MeOW It’s Service Cat Monday. And as purromissed, you all are in fur a loopy training session today. Me doesn’t know who was funnier, mommy or Raena. As me tells you every week, training is all ‘bout consistency. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Oh yeah, and Rewards. Don’t furget those rewards. Anyhow, ya’ don’t start training something ifin ya’ don’t plan to see it thru. Mommy says the only reason to skip a training session is death. So, let me get this business stuffs outta the way, so we can get on with it. The following will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. We try to answer all questions in a timely manner; and you can post them in the comments section or send us an email. Our training posts aren’t intended to be a step by step manual as training can be boring due to the Repetitive nature. Instead they are tips, tricks and techniques mommy has developed over the many years she has spent training animals, cats in purrticular. And ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up, by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any training post. MeeeeeeeeYeow
So, as most of you know, mommy’s training sis Raena on driving the wheelchair. Her training has been going well, and she’s getting more and more comfortable every day. As most of you also know, mommy had dental surgery last week and was a little loopy for a few days afterwards. Some of you assumed Raena’s training would be put on hold till mommy recovered. We know that, because we got a few emails about just that. Oh Contraire Mon Cher. As me said earlier, mommy says the only excuse for skipping a training session is death. And just because mommy felt like she was, she was still breathing, so no skipping training. Mommy says the no skipping rule exists because often the result of one skipped session turns into more, and/or the animal, especially cats, tend to “forget” what they’ve learned and you have to start over from the beginning.
The morning of mommy’s surgery, she got ready and then decided to have a short training session while she waited on her ride. Everything went pretty much according to plan. Raena was a bit over stimulated because she knew something was up, but she wants to please mommy so much she happily went along with about a 10 minute training session. Mommy says when kitty is over stimulated 10 minutes is better than nothing. We all spent the rest of the time till mommy’s ride arrived getting and giving extra love. It was a little after dinner time when mommy got home, so feeding us was the top priority, after a short welcome home love session of course. At this point, mommy was totally alert and aware of everything, including her pain. While we ate, she busied herself reading about the medicines she was to take and what she could and couldn’t do, to keep her mind alert. Mommy knew, that once she slowed down, the anesthetic would kick back in and make her tired and loopy.
Shortly after our dinner, Raena and mommy headed back to the wheelchair for another short training session which went well. Mommy had nothing in the house, that was on her list of acceptable foods, and all the stores in town were already closed. Me tells you this, because it’s important, in explaining why mommy stays loopy for so long. She wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for 8 hours before the surgery and other than a scoop of ice cream she ate on the way home, she had nothing to eat for 36 hours after her surgery. So all that medicine was still coursing through her veins and making her a little loopy with her totally empty stomach.
The next day, mommy was feeling no pain. She had a bit of a headache, but she couldn’t have walked a straight line if her life had depended on it. But training doesn’t stop for loopy mommies. Of course Raena and me were on guard, keeping a close eye on mommy. She had fallen at some point and smashed me’s cat scouts cardwood derby entry, so we knew we needed to watch her. When mommy went to the wheelchair and called for Raena, me headed to the top of the Liberty cat tree in record time. This wasn’t me’s first loopy training session, and me knew what could happen. Of course, Raena loves mommy so much, she cautiously ran over and jumped in mommy’s lap when she was called. Mommy positioned Raena on her right leg and reached up to make sure the speed was turned all the way down.
But, in mommy’s hazy state, instead of turning the chair down, she turned the speed up full blast. Mommy then told Raena to turn on the chair. Raena pawed at the power button, the horn and then the speed controls. We do have some big paws, ya know. The chair began to beep uncontrollably. Mommy softly told Raena to stop pawing all the buttons, she had already turned the speed down. (The wheelchair will continually beep if it’s already at top speed or low speed and you continue to push the speed button.) So mommy assumed Raena was pushing the zero speed button because that’s the button she thought she had pushed. Anyways, Raena sat back and mommy gave her a small pet and hug for turning the chair on. Remember, you always reward proper actions. Mommy then repositioned Raena again, and told her to “Bite” the joystick. Mommy was talking really funny. (She says it’s because some of the teeth that help the tongue form words are now missing.) Apparantly, Raena didn’t understand the command, because she turned and looked at mommy and sat back down.
Mommy repositioned Raena yet again, and repeated the command, “Bite”. Raena looked up at me atop the Liberty cat tree, and then back at mommy, who sat waiting with her eyes glazed over. Mommy took her hand and went to put it on Raena’s head to gently guide her, and instead, hit the joystick. Mommy and Raena jolted forward. Raena was pushed back into mommy’s chest by the force of the jolt. Raena’s eyes got as big as saucers and mommy giggled. She apologized to Raena, and repositioned her yet again. “Power on” and then “Bite” were her next commands. Raena complied.
When she bit the joystick she also turned her head just enough to pull the joystick backwards. Mommy, Raena and the wheelchair all jolted backwards and right into our brown cat tree. The tree shook and stopped the chair, and Raena jumped from mommy’s lap to the tree. She had released the joystick as soon as the chair started moving. Mommy started petting air and apologizing to air Raena. Real Raena was looking on from the brown cat tree right behind mommy. Mommy finally realized Raena was no longer sitting in her lap and looked around for her. Mommy can’t turn her head to see behind her, so she couldn’t see Raena sitting right behind her. Of course, we’re not so sure mommy could see anything with her hazy eyes.
Anyways, not one to give up, mommy called for Raena and the little stinker jumped right back into mommy’s lap. Mommy gave Raena big hugs and me took the opportunity to shinny down the Liberty tree and run down the hall to the bedroom. Once again, mommy positioned Raena and instructed her to “Power On” the chair and “Bite” the joystick. Mommy reached around Raena and pushed at the control panel in an attempt to turn the chair speed down. Raena bit down on the joystick and held still. Mommy rewarded her with lots of hugs, and then told her to “Release” the joystick. Apparantly, Raena likes jolting, because during the love fest and command to “Release“, she pushed the joystick forward before releasing it. You guessed it, mommy hadn’t gotten the speed turned down and her and Raena jolted forward yet again right into the Liberty cat tree. Thank the cats, mommy had the “bumper pads” on the chair. The good news is that Raena sat back in mommy’s lap after releasing the joystick and jolting forward. Raena got lots of Loving rewards for performing her duties “correctly”. Yep, even though they jolted forwards and backwards, Raena had “Powered On”, “Bit”, “Held” and “Released” the joystick like an old pro.
When mommy announced the training session was over, me headed back up the hall to get in on some of that loving and some treats. That’s right, we both got treats. After all, me’s been driving the chair now for a while, all by meself. That evening the training session went pretty much the same way. It took a couple of days for the anesthetic to completely wear off, and training sessions to get back to normal. Altho’, even un-loopy this training session is about par for the course. Mommy says there’s nothing wrong with making training fun. Training might be serious business, but don’t make it so serious, you take the joy out of it for everybody/kitty/doggy.
Me’s gonna wrap it up now. It’s time fur another training session for Raena and the wheelchair. ‘Member, ifin you have any questions, suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section, or send us an email. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on the links below.
Till the next time………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
The Rest of the Story Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling Emergency Help Options Pt. 1
We’ve been innerviewed by our great furiends Kommando Kitty and Snoops from Adventures in Cheeseland. Head on over and check it out here. We had such a great time, and sure do purreciate your hospitality.
Greetings from Snoops and Kommando Kitty. We have a totally pawsome interview this month. Know how everybody’s always talking about service dogs? Well, we have a couple of service cats, and they are amazing. They are sisters Dezi and Raena, and you can find them giving service tips every Monday and other fun stuff the rest of the week on their own blog.
Click Here fur Interview
Till the next time………………………………………….Be blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
WooHoo It’s Monday!!! Hmmmph Nopawdy ever says that, do they? The truth is, me isn’t either. Me hates this clock changin’ thingy. Do you know we didn’t get brekky today till almost 10 am? That’s right, 10 am. T’ween the cold, cuz yeah, that’s back; and the time change, mommy’s body is all wonky. Come to think ‘bout it, so is RaenaBelle’s. Kittens, That girl is a mystery. Anyways, you all didn’t come here today to hear me meow ‘bout the weather and the time change and how our posty is really late and we still don’t have a special graphic. It’s Service Cat Monday, and time fur a trainin’ posty. Ifin you have any trainin’ questions or questions in general, or topics you’d like to see us cover, purrlease leave them in the comments section or send us an email.
We’ve got a topic today that everypawdy will benefit from. We get asked from time to time, how mommy medicates us. Cuz as you all know, we don’t like things added to our food. It’s not a casual dislike, it’s a won’t go near the plate and refuse to eat furever dislike. But as anyone who’s ever had an anipal knows, at some point and time, you will have to give said anipal some kind of medicine or supplement. As with all our Trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. And ifin you’ve missed any posts in the series, purrlease click on the links at the bottom of this posty. Our training posts are not intended to be a step by step manual but rather tips, tricks and techniques mommy has used/developed thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. Remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Okay, the business is done, let’s get to it.
Medicating a cat is always a chore. Most cat owners hate the thought of it. You want to do what’s best for your beloved furry purrer, but you’d sooner cut your arm off than try to give them a pill. And let me tell you, if there’s an animal that has mastered the “fake out”, it’s a cat. Just when you think you’ve successfully got that horse sized pill down us, we go over to the
middle of the floor corner and hack it back up, completely in tact me might add. Mommy is always complaining about feline medicine and how most of the treatments today are based around what works for dogs. Now, we don’t mean any offense to our doggy friends, but there’s no denying we are a completely different species with different needs and personalities.
Did you put medicine in mine’s food?
While there are some kitties who will eat their favorite foods with medicine mixed in, there are far more that won’t. So, cat parents have to become mad scientists’ and conjure up ways to get kitty his/her medicine. We know this, because it’s one of the most searched and talked about topics in cat forums and the internet. Mommy says it’s obviously easier to start training a kitten, but no matter the age, any kitty can be trained to open wide and gladly accept even the nastiest of medicines. Mommy doesn’t recommend paying the extra money to get kitty’s meds flavored with fish oils or malt. When done correctly, medicating kitty will be over and done with before they ever taste it.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools you will need. First up is the magic Pill Push (mommy’s word for it). At approximately 6 inches in length, your fingers are safe. These tools are also called pill guns, pill dispensers, pill poppers and just pillers. They are extremely effective when used correctly and affordable. You can buy a good pill push for as little as a dollar. Mommy loves a good pill pusher and we’ve had the same one for over 20 years. To use the pill push, you would load the pill in the small rubber piece at the tip of the tool and hold kitty’s head back, insert pill pusher as far into kitty’s mouth as is safely possible (should rest at the opening of the throat) and push the depressor end. Immediately close kitty’s mouth and hold it closed while rubbing kitty’s neck in the direction of the belly. A couple of rubs is all that’s necessary. Always follow with a dropper/syringe of water to make sure the pill goes down and doesn’t get stuck in kitty’s throat. This step is a Must!!! Do Not give kitty food or treats until after water is dispensed. Obviously, the Pill Push is only good for pills or capsules. This technique can also be used for all liquid medications given with a syringe or eye dropper.
Now, let’s tell you how to train kitty to open wide. Start training kitty before kitty gets sick. We want to remind you that all training should start with the bonding technique we discussed in our Training Foundations post (link at the bottom of this post). Load your pill push with a small treat. You may have to cut it down a little. You always want to start with the smallest “pill size” possible. If you’re using a syringe, you might want to fill it with a hairball paste, baby food, butter, or peanut butter. And don’t fill the syringe all the way. A typical dose is about 1cc, so it’s not a lot. Okay, tool is loaded and ready. Call kitty/doggy to you, or retrieve them from their napping spot.
Speak calmly and gently and tell them it’s time for medicine and a treat. Mommy’s too old to get in the floor with us these days, so she likes to put us on the bathroom vanity, cat steps or bed to administer medications. Hold kitty/doggy by the scruff of the neck, firmly enough to keep them in place. As you tilt kitty’s head back, firmly but gently say, “open wide” or “say aaaaaah”. Don’t be surprised if kitty clamps their jaws shut. Just continue to speak calmly to kitty. Insert the tip of the pill push/syringe/dropper into the side edge of kitty’s mouth and gently push up on the roof of the mouth. Kitty may initially fight or try to wriggle away from you. If necessary, re-insert pill push/syringe/dropper into kitty/doggy’s mouth towards the back of the throat. NEVER try to insert the pill push or syringe from the front of kitty’s mouth. It’s almost impossible and will cause more tension than is necessary for both of you. Continue to speak gently and inject the treat down kitty’s throat. Follow with the closed mouth, rubbing the neck and a bit of water. Tell kitty how proud you are and how good they were to take their medicine. You may also give them a few treats. Repeat this activity every day for at least a month. At some point kitty’s mouth will open on it’s own as you tilt the head back. At that point, repeat this activity at least once a month to keep kitty trained.
Now, let’s say kitty’s meds are in a powder form. Mommy likes the butter spoon best for this, but you may use other mediums as well. A few other things you can mix the powder with is: baby food, olive oil, peanut butter, honey, hairball paste or one of the many flavored medicine maskers on the market today. Mix the powder with kitty’s preferred medium and offer it as a lickable treat. If kitty doesn’t lick it or doesn’t like the taste, put the mixture on the back of a child’s spoon and insert into kitty’s mouth from the side and deposit mixture on the roof of kitty’s mouth or their teeth. They will be forced to clean and swallow. And if this is the case, you might want to mix the powder with water or a low sodium broth and give to kitty through a dropper. Always remember to speak gently to kitty and tell them how good they are and how proud of them you are. Always use just enough medium to mix up the powder and no more.
Click here to watch on youtube
To train kitty to take “butter spoons”, again, start before kitty is sick. Start by mixing something harmless to kitty as a training treat. Mommy likes to use d-Mannose powder and/or crushed freeze dried treats. d-Mannose has been shown to help with the prevention of urinary tract issues. Offer kitty a small “butter spoon” daily for about a month and then once monthly to keep kitty trained. If using d-Mannose, use 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. daily for 3 days and then switch out to something else for a few days.
Click here to watch on Youtube.
We know a lot of you make “treat pills” and the like, but mommy says it’s so much easier to have it done and over with so you’re sure kitty gets their proper dose. No kitty of mommy’s has ever seen a pill pocket, much less tasted one. If pills are prescribed, mommy’s preferred method is the pill push. Once you get accustomed to using it, medicating kitty takes about 10 seconds and it’s over with kitty none the wiser. One thing we might add, is when giving any oral medication, make sure you’re as far back in the mouth/throat opening as is safely possible and that kitties tongue is flat in their mouth. This will keep kitty from spitting the medicine out.
There are lots of ways to medicate kitty, and if you’re way is working for you, Great; keep up the good work. But for those of you having problems, or looking for a way to easily and safely give kitty medicines, then give our tips a try. Remember, it’s always easiest to medicate a cat that is accustomed to it and thinks it’s just another day in the life.
Me luvs a good butter spoon.
We hope this post helps some of you. Medicating kitty isn’t anything to be afraid of, and at some point everyone will have to do it. Because cats can be extremely finicky, it’s better to find methods of medicating kitty that don’t include tainting our foods. Remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. If you have any questions or training post suggestions, please leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on the links below or in any previous Service Cat post.
Till the next time………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
The Rest of the Story Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling for Emergency Help Options Pt. 1
Well Meowllo, it’s time fur another Service Cat Monday. Can me be completely and totally honest with ya’? Yes? Good. We’ve only had the wheelchair workin’ again fur a couple of days. And durin’ those days mommy was hurtin’ purretty bad from head to toe; so she didn’t even put Raena in the chair once. Now me knows we told ya’ that mommy had intentions of trainin’ sis Raena to drive, and that we would chronicle it on Service Cat Monday. But havin’ fell on Thursday and with so much to do this week, mommy hasn’t even thought about trainin’ something new.
We hope you can furgive us. We plan to be back on track next week. Mommy told me that she actually thought about takin’ this week off cuz we had so much goin’ on. But we told her, that we had the bestest furiends in the universe and that you’d all understand.
Fankfully the snow has melted and the sun is shining. Mommy and Raena will be headin’ to mommys’ regular monthly doctors ‘pointment today, so they’ve gotta start getting’ ready shortly. Paws crossed, Raenas’ harness still fits. She has gained a few pounds. MOL
We haven’t decided who’s gonna get to go with mommy to that dental exam on Wednesday, but we’ll let ya’ know. Since Raena’s still in trainin’, she should be the one to go. But, the dentist is in the Wally World town, and me wants to go. What do ya’ll think? Should we toss a coin? Draw straws? How would you decide?
It’s simple sissy. You’ve gone everywhere with mommy fur 7 years, so now it’s mines turn.
Hmmmmpht That doesn’t make any difference. Maybe this should have been our Service Cat Monday posty; How to decide which Service Cat to take to town. What do ya’ll think? We’re gonna wrap it up now so mommy can get ready. We’ll be by to visit as soon as we can.
How would you decide which Service Cat to take?
Which of us do you think should go, and why?
Till the next time…………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Raena: Navy Blue
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses