Service Cats: A Loopy Training Session

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


Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

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.


 Raena lays in wheelchair


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.


 Raena chews on the wheelchair bag


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. 


Dezi lays on top of cat tree ledge


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. 


Raena lays in the wheelchair

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. 


 Raena lays in wheelchair


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.


Dezi leaves the top of the Liberty cat tree

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.


Dezi lays on Liberty tree and looks out the front door

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. 


 Raena lays on the Liberty cat tree


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


Service Cats


What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi the Wheelchair and the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help 

The Rest of the Story     Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

When to train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling Emergency Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty    

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat