Meowllo and welcome to Service Cat Monday. On Monday’s we answer your training questions and tackle topics associated with Service Cats and their training. As with all our educational postys da followin’ will be in human English. And ifin you’ve missed any of da posts in this series purrlease click on da linkys at da bottom of this post. Ifin you have any questions purrlease leave them in da comments or email us via our contact page. Our post today is all ‘bout gettin’ emergency help to our disabled handler/mommy. Awnty Katie and Katie Kat of Katies Furry Mews asked, “How do you train a kitty to dial 911?” So let’s get right into it.
Mommy says, Purrlease remember, our training posts are not intended to be a complete blueprint for your training. These posts are merely tips and tricks mommy has developed over many years of animal training. Mommy adopts a positive method of training closest to the animals true nature. You must always be realistic in your expectations, and never ask more of any animal than said animal is capable of performing. Training is Consistency and Repetitive.
First up you’re gonna need some old fashioned supplies. Our training is ever evolving, but mommy still hasn’t figured out a way to train a cat to dial using a cell phone. If a cell phone is all you have and you’re not worried about being incapacitated, then you can train kitty to bring you the phone, but at this point and time, there’s no conceivable way to train a kitty to use a cell phone. For all of you who just said, “My cat plays games, or My cat can take a selfie, or I’ve seen lots of videos of cats playing with cell phones;” we would say, those phone are already unlocked and the app opened for them. So, you’re going to need a landline with at least basic local and 911 service. We have magic jack and pay one low rate each year for unlimited calling anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. The phone can be corded or cordless but should have a speaker phone feature. This is a typical feature on most phones these days. If you’re using a cordless phone, make sure to attach the belt clip to the phone so kitty will have something to pick the phone up with.
So you have your phone and are ready to train kitty. Make sure you have implemented the bonding exercise discussed in our Training Foundation post. You must make the phone fun for kitty. Use the speakerphone option when talking on it. Let kitty sniff and paw at the phone. Do Not let kitty chew on the cords. If there’s an answering machine, let it answer calls. All these things will cause kittys’ interest to be peaked. Once kitty is comfortable with the phone, you can begin training. First you’ll want kitty to turn on the speakerphone. Put kittys’ paw on the speakerphone button and gently press down while saying, “Call for help, or Emergency”. Repeat this step while gradually calling for kitty to come and press the speakerphone button even when kitty’s nowhere near the phone.
As me said, our training is always evolving; so mommy now uses a preset emergency button instead of the old dialing of 911. All phones allow numbers to be programmed in for the speed dial option. Mommy recommends using the number 1 spot for 911 programing. Typically all one needs to do to complete a speed dial call is to press the assigned number and the speakerphone button. So this step cuts down kitty having to learn 4 pushes to only 2. It’s easier for large pawed animals. It also lessens the chance of accidental number pushes by large paws. When you are ready to train kitty to dial 911, DISCONNECT the phone from the jack. It’s a crime to call 911 without having an actual emergency. And it takes away valuable time and resources from those who have an emergency. So let’s get on with it.
Gently push kittys’ paw on the number 1 and then speakerphone while saying, “Call help”. Repeat this step daily for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning and night. That means kitty will get two training sessions a day. Once kitty can successfully push the buttons by themselves, reprogram the number with a friend or family member who can assist you with the next step. Ask kitty to call for help. When your friend or family member answers the phone, they should say, “911 what’s your emergency.” This will get kitty used to having someone answer their call and let them know what they’ll be hearing. Since you are pre-programming the number, you can choose who your emergency contact is. You might prefer a family member over 911. Whoever your choice, just make sure the number is programmed in so that it’s easy for kitty to remember. Always reward kitty with lots of praise and extra love during training sessions.
When kitty proves to be consistent with their calling for help, check with your local dispatchers for a less busy and stressful time to actually call them so kitty can get the full experience. Check with your local phone company and/or emergency dispatchers to see if they can add instructions to your number for emergency dispatch. When our number comes up on 911 calls, it says to send an ambulance if there’s no response or just meows. Remember training is all about consistency and repetitiveness. Calling for help isn’t something kitty will have to do often, so you must maintain kittys knowledge and ability with continued training. And remember to always reward kitty with lots of praise and extra love during training. You’ve got to keep it fun and rewarding for kitty.
Well that’s it in a nut shell. How long it takes depends on your kitty and whether or not you are committed and consistent. And how successfully you implement mommys Training Foundations. We’re runnin’ outta questions to answer, so ask what you will and we’ll give it our bestest answer. Next week we’ll be dealin’ with our shower duties, so stay tuned. In da meantime, have a pawsum day.
Is there something specific you would like to train your kitty or doggy to do?
Would you want your kitty or doggy to answer the phone?
Till da next time……………………………………Be Blest!!!
64 thoughts on “Service Cats: Calling for Emergency Help”
Very interesting! You have such smart cats; so impressive. I’ve got a black DSH who alerts to my low blood sugar episodes before I realize they are happening (we joke that it’s because he wants to be first in line to eat me if I die, but I know that’s a very commonly scentable condition for service dogs). I only have a cellphone, but might consider trying this kind of training somehow anyway for the rare occasion I’m too sick or seize and need assistance. Minus the 911 part, it would be a great party trick at the very least!
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Thank you, but what they do is no party trick and should never be shown off as one. One would never ask a seeing eye dog or seizure alert dog to perform as a trick, and neither should any other service animal. The only way to get other species recognized once again is by being responsible and showing the animal is needed for health benefits not a party.