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Service Cats: Calming the Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Part 2

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re still tacklin’ that really tuff topic, “Aggression”. So pull up a chair, get you a cup of coffee, tea or whatever your drink of choice is and get ready to explore the world from the feline point of view. As always, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Trainin’ can be kind’a borin’, but it’s necessary. Every furry can benefit from trainin’. The Tips, Tricks and Techniques we offur have been used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. As always, we invite your questions, suggestions and comments. Ifin you ask a behavioral question, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. We do want to help, but we can’t read minds. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can click on the links below. Befur addressin’ the topic of Aggression, we introduced you to the origins and natural instincts of the housecat here. And, ifin you missed the initial steps to take when dealing with an aggressive cat, you can ketch up by readin’ part 1 here. Today we’re going to look at the “Alpha cat” and the importance of “Scent” in having a happy peaceful house.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

We want to reiterate, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!!  An “Aggressive” cat is trying to tell you something. Aggression can occur in a single cat household or multiple cat household; and can occur suddenly without warning, or evolve over time. It is important to try to find and understand the source of your cat’s Aggression. You will need to “become a cat”. When humans prepare for a baby/toddler, they have to look at their home through the eyes of a child to find the dangers and make them safe. (ie: outlet covers, stove knob locks, cupboard locks, etc.). The same is true for figuring out why your cat is acting out/hiding/acting aggressively, etc.. All the “pheremone” sprays, drops, collars and plug ins are essentially a band aid. They treat the symptoms, but not the core problem. However, if you find they help, Use them. Mommy suggests using the drops, collars, sprays and spot ons on all cats in the house. The reason will become clear in this post. However, you still need to treat and train the core issue. Last week we talked about how cats like routine and despise change. Any change in a cat’s health, surroundings, both inside and out, can affect your cats personality.

 

Lexi rides in her travel carrier home from BlogPaws Nashville

Fank da catz I’z used to change.

 

Cat people know no bounds. Mommy says, most dog peeps favor a particular look, size or breed, but cat peeps, they love them all. And, as a result, would have a houseful if they could. While that may be awesome for the human, and wonderful for the lives saved, a crowded house could also breed problems and ultimately Aggression in multi cat households. All cats in a house must be confident and feel like they own a space. Ideally, every cat in the household should own the whole house. In multi-cat households, there is always a “head cat in charge”, or the “Alpha” cat. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 cats or 20, one cat is “The Cat in Charge”. It’s important to watch your cats and figure out which one that is, and “cater” to it. Mommy wants me to remind you, that no matter how “in charge” your Alpha cat is, it’s also important to remember, that You, are the ultimate Alpha. This is even more so in a single cat house. After sis Lexi died, mommy had planned for me to be the Alpha cat; but me doesn’t have the “Alpha” traits. Me liked being the little sisfur and mommy’s baby girl.

 

 Lexi and Dezi loving each other in fromnt of the electric fireplace

Yep, sis Lexi was the Alpha. She was a gentle Alpha, but she

always held the top spot.

 

The “Alpha cat” will be the one, who all others look to and take their cues from. The “Alpha cat” will also spread their scent around to everybody, regularly. It can be so subtle, you might not recognize it at first, but it’s happening. The occasional hiss or swat, is perfectly normal. Your cats’ are communicating with/teaching each other. But, Do Not ever let it become a full blown fight. Cats live in a world of smells. They have scent glands located on their chin, lips, cheeks, either side of the forehead, paw pads, tail and of course there’s also the anal glands and urine. The scent glands in the head area are all friendly communicators. That’s why mommy loves the “Scent Me Up” game so much. A cat recognizes you and it’s home by Smell and Not Sight.

 

 Dezi pats Raena on the head

Me’s tellin’ Raena, she’s bein’ a little too much.

 

When you’re scent swapping, it’s important to rub your towel or whatever scent soaker you’re using on the cat’s head and not their paws or backside. The scent glands on the paws, make a statement. Think of your cat using it’s scratcher. An enthusiastic scratcher, is aggressively saying, “I own this scratcher, you can use it, but it’s All mine”. And, the scent glands on the tail and backside, communicate aggression and fear, as well as sexual readiness in unaltered cats. In a multi-cat household, ALL  the cats smell like the “Alpha”. Obviously, humans can’t smell this, but we cats can. Keep this in mind if you have a cat that is separated from the others in the house. A separated cat Does Not smell like the others and probably not even you. So they won’t be recognized by or recognize any other kitty in the home. And, remember, cats see with their noses and not their eyes. Think about that last Vet visit where only one cat went and the return home. 

 

 Raena checks out the Cat Claws Butterfly scratcher

Cardboard cat scratchers are great scent soakers. Be sure to

scent them with scents from the facial scent glands if presenting

them to an already Aggresive cat.

 

Here’s where it can get a little tricky. Remember, it’s important to “cater” to your “Alpha cat”, but ultimately, all cats should see you as the glue that keeps the family together. This is really important for the cat that is separated. We told you last week to leave a worn piece of your clothing as a scent soaker, but we didn’t get to the importance of the attitude you had while wearing that item. Cats smell fear, worry, upset, joy, and every other emotion you have. Cats will also respond to your emotions. Mommy calls it “feeding off your emotions”. When she’s angry, we’re on edge and there’s a lot more hissing going on. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. MOL  To have a cohesive smell in our house, mommy lightly sprays the sheets (we sleep in the bed with her) with perfume. The same perfume she wears. She also lightly sprays our harnesses, sitting chair, cat trees and cat beds with her perfume. Mommy has always been a perfume girl. It’s her one guilty pleasure. Anyways, our furs pick up that scent. It’s very light, but we smell like mommy and therefore, we smell like each other. So, when we sniff each other, we know we belong together.

 

 Raena playing on the sheets

 

You don’t have to spray your sheets with perfume, but you do need to keep in mind, how your scent changes and try to present the most cohesive scent possible when approaching your Aggressive cat. Ideally, before entering the room to spend time with your separated Aggressive cat, you should hold and “scent up” with all the cats in your house; save the Alpha cat for last. That will be the strongest scent. And, remember, try to get those scents from the face area so you’re presenting as relaxed and friendly.

 

 Dezi and Lexi lay on the bed together

 

Scent is so important to a cat. It is, after all, how we communicate our intentions with others. It’s how we know our housemates and humans. Remember, a cat sees the world thru smells. That’s why a blind cat can still function and live a happy life. Just thought me would throw that in there in case you’re thinking about adopting a special needs kitty.

 

We’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We’ve given you a lot to think about and smell. MOL  Me would like to repurrt, that uncle Pete’s been workin’ on buildin’ the confidence with the other kitties in their home thru play, and the ‘Aggression” issue they were having has gotten much better. Confidence and Scent go a long way towards a happy and peaceful home. ‘Member to click on the links below to ketch up on any topic you may have missed. And leave your questions, suggestions and comments 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

Service Cats: There Is No Bully Cat Breed: The Instincts of Cats

Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It’s cold and windy here, but fur the moment, we have sunshine and shadows. Mommy wanted me to let everypawdy know, that we might be writin’ a couple things today that will upset a few folks; but ifin you’ll stick with us, we purromiss you’ll unnerstand our point. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions. The only thing we ask, is that when askin’ a trainin’ or behavioral question, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible. We’re not mind readers, and do wanna try to help ya’ out. But without specifics (you can even include an example) we can’t be sure ifin we’re actually givin’ ya’ the right tips. You can leave those questions/suggestions in the comments or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in Human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our Trainin’ posts include tips, tricks and techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ on the links at the end of this or any Service cat post. We’ve got some great questions to address, so let’s get to them.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

The question we’re gonna address today, was left last week. We’re not sure if this is an ongoing situation, or one from the past. Never the less, it’s weighed heavy on our minds since it was posted and we feel we just have to address it. The thought of it has haunted mommy all week, because there are currently breed laws in effect in many States against certain dogs because of misconceptions. And mommy couldn’t live with the thought of that happening to kitties. We’ll sum up the example given fur you: A person adopted a female Tuxedo kitty as well as an 8 year old human boy from a chaotic, violent, drug filled environment. Said kitty was terrified of the human boy and retreated to live in cabinets in the basement. Whether or not kitty had been abused, is/was truly unknown to the adopter. It also appeared that the adopter already had a resident Tuxedo male kitty in the home, possibly her littermate (the comment wasn’t specific). When the female Tuxie finally started to venture out of the basement she was bullied by the resident Tuxie male to the point that the adopter had to pen him so that he couldn’t get to her. And here is the question that was asked: Do you think it’s normal for some breeds to just be bullies and pick on those kitties who didn’t have such a good start in life? 

 

 Baby Dezi puffed up for intimidation

Me’s not a bad kitty, me’s just assertin’ me’s claim.

 

The short answer is NO!!! Absolutely Not!!! First, let’s take a look at Cat Breeds in particular. ALL cats are descended from the Middle Eastern Wildcat. That’s right, those smooshed faced Persians, Color Pointed cross eyed Siamese, Floofy, floppy Ragdolls, and every other breed descended from the Felis Silvestris. Through natural gene mutation, cats adapted to their environments. Until that is, humans got involved. Breeders started cross breeding, inbreeding, and manipulating nature to create more desirable traits so they could make money. Don’t you go and hit that unfollow button. Me has a point to make. The results are not always in the best interest of the cat species. Now don’t nobody get angry with us, we’re only presenting the truth. And you know it too. Let’s keep going here. There’s conflicting evidence as to exactly when cats became domesticated, but for sure we’ve been part of human’s lives for at least 9000 years.

 

 Felis Silvestris

Felis Silvestris

Now let’s take a look at a cat’s natural behavior. Yes, we have a point for all of this, so just bear with us. A cat has four basic functions bred into each and every one of us, wild or domesticated, naturally evolved or with breeder interference. We are born to hunt, eat, sleep and procreate. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on our innate nature to HUNT. Cats are preprogrammed to hunt prey to survive. Yes, even the adorable kitty purring in your lap. Cats have amazing smell receptors. The thing that makes us great Service Cats is our ability to smell the changes in mommy’s chemical make up before she passes out. That ability also lets us smell fear, other animals (prey and/or appropriate mates), changes in the weather, and other scents we encounter.

 

 Raena playing with wand toy

 

As most people know, cats are very territorial. Because of our need to defend and claim our territory, unaltered cats, especially males can exhibit unwanted/undesirable behavior such as marking or fighting. Spaying and Neutering goes a long way to alleviate this behavior. However, defending our territory is still paramount. The smell of fear often signals prey; and the scent of another cat, signals a possible change in the hierarchy. That innate need to hunt may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat, as we see them as prey. Cats desire live prey. Chasing is part of the hunt. A scared cat with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs and running away is a sure sign of prey. And that instinctual desire to chase, catch and kill kicks in. We can’t fight it, it’s part of our nature.

 

 Dezi rolls on the Yeowww nip nana while Raena prepares for an attack

 

And the need to be “King of our jungle” may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat. In the wild, only the strong survive to procreate and pass along their genes to the next generation. For these reasons it’s important for our humans to take appropriate steps to introduce new kitties to resident cats. A cat that exhibits fear, requires extra attention from his/her humans in order to rebuild his/her confidence.

 

 Dezi pats Raena on the head

 

The person who left this question stated that the young boy hadn’t abused the scared cat, but was unsure about the adults in the previous home, yet the cat was fearful of the child initially. We’d like to take a minute not to suggest that the boy had abused the cat, but to relate that children don’t know how to treat animals until they’re taught. Children often approach animals wrongly. It’s not uncommon to hear of a child or even adult who’s been scratched after pulling a tail or trying to restrain a kitty to hard or for too long. Cats can acclimate to chaotic surroundings, but they are generally happier in more structured surroundings.

 

 Dezi and Raena play

 

When Raena came to live here, me was unsure about the whole thing. Sis Lexi had left abruptly, mommy and me had been alone for a couple of months and suddenly there was a new smell with an attitude in me’s house. Her innate drive to hunt caused her to chase anything, including me, that ran from her. It wasn’t till me’s tail went up and me stopped running and turned to face her, that she stopped treating me like prey. Because of me’s uncertainty and confusion about everything that had happened, me no doubt smelled like fear, and weakness. One of the most desirable traits of the Ragdoll, is the laid back nature we have. None the less, Raena initially presented as a “bully”. However, she was and is not a “bully”. She was only acting on her feline instincts.

 

 Raena carrying her new nip toy

 

In conclusion, we say again, NO cat or breed of cat are born “bullies”. Rather, we have an instinctual need to hunt and survive. Some cats have a stronger drive than others, but we all have it. We realize this isn’t much of a training post, but we have several questions about aggressive cat behavior, so we decided to address this issue by introducing the back story to where cats came from and what drives a cat’s existence first. And to stop the perception that any cat is a natural born “bully”. Since we all have the same DNA, that argument would mean that all cats are bullies, and we know that isn’t true.

 

 Dezi on Liberty Cat Tree

 

As me just said, we have an aggressive issue comin’ up. But next week, we’re goin’ to meow a bit ‘bout leash trainin’ do’s and don’t’s and include a question from one of our doggy furiends. In the meantime, mommy wants to stress that you don’t walk a puppy while on crutches…EVER!!! That’s an accident waitin’ to happen. ‘Member you can get caught up on any trainin’ posty you missed by clickin’ the links below.

 

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

 

 

 

Additional Resources: National Geographic (link above)

 

 

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 and Exceptions     Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies     Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train     Getting Kitty Ready for Outing    

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty     Internal Disputes 

Calling Emergency Help     Just What Is Kitty Capable Of 

Shad: Original Service Cat     Harness or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest     Round & 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             

Service Cats: Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Kitty

MeeeeeOW  Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re really excited today. We got some great questions last week, so we’ll be addressin’ some issues that can happen in any household includin’ those with Service Cats. So far, the sun is shinin’ here, so we’re gonna try to get our visitin’ caught up today. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions, so purrlease leave ‘em in the comments section, or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, but rather tips, tricks and techniques used and/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. And remember, Rewards don’t always have to come in the form of food. Mommy purrfurs the Love reward system when training any animal, including food motivated dogs. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clicking the links below. Now, let’s get to the questions.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

First, because it’ll only take a few sentences, we’ve been asked why mommy prefers “Love Rewards” over “Treats”. The answer is pretty simple. Mommy realized she might not always have a treat handy, when she needed the animal to perform a certain command, but wanted to be able to reward the animal just the same. And when she started training cats, she learned really quick that not all cats are food motivated. In fact, for every one cat that is, there are nine more that aren’t. Those of you in multiple cat households have probably experienced this yourselves. And besides, who doesn’t want a little extra loving?.

 

Raena sits in mommys lapI’s luvs mommy luvvin’.

Our second question today comes from our sweet friends, The Tribe of Five at Feline Opines.net. Their sweet Jasmine had been bullied by a previous kitty in the home. Because of that bullying, she lives sequestered in her own part of the house now. When we read that comment, it made us all cry. We know several kitties that live sequestered for a variety of reasons, and it always makes us sad. Let me be clear!!! We know these kitties are well loved in their respective homes and aren’t being “locked away” or sequestered out of meanness or to punish them. Kitties should NEVER be locked in a room for punishment!!! For that matter, Kitties should NEVER be punished. Never the less, it makes us sad to hear about a kitty who doesn’t have the run of the house, and the companionship of all their family members whenever they want. Jasmine’s lady human is really sad about this too. The bully kitty is no longer in their home, but Jasmine is still terrified and when brought out of sequestering, fearfully runs back to her “safe place”. Some of the kitties go and visit with Jasmine in her “Safe Place”, but she doesn’t want to join them out in the rest of the house.

 

 Scared gray cat

 

Their question was, Would our training help Jasmine reintegrate back into the family and the whole house? In a word, YES!!! But of course, anybody who has ever been owned by a kitty knows, nothing is ever that simple in a kitty’s mind. So, what and how can they help Jasmine? Mommy says the first thing humans should remember, is that kitties can smell about 14 times better than humans; and scent lingers. No matter how long “bully kitty” has been gone from the home, it is possible for his/her scent to still be present in the house. Mommy recommends deep cleaning everything possible to neutralize the scents in the home. It’ll be kind of like starting fresh. Mommy loves steam, because it’s basically free, can be used on most surfaces and also kills bacteria. Now that you’re starting over, you go back to the beginning and play lots of “Scent Me Up” with all the kitties.

 

 Girl pets cat clip art

 

Do Not wash your hands, face, hair or clothes until after you’ve spread your scent as well as all the kitties scents on everybody/kitty in the house. Mommy also recommends wearing something you can live without for a while, because you’ll want to leave those heavily scented clothes with the sequestered kitty afterwards. We love the “Scent Me Up” game and play it several times a day. This helps to form a stronger bond with everybody/kitty involved. Now we’ll be honest and tell you, we’ve not had any luck with those Pheromone plug ins, sprays, collars or drops, but many people have, so if you’d like to implement their use, feel free to try them out. We would be interested in learning in how they work if you choose to use them. Mommy did find a spot on called Beaphar Calming Spot On that worked somewhat on me. They come 3 spot ons to a box and each one lasts a month. (We’re not being paid for mentioning Beaphar, we’re just trying to offer helpful ideas).

 

 Dezi lays in mommys' lap for some loving

 

The true goal here is to boost the self confidence of the bullied kitty. Mommy says you should make a small out of the way “Den/Hidey Hole” in the Living room, or whatever room the family traditionally congregates in your home. A carrier with the door off/open and towel over the top, is great. A closed box with a small opening cut out is also a good choice. A second “cubby” should also be placed in the sequestered area. Don’t forget to continue to play the “Scent Me Up” game every day. You can’t over play “Scent Me Up”, so have fun. Next you’re gonna want to swap sites and kitties. If at all possible, move the scared kitty in their “Cubby” to the open area and put the rest of the kitties in the “Sequestered” area. Don’t forget to close that area off, so scared kitty can’t get back in. Altho’ it sounds kinda mean, you’re forcing scared kitty to recognize there is nothing to be afraid of (anymore). The big bonus is that the other kitties are spreading their scent all over the “Sequestered” area.

 

 Raena watches worker clean the cat tree

A well adjusted, self assured kitty will have no fear

being in the middle of a room.

 

 

Whether scared kitty comes out of their “Cubby” or not, talk to them as if they were right in your lap. Hopefully, they’ll be there soon enough. Start with an hour and work your way up from there. If scared kitty likes treats or some kind of special food, or nip toy, give it to them while they’re in the congregation spot. If kitty’s still inside their “Cubby”, place the treats or food right in front of the “Cubby”, so they’ll have to at least stick their head out to eat. Same with the toy, place it right in front of the “Cubby”. And when allowed, give them lots of extra love. Do Not intrude on kitty’s “Safe Space” to pet them. Gradually allow one kitty at a time to join Scared kitty in the congregating spot. Mommy recommends when possible, that the first kitty should be laid back. Change out the scented clothing at least once a week.

 

Cat in under the chair hammockOpen Cubby example

 

Once scared kitty starts coming out of the “Cubby”, give them love and engage them with interactive play. Wand toys, feathers, mice, or whatever toy is preferred by kitty should be used. We’ve gotta tell you, those nip bubbles are great fun. Each kitty is different, so we can’t tell you how long this will actually take. But, remember, you must be consistent and do this every day. Work your way up to more and more play and feeding in the congregating spot and less and less fun and food in the “Sequestered” spot. If scared kitty hates getting their claws trimmed or brushing, make those the things you only do in the “Sequestered” area, so kitty associates the congregating spot with nothing but good things. And always remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. The pay off will be a smart, self assured happy kitty and home. We meowed a lot about the “Scent Me Up” game today. You can find the explanation/instructions in our Training Foundations post (link below). 

 

 Raena peaking out of a chewy box

Close da box so I’s can hide. MOL

 

We’re gonna call this a wrap. We do hope this helps some of you. And ‘member, you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed by clickin’ the links below. We’ve got some great things comin’ up fur ya’ this week, so stay tuned. We’ll be addressing another reader question next week, so mark your calendars. You don’t wanna miss it.

 

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 or Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair, the 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 and 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                  

Service Cats: A Loopy Training Session

MeOW It’s Service Cat Monday. And as purromissed, you all are in fur a loopy training session today. Me doesn’t know who was funnier, mommy or Raena. As me tells you every week, training is all ‘bout consistency. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Oh yeah, and Rewards. Don’t furget those rewards. Anyhow, ya’ don’t start training something ifin ya’ don’t plan to see it thru. Mommy says the only reason to skip a training session is death. So, let me get this business stuffs outta the way, so we can get on with it. The following will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. We try to answer all questions in a timely manner; and you can post them in the comments section or send us an email. Our training posts aren’t intended to be a step by step manual as training can be boring due to the Repetitive nature. Instead they are tips, tricks and techniques mommy has developed over the many years she has spent training animals, cats in purrticular. And ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up, by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any training post. MeeeeeeeeYeow

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

So, as most of you know, mommy’s training sis Raena on driving the wheelchair. Her training has been going well, and she’s getting more and more comfortable every day. As most of you also know, mommy had dental surgery last week and was a little loopy for a few days afterwards. Some of you assumed Raena’s training would be put on hold till mommy recovered. We know that, because we got a few emails about just that. Oh Contraire Mon Cher. As me said earlier, mommy says the only excuse for skipping a training session is death. And just because mommy felt like she was, she was still breathing, so no skipping training. Mommy says the no skipping rule exists because often the result of one skipped session turns into more, and/or the animal, especially cats, tend to “forget” what they’ve learned and you have to start over from the beginning.

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

 

The morning of mommy’s surgery, she got ready and then decided to have a short training session while she waited on her ride. Everything went pretty much according to plan. Raena was a bit over stimulated because she knew something was up, but she wants to please mommy so much she happily went along with about a 10 minute training session. Mommy says when kitty is over stimulated 10 minutes is better than nothing. We all spent the rest of the time till mommy’s ride arrived getting and giving extra love.  It was a little after dinner time when mommy got home, so feeding us was the top priority, after a short welcome home love session of course. At this point, mommy was totally alert and aware of everything, including her pain. While we ate, she busied herself reading about the medicines she was to take and what she could and couldn’t do, to keep her mind alert. Mommy knew, that once she slowed down, the anesthetic would kick back in and make her tired and loopy.

 

 Raena chews on the wheelchair bag

 

Shortly after our dinner, Raena and mommy headed back to the wheelchair for another short training session which went well. Mommy had nothing in the house, that was on her list of acceptable foods, and all the stores in town were already closed. Me tells you this, because it’s important, in explaining why mommy stays loopy for so long. She wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for 8 hours before the surgery and other than a scoop of ice cream she ate on the way home, she had nothing to eat for 36 hours after her surgery. So all that medicine was still coursing through her veins and making her a little loopy with her totally empty stomach. 

 

Dezi lays on top of cat tree ledge

 

The next day, mommy was feeling no pain. She had a bit of a headache, but she couldn’t have walked a straight line if her life had depended on it. But training doesn’t stop for loopy mommies. Of course Raena and me were on guard, keeping a close eye on mommy. She had fallen at some point and smashed me’s cat scouts cardwood derby entry, so we knew we needed to watch her. When mommy went to the wheelchair and called for Raena, me headed to the top of the Liberty cat tree in record time. This wasn’t me’s first loopy training session, and me knew what could happen. Of course, Raena loves mommy so much, she cautiously ran over and jumped in mommy’s lap when she was called. Mommy positioned Raena on her right leg and reached up to make sure the speed was turned all the way down. 

 

Raena lays in the wheelchair

But, in mommy’s hazy state, instead of turning the chair down, she turned the speed up full blast. Mommy then told Raena to turn on the chair. Raena pawed at the power button, the horn and then the speed controls. We do have some big paws, ya know. The chair began to beep uncontrollably. Mommy softly told Raena to stop pawing all the buttons, she had already turned the speed down. (The wheelchair will continually beep if it’s already at top speed or low speed and you continue to push the speed button.) So mommy assumed Raena was pushing the zero speed button because that’s the button she thought she had pushed. Anyways, Raena sat back and mommy gave her a small pet and hug for turning the chair on. Remember, you always reward proper actions. Mommy then repositioned Raena again, and told her to “Bite” the joystick. Mommy was talking really funny. (She says it’s because some of the teeth that help the tongue form words are now missing.) Apparantly, Raena didn’t understand the command, because she turned and looked at mommy and sat back down. 

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

 

Mommy repositioned Raena yet again, and repeated the command, “Bite”. Raena looked up at me atop the Liberty cat tree, and then back at mommy, who sat waiting with her eyes glazed over. Mommy took her hand and went to put it on Raena’s head to gently guide her, and instead, hit the joystick. Mommy and Raena jolted forward. Raena was pushed back into mommy’s chest by the force of the jolt. Raena’s eyes got as big as saucers and mommy giggled. She apologized to Raena, and repositioned her yet again. “Power on” and then “Bite” were her next commands. Raena complied.

 

When she bit the joystick she also turned her head just enough to pull the joystick backwards. Mommy, Raena and the wheelchair all jolted backwards and right into our brown cat tree. The tree shook and stopped the chair, and Raena jumped from mommy’s lap to the tree. She had released the joystick as soon as the chair started moving. Mommy started petting air and apologizing to air Raena. Real Raena was looking on from the brown cat tree right behind mommy. Mommy finally realized Raena was no longer sitting in her lap and looked around for her. Mommy can’t turn her head to see behind her, so she couldn’t see Raena sitting right behind her. Of course, we’re not so sure mommy could see anything with her hazy eyes.

 

Dezi leaves the top of the Liberty cat tree

Anyways, not one to give up, mommy called for Raena and the little stinker jumped right back into mommy’s lap. Mommy gave Raena big hugs and me took the opportunity to shinny down the Liberty tree and run down the hall to the bedroom. Once again, mommy positioned Raena and instructed her to “Power On” the chair and “Bite” the joystick. Mommy reached around Raena and pushed at the control panel in an attempt to turn the chair speed down. Raena bit down on the joystick and held still. Mommy rewarded her with lots of hugs, and then told her to “Release” the joystick. Apparantly, Raena likes jolting, because during the love fest and command to “Release“,  she pushed the joystick forward before releasing it. You guessed it, mommy hadn’t gotten the speed turned down and her and Raena jolted forward yet again right into the Liberty cat tree. Thank the cats, mommy had the “bumper pads” on the chair. The good news is that Raena sat back in mommy’s lap after releasing the joystick and jolting forward. Raena got lots of Loving rewards for performing her duties “correctly”. Yep, even though they jolted forwards and backwards, Raena had “Powered On”, “Bit”, “Held” and “Released” the joystick like an old pro.

 

Dezi lays on Liberty tree and looks out the front door

When mommy announced the training session was over, me headed back up the hall to get in on some of that loving and some treats. That’s right, we both got treats. After all, me’s been driving the chair now for a while, all by meself. That evening the training session went pretty much the same way. It took a couple of days for the anesthetic to completely wear off, and training sessions to get back to normal. Altho’, even un-loopy this training session is about par for the course. Mommy says there’s nothing wrong with making training fun. Training might be serious business, but don’t make it so serious, you take the joy out of it for everybody/kitty/doggy. 

 

 Raena lays on the Liberty cat tree

 

Me’s gonna wrap it up now. It’s time fur another training session for Raena and the wheelchair. ‘Member, ifin you have any questions, suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section, or send us an email. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on 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 and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi the Wheelchair and the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help 

The Rest of the Story     Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

When to train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling Emergency Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty    

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat           

Service Cats: Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

MeOW It’s Service Cat Monday…and we’re here. MOL  We got a couple questions that have fairly short answers, so we’ll deal with those and then tell ya’ a story. How’s that sound? Me needs to get the business pawrt of this posty outta the way furst tho’. Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. As with all our Trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translation and reader ease. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can paw the links at the end of this or any Service Cat Monday post. As always, our Service Cat posts aren’t meant to be a step by step training manual but rather, tips, tricks and techniques mommy has successfully used in her many years of trainin’ 4 legged furries, purrticularly the feline species. Ifin ya’ have any questions or post suggestions, not limited to Service Cat training, purrlease feel furee to send us an e-mail, leave in the comment section, or paw on the contact us tab to send us a private message. WhMew That’s a lot of disclaimer stuffs. Anyways, let’s get to those questions.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

Our sweet Persian furiend Valentine asked, “Which animal was the hardest to train?” This question was asked in response to last weeks’ post when we revealed that mommy has trained not only cats and dogs, but also pigs and horses. Mommy had to think long and hard on this one, as each animal is different, and the tasks she trained were different. When she got started in training, she was training dogs basic commands and tricks to make them more sociable and fit in with their humans better. You know, things like, stay, sit, down, roll over, high five, etc.. Mommy says every puppy/doggy can benefit from some basic training, and that dogs are generally the easiest to train, because they are so food motivated. Now, that doesn’t mean all dogs fit this category, but most do.

 

Shad laying on the bed with Cameron the pig

Shad with her pig brofur Cameron

 

Cats/Kittens can be challenging, at least until you find their motivator, and remember, you’re the one in charge of training. MOL  Mommy trained pot bellied pigs things like, sit, stay, come, roll over, use the litterbox and leash walking to name a few. Pigs are intelligent creatures and highly food motivated. As for horses, mommy’s job was to break them, and train them for rodeo roping, ranch herding, and racing. Different horses for different jobs of course. Mommy says horses are by far the largest animal she’s trained and the only animal that has thrown her into more than one barbed wire fence or muddy patch of ground. And while mommy’s specific techniques are seen as bordering on the looney side, they work, at least for her. Mommy says all animals respond to love and affection. She liked to spend a day or two brushing, talking to and singing to a horse before mounting them for the first time. During that day or two she would apply pressure to their backs, put on saddle blankets, bridles and reins. In the end, mommy says, no species was harder than the other, because the tasks trained varied from basic commands to extraordinary tasks.

 

 Raena chews on the wheelchair bag

 

Our second question came from our furiends at Eastside Cats. They wanted to know if mommy could get any tax relief or other financial benefits/deductions since Raena and me are Service Cats. In a word, NO. Because the ADA doesn’t recognize Cats as Service Animals, there is no financial help or deductions allowed. However, each State, can offer some benefits if they choose. And there are exceptions that exist under the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act. Most of you are familiar with the clause that keeps landlords from refusing rentals to anyone claiming to have and need a Service Animal of any reasonable species. Mommy says, please, don’t ask to move your emotional support pony into a second story one bedroom apartment. Use some common sense. Landlords also aren’t allowed to charge any fees or make any unreasonable requests or cause undue financial or other hardship to the handler relating to the Service Animal(s).

 

And Airlines and other Public Transportation service providers can’t refuse to let a Service Animal accompany their handler while using their services. HUD and Rural Development allow the disabled person to submit receipts for the care and upkeep of said Service Animal(s) as a medical cost to be used in the formula to determine the amount of rent the disabled person must pay in a subsidized home. Mommy is able to take advantage of the benefits allowed under the Fair Housing Act. For every $30.00 spent on the Service Animal, $1.00 is deducted from the base rent. (ie; base rent is $400.00, you spend about $1500.00 a year on Service Animal, Your rent is lowered by about $4.00 a month.) It’s not a lot, but mommy says every little bit helps. Especially when we are her largest bill every month. Mommy’s not complaining, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 Dezi bright eyed looking out of stroller

 

There are a few other benefits that handlers can sometimes take advantage of. Some VETs offer a small discount for Service Animals. This is not usually posted, so you should remember to ask if your VET offers such a discount. Some of the big Pet food companies will sponsor Service Animals by providing food and medical care for the Service life of a Service Animal. However, this is generally a benefit only available to those Service Animals recognized by the ADA, dogs; and the occasional “media darling”. We’ve heard about a few emotional support animals benefitting from this. Their handlers are ex-military. Please understand, we are grateful those Service men and women can benefit from this, we just wish it was an option for others as well.

 

 Raena in stroller

 

Whmew!!! Me just thought these answers would be short and sweet. Me thinks we’ll skip the story fur now, and tell ya’ next week. We’re guessin’ most of ya’ are thinkin’ mommy and Raena haven’t been wheelchair training during mommy’s recovery. Well, ifin you’re thinkin’ that, you’d be wrong. Yep Wrong with a capital R…, or, a capital W…or, well whatever, you’d be wrong. ‘Member, trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.  But trust me, you definitely wanna hear ‘bout Raena’s trainin’ over the last couple of days. MOL MOL MOL  So, join us next week fur mommy’s loopy trainin’ sessions with Raena. And don’t furget to leave your questions, suggestions and comments fur us. And get caught up by pawin’ the links below or at the end of any Service Cat Monday posty.

 

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 and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 & the Chest     Round and Round We Go 

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3 

When to Train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling Emergency Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty     

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