MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline of Furidays. Each week we answer your questions ‘bout the general care, health and behavior and offur Training Tips fur the felines in your lives. Ifin you’ve missed any post in this series, you can check them out on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page in our menu. And ifin you have questions or topic suggestions you’d like to see, just let us know in the comments section below or by sending us a purrivate email via our Contact page. Last week angel Lexi came back to give you Tips fur making a local move with kitty. She’s back again today to tell you how to make a successful long distance move with your furry purrer(s). Raena and me have meowed it over and we’d luv to make a move, so ifin anypawdy has a shed, spare room or even a rental property you could spare, till we could get on our paws feet let us know. Anyways, let’s get the business outta the way and get on with today’s post.
The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.
Thanks Dezi. I’z actually loved moving from one place to another. New windows to look out and wildlife to see; and lots of new hiding places to explore. But, us kitties aren’t always fond of change, so moving can be a bit scary. I’z here to help and give you Tips to make the move as stress free as possible for you and kitty. Remember to have a Decompression Room available so kitty can escape the hustle and bustle, especially if you have an already skittish kitty. We also highly recommend Harness Training kitty before you leave/move. We recommend you read the Harness Training post as it also gives Tips for driving with kitty.
Visit kitty’s V-E-T and get a copy of kitty’s records. These should be packed with your other “important” papers. Depending on where you’re moving from and to, you may need to keep out proof of kitty’s current vaccinations. We also recommend you take a gallon of water from your tap unless you give kitty bottled water. Water tastes different in different areas of the country, and we suggest a slow switch; just as you would when changing kitty’s food. You’ll also need a gallon of water for the actual drive/move.
It’s always great when you have the new place picked out in advance, but kitty will do just fine in a motel room with you while you find your new home as long as you pack appropriately. It’s also a good idea to check out the V-E-Ts in the new area beforehand. With the internet, that’s not hard to do. Check reviews, call and speak with the office, and if you know people in the area, ask for referrals. Of course you don’t want kitty’s first experience in the new place to be a trip to the V-E-T, but you also don’t want to find yourself in a new area with an emergency and no clue where to go.
As I’z mentioned last week, most kitties love a good box. So, don’t be stingy with your moving boxes, let kitty investigate and explore as you pack up each room. Keep out a few of kitty’s favorite toys, a mat or bed, favorite food and water bowl/fountain and a heavily scented towel. Remember, your smell/scent is calming to kitty. You’ll also want to leave kitty’s carrier(s) out and open so kitty can get comfortable. That heavily scented towel will go into kitty’s carrier/ptu when it’s time to load up and move. These prized items will be the last things packed up and should go into an overnight bag instead of a box. Think of them the way you would your own toothbrush and other daily grooming products. If kitty is on meds of any kind, keep those out and easily accessible as well. These items will be in kitty’s Decompression Room at both ends of the move.
What? You wanna pack this too now?
The day is here and the moving van or if you can afford them, the movers are right outside. If possible, close kitty in their Decompression Room and place a note on the door alerting everyone that kitty is inside and the door is not to be opened. If that’s not an option, go ahead and put kitty into their carrier/ptu and place them in a bathroom out of the way. Mommy likes to poke her head in once in a while and say hey and remind us that she loves us. You don’t have to do this, but it is calming and reassuring since we can hear the raucous outside. Again, no matter where you put kitty(ies), place a large note that alerts everyone to their presence. We have been known to escape a carrier or two. Once all the boxes have been loaded and you’re finally ready to go, load up kitties safely in the vehicle with you.
For safety and legal reasons we make this statement: Kitty should be in his/her carrier/ptu and be secured by a seat belt. It is true, this is the best and safest option. Now we’ll tell you how we and mommy do it. First and foremost, harness and leash kitty. The harness is a safety precaution as well as calming, if properly harnessed trained. I’z hated not being able to see out. I’z could be quite happy in the carrier, so long as I’z could see what was going on outside, as witnessed by the photo below. Dezi couldn’t care less about what’s going on around her so long as mommy’s close. I’z hear Raena is like me and wants to see everything. If you’re alone or the driver, we don’t recommend allowing kitty to be in your lap, but you’ll have to be the judge for yourself. Mommy makes sure that we’re strapped in the seat belt with her. And, our stroller is a great height for seeing out the windows.
When making long trips, we recommend putting a litterbox in the back floorboard for kitty to use. When you stop to eat, gas up and refill drinks, make sure kitty gets food and water and the opportunity to use the litterbox if they’re crated. If kitty is free roam in the car, Do Not open doors or windows until kitty has been safely secured. If you’re driving a moving van, the litterbox will go in the passengers side floorboard. Do Not dine in and leave kitty in the vehicle alone. If you have to go inside to order, crack the windows and lock the doors. Return to the vehicle as soon as possible. Mommy likes to talk to us about where we’re going and how wonderful the new place will be. She also sings to us and tells us how much she loves us and how proud of us she is.
Remember, YOU are our home, our safe place and our everything. Music has a calming effect on most animals. You don’t have to sing yourself, you can use the radio to soothe everyone’s nerves. Do Not use this time to change kitty’s food and do pick up some of kitty’s favorite treats. Kitty may or may not eat during the trip, and may or may not use the litterbox, but both should be offered. Mommy likes to take a medium sized syringe so she can give us water if we’re not drinking it from the bowl. You don’t want kitty to get dehydrated. If your move requires more than one day to travel, make sure you choose a pet friendly motel/hotel for your overnight rest stops. Check the rooms before releasing kitty for anything that might be a danger. We’ve found poison traps for mice, loose nails, and peeling paint in even some of the nicest motels. Before you leave the motel/hotel, pick up after kitty so that they’ll continue to be pet friendly. The same goes fur those of you with dogs…scoop woofies poop.
Your New Home:
Once you’ve finally arrived at your new home, set up kitty’s Decompression Room first (Your bedroom is ideal for this). Ideally, kitty should stay in the carrier in the bathroom until you’ve set up your bed, their litterbox, food and water and a few toys. Then you can take kitty in, set the carriers down with the doors opens and go about the business of unpacking. Mommy recommends putting some catnip or silvervine on the floor/cat bed/mat/scratcher. Until all items are off the moving trucks and into the house, kitty should remain in the Decompression Room with the door closed. Don’t forget to place a note on the door alerting all to kitty’s presence and not to open the door.
Once everything’s in the new house and the movers if hired, are gone, open the door of the Decompression Room and allow kitty to come out and explore. Sprinkle a little catnip or silvervine around the house for kitty to find. Mommy likes to take this time to place the litterbox and food and water in the space that will be their new home. During the first few hours, she will take us to the spot where the litterbox is now housed and puts us in it. She calls it homing in. We never stay in the box, but we also never forget where it’s located. This is extremely important for older kitties or blind kitties.
Over the next few days to week, the house will start to look more like home. Kitty will locate new favorite spots and windows. Keep an eye out for these spots and place cat trees and perches in these spots. Give kitty extra love and attention and extra play time, it will help reassure kitty and relieve stress. Talk calmly to kitty as you unpack and set up your new home. Let kitty explore the boxes just as he/she did when you first packed them up. Take frequent unpacking breaks just to pet kitty and offer a treat or two. Moving is stressful for everybody, but it can be successful if you remain calm. Before you know it, everyone will acclimate and it’ll be old hat. Routines will be back to normal, or at least a new normal, and kitty will rule their new domain just as kitties should.
Kitty’s Overnight Bag:
Kitty’s overnight bag should contain enough of kitty’s regular food to last four days. You never know what might happen. You’ll also need a food dish or paper plates. A water bowl or fountain and a gallon of water from the tap of the old house. A few of kitty’s favorite toys and a fresh package of catnip or silvervine (whichever your cat prefers). A gallon baggy of extra litter and litter scoop (mommy always forgets the scoop) MOL. Any meds or supplements kitty may need or be taking such as probiotics, Rx meds, food toppers, etc.. Spoon, can opener, paper towels or napkins for messes. A wash cloth and towel (you never know). Kitties favorite treats (not the cheap stuff). A small cardboard or hanging scratcher. Kitty’s vaccination records and rabies tag if kitty doesn’t wear it (copy, the originals should be with your “important papers”). A folder with a list of emergency numbers, V-E-T’s name and number, any conditions kitty may have, any allergies kitty may have, food and litter preferences, your cell number, old and new address, kitty’s name and any nicknames he/she responds to.
Well, fanks sis Lexi, fur all those Tips. Moving sounds like quite the adventure. There’s no way we could account fur every situation that might pop up durin’ a move, so ifin ya’ have any specific questions or concerns, purrlease let us know in the comments section below or by sendin’ us an email via our Contact page. And ‘member, you can always ketch up or reread any post you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu above. Guess we’ll wrap this up fur now. We’re joinin’ Comedy Plus fur Feline Furidays. And, we’re sendin’ purrayers fur all in the paths of the storms. Stay safe.
Till the next time…………………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline. We’re takin’ a small detour today fur mommy to pay tribute to an amazing Service Cat, me’s sis Lexi. A lot of you remember her; but fur those who don’t, she was mommy’s Service Cat fur 17 years. Sadly, kidney disease took her from us 2 years ago today. You can read more ‘bout sis Lexi, here, here and here. We’ll be back next week with our regular Service Cat posts. Fanks fur letting us honor sis Lexi’s amazing life and her memory.
My Dearest Sweet Lexi,
Hello my sweet angel. I miss you more than words can say. My heart aches, each and every day. Today marks two years since I last saw your beautiful face; and felt your paw resting on my hand, or the look in your eyes when they met mine. I’ll never forget the purr that could be felt and heard from across the room when our eyes met and we shared a slow blink. In that moment, no words were needed to express the love we shared.
I’ll never forget the day you were born…So tiny and yet so loud. You must have been terrified from the horrors that had brought you into this world. But, what I remember most is how you immediately quieted your screaming and started to rumble all over the minute I held you in my hand for the first time. You seemed to know, everything was going to be okay. You seemed to know you were home. You would have been happy to lay in my arms all the time. You never really needed a space of your own. I remember all those every 2 hour feedings when you preferred sleeping in my arms over eating. I remember when I would try to lay you down to sleep afterwards and you would wriggle your little body up under my shirt or arm or whatever you could so that you could stay close to me just a little longer.
I remember the look on your face the first time you heard me call your name. And I remember the love I saw in your emerald green eyes as they focused in on my face for the first time. I remember seeing the world in a whole new way through your eyes as you experienced everything fresh and new. Each day was a wonder and every experience a welcome challenge. I remember the fear when you thought you might have to leave me and the utter joy when I told you we’d be together forever.
I remember the perseverance and utter determination you had when learning each new task. And, the pride you felt when you mastered those tasks. You would strut around and chirp loudly as if announcing it to the world. I remember each night as I laid my head on the pillow and you began to massage my head and purr away the stresses of the day. I remember waking each morning to find you curled up next to me and how you would gently put your paw on my cheek and purr.
I remember each day that we spent together and never gave a thought to how it might end. I never imagined a day without you. Through all the ups and downs, you were always there. I remember how you fought the disease that wore your body down. I remember when you could no longer stand, but still managed to massage my head as I laid on the pillow each night. Near the end, I remember seeing that fear in your eyes once again when you thought or maybe knew, our time together was coming to an end. You had been my reason for living and the heart that beat in my chest. Maybe you wondered how I would go on.
I can tell you, it isn’t easy, and each day I miss you more. From an abandoned kitten to Queen of the Service Cats, you were that and so much more. Saying that final good night to you hurt me to my core. But, I wouldn’t have missed sharing your life for anything in the world. Dezi and Raena help me now, and fill my life with love. But no one or anything will ever fill the space occupied by your memories, your devotion and love. Those I cherish and think about every day with a smile.
3/9/2016 One of the last photos ever taken of Lexi.
I take some small comfort in knowing you’re pain free and happy again. I will always love you and miss you till the day we meet again on heaven’s beautiful shores. Forever here didn’t last very long, but someday it will have no end. Until then my sweet, my Lexi, enjoy your hereafter and think not of my grief or sorrow. Only think on and remember my love. I know you’re in the best of hands, those of our Lords’.
Hey, is anypawdy out there? It’s me, RaenaBelle. Sissy? Where are you? What’s wrong? Why won’t you play with me this meownin’?
Me’s here Raena, me’s just feelin’ a little sad.
Why, sissy? I’s thought you were tired of the sads and downers.
Me is, Raena. But, that doesn’t always make ‘em stop. Ya’ know your 2nd birthday is comin’ up soon. And altho’ that’s a happy thing and me can’t wait to celebrate; it also reminds me that me’s sis Lexi ain’t ever comin’ back. Me knows mommy’s been missin’ her a lot lately too.
She must’ve been really special fur you to miss her so much, sissy.
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Oh Raena, she was. You would’a luvved her. She was a real boss cat and soooooooooo beautiful. She had emeralds fur eyes that could see right thru ya’. She could be really hissy to peeps and anipals she didn’t like, but ifin she luvved you…she was fierce with her luv. There wasn’t anythin’ she wouldn’t do fur those she luvved. And kittens, did she ever luv mommy. She used to meow to me ‘bout her life with mommy befur me came along. She assured me that mommy would never ever leave us or give up on us. And she used to meow ‘bout her brofurs and how much she missed them. And she luvved me too. Me ‘members the furst time me met her up close and purrsonal like. Me was in the kitchen with mommy while she was makin’ our dinner and in strolled sis Lexi. She took one look at me and splatted me flat on the floor. Belly down and all four legs and paws splayed out.
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Well that doesn’t sound very nice, sissy?.
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Well, she was just lettin’ me know who was the boss. Me quickly stood up, turned sideways and puffed out so me would look bigger. Ya’ know, me was only a few weeks old and really tiny. Y, Her head was bigger than all of me. Me thinks her paws might’ve been too. Anyways, she looked at me all puffed out and looked up at mommy and took off down the hall screamin’. And me does mean screamin’. Me had never heard anythin’ like that befur. Me wasn’t sure what me should do, so me looked up at mommy and mewed me’s squeaky little mew. Mommy picked me up and took me to the pawtty box room where sis Lexi was layin’ in the sink. Mommy held me with one hand and gave sis Lexi some chin scritches and told her that me was her new sisfur and helper and that me wasn’t ever gonna leave ‘em. And then she put me right in sis Lexi’s face.
Oh sissy, that must’ve been really scary. Weren’t you ‘fraid she might splat you again? Or, bite your head off?
No Raena, somehow me seemed to know everythin’ was gonna be alright. And besides, me’s always felt comfurt in mommy’s arms. That’s why me picked her to be me’s mommy. Anyways, sis Lexi let out a huge hiss. Me was sure she’d just blown all me’s furs off with that hiss. But, me’s furs were still there and sis Lexi nose bumped me afterwards. That’s when me knew that she was gonna be the bestest big sisfur ever. Me wanted to be just like her. Me watched everythin’ she did and tried to copy her. Everythin’ she did, she did with her whole bein’. It didn’t matter how old she got, she still played like a kitten, with complete abandon. And when she was helpin’ mommy, she was so focused that not even food or treats could distract her. And let me tell ya’, sis Lexi luvved to eat. Well, least she did, till she didn’t. (Dezi hangs her head as she remembers Lexi’s last days) She was so devoted to mommy and me that even on her goin’ to heaven day, she still tried to give mommy a massage and help her in the shower. She couldn’t even harldy stand up and yet she desperately tried to get in the tub with mommy.
MeOW sissy, she really sounds amazin’.
Yep Raena, she was. Me doesn’t really ‘member too much ‘bout me’s furst 2 weeks of life befur mommy and sis Lexi, so me just couldn’t ‘magine what life was gonna be like without her. But me somehow knew, she wasn’t gonna be with us too much longer. Me was so lost without her. Mommy said sis Lexi was all better again, and furee of all the pain and sickness that had plagued her that last year. But me didn’t care, Me wanted her to come back. But, she didn’t. And then you showed up. Me didn’t wanna be a big sisfur. Me wanted sissy back so me could stay the baby. But, like mommy did with me and sis Lexi, she did the same with you and me. So, me’s just a little sad. Me luvs you, but you’re also a reminder that sissy will never come back. Furiday, will be the second anniversary of sis Lexi’s goin’ to heaven day, and me’s just missin’ her and our time together.
Well sissy, I’s might not have known your sis Lexi, and I’s might not unnerstand what you’re feelin’, but I’s here fur ya’ ifin ya’ need me…and maybe ifin ya’ don’t. Like ya’ meowed, I’s here to stay and ain’t goin’ anywhere. (Raena hugs Dezi and goes to get a nip nanner.) Maybe playin’ with the nip nanner will help, sissy. I’s luvs you very much. And, I’s think you’re the bestest big sisfur ever.
Fanks Raena, you’re not the worst little sisfur either.
(Raena looks at Dezi a bit perterbed but doesn’t respond to being not so bad.) I’s gotta get ready to go with mommy fur another wax fittin’ at the dentist’s office fur her upper denture. I’s’ll ask mommy to bring you home somethin’ special to cheer you up. Okay?
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.