Shad posts were not educational training posts and are therefore written in cat speak. Anyways, the question remains, just what is it that the average cat can do to help an unconscious human? After all, the average cat weighs in at about 8 to 10 pounds and hates water.
As most of you know mommy has rather large kitties. She always has. Even Shad, who weighed in at 15 pounds, was considered large. And yes, at 15 pounds she was healthy and not considered overweight. Shad was amazing, and without her there might not be a me or sis Raena. But mommy did learn that some of the things we are trained to do require 2 cats; otherwise it’s just too hard on kitty. Now let’s get back to the shower and just what it is we do.
You are right, even 2 healthy 30 pound kitties can not pull or push a wet, naked, over 100 pound human out of a bathtub. We aren’t concerned with getting all of mommy out of the tub. The only concern is that she doesn’t drown. So all that’s necessary is to make sure her head is out of the water flow. To accomplish this we push mommys head and torso up over the edge of the tub. Stop imagining things and let me explain. This is exactly why 2 cats are needed. Each kitty gets under an arm and positions in the armpit and pushes at the same time thus moving the torso and head. On occasion, some kitty does have to grab a mouth full of hair and reposition mommys head to lay on or over the edge of the tub. We then get out and roll around on our towels and wait for mommy to come too. We don’t mind water. We’re trained from the beginning to be in and around both standing water and flowing water like a shower.
We, like Shad, are devoted to mommy. There is a special bond that exists between a Service Cat and their human handler. This is NOT among the first tasks we are trained to do as it is asking a lot of a kitty and bonding takes time. And for that reason we will not be posting the how to’s to train this task to your kitty. It is something that the new kitty starts learning from the resident kitty at this point, as Raena is already trying to help me help mommy. We do hope this has helped you understand a bit more just what a kitty is capable of. But remember, NEVER expect more of an animal than size, breed and species would dictate. The love and devotion Shad and mommy shared caused Shad to go above and beyond. Mommy knowing the kind of love and devotion she gives and elicits has allowed her to have that continued help from the cats who came after. Anyone can have that relationship and any kitty can be trained. But you must start with a solid foundation.
I’s a good helper aren’t I sissy?
Yes Raena, you’re a good helper and are gonna be a fine Service Cat. Anyways, we do hope we’ve helped you to understand a bit more of what we do. Fur those of ya’ dat read Shads’ story we hope you enjoy it, she is very much a pawrt of who we are today. Mommy wants me to remind ya’ dat cuz she be naked and we live alone of course, there will never be any fotos of us purrfurmin’ these duties. Mommy says she’s no pb bunny. We need to know what you all wanna hear next, so leave your questions in da comments. We’re gonna see ‘bout goin’ fur a stroll while da weather’s nice, so have a great day.
Do you (your cat) like water?
Is there something you would like to know how to train?
Till da next time………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle