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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: Calming the Tiger in Your Aggressive Cat Pt. 1

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re runnin’ way late today, but we’re here. We’ll be honest and tell ya’ we’ve been lookin’ furward to tacklin’ today’s topic, with a little excitement and a lot of trepidation. Trepidation, you ask? Cats get such a bad rap in society, that we hate to focus on any feline negative. BUT, ifin those negative issues aren’t dealt with, then peeps won’t know how wonderful and special all us kitties can be. So, let’s get the business outta the way and get on with today’s posty. The followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual, as Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. We believe in a Pawsitive Reinfurcement Trainin’ Method. The tips, tricks and techniques we talk ‘bout are/have been used/developed by mommy thru her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin ya’ have any questions, suggestions, or comments, purrlease leave them in the comment section or send us an email to: lexi.dezi@yahoo.com, or use the form on our Contact Us page. It’s completely purrivate; nopawdy sees it but us. And, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible ifin you’re askin’ a question ‘bout behavior. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posty’s in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

The topic today is all about Feline Aggression. Our dear sweet awnty Ellen of 15 and Meowing asked, Is there any hope of Re-integrating sweet Jinx into the family? When out with the other kitties, he automatically goes for the kill; straight for the other kitty’s throats and the fur flies. And, our dear friend Timmy and his dad, our pawsum uncle Pete asked how to deal with the sudden onset of aggression without provocation. And lastly, our sweet friend Valentine asked about littermates who have never gotten along and try to avoid each other as much as possible. And we’re sure there are many more of you out there facing some sort of aggression issue in your house. First, we’d like to remind you to read our Prep post There’s No Bully Cat Breed. This post helps explain the origins of the house cat and what motivates your furry purrer.

 

 Angry Tiger emoji

 

These three questions, altho dealing with aggression, are completely different. However, anytime there are behavioral issues/abnormalities with your kitty, the first thing you need to do is, Take Kitty to the VET. You want to rule out any possible medical reasons for kitty’s behavior. Cats DO NOT act out of spite or just plain meanness. There is always a reason as to why kitty does what they do. Now some of you may be wondering how mommy can speak to aggression, since we’re Service Kitties who get along, as did sis Lexi and me. Well, let’s just say, things weren’t always rosy in mommy’s house. We rarely talk about it, because it was a moment in time, and something mommy dealt with as soon as it reared it’s ugly head. But we feel we need to give you a little background with a look into the past.

 

 Tiger jumps at you from the screen

We have quite a few friends that have joined us this past year and never met mommy’s first black tabby cat love, me’s sweet sis Lexi. Mommy was a foster mommy for newborns without a cat mommy when sis Lexi came into her life. At all of ten minutes old, sis Lexi started working her feline magic to make mommy fall in love with her. Mommy already had two kitties at the time and had no plans to add a third, so altho’ she loved Lexi, she had no intentions of making her part of the family. Me knows it’s hard to believe, but sis Lexi was a tiny kitty girl. This was no surprise as she was an Egyptian Mau that should weigh about 6 pounds full grown. Sis Lexi was special and grew into a large, not overweight, 30 pounds, due to her early cow milk diet that strengthened and caused her bones to grow much bigger. Anyways, since she was a foster, mommy would take her regularly to be shown at adoption events where she was caged and unfortunately poked and prodded by onlookers/possible adopters/children. She was also a little bullied by her more outgoing bigger brofur and littermate, who was the alpha of the litter.

 

 Young teenager Lexi

Lexi as a little girl. Here she is at about 7 months old.

 

Lexi grew to hate those events. She had already decided she wanted to stay with mommy. So, what’s a kitty girl to do when the human isn’t paying attention to all the signs? On adoption days, Lexi would hide and hiss and growl her displeasure at being crated up and carried off to be caged for the day. Mommy ignored all the early signs, until one day, Lexi took her frustrations out on the resident kitties. Yep, teeny little Lexi attacked mommy’s resident kitties and drew blood. She made a stand. She was saying, “I’s don’t like those cages or the people poking at me.” She had been saying it, mommy just hadn’t been listening. But, with the site of blood, mommy finally got the message. Yep, mommy adopted sis Lexi herself and changed her name from Lana to Lexi. Mommy explained to her that she’d never be caged and prodded again, and that she would live with mommy and the boys (Devon and Lucky) forever and ever.

 

 Devon, Lucky and Lexi on bathroom sink

Devon yawning, Lexi with arms and legs around Lucky in sink.

As you can see, the boys are much larger than Lexi.

 

The boys were three times the size of Lexi and very laid back. At first, the boys’ gave Lexi a wide berth, while mommy was spending time reassuring her, that she had a forever home and helping to build her confidence through love and play. After a couple of weeks, Lexi and the boys not only co-existed, but as you can see by the above photo, they learned to love each other. Mommy continued to foster other kitties. Until that is, shortly after sis Lexi’s spay surgery. Lexi once again, found herself in a cage being prodded by strangers. Obviously, she didn’t understand the whole thing, but cages brought back bad memories. While mommy was gone to a rescue meeting, sis Lexi broke into a large crate with one of the foster kitties mommy had, and she killed it. Mommy was devastated. But, she loved Lexi and understood that she had acted out of fear. Through love, patience and a lot of confidence building, sis Lexi was once again, the loving kitty mommy always knew she could be.

 

 Devon and Lexi together on sink

Me on the bathroom vanity luvvin (massagin’) on sis Lexi in the sink.

 

The point of all this, is that Lexi wasn’t born mean. She certainly wasn’t raised to be mean. But early circumstances and experiences had caused her to fear cages and strangers. Now let me tell you, the rescue organization that mommy fostered with, had wanted to kill Lexi when she drew first blood. But mommy understood that Lexi had been giving her warning signs before she took those actions and knew that with stability, patience and love, she could overcome it. In Lexi’s case, her behavior wasn’t motivated by any medical causes but rather, Fear.

 

 Lexi and Dezi lay together on window perch

Sis Lexi and me in our old window purrch. We luvved

each other very much.

 

So, the first thing one needs to try to establish with an aggressive kitty, is the motivation behind it. If you’ve ruled out medical causes, then Motivation is the next step. Unfortunately, when adopting a kitty from a rescue or shelter, you don’t always know their history. However, ALL  kitties send up warning signs before they start taking action; humans just need to be aware of what to look for. When adopting a kitty, try to find out as much as possible about their past. Were they a stray? Owner Surrender and why? Formerly Feral? Abused or Abandoned? These things can often help you to see into the kitty’s mind. By the time a kitten is 6 months old, their experiences will determine how they see the world; humans, other cats and animals. But don’t be discouraged if you adopt an older kitty. Although you can’t change the Natural instincts of a cat, you can change most of their Learned behaviors.

 

 Stressed out cat clip art

 

Cats like stability. Old folks and cats hate change. Did you know something as simple as rearranging the furniture can cause your cat to be stressed and act out? A cat that’s been bullied by others, may become aggressive when placed in a new environment with other kitties or animals? It’s the old, “the abused becomes the abuser” story. We suspect that might be the case for our sweet friend Jinx, but we don’t have enough information to truly make a diagnosis. The big key in having a happy and peaceful household with multiple cats is that all kitties be confident and own their territory.

 

 Raena playing with Petafe cheese and mouse toy

 

Cats learn confidence from things like play, interaction and ownership of their surroundings. Having their scent present in their home, the furnishings, toys, and cat furniture is very important to establishing ownership for a cat. Co-mingling scents in multi cat households is a must. When introducing cats slowly, site swapping and scent swapping are also a must. The human scent is just as important as all the other kitties in a household; so a piece of worn clothing can be left in the area with the “aggressive” cat as well as a towel, blanket, or other highly scentable cloth with all other animals’ scent. And be sure to spend quality time with the “aggressive” cat, playing the “Scent Me Up” game and with toys.

 

 Dezi and Raena square off and get ready to rumble.

A confident kitty can walk or stand their ground in the middle

of the floor while their housemate passes.

 

We’re gonna wrap this up fur today. We knew this was gonna be a really long post ifin we addressed it purr-opurrly, so we’ve decided to break it up into several installments. Aggression doesn’t happen overnight, so fixin’ it, isn’t gonna be a snap either. But, keep the hope alive in your heart, your kitty can be helped and everypawdy/kitty can live happily. To recap, see the VET to rule out any pawssible medical reasons fur kitty’s behavior. Excluding medical causes, look fur kitty’s Motivation. This may require you to look into the past, but take the time to try to figger out why kitty may be acting out. Are there any triggers? Does kitty give warnings and what causes them? Again, you might have to look into the past, but kitty didn’t start attacking without giving a warning furst. Make a list of your findings, so you can reder back to it during training and just in case you need it in the future. And lastly, help all the kitties be more confident thru play, ownership, scent swappin’ and the “Scent Me UP” game. Spend quality time with each kitty. We think this is a lot of work, but by next week, ya’ might have a better handle on what causes your kitty to be “aggressive”, and fur sure, you and kitty will have fun implementin’ these techniques. Remember, THERE’S NO BAD CAT!!! 

 

Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, ketch up by clickin’ the links below. And be sure to leave your questions, suggestions and comments below. We hope you all have a pawsum week and join us next Monday fur the second installment in dealing with Cat Aggression.

 

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

Service Cats: Going For A Walk When You’re In A Wheelchair

Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Grab your coffee, tea, coke (soda pop) or whatever your purrfered drink is and pull up a chair. Today we’re gonna be lookin’ at leash trainin’ and basic commands from a different purr-spective. Befur we move on tho’, we’d like to reiterate a sentiment from our last Service Cat Monday posty. After readin’ some of the comments, we wondered ifin some had actually read the post?. So again, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!!  CATS DO NOT ACT OUT OF SPITE!!! NOT ALL CATS OF A SPECIFIC COLOR PATTERN ACT THE SAME WAY!!! 

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

Now, as with all our Service Cat Monday postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our posts are not meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our posts consist of Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purr-ticular. 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 post.

 

 Dezi outside in walking harness

 

MeOW, Our disclaimer seems to get longer and longer each week?. Anyways, we got a question from a puppy owner that we felt needed to be addressed before the puppy became a full grown untrained/misbehaving dog. The question was: “How do you train a puppy/dog to heel while on crutches or in a wheelchair? How do you keep said puppy/dog from running into the wheelchair’s wheels and getting tangled up?” Being disabled and using a cane/wheelchair herself, mommy realized she had been remiss in dealing with training issues for a fairly large part of the population; the disabled. Mommy says you don’t realize how tricky every day living can be when you lose a basic ability/motor function. The whole world is set up for fully functional people. However, as medicine improves, both humans and animals are living longer. And, as technology advances, there becomes more ways people can have accidents and/or become disabled, even if only temporarily; such as after a surgery.  Fur the purr-puss of this post, we’re assuming kitty or doggy is already trained to wear a harness or collar with a leash attached. If not, please see our post “Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing”.

 

 Raena goes for a walk outside

 

Just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have a pet. That being said, All kittens and puppies need some basic training. As anyone who has ever had their life blest with a kitten or puppy knows, they are full of energy and into everything. It’s the nature of youth. For their safety and yours, they need to learn the rules and at least a few basic commands. Before we proceed, we’d like to remind everyone that there are often puppy classes offered for free or a small fee by some of the local pet stores or humane societies. These classes help you bond with puppy and learn how to teach them to sit, stay, heel and usually a few tricks, along with socialization techniques. These classes are usually very beneficial, and you can find out what’s offered in your area by calling around or looking online. Your VET might even be a great resource in finding a puppy class.

 

But, let’s say the classes didn’t work for you; or due to your disability or lack of classes in your area, you need to train puppy yourself. And of course, everybody knows, there are few if any kitten training classes; so training kitty is all up to you. We stated last week, that one should NEVER walk a puppy or kitten while on crutches. That’s an accident waiting to happen. Crutches are very often a temporary situation, so we would highly recommend having someone else walk puppy until you’re off the crutches or at the very least can get by with a cane. Clicker training is very effective for puppies and dogs, and even some cats. Before you start training, you need to decide which Reward system you want to use. Mommy highly recommends “Love Rewards” because it’s simple and you don’t have to remember to have treats on you all the time.

 

 Raena goes for a walk outside

Raena in a “Sit & Stay”

 

Because we don’t recommend walking a kitten/puppy while on crutches, we’re not even going to address it further. However, if you’re on a cane or in a wheelchair, there’s no reason you can’t train a kitten or puppy to behave properly. Of course you want to start with the “Scent Me Up” game with kittens, and you can even do it with puppies. They don’t have the same scent glands, but will enjoy the time and love you spend with them. The next step is “Sit”. If using treats as rewards, show the animal the treat, let them sniff it and then say “Sit”. Move the treat over the animals head. As the treat moves further back, the animal should respond by sitting and tilting their head to follow the treat. Have them hold that position for 5 seconds before giving them the treat. DO NOT give the treat if puppy/kitty stands back up; instead, start over from, the beginning. If you choose “Love Rewards”, move the empty hand over the animal’s head and after 5 seconds slowly drop the hand to pet the animal and tell them how good they are/proud you are/how much you love them, etc.. If the behind doesn’t go down, gently push the animal’s behind down with your free hand as your other hand goes over the head, while saying “Sit”. Repeat these steps until kitty/puppy sits every time.

 

 Dezi walks outside in her harness on a leash

 

The next step is “Stay”. While the animal is sitting, put your hand in front of their face and say “Stay”. Don’t leave the room, but walk a few feet away while repeating “Stay”. After 5 seconds, reward kitten/puppy and continue to repeat until “Sit and Stay” are performed every time. “Heel” is basically the “Sit and Stay” command performed together while on a walk, where the animal sits by your feet. However, if you’re in a wheelchair, you don’t want kitty/puppy by the wheels where they can get tangled up and choke or get run over. We recommend a retractable leash so the animal can get far enough in front of you in order to avoid the leash getting caught in the wheels (3 to 4 feet should be sufficient to keep the animal safe and allow you to have control of the animal). Mommy also prefers the animal to walk in front of a cane as well. This will help keep the animal from winding around the cane and tripping you. Anytime the animal gets excited and runs back to you, STOP and repeat the “Sit and Stay” command. Mommy prefers the animal to “Sit and Stay” directly in front of your feet or the foot rest on a wheelchair. Again, this keeps the animal away from the cane or wheels. Don’t forget to offer Rewards and then begin your walk again. Remember to Reward any successful walk.

 

 

When starting the walk, Do Not allow kitty/doggy to rush out the door, but Do let them calmly exit in front of you. Start at the door with the “Sit and Stay” command and then say, “Walk”. This of course only works if you’re on a cane or an electric wheelchair. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, we don’t recommend walking an untrained kitten/puppy. Unless you have help, we would highly recommend adopting an older kitten/puppy that already has some experience with basic commands and walking on a leash. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, you’ll need to get an appropriate lead harness that can be tethered to the frame of the wheelchair. This is not a first time training harness! Puppy should already be comfortable walking on a leash and performing the “Sit and Stay” commands because it is hands free and you have very little actual control over the animal. DO NOT expect any cat, small dog or puppy to be able to pull you in the wheelchair. But, this type of harness will allow the dog to walk safely in front of you while allowing you to keep your hands free to propel the chair forward yourself. The above link is just an example. We’ve not used or tried the harness and therefor cannot endorse it.

 

 Dezi lays on Liberty cat tree

 

Well, we’re gonna wrap it up. We do hope this helps some of you. Being disabled doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership, you just have to be more aware of the added dangers to you and your pet. Take precautions to keep your pet safe around any medical equipment you might have while making sure they’re comfortable with it. We know this post was more tailored to the doggies, but as you can see from the fotos, more and more kitties are goin’ fur walks these days, so we hope to hear some of you kitties are enjoyin’ your leash time with your humans. We’ll be addressin’ some aggression issues next week, so stay tuned. And ifin you have any trainin’ questions, general questions, or suggestions, leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ‘member, ifin you’ve missed any of our Service Cat Monday postys you can ketch up 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           

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