MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays where we answer your questions ‘bout feline health, nutrition, behavior and anythin’ else you might ask. We offur tried and true Training Tips and suggestions to help every kitty owner from furst time kitty pawrents to life long pros. We’re runnin’ low on questions and topics, so ifin there’s somethin’ you’ve been wonderin’ ‘bout, wonder no more. Submit your questions and topic suggestions in the comments below or send us a purrivate email via our Contact page. And don’t furget, you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and EverythingFeline page.
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.
Last week we wrote about Vitamin D and the importance of a balanced nutritional feline diet. We discussed Feline Nutrition here, but we’ve not discussed in detail all of the ingredients, supplements and additives in your cat’s food. So, we were wondering how many of you would be interested in learning about these ingredients? Just because it’s in your cat’s food, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be. And, with all the conflicting opinions out there, choosing kitty’s food can get confusing. Let us know in the comments if you’d like to learn more about pet food ingredients, including trends and industry buzz words.
Okay already, Me likes you Raena.
We’ve been asked a couple of questions that don’t really require a whole post to answer. So, we thought we’d cover those today. We’re often asked if Raena and me got along right away. Mommy says it would be great and for sure make her life a lot easier if we had hit it off from the get go. But the truth is a big fat No. And, sis Lexi and me weren’t immediate besties either. However, we are proof that you can have a multi cat household where each kitty can feel safe and confident in their shared home. We don’t have extra rooms with doors that can closed off to allow for the traditional method of introducing new kitties, so mommy’s technique only allows for a couple of days for kitties to protest and lodge their complaints about the new comer. After which, she fully expects and will accept nothing less than kitties happily cohabiting in peace.
Me still remembers the splat sis Lexi handed down the first time she saw me and how she ran off down the hall screaming. That was a long time ago. We became the best of friends and sisfurs. Me couldn’t have asked for a better role model or more loving big sissy. Of course, me had to pass along me’s own brand of displeasure when Raena joined our home. And we still have the occasional disagreement, but for the most part, we get along. More importantly, we work well together and are secure in our place in our home. If you’re adding a new kitty to your home, you can read our Tips for introducing them to your resident kitty(s) here.
Are Cats Ambidextrous:
Another interesting question we were asked is: Do cats favor one paw over the other? In other words, are cats right or left pawed? Is that even a thing? Believe it or not, cats do favor one paw over the other. Cats can also be ambidextrous, meaning they use both right and left paws interchangeably. Like humans, the majority of kitties and doggies are right pawed/handed.
Remember Me Thursday:
Right pawed, left pawed or ambidextrous, all kitties are wonderful. And all kitties deserve the chance to be loved and have a happy life. We encourage anyone looking to add a kitty to your family, to check out the local shelters and rescues in your area. Old or young, disabled or not, there’s sure to be a kitty waiting for you. We would like to remind you to do some research before adopting. Altho’ you may not know everything about the kitties at the shelter, there are things you can assume by knowing a little about breed traits. And please, don’t adopt a special needs kitty if you can’t afford to take care of them financially. While we don’t believe that money or the lack of it should prevent anyone from sharing their lives with a furry purrer, we do believe that one should be realistic. Special needs kitties can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical bills. For someone like mommy, that would be impossible to do. Unexpected health care costs are something no one can predict, so we just say use some common sense.
We luvs the camera, so we have lots of shots where half our face is cut off. Blooper!!!
Well, me’s gonna wrap it up fur today. We hope you found today’s post interesting and entertaining. Remember, you can catch up on any posts in this series that you may have missed by clicking the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. And let us know your thoughts about Feline Nutrition in the comments or ask the questions you’ve been wanting answers too. We’re joining a few hops today. Furst up is Feline Furiday at Comedy Plus, and of course #RememberMeThursday with Lola and Lexi and Three Chatty Cats. We’re also posting our monthly foto fail with our furiends over at the Cuddlywumps. With as many fotos as mommy takes, we’ve got a lot of ‘em. MOL Check ‘em out fur a lot of inneresting and fun fotos and posts.
Welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We were really surpurrised by the variations in comments we got last week ‘bout “Designer Cats”. And, we think some of you were surpurrised by our view on the subject. Either way, we really ‘purreciate the discussion. As we said last week, Service Cat Monday has really taken on a life of it’s own and not only covers Service cat stories, but also general Trainin’ Tips/Tricks/Techniques as well as health, behavioral, and well, all things cat. That really excites us. As with all our Service cat posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Ifin you have any questions, purrlease leave them in the comments or send us an email. All Trainin’ Tips, Tricks and Techniques have been used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And, not intended to be a step by step Trainin’ manual. Ifin you’ve missed any post in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below.
First up this week, we want to speak just a little more about those “Designer Cats”. Our sweet friend Pipo thought he was one of ‘em. Truth is Pipo, Siamese, at least the traditional robust apple headed Siamese Cats, are a naturally evolving breed. Now, the Siamese in show rings today are a whole other story. Although technically not “Designer cats, they have been selectively bred to create a kitty that looks far different than their origins. But, the Traditional Siamese isn’t going anywhere. The DNA for the Traditional Siamese traits are in the genes of all Siamese cats today. As for us Ragdolls, again, we were a naturally occurring mutation from the pairings of a non pedigreed white alley cat and her cohorts. Seems Josephine, the mother of the Ragdoll breed, ain’t meowing (telling). Altho’ Josephine wandered the alleys, she actually had an owner. The owner shared an alley with a breeder that thought some of Josephine’s kittens were pretty remarkable and purchased several of those non pedigreed kittens and set out to create a breed she called, the Ragdoll. Unfortunately, disreputable breeders continue to cross breed, and call them “Designer Cats”. Cross breeding is no longer necessary, desired or allowed by the cat registering organizations.
Photo courtesy of PipoandMinkiandMrJackFreckles.blogspot.com
Raena, the result of a Ragdoll to Ragdoll pairing, is a prime example of poor breeding practices and the resurgence of some of those “undesirable” DNA traits. Me is stocky and boxy, with a heavy set of bones, per breed standard. Raena is long, tall and delicate. The Persian cat traits in her DNA have surfaced and resulted in a more smooshed face with those nasty tear duct issues and a longer than normal neck ruff. Her body type is most likely due to the Oriental cat DNA in the breed. This is why even reputable breeders of all breeds have what they call “Pet” quality and “Show” quality. You can’t change DNA, and at some point, kittens will be born with traits resembling some of those in past cross pairings which do not meet the so called Breed Standards. Now, please understand, we LOVE Raena and wouldn’t change her for the world. But, we do wish people didn’t try to play God.
This profile foto shows Raena’s more smooshed face.
Now, We covered a lot about “Aggression” recently in our Calming the Tiger in Your Cat posts (links at bottom). But, our friend Valentine asked, why/how can littermates not get along?. There were no specific issues listed. Naturally, we just assume littermates will be the best of friends for life, right?. Obviously, that would be ideal. But, the reality is that all kitties experience life differently. Two kittens born to the same mother and raised in the same house, will have different personalities and experiences. Even mommy, who is home with us 99% of the time, doesn’t see everything. The possibility exists that something traumatic happened between the cats, or their world that has caused a rift in their relationship. The runt of a litter will often get picked on and/or ignored by his/her littermates and even the mother.
Get back here sissy. I’s gonna be da Alpha Cat.
Two dominant cats may have trouble getting along. Outside intruders, or changes in their household can also cause kitties to not get along. The good news is, that no matter what has caused the rift, it can be changed. With a little love, patience, investigation and training, littermates and housemates can become the best of friends. It may take re-introducing the cats and starting fresh, but you can have a happy and peaceful home. The Tips and Techniques we laid out in the Calming the Tiger in Your Cat posts (links below), will help you reach that goal. Val, we wish your friend the best of luck and are happy that despite the issues, they have kept the kitties instead of turning them in to a shelter.
Oh yeah? We’ll see who da Alpha is!!!
We’re gonna wrap this up fur now. We’ve got a lot to do befur mommy’s dentist ‘pointment on Fursday. We hope to tackle a new question next week regarding Operant and Clicker Training. Be sure to join us fur that. And ‘member, ifin ya’ have any questions, let us know. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ ‘bout behavioral issues. The better we unnerstand the purroblem, the better we can help with the correct answers and tips. And, as always, you can ketch up on any Service Cats posty you missed by clickin’ the links below.
Welcome to a brand new Service Cat Monday. We do hope you all are enjoyin’ these posts and that they are helpin’ ya’ with your own kitties, doggies, etc.. ‘Member, we’re takin’ any and all questions ya’ have, whether they be ‘bout Trainin’, Health, or anythin’ else kitty. We’ll also try to help with other animals ifin ya’ have a specific question. Purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ ‘bout behavioral issues. You can leave your questions, comments and post suggestions in the comments below, or send us an email via our totally purrivate Contact us page. As with all our Service Cat posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. These posts aren’t meant to be a step by step Trainin’ manual, but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. 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 Service Cat Monday posty. Now, let’s get to today’s topic.
Our sweet Weimaraner furiend Phenny asked a couple questions a little while back, and we wanna address one of those questions today. Phenny said, “My aunt adopted a feral kitty. Is there any hope of taming him?” First up Phenny, thank your aunty for us. We’re really happy that she took in a totally unadoptable kitty. We say totally unadoptable, because the shelters say that. But the truth is, even a feral kitty can be trained and tamed. Anyone who has ever cared for a feral colony knows this, whether they realize it or not. What do you think is happening when you show up with food and they come running? The feral colony has been trained to show up at a specific time and place, and they will be rewarded with food and usually some sweet talk. Over time, they’re rewarded with love and vet care too. We’ve had ferals show up at our apartment many times through the years. They quickly learn when mommy is able to get around and give them something to eat and some fresh water. We know this to be true, because if mommy happens to get around earlier, there’s been no feral in sight. But, just like magic, around the same time each day, the feral kitty(s) suddenly appear.
