MeOW and welcome to a new installment of Service Cats and Everything Feline. Keep the questions coming. ‘Member, there’s no stupid question, we can’t all know everythin’ all the time. We do want to remind you to be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions. We want to give you the best Training Tips to correct the unwanted behavior. Well bahaved kitties mean more kitties stay in their furever homes. And yes, a lot of mommy A’s Training Tips can be used to Train dogs, horses and other species, not just the finicky feline in your life. You can ketch up on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ on Training Tips and Everything Feline on our menu bar. There you will find the links to all our Educational posts and Training Tips. Today’s posty is a continuation of last weeks post where we began to address the question, “How long does it take to Train a Cat?” Let’s get the business out of the way and get this pawrty started.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat 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 Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Last week we explained that we couldn’t really put an exact time table on Training because there are a lot of factors to be considered, such as age, breed, abilities/disabilities and personality. But, all kitties/cats can be Trained and actually enjoy Training. We briefly told you about how long it took Shad, mommy’s first Service Cat, to Train herself. You can read all about Shad here. We then moved on to Lucky and sis Lexi, mommy’s first “driving” (wheelchair) kitties. The greatest thing you have when it comes to Training, is an animals’ curiosity and desire to please their human(s). A Bonded animal will go to great lengths to get their human’s approval and love.
So, let’s take a look now at how long it took sis Lexi to learn to drive mommy’s first wheelchair. As we mentioned it took about 3 months for Lexi to get over her fears of the wheelchair. You have to remember, a wheelchair isn’t just a big chair, it’s a big, heavy moving piece of furniture. Unfortunately, many a kitty has probably had their tail run over more than once by someone in a wheelchair. Unintentionally of course, but me’s sure it hurts just the same. So, we left off with Lexi trying to push the joystick one morning after having watched her brother move the chair the night before by doing just that. Altho’ the chair was plugged in and wouldn’t operate, mommy praised Lexi for her attempts and told her how proud she was. Once mommy was in the chair herself, she held Lexi in her lap while letting Lexi rest her front paws on mommy’s driving hand (mommy could still move her upper body well in the morning’s at that time). As mommy’s hand and Lexi’s paws pushed the joystick forward, mommy continued to praise Lexi and say “Good girl. Let’s go to the potty room.” yes, the first thing mommy ever needs to do in the morning is hit the bathroom. Seems everybody including the kitties all have to take advantage of the facilities first thing in the morning, so Lexi had jumped out of the chair and after using the litterbox took up her watchful place on the bathroom sink’s vanity.
Mommy did well under the ever watchful eyes of sweet Lexi.
The next stop mommy always makes is the kitchen to prepare a kitty feast. Again, Lexi sat in mommy’s lap with her front paws on mommy’s driving hand as they headed to the kitchen. And again, mommy praised Lexi and said “To the kitchen, it’s time for brekky.” Yes, mommy’s always used a lot of baby talk with us. This pattern was repeated off and on during the day for the next several months. Training sessions lasted about 15 minutes each time for each kitty, Lexi and then Lucky. Remember, Training is ALL about Repetition and Rewards. In this case, taking kitty for rides and praising them throughout each session. Lucky caught on much quicker than Lexi and was driving without mommy’s hand in about 4 months. Lexi took her successful, no help from mommy drive about 2 months later; for a total of 6 months Active Training. That means a total of 9 months passed from the time the wheelchair entered the house to the time Lexi successfully maneuvered it by herself. When we say “by herself”, we mean that mommy’s hands were no where near the joystick. However, mommy did and still does use her hands to steady and support us on her leg.
The joystick extends anywhere from 6 to 12 inches from the arm. The wheelchair’s arm is approximately 2 to 3 inches wide, so there’s technically not enough room for us to stand, lay or sit on the arm and drive. We must remain in mommy’s lap and stretch/lean forward to connect with the joystick. This “stretch” makes us a little unsteady, especially when the chair is in motion. Because the chair can continue to move slightly even after pressure on the joystick stops, means that it can be extremely dangerous if we were to fall, thus the need for some support from the rider/mommy.
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Hey sissy, how’d you get up there? Me wants to be just like you.
Let’s move forward a bit to the time me joined mommy, and sis Lexi. By this time, sis Lexi was 10 years old and pretty much everything was old hat to her. Meaning, she was fully Trained and wasn’t learning anything new. At least that’s what mommy thought. We’ll come back to this a little later. So, me came to live with mommy and sis Lexi when me was about 2 1/2 – 3 weeks old. Me was very tiny and very sick. Thankfully, me was in the purrfect home with just the right mommy. Me had picked mommy instead of her picking me, so me bonded with her right away. Oh how me loves and adores mommy and me’s then sis Lexi. Me wanted to be just like sissy. Even though she was huge compared to me, me tried to do everything she did.
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Yep, me was so tiny the only potty box me could reach was a foil bakin’ pan.
Mommy remembers one of the first showers she took after me came to live here. When mommy would get in the shower, sis Lexi would automatically jump into the shower with her and stand at the back or on the other side of the shower curtain that was in the tub. This time, mommy had just stepped into the shower accompanied by sis Lexi when she heard a banging echo on the tub. She pulled back the curtain to see little o’l me trying desperately to jump into the bathtub with her and Lexi. Me wasn’t even as tall as mommy’s ankles, so the tub was certainly to tall for me to get into. And, ya’ know what? Those tubs are slippery. There’s nothing for a kitty to grab onto for climbing. But me had watched mommy get into the shower accompanied by sis Lexi for a couple of days, and remember, me wanted to do everything sissy did. Anyways, sis Lexi jumped on the edge of the tub and laid down to comfort me while mommy continued her shower. Mommy says shortly after she got into the shower, she could hear me meowing me’s squeaky meow like crazy. And, when she came to, she found me laying under her wet hair on the floor. Little did mommy know at that time, but me had been trying to tell her that she was going to pass out.
Me sure did luv me’s sis Lexi.
Mommy says this topic is lengthy, so we need to wrap it up fur today. But, we’ll be pickin’ up where we left off next time. We know you want to know all ‘bout how me learned to help mommy and how long it took, so be sure to click that follow button ifin you haven’t already done so. And don’t furget to submit your questions, whether about us, Training, Health issues or Anything Feline in the comments or via email thru our contact page. Mommy has experience with other animal species as well, so just leave your questions and we’ll try to give you an answer. And, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed or just want to re-read by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu above. Well, that’s it fur now, see ya’ soon.
Till the next time……………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses