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Service Cats: Why Cats Scratch And Where

MeOW and welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We thought we’d do somethin’ a little bit different today. This post will still be educational and pawrt of our Service Cat series, as we’ll be focusing on feline behavior along with some training tips. But, we’ll also be introducing you to one of our give away products this month. You’ll have to come back Wednesday fur the give away. So, let me get the business outta the way and we can get right to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

Our Service Cat Monday posts include Training topics for all cats, not just Service Cats. We believe all cats can live happier lives with a little basic Training. We previously discussed inherent behaviors that drive each and every cat on the planet whether big or small. Today, we’re going to focus our discussion on Scratching. All cats have the need to Scratch. We are against declawing!!! However, even a declawed cat has the need to scratch. Please, DO NOT DECLAW your cat.

 

Dezi's huge paw reaching for the camera

 

 

Let’s take a look at the feline paw and talk about why cats Scratch. Visible to the eyes are the paw pads, and claws; although mine are hidden by fur tufts. What the eye doesn’t see are the bones, tendons and ligaments that make the feline paw so special. Most cats have the ability to extend or retract their claws at will. Like the human fingernail/toenail, the tip of the cat’s claw is dead. And, just like with the human fingernail/toenail, a portion of that claw is also alive, and connected to the paw by bone, tendons, ligament and muscle. The paw pads also contain scent glands. As we discussed in a previous post, cats see their world through scent more than through the eyes. You can NOT remove a cat’s claws without removing bone. That bone is similar to a humans first knuckle. Do Not Declaw!!!

 

Feline anatomy with close up of paws and claws

 

 

Cats communicate with other cats and animals through Scent. A cat may mark their territory, announce the desire to mate, or send other messages by urinary spray and/or Scratching. Cats also Scratch to sharpen their claws and remove dead claw sheaths. The act of Scratching also strengthens the muscles in the cat’s limbs. Scratching is an innate behavior that Can Not be stopped. Inappropriate Scratching has led to far too many cats being relinquished, killed and/or declawed. Whether you have an only cat or a house full, providing kitty with appropriate surfaces for Scratching is a must. It’s just as important as litter boxes. Think of your cat’s need to Scratch the same way you would their need to eat, sleep and void.

 

 Raena scratches on the butterfly cat scratcher

 

 

There are plenty of Scratching options on the market, and we suggest having a few different ones available for your cat.  Some cats like to Scratch vertically and others horizontally. While others like to do both. A good Scratcher is sturdy, and large enough for kitty to stretch, dig in and pull. Cats also have preferences as to the texture of their Scratching surfaces. You may need to try out several before finding kitty’s favorite. Among the most popular Scratchers are Corrugated Cardboard and Sisal. Another popular option is Carpet. Regardless, it’s always good to have two or more options available at all times. Prices are as varied as styles, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred. It’s not as important to have the most expensive Scratcher as it is to have one kitty will use. It’s also important to replace Scratchers as needed.

 

 Dezi scratching the cardboard race car

 

 

Most of the time kitty’s curiosity will cause him/her to start using the Scratcher immediately. If kitty is reluctant, you can always add a little catnip or silvervine to the Scratcher to entice kitty to use it. If kitty is Scratching inappropriately, place a Scratcher next to the area and redirect kitty. It’s always best to try to find a Scratcher that closely resembles the texture of the item kitty has chosen. Another way to introduce kitty to a Scratcher is to mimic their Scratching behavior on the new Scratcher with your own fingers while kitty watches. You may also gently put kitty’s paws on the Scratcher and use their paws to mimic Scratching.

 

 Dezi uses sisal scratcher

 

 

 

We suggest purchasing cheaper Scratchers in multiple textures until you find kitty’s preference. Once that’s been achieved, we suggest investing in several Scratchers to place in different areas of the home. Think of your kitty’s Scratcher as necessary furniture. Corrugated Cardboard is among the cheapest Scratchers and come in many different shapes and sizes. Scratchers have come a long way and many are made to fit in to your home’s décor. Sisal Scratchers are among the more expensive, but tend to be a favorite among kitties. Cat trees usually incorporate Sisal along with Carpet to offer kitty options. An important thing to remember when purchasing a cat tree or standing Scratcher, is that it will be sturdy enough for kitty to stretch out or up and pull back or down without it falling and/or moving. The Scratcher’s base should be wide enough to offer proper support and tall enough for adult kitty to fully stretch. A general rule of thumb is about 3 feet tall with a base of 16” – 18” X 16” – 18”. 

 

Raena with the Cat Scratcher from Chewy's Oct. review

Doesn’t this Scratcher look pawsum???

 

 

Just remember, kitty must Scratch, so it’s up to you to provide them with appropriate surfaces if you want to keep your furniture in tact. Never scold kitty for Scratching!!! Redirect, Redirect, Redirect any inappropriate Scratching, and Praise and Reward Kitty for all appropriate Scratching. Please consider a cat’s innate drives before adopting one. You can have nice things, a kitty and a happy home. With just a little Training, kitty will prefer his/her Scratcher to the furniture any day. If you can’t devote the time and energy into Training kitty, or you don’t think you can handle kitty’s Scratching, PLEASE rethink adopting kitty. Declawing is not a solution!!!

 

Lexi and Dezi lay on scratchers

 

 

Well, we’re gonna wrap it up for today. All this talk about Scratchin’ has me itchin’ to visit the Scratchin’ post. Again, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below. And, leave any questions or post topics you might have in the comments section or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle 

 

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      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective      Hands Are Not Toys

Does My Cat Need A Friend     Helping Your Bullied Shy Cat

Service Cats: Is Your Shy Cat Being Beat Up

MeOW everypawdy. Can you believe it? It’s already Service Cat Monday again. And, the second week in October. This year has just flown by. Anyways, we’ve got some good questions fur ya’ today, so let me get the business outta the way and we’ll get right to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

So, our question today comes from awnty Ellen of 15 and Meowing. She asks, “Is there anything that will get Sammy to stop trying to beat up Brody?” First let us say, we’re so sorry you’re having this problem, especially since you were great enough to save Brody from a life on the streets. Secondly, YES, there is hope that Sammy and Brody can live together in peace. Ideally, we know you’d love to see them curled up together having a grooming session. While we can’t promise that, we can at least give you and others going through similar things some tips to help create an alliance/peace accord. We must address the fact that awnty Ellen’s house has gone through a lot of changes since Brody joined their family; the latest being the loss of our dearly beloved Phoebe.

 

Dezi with bowed head praying on the pet stepsPurrlease send comfurt to our furiends.

 

 

As most of you know, cats don’t particularly like change. And, as we discussed previously, cats do have a hierarchy/pecking order when living in multi-cat households. Any loss creates a vacuum in that hierarchy and can cause a bit of turmoil until the cats figure out the new dynamics. The same is true when a new cat is added to the house. Brody came into the house at a time shortly after another loss in his new family. If we recall correctly, he was a bit timid and did some hiding out. While that may have helped Brody adjust to his new surroundings and family, it also marked him as prey. Although Sammy was the resident cat, he was also experiencing changes brought about by the loss of other housemates.

 

Angry cat face emoji

There are several reasons that Sammy could be acting out and taking it out on Brody. These causes could be Redirected Aggression, Fear or Posturing/Dominance. Causes of Redirected Aggression could be that another cat is acting out towards Sammy. Brody may act as prey and run from Sammy causing him to go into hunt, catch and kill mode. If this is the reason for Sammy’s actions, Redirecting him to an appropriate outlet for his aggression is key. At the first sign of any Aggression towards Brody/kitty, Sammy’s attention should be diverted. A loud noise such as a hand clap or the shaking of a coin can (aluminum can with a few coins inside) should cause Sammy/the Aggressor to stop and look for the origins of the noise. Immediately after the noise, say “STOP” in a firm but calm voice and throw a favorite toy for Sammy/kitty to chase instead. Remember, squirt guns, water bottles and the like Do Not help!!!  

 

 Cat chasing cat emoji

 

 

Sammy may also be acting out of Fear. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know and/or fix what might cause a cat to Fear. But Redirecting the abhorrent behavior will still work. In the meantime, it’s important to build Brody’s/kitty’s confidence in order teach him not to run away and act like prey. Interactive play in the presence of Sammy/the Aggressor and the other kitties will help. But, remember, the point is to help Brody/kitty gain confidence, so ignore any other kitty that may try to join in unless their presence emboldens Brody/shy or passive kitty. Whenever possible, have a second person making sure Sammy/the Aggressor doesn’t interfere with the confidence building exercise. This person might offer Sammy/the Aggressor treats, pats, or brushing during the session. But, only give Rewards when Sammy/the Aggressor is exhibiting the proper behavior and ignoring Brody/kitty. Never Reward Inappropriate Behavior. 

 

Dezi and Raena circle each otherA little posturin’ never hurt anykitty, but don’t let it get outta hand.

 

 

Lastly, if Sammy is acting out due to posturing, it’s up to the human to figure out the acceptable pecking order within their home and Reinforce it. Although this may sound a bit silly, it will certainly make for a more peaceful home. Always greet the Alpha Cat first and then the next in line and so on. Food, treats, grooming and all other interactive activities should start with the Alpha cat and go down the line of succession as well. It is extremely helpful to have scheduled feedings as opposed to free feeding. Free feeding can often cause small spats over left over food bowls. So, to wrap this up, we suggest building confidence in the kitty (Brody) who is receiving the aggression, and Redirecting the more Aggressive kitty (Sammy).

 

 Dezi and Raena sleep together on the floor

2 happy kitties coexisting peacefully.

 

 

That’s it fur this posty. We know this scenario is one played out in many homes each day. We do hope we have helped in some way. We should also say that you have one last option, and that would be to start all over and slowly Reintroduce the kitties by separating them and going through the scent and site swapping methods we discussed in our Fighting or Posturing post or Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat (links below), if you have the extra space. But we do think Redirection and Confidence building is enough, as long as you’re consistent. Remember, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can click on the links below. And as always, we love hearing from you. Leave your thoughts, comments, post suggestions and/or questions in the comment section below or send us an email. 

 

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      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective      Hands Are Not Toys

Does My Cat Need A Friend

Service Cats: Does My Cat Need A Friend

Meow and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We seem to be getting’ a later start these days, but we do hope you’re enjoyin’ these posts. Let me get the disclaimers outta the way and we’ll jump right in to today’s posty. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

So, last week we talked about Training kitty to play with toys and not hands or feet. Awnty Juliea had asked a 2 part question; the second part being about getting a playmate or “Buddy Cat” for her newly adopted Patzy. So today, we’re going to discuss the dynamics of adding a second cat to your home. Does your kitty want a friend? Would adding another cat help calm an Aggressive cat? Is my cat lonely? Am I adopting another cat for the right reasons? All of those and more are loaded questions; but questions we get asked a lot. Each cat is different, and will respond to a new addition in a variety of ways.

 

 Dezi and Raena atop the liberty cat tree with Yeowww toy

 

 

In recent years some shelters and rescues will only adopt young kittens in pairs. The idea being that if they grow up together, they will be happier and better pets. More often than not, kittens raised together will bond and become the best of friends, however, the opposite can also be true. Even littermates can grow into enemies. While this is rare, it can and does happen.

 

Dezi looks at Raena at the top of the Liberty cat tree

 

 

So, you adopted a kitten between the ages of 6 months and a year old. Kitty is a little more aloof than you had expected, or has some undesirable behaviors. Will adding another kitty help? Your needs, desires and wants must be secondary. Always make your resident cat’s personality and needs first. Do Not rely on a second kitty to change the behaviors of the resident cat. Kittens learn boundaries from their mothers and littermates in the first 6 to 8 weeks. A cat that was taken away from his/her mother too young will miss out on some of those lessons. A “Friend” or “Buddy Cat” is not the same. It’s better to Train the resident cat appropriate behaviors before introducing a friend in the mix. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, introducing a new cat into the home can often come with it’s own challenges.

 

 Dezi cares for Raena atop the Liberty cat tree

 

 

Although feral cats will gravitate to a colony for survival, and cats can live happily in multicat/pet households, they are by nature a solitary animal. That being said, we personally like to see more than one cat in a home. If you have a dominant cat, we suggest adopting a slightly older kitty with a more sedate personality. If kitty is more laid back, bordering on the lazy side, we recommend a slightly more playful kitty. And we do mean Slightly. It’s never a good idea to adopt an overly playful kitty/kitten as a friend for your older more laid back kitty. Although mommy and others have successfully integrated young kittens into homes with older cats, it poses quite a few challenges. Breed traits become very important when doing this. Remember, your resident cat’s needs must be given priority.

 

 Raena stands on perch and looks out door

I’s can see any intruder from here.

 

 

Awnty Juliea did make note that Patzy reacted by hissing and acting territorially when she saw another cat from her window in her yard. This is typical behavior and doesn’t really determine how a cat will act toward a new kitty in the home. However, there will be hissing almost anytime a new addition is added to the home. Cats have a hierarchy and this is one way they communicate that. Me still hisses at Raena every time she follows me up the cat tree and tries to trip me. Till the day she left us, sis Lexi hissed at me every time me stuck me’s nose up her behind. But, we loved each other very much and got along great, like me and Raena. So if you decide to add a “Friend” be prepared for some growing pains and hisses.

 

Dezi and Raena play

Well c’mon squirt, let’s play.

 

 

We recommend asking the shelter or rescue where you adopt kitty, how well they get along with others. We also recommend not waiting too long to adopt that new friend. The longer a cat lives a solitary (only cat) life, the less likely they will be to truly accept a “Friend”.

 

 Dezi and Lexi laying together on the bed

 

 

The hardest part about answering this question, is that we’re not there. We don’t know your cat, their personality or how they interact with others. So, of course we can’t give a definite answer as to whether or not you should adopt a new kitty. Remember, when you adopt a cat/kitten, it’s a lifetime commitment!!! Not an “Oooops, it didn’t work out” commitment. Watch your cat, if they’re truly lonely, they will give you signs, usually inappropriate behavior (severe pica, excessive meowing, excessive chewing, etc.). This can be corrected by you spending more quality time with kitty. We can’t stress enough how important it is to make the resident kitty a priority.

 

 Lexi and Dezi lay together on window perch

 

 

Do Not adopt a Friend for your cat, just because your resident cat isn’t quite what you had hoped for. What do we mean? Well, maybe you wanted a lap cat, but after getting kitty home, you discover they’re not much for being held, much less laying around in your lap. Again, a little extra quality time spent with kitty and some Training, can change that over time. But it’s unfair to the resident cat and the “Friend Kitty” to adopt a possibly unwanted friend just so you can have a lap full of fur. Our final remarks on this subject would be to adopt 2 kitties at the same time if you possibly can. This will improve the chances of acceptance and happiness in your home. We also recommend trying to adopt kitties around the same age and activity level. And always remember, every cat can use some Training. We wish anyone who is adding a kitty to their home the best of luck. And we thank you for saving a life. 

 

 Raena hugs Dezi while she lays on the brown cat tree

I’s luvs you thiiiiiiiiiiiis much sissy.

 

 

We do hope this has helped somewhat. Sorry we can’t tell you exactly what to do, but we think if you spend enough time with your resident kitty, you’ll get your answer. Don’t furget, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can click the links below. And be sure to leave any questions or topics you’d like us to cover in the comments section below, or send us an email. And remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.

 

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      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective     Hands Are Not Toys

Service Cats: Hands Are Not Toys

Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We ‘purreciate ya’ll bearin’ with us last week. We’ve got a great post fur ya’ today. Let me get the business stuff outta the way, and we’ll get to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

Our question today comes from awnty Juliea and her new kitty Patzy, described as a calico/tortie mix. Now, they don’t have a blog of their own so we don’t know a lot about Patzy; just what awnty Juliea has said in comments on our posts. Patzy was adopted after awnty Juliea lost her beloved kitty Izzy. Her question refers to Patzy as a “new wild kitty” who is about 1 year old. She was adopted from their local animal shelter, so we doubt Patzy is truly wild/feral, but rather YOUNG and Kittenish. Having lived with a mature kitty, mommy says you’d be amazed at how much one forgets about kittenhood. Now, the question is, “Patzy is a loving kitty who enjoys being with me, but, she plays really rough, which I (Juliea) attribute to her calico/tortie side. I would like for her to recognize love pats as well as play pats.” She also asks about adding a “Buddy Cat” for Patzy. We’ll address the “Buddy Cat” in another post. Today we want to focus on appropriate petting. We’d also like to remind people that a cat’s color pattern or breed DOES NOT mean they are naturally Aggressive. So, Patzy’s behavior has nothing to do with her being a calico/tortie mix. 

 

 Dezi gets loving while laying on the arm of the chair

 

 

The Petting question is a great one. More than once mommy has seen people playing with their cats improperly and then wondering why kitty bites/scratches their hands or feet. We’ve heard numerous stories about those kitties that attack their owners feet while they sleep. Our immediate response is: HANDS ARE NOT TOYS!!! FEET ARE NOT TOYS!!!  The only thing hands and feet should be associated with is LOVE and Exams!!! What may be cute from a 6 week old fluff ball, isn’t so adorable from an adult 10 pound cat. It’s never too late to Train/Re-Train a behavior, but it’s always best to start with the appropriate expected behavior.

 

 Dezi gets her chin scratched while wearing her new tiger harness

Mmmmmm Me luvs a good chin scritch.

 

 

Never, Not Ever, No Way, No How should one ever use their hands as toys!!! A kitty who has learned that hands are toys, are the same kitties that bite VETs, company, children and certainly their owners. This is totally inappropriate behavior. Before bringing a new kitty or any pet for that matter home, you should already have in mind what behaviors you’re willing to allow and which behaviors won’t be tolerated. Keep in mind that some behaviors are are innate and can’t be changed. A cat needs to scratch; even a declawed cat will use a scratching post. (Please, Do NOT declaw your cat. There are other options available.) This is a behavior you can’t change. However, you can make sure kitty scratches appropriate areas with a minimal amount of Training. 

 

 Raena lays in mommy's lap and gets loving

 

 

 

So, you’ve adopted a kitty that already sees hands as toys, how do you stop that behavior and Train kitty to a more appropriate behavior? Redirection is key. When the first sign of aggression appears, immediately remove your hand, say “NO” in a firm but gentle voice, and offer kitty an appropriate toy to bite or chew on. If kitty is laying beside you or in your lap, throw the toy away from you so that kitty must chase it, and totally ignore kitty until the aggression has subsided. Do Not reward kitty’s inappropriate behavior with treats or soothing words. Even when kitty goes for the toy instead of your hand, keep silent. There’ll be plenty of time for love and rewards later.

 

 Raena lays in mommy's lap and enjoys some loving

 

 

Let’s talk a bit about how to PET your cat. Some kitties really like what mommy calls the “Long Pet”. The “Long Pet” has the hand moving down a kitties back from the head to the tail and can include tail scritches. But, the reality is, that most cats get overstimulated and often start nipping at the hand. Remember, the head and face of kitty is welcoming and calm, the tail and hind end of kitty is used to express aggression and ownership. Click here to read about the importance of kitty’s scent glands and what each means. Almost all cats love a good chin scratching, behind the ears and around the face. Petting kitty’s head, chin, neck and upper back around the shoulder blades rarely cause over stimulation. Do Not Rub against the natural direction of kitty’s fur. Do Not “ruffle” kitty’s fur, instead commit to the pet and gently stroke kitty’s head down to the shoulder blades. At the first sign that kitty is going to bite, Remove your hand, Redirect kitty’s attention and Ignore kitty. Before you know it, kitty will enjoy receiving pets as much as you enjoy giving them.

 

 Raena getting mommy love while laying in her lap

 

 

As for the late night, early morning foot attacks, ignore kitty. Do Not encourage kitty’s attacks by moving your feet and toes. You might want to keep a few of kitty’s favorite toys on the night table to employ Redirection. Like the toilet paper rolls, this isn’t something you will have to do for the life time of kitty, only until kitty learns. Each cat learns at a different pace. You must remember to be Consistent. Training Never Stops or takes a vacation. However, once kitty has learned that hands and feet are not toys, there will be little need for continued Redirection. While teaching kitty that hands equal love, it’s a good idea to occasionally run your hands all over kitty’s body the way a VET would during an exam. This will help make kitty calmer during an already stressful situation. And as always, remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. And, Hands and Feet Are NOT toys.

  

Well, we hope this has helped. Ifin ya’ have any questions about this post or any other topic, please leave it in the comments section of this post or send us an email to lexi.dezi@yahoo.com. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, 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

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective

Service Cats: Managing Without A Wheelchair

MeOW and welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. Yes, we know it’s Labor day, but we don’t really celebrate it here. We find it strange that one would celebrate laboring by takin’ the day off. Back when mommy worked, she always worked on Labor day, so, we will too. With the wheelchair breakin’, things have really changed ‘round here. Lots of you had some very good questions ‘bout how things work when the wheelchair’s broken and how we adjust; so today we’ll be meowin’ ‘bout a day in our life without the wheelchair. Let me get the business stuffs outta the way and we’ll get to it. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

So, the questions are: “With the wheelchair broken, how does that affect your day? Is it confusing and how do you help your mommy?”  As we’ve said before, generally mommy only needs the wheelchair first thing in the morning. However, she will often use it to take out the trash or check the mail. When she does this, she usually drives it herself and we watch from the door or window. Thankfully, mommy discovered that the wheelchair was broken while taking out the trash. One of the motors is out, so all the chair does is go around and around in circles. So, instead of taking the wheelchair to the bedroom at night, mommy covers the control panel so we don’t attempt to retrieve the chair in the morning. This change in our normal routine is very upsetting and confusing for us. But, mommy is ever patient and understands that we are confused. She gently guides us through our new routine with voice commands, gentle reassurance and lots of extra loving.

 

 Raena sits and poses in her new tiger harness

 

 

The first morning, and every morning after goes something like this:  We wake up as normal and start in with our morning massages. We’ve got to help mommy get the blood flowing to her extremities and wake up the muscles and nerves in her arms, legs, hands and feet. Me has lived through several wheelchair breaks, so me takes to the new routine much quicker than Raena who starts bouncing off the walls. Raena’s confusion is manifested in her running through the house to the wheelchair and back and the bathroom and back several times. Me continues to massage mommy while she gently tries to calm Raena and get her back on the bed, to help me roll mommy onto the floor.

 

 Raena lays on shower bench

 

 

Finally, Raena seems to tire herself out and returns to the bed and lays down beside mommy and begins to massage her and purr. Mommy calmly and softly tells Raena and me how proud of us she is and how much she loves us. Me takes me’s head and begins to push mommy’s legs over the side of the bed while mommy tells Raena to push. This is part of our normal routine, although we’re usually pushing mommy into the wheelchair. Still looking confused, Raena starts to help me push mommy closer to the edge of the bed. With one last push, mommy falls to the floor with a thud. Raena quickly jumps down and starts licking mommy’s face. Me jumps down and tries to help mommy roll towards the bathroom. Mommy pulls herself to the bathroom with her barely awake arms and starts pulling herself up to the sink/potty using the shower chair/bench and finally the vanity. Raena jumps up on the shower bench to watch, and me takes me’s place on the vanity.

 

 Dezi lays in the wheelchair while Raena meows t her from the top of the stroller.

 

 

When mommy finishes in the bathroom, she gently lowers herself to the floor and crawls to the kitchen. Me takes the lead in front of mommy with Raena prancing slowly behind her. Thankfully, mommy’s arms warm up pretty quick so she can pull herself onward. Once we get to the kitchen, mommy pulls herself up and leans on the counters to make her a cup of coffee and our breakfast. On good days, mommy’s legs are tingling at this point and she can furniture walk to put our plates down, get her coffee and get to the sitting chair. On bad days, mommy again lowers herself to the floor and carrying one plate at a time, pulls herself to the living room to place our plates in their spot and her coffee on the side table beside her sitting chair. Either way, we stay at mommy’s side until she’s safely sitting in the sitting chair.

 

 Dezi watching Raena while they eat

 

 

While mommy takes her medicine, enjoys her coffee and lets her body warm up, we eat, and keep a close eye on her. Hopefully, we’ll get a new wheelchair soon. In the meantime, this is our new normal. Well, guess me will wrap this up now. Remember, if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, leave them in the comments or send us an email. And, don’t forget, if you’ve missed any post in this series, you can ketch up by clicking 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 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues

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