MeOW and welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We’re really enjoying this stroll down memory lane while explaining the length of time it took for each of us to learn specific tasks; and we hope you are too. Several of you expressed that you didn’t realize Training took so long after hearing about sis Lexi’s experience with the wheelchair. We never said Training was a snap, just that every cat can be Trained. That being said, kitty will learn more quickly any task that is in effect when they join a household. Me will explain that in more detail in a minute. Furst, we want to remind you to keep the questions and suggested topics comin’. You can post them in the comments section below or send us a private email via our Contact page. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series or just want to brush up on a purrticular subject, you can do so by visitin’ our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. Let’s get the business outta the way and pick up where we left off.
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.
If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 you can check them out here and here. So we left off with me trying to be just like sis Lexi and help her help mommy while she was in the shower. Me was far too small to even get on the side of the tub, much less be any help; but me watched sis Lexi intently every day. When me was finally big enough to actually get in the tub, me pretty much knew what to do. Watching another cat perform a task can be a great Training Tool. Kittens learn to use a litter box, hunt, and more all by watching their mother. So, watching a Task being performed by another helps to Train the new cat. Thus, kitty will be able to learn quicker, because they won’t know any different. Me was about 4 months old when me was finally able to jump in the tub. Mommy had bathed me pretty regularly due to me’s sickly, wormy condition that left me’s bloomers quite a mess; so me wasn’t afraid of water at all. And of course, me had watched sis Lexi get in the shower for months, so me thought every kitty loved playing in the water. At 4 months old, me took me’s place beside sis Lexi to help keep mommy’s face out of the water flow when she passed out in the shower. Me was still too small to make a difference, but me was mimicking her actions and was finally able to be of help a few months later.
Dezi about 6 months old
However, the shower wasn’t actually the first task me performed. Me actually chose mommy instead of her choosing me; so me bonded with her right away. If you haven’t read about how mommy found and saved me, you can read about it here. Anyways, me was a teeny little thing back then. Me didn’t even reach mommy’s ankles when standing on all fours. A couple of days after mommy brought me home, she was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. Something she did a couple of times a day after feeding sis Lexi and me. Me suddenly started to mew me’s squeaky mew, turn around and around and paw at mommy’s ankles with me’s front paws. Mommy didn’t have a clue what me was doing, so she just started telling me how cute me was and that she loved me. Me was persistent tho’, and continued me’s “dance” and squeaky mewing. Mommy finally picked me up thinking me wanted to be held and loved on. Me will never say no to loving, but me continued to mew and started patting/pawing at her face. After a few more minutes mommy started “seeing stars”, and put me down. She usually gets about a 30 second warning from her body that she’s going to pass out. After setting me down, mommy tried desperately to get to her chair to sit, but she didn’t make it. Yep, she passed out right there on the floor. If she’d only listened to me. But she hadn’t. She had no clue that me was trying to warn her.
These “Dancing Episodes”, as we call them, continued fur days until the light bulb finally went off in mommy’s head. While standing in the kitchen a few days later, mommy looked down at me dancing around and said, “Are you trying to tell me something sweety?” Nah, Duh. Me didn’t actually meow that, but that’s exactly what me was trying to do. Mommy gently picked me up and went straight to her chair to sit down. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later mommy got that “seeing stars” feeling and realized that me could sense and smell the change in her body chemistry. Me no longer dances around, but me still alerts mommy about 20 minutes before she passes out. That’s usually plenty of time for her to get to safety instead of ending up face down on the floor. All animals can sense/smell these subtle changes in the body chemistry, it’s just a matter of Training them to alert when they do. Or, in me’s case, listening when we’re acting strangely shortly before an incident happens. Especially if the actions are repeated several different times. We know many of you have heard stories about animals saving their owners from house fires, heart attacks, strokes and many other issues because our (cats) sense of smell is 14 times better than that of a human. Alerting mommy to these incidents has saved her many a bruise and embarrassing situation.
As for the wheelchair, well, me was never afraid of it. You see, unlike sis Lexi, me had never known mommy without one. So, mommy was able to start Training me immediately. Me’s Training started with just riding in mommy’s lap and getting used to moving around the house in the chair. Between 4 and 6 months, mommy started introducing me to the joystick and the power controls. Me had to be big enough to reach them. Again, me had been watching sis Lexi every day for all those months, so me thought this was something all kitties did as well. Once Training officially started, me took me’s maiden drive (mommy supporting me while me pushed the joystick on me’s own) within 2 months.
Another Task we perform that people find interesting, is our ability to call for help with the phone. There’s no tricks or magic here, just an old fashioned land line. Mommy begins telephone Training almost immediately. Even tho’ kitty/me may not be big enough to actually push the buttons, we can get used to the repetition of numbers and what happens when the phone is activated and a call placed. Believe it or not, it’s kind of strange to us kitties to hear a voice we can’t actually see. An old fashioned answering machine is also helpful in getting kitty used to voices coming from the phone. By the time me was big enough to push the buttons down or carry the phone in me’s mouth, me was hooked. Me loves the telephone. Maybe a bit too much, according to mommy. Every time it rang, me would rush to answer it, even when mommy was holding it. More than once, me answered the phone while mommy was…indisposed (in the bathroom). Mommy says it wouldn’t have been so bad if me had just brought her the phone. But no, me wanted to push the buttons that accepted the call before bringing it to mommy. She’s always saying, there’s no phone in the bathroom for a reason. Me can’t imagine why that is tho’?. So, me had a little extra Training on only using the phone in emergencies or when mommy asks for it. Me does still occasionally get a little excited about the phone, but me hasn’t answered it while mommy was indisposed in years.
As most of you know, Raena joined our family after sis Lexi went to heaven. She’s a smart one that Raena, and took to Training from day one. She’s been a master masseuse from the minute mommy let her out of the carrier here. Me had won a couple of automated toys to give to her as a welcome present; and she learned how to turn them off and on by herself almost immediately. She’s also built differently than me in that she’s longer and taller. So, mommy began her wheelchair Training a couple of weeks after she came here to live. Because our old wheelchair broke, her Training got derailed a bit, but she’s picking up the new chair like it’s been here forever. Mommy says she’s doing better than both of us. Raena has a very curious and open disposition, so she’s always done well in public. And, like me, she bonded with mommy right away and began alerting to mommy’s syncope incidents after only a few days.
Well there you have it. This 3 part series has been an overview of the time it took to Train a few different kitties to perform a few of our basic Tasks. If there’s a specific kitty or Task you’d like us to expound on, let us know. Otherwise, we’ll start a new topic next week. Remember, all kitties/anipals can be Trained and even do better with some Training. And, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Don’t forget to leave your questions, blog topics and any comments in the comment section below or send us an email. And ketch up on any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. We’re doing something new this week and joining Comedy Plus for Feline Fridays.
Till the next time…………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses