Well it’s Miserable Monday and da beginning of another work week. It’s also time fur another Service Cat posty. Furst mommy and me would like to thank you all for your kind words with regards to yesfurdays Blest Sunday posty. We are still working through our feelings over losing sis Lexi, and purrobably always will be. But one thing is certain, we are extremely blest to have had her in our lives. Now, as with all our educational posts, da following will be written in human English. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in da series, you can ketch up by clicking da links below.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s talk more about training today. We didn’t get any questions from our last couple of posts, so we’re not sure which direction you all would like us to go, but we need to expand on training a bit. We have been asked where mommy learned her training methods. Years ago she started out training dogs. Once she fell into the clutches of a cat, she quickly learned she had to modify her training techniques to fit the feline behavior and mind. Most of what she learned she learned from raising motherless kittens. As most of you know, the mother and littermates would train a kitten to use the litterbox, how hard and when to bite, scratch, play and everything else a new kitten would need to know to survive. Kittens who lose their mothers before learning these things can grow up to be unruly and/or have a lot of behavioral issues. But even the kitten with an ideal upbringing can still benefit from a little training.
Last week we told you that positive reinforcement is the best and proper method to train a cat. Negative reinforcement in very limited amounts has it’s place (the ear biting technique we discussed last week). Positive reinforcement can be anything from a treat to a hug or pat. Get to know your kitty, and you’ll quickly learn what their preference is. We also stated that most cats are not ruled by their tummies, so treats are not always effective training tools. Please, Do Not starve your non food motivated kitty in order to treat train. Mommy prefers to use other rewards anyways.
Last week we talked about inappropriate scratching, and offering appropriate options for kitty to use and even how to get kitty to use them. Remember if kitty is exhibiting behavioral problems, see your VET and rule out any illnesses before proceeding with any training. A sick cat, or one in pain will not learn no matter what method you try. We’ve been asked about how mommy trains us to massage her and what to do about kitty claws. We briefly covered this in a post above, but the question has been asked since then as well, so we thought we’d go over it again. Because we are Ragdolls and soft pawed, we don’t use our claws. But Shad, Devon, Lucky, Ransom and Lexi all had claws that needed to stay retracted, so mommy learned a technique that with repetition will work.
Kitty massage is merely kitty kneading that has been focused to a specific area. Almost all kitties knead. Mommy starts training massage as soon as kitty first starts to knead her. It’s never too early or too late to train kitty to retract their claws. Once kitty starts kneading, (usually a leg while sitting or laying in your lap) which is a push and pull with the paws; mommy lightly taps kittys paws when the claws come out. At the same time, she will say “ouch” and make a whimpering sound, or say “no claws” or “it hurts” followed by a small whimper. Typically kitty will splay open their paws, stop kneading and look up. Mommy smiles and asks kitty to massage her again while stroking kittys’ head, neck and/or face/chin; focusing on the scent gland areas. Typically kitty will start kneading again, but instead of a push and pull, kitty will push hard and almost pick up their paws to draw back. This may not happen the first or second or even tenth time, but repetition and sticking to the same method of training will cause kitty to eventually get it.
Once kitty is proficient in massage, it’s time to move them to the area you need massaged. For mommy, that’s just about everywhere, but let’s say your issue is migraines and you want a head massage. Mommy finds laying down to be the best for her, but if you have a chair with a back that kitty can lay on without falling off of and can reach your head, you can sit up for your massage. Let’s go with laying down. Either carry kitty with you or call kitty to come to you once you’ve laid down. Place kitty beside or behind your head, depending on how your bed is made up and where you are laying. Remember, wherever kitty is laying must be stable without the possibility of kitty falling off. Kitty will become euphoric during the massage process and thus lose their sense of balance. They may also drool and/or nuzzle.
Once you and kitty are in place, start petting the head and face and speaking softly to kitty until kitty starts kneading. At this point the knead will mostly be a pushing. Keep your head in place, don’t move it with the push. Begin to praise and thank kitty at this point. Mommy always says things like “Thank You”, or “That feels so good”, and always, “I love you”. At some point during the session, comment about how your migraine is feeling better. Be specific. There will come a time when you are able to say, “I have a migraine” or “I need a massage” and kitty will automatically get into position to give you one. You can use the same technique for any part of your body. Always remember, training is all about Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.
Well there ya’ have it, mommy’s training tips on kitty massage. Mommy says there’s nothin’ better for a migraine, than a purring massaging kitty. We do want to remind you that kitty should not eat your hair, and anytime pawssible, the hair should be clean of hair products as a lot of those products are hazardous to kitty. Me’s gonna wrap it up now and see ‘bout getting’ a nap in and maybe even a stroll later today. Please leave any questions or topics you’d like us to cover in da comment section below.
Till da next time………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Is there something you need help training your cat to do?
If there was a kitty kindergarten like there is for dogs, would you be interested?
Would you take (have taken) kitty to socialization training classes?