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Service Cats: Taming A Feral: Can It Be Done

Welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We do hope you all are enjoyin’ these posts and that they are helpin’ ya’ with your own kitties, doggies, etc.. ‘Member, we’re takin’ any and all questions ya’ have, whether they be ‘bout Trainin’, Health, or anythin’ else kitty. We’ll also try to help with other animals ifin ya’ have a specific question. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ ‘bout behavioral issues. You can leave your questions, comments and post suggestions in the comments below, or send us an email via our totally purrivate Contact us page. As with all our Service Cat posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. These posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual, but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. 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 Service Cat Monday posty. Now, let’s get to today’s topic.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

Our sweet Weimaraner furiend Phenny asked a couple questions a little while back, and we wanna address one of those questions today. Phenny said, “My aunt adopted a feral kitty. Is there any hope of taming him?” First up Phenny, thank your aunty for us. We’re really happy that she took in a totally unadoptable kitty. We say totally unadoptable, because the shelters say that. But the truth is, even a feral kitty can be trained and tamed. Anyone who has ever cared for a feral colony knows this, whether they realize it or not. What do you think is happening when you show up with food and they come running? The feral colony has been trained to show up at a specific time and place, and they will be rewarded with food and usually some sweet talk. Over time, they’re rewarded with love and vet care too. We’ve had ferals show up at our apartment many times through the years. They quickly learn when mommy is able to get around and give them something to eat and some fresh water. We know this to be true, because if mommy happens to get around earlier, there’s been no feral in sight. But, just like magic, around the same time each day, the feral kitty(s) suddenly appear.

 

 Feral tabby cat and black cat

 

Anyways, let’s talk about Training a Formerly Feral kitty to live inside. Last week we talked about a “Decompression Room”. A Decompression room can be used in many situations. Remember, us kitties don’t like change, and a feral is generally terrified of humans. You must understand, a feral is not acting out of meanness or spite, but rather, FEAR. Whether the feral is the result of abandonment by a past human or born from generations of ferals, their biggest motivator is survival. Part of that survival has conditioned (Trained) them to fear humans. So, when you adopt a feral kitty, you can expect to see many inappropriate behaviors as the kitty learns to adjust and Survive in their new territory. Once you’ve decided to take in a feral, make sure they can’t get outside again. Training is all about Repetition and Rewards and it’s hard to be repetitious with a kitty you can’t find.

 

 

Raena peaking out of a chewy box

I’s hidin’ out. You can’t really see me. MOL

 

 

Making Kitty Comfortable

Kitty should be placed in a “Decompression Room” after seeing a VET to rule out any possible illnesses or diseases, and a spay/neuter. Remember the ‘Decompression Room” should contain a litter box, food, fresh water, scratcher, a couple of covered boxes/carriers (good for hiding), a few toys and/or cat furniture of some kind. If there’s a window in your “Decompression Room”, kitty should be able to look out. A couple of scent soakers should also be placed within the “Decompression Room”. We were asked last week what piece of clothing made the best scent soaker. Mommy says for women, the best scent soaker is a bra; and for men, it’s an undershirt or cotton t-shirt. Remember the scent soakers should contain the scents of all residents of the house. Don’t rush kitty to be affectionate or you may lose any progress you’ve made. And, be sure to place the litter box away from the food and water bowls. Altho’ a hungry kitty will eat close to the litterbox, ideally, kitties don’t want to eat beside their toilet, do you? 

 

Lexi plays in a box

Almost all cats like boxes.

 

 

Socializing the Feral Kitty 

The next step is socializing kitty. While kitty is sequestered in their “Decompression Room”, you should go in at least a few times a day to spend time with kitty. This excludes the times you come in to clean the litterbox or feed kitty. Anytime you enter kitty’s space, you should talk to kitty and use their name. This doesn’t mean to get into a stare down with kitty or try to pet kitty. Just act like you’re talking to another person in the room and continue on with your business. You can read to kitty, watch t.v. with kitty, sing to kitty or whatever you’d like. Just make sure you’re spending time in the room with kitty. At first, kitty may hide and not show themselves to you at all. Don’t worry, kitty is getting used to your presence and good things happening when you appear. Once kitty starts showing themselves and coming out of hiding in your presence, offer them some treats and/or play time. This may be awkward at first, because the feral kitty is unfamiliar with cat toys and interactive play. Don’t give up on kitty. A little time and patience will reward you greatly.

 

 

Scared Cat emoji

 

Signs of Affection

When, kitty finally shows the first signs of affection, Do Not Rush him/her. The first signs will most likely be rubbing against your legs. This is a positive sign. Kitty is accepting you and marking you as part of their family. As kitty continues to offer affection, offer your hand, palm open and facing upwards, below kitty’s head. Allow kitty to sniff your hand and/or rub against it. Do Not try to pet kitty at first. After a few days when kitty rubs against your hand, gently scratch kitty’s chin. At this point, kitty’s motor boat (purr) will probably be on overload. Kitty has now learned to trust you. Do Not Overdo it though. You want to stop petting kitty before kitty gets agitated and retreats. you know the old saying, “Leave them wanting more”.

 

 

 

 

 

No Longer Feral

At this point, when you leave the room, leave the door open so kitty may follow you and/or examine the rest of their new territory (your house, their furever home). Go about your normal day and let kitty adjust on his/her own time. Anytime kitty shows themselves and gives you any sign of affection, reward them with treats, praises and/or a quick chin scritch. Altho’ don’t be surprised if kitty returns to the “Decompression Room” when strangers or company appear. Trusting you, took time, and so will trusting the rest of the world. Altho’, kitty may never truly be comfortable with strangers. this can happen with any kitty, not just ferals. If you’re wanting kitty to be a lap cat, place a few treats on the floor and the area beside your lap. Kind of like a trail leading kitty to the desired place, your lap. When kitty crawls into your lap the first few times, ignore them. Yes, kitty can feel your excitement and your heart beating a hundred miles a minute, but don’t give in to the temptation of the pat/scratch. After a few times, you may reward kitty with a nice chin scritch/treat and plenty of praises. Remember to always speak calmly and quietly. Before you know it, you won’t even remember a time when kitty was so afraid they wouldn’t let you see them.

 

 Raena lays in mommy's lap

 

 

Summary

The rule of thumb is always remember, Repetition, Repetition, Repetition and Rewards. And, Always leave them wanting more. Mommy says that’s a good rule of thumb to follow for even the most sociable kitty. You never want to over-stimulate any kitty to the point where they want to get away from you, bite or scratch.

 

Well, we’re gonna wrap this up fur now. We do hope this helps. All kitties can be Trained and desire normalcy. Even a Feral can live a happy and contented life as an indoor cat if you take the time to let them learn they can trust humans once again. Don’t furget to leave any questions, comments or blog suggestions below. And, have a pawsum week.

 

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 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel

Service Cats: Calming The Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Part 3

Welcome, it’s time fur another Service Cat Monday posty. Fank you fur bearin’ with us last week durin’ our time off. Mommy’s not completely thru with lease re-cert stuffs, but she’s gettin’ there. Seems every time we turn ‘round, there’s somethin’ new or old bein’ thrown at us. And, we’ve got an inspection to purrpare fur this week on top of it. Anyways, that’s not what we’re here to meow ‘bout today. As always the followin’ will be writtten in human English fur reader and translator ease. We welcome any and all questions; just leave ‘em in the comments or send us an email. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible ifin you’re dealin’ with a purrticular issue. We want to offur the bestest advice and tips we can to help you and others. Our Trainin’ posts are not meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual; but rather, Tips, Tricks and Techniques mommy has used/developed throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Remember, Training never stops. it’s all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this or any Service Cat Monday posty.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

We’ve been dealing with the issue of “Aggressive” kitties. Unfortunately, Aggression can be the result of so many different issues that we could write about it every day for a year and still not cover it all. However, the base of Aggression is one of three issues: Fear, Illness or what mommy calls Alpha Aggression. Alpha Aggression includes territorial issues and interactions between other dominant cats. In our last Service Cat post, we talked about catering to your Alpha Cat. We got a couple of questions asking what we mean by “catering”. The Alpha cat is always greeted first when coming home or walking into a room where your cats are present. The Alpha Cat should be fed first, get treats first, be brushed first, nails clipped first…You get the idea. Alpha means first/beginning, so the Alpha Cat should get all the firsts. It’s as simple as putting down the Alpha cat’s plate first or saying hello to them first, etc.. It doesn’t mean they get their food and eat and finish before anyone else. And remember, THERE ARE NO BAD CATS!!!

 

 Angry Tiger emoji

 

We’ve also covered Scent swapping, Site swapping (when dealing with kitties who are separated from others in a household), Confidence boosting and what drives the behaviors of house cats. Once you’ve ruled out any possible medical reasons for your cats’ behavior, then you need to figure our what’s behind the Aggression in order to treat it. We are all about feeding the strays and feral cats. However, if they are hanging around on your porch, in your backyard, or other areas that could be causing your house kitty to feel insecure or threatened, you need to feed them further away. It can be at the back of your property or a backyard shed. Just keep it off your porch if outside kitties are a problem for your house cat’s well being. As much as we love and pity the kitties who have to live outside, your house cat has to be the priority.

 

 

 Scared Cat emoji Scared white cat emoji

 

 

It’s always good to be aware of loud noises that may scare your kitty(s). Obviously you can’t do away with many of those noises, such as the carpet monster(vacuum), lawn equipment, car backfires, and so on; you can eliminate or at least quieten radios, t.v.’s, your voice, etc.. We have a pretty quiet house; and as a result, we get a little scared by loud excited commotion. When somebody comes over, mommy’s always reminding them to act and speak calmly with their inside voice. We may not be able to control the sonic booms, thunder, lawn crew, or the likes, but mommy can control our visitors; and so can you. Even if you think it’s a problem for only 1 cat in your home, it’s really a problem for all if them. Us kitties feed off the energy around us.

 

 Stressed out cat clip art

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s there was an idea floating around that you could send “psychic” messages to your kitties/animals even when you weren’t at home, to help ease their stress. The idea was to picture your kitty in your mind and say things like, “I love you”, “I’ll be home soon”, “you’re safe”, and so on. While mommy never bought into that idea, she does believe that we kitties/animals can feel your emotions when you’re dealing with us. Whether that emotion is positive or negative, we will react accordingly. When dealing with an “Aggressive” kitty, most of the time, you’re already expecting the worse case scenario when you try to introduce said cat to the other cats in your home. Part of helping your “Aggressive” kitty is getting control over your own pre-conceptions and fears.

 

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Due to untimely deaths, mommy’s had a lot of experience introducing new kitties into the house. And because of sis Lexi’s early aggression issues, trust me, mommy had some fears. But, for the sake of all kitties involved, she couldn’t let that fear take control. Mommy believes part of her success in having smooth transitions is her positive , “there won’t be a problem” attitude. And of course, she also believes in the power of prayer. She suggests a little of that visualization to help yourself get past any fears you may have and to make sure you’re approaching the kitties with a positive attitude. Mommy says you need to expect the best instead of the worst when introducing an “Aggressive” kitty to the rest of the house. Be prepared to act swiftly, but expect the meeting to go well. We realize that sounds kind of silly, and is easier said than done, but, it really does work. Especially if you have followed the precursors of Scent and Site swapping and boosting the self confidence of all the kitties in your home.

 

Raena plays with the flying toy

I’s gonna ketch it this time sissy.

The best time to make introductions is after a good play session when all the kitties are tired and a little hungry, especially the more dominant kitties. A good introduction would include some major yummy treats for all kitties. Yes, even those on a diet. It’s necessary for all kitties to be involved in the introductions. If there’s been a problem between 2 specific cats, those introductions should be made separately. If you have a 3rd cat that’s kind of the peace maker, that kitty should be included in that introduction. They may be able to calm the other 2 and serve as a bridge for peace. In the end, a happy cohesive home is the goal. A place where all kitties own their space and co-exist peacefully. We can’t put a time limit on this because every cat is different. You know your cats and they’re yours for life, so take the time to do it right. Your rewards will be endless.

 

 

 Dezi and Raena bathe atop the Liberty cat tree

 

We’re gonna wrap this topic up fur now. We hope we’ve given ya’ some helpful tips to deal with “Aggression” and introductions of kitties. Ifin after readin’ these posts you still need help or would like us to expand on a specific training task, purrlease let us know. As we said earlier, we could cover this topic endlessly and still only scratch the surface. We weren’t given the specifics from any of those who originally asked about Aggression, so we’ve dealt with it in a broad manner trying to help as many as possible. We’ll be addressing a new issue next week, so purrlease come by and check it out. Submit any questions you have in the comments below or send us an email at lexi.dezi@yahoo.com or use the form on our “contact us” page. And don’t furget, you can ketch up on any Service Cat posty you may have missed by clickin’ 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 & 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 Pt. 2

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                  

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