Anyways, let’s talk about Training a Formerly Feral kitty to live inside. Last week we talked about a “Decompression Room”. A Decompression room can be used in many situations. Remember, us kitties don’t like change, and a feral is generally terrified of humans. You must understand, a feral is not acting out of meanness or spite, but rather, FEAR. Whether the feral is the result of abandonment by a past human or born from generations of ferals, their biggest motivator is survival. Part of that survival has conditioned (Trained) them to fear humans. So, when you adopt a feral kitty, you can expect to see many inappropriate behaviors as the kitty learns to adjust and Survive in their new territory. Once you’ve decided to take in a feral, make sure they can’t get outside again. Training is all about Repetition and Rewards and it’s hard to be repetitious with a kitty you can’t find.
I’s hidin’ out. You can’t really see me. MOL
Making Kitty Comfortable
Kitty should be placed in a “Decompression Room” after seeing a VET to rule out any possible illnesses or diseases, and a spay/neuter. Remember the ‘Decompression Room” should contain a litter box, food, fresh water, scratcher, a couple of covered boxes/carriers (good for hiding), a few toys and/or cat furniture of some kind. If there’s a window in your “Decompression Room”, kitty should be able to look out. A couple of scent soakers should also be placed within the “Decompression Room”. We were asked last week what piece of clothing made the best scent soaker. Mommy says for women, the best scent soaker is a bra; and for men, it’s an undershirt or cotton t-shirt. Remember the scent soakers should contain the scents of all residents of the house. Don’t rush kitty to be affectionate or you may lose any progress you’ve made. And, be sure to place the litter box away from the food and water bowls. Altho’ a hungry kitty will eat close to the litterbox, ideally, kitties don’t want to eat beside their toilet, do you?
Almost all cats like boxes.
Socializing the Feral Kitty
The next step is socializing kitty. While kitty is sequestered in their “Decompression Room”, you should go in at least a few times a day to spend time with kitty. This excludes the times you come in to clean the litterbox or feed kitty. Anytime you enter kitty’s space, you should talk to kitty and use their name. This doesn’t mean to get into a stare down with kitty or try to pet kitty. Just act like you’re talking to another person in the room and continue on with your business. You can read to kitty, watch t.v. with kitty, sing to kitty or whatever you’d like. Just make sure you’re spending time in the room with kitty. At first, kitty may hide and not show themselves to you at all. Don’t worry, kitty is getting used to your presence and good things happening when you appear. Once kitty starts showing themselves and coming out of hiding in your presence, offer them some treats and/or play time. This may be awkward at first, because the feral kitty is unfamiliar with cat toys and interactive play. Don’t give up on kitty. A little time and patience will reward you greatly.
Signs of Affection
When, kitty finally shows the first signs of affection, Do Not Rush him/her. The first signs will most likely be rubbing against your legs. This is a positive sign. Kitty is accepting you and marking you as part of their family. As kitty continues to offer affection, offer your hand, palm open and facing upwards, below kitty’s head. Allow kitty to sniff your hand and/or rub against it. Do Not try to pet kitty at first. After a few days when kitty rubs against your hand, gently scratch kitty’s chin. At this point, kitty’s motor boat (purr) will probably be on overload. Kitty has now learned to trust you. Do Not Overdo it though. You want to stop petting kitty before kitty gets agitated and retreats. you know the old saying, “Leave them wanting more”.
No Longer Feral
At this point, when you leave the room, leave the door open so kitty may follow you and/or examine the rest of their new territory (your house, their furever home). Go about your normal day and let kitty adjust on his/her own time. Anytime kitty shows themselves and gives you any sign of affection, reward them with treats, praises and/or a quick chin scritch. Altho’ don’t be surprised if kitty returns to the “Decompression Room” when strangers or company appear. Trusting you, took time, and so will trusting the rest of the world. Altho’, kitty may never truly be comfortable with strangers. this can happen with any kitty, not just ferals. If you’re wanting kitty to be a lap cat, place a few treats on the floor and the area beside your lap. Kind of like a trail leading kitty to the desired place, your lap. When kitty crawls into your lap the first few times, ignore them. Yes, kitty can feel your excitement and your heart beating a hundred miles a minute, but don’t give in to the temptation of the pat/scratch. After a few times, you may reward kitty with a nice chin scritch/treat and plenty of praises. Remember to always speak calmly and quietly. Before you know it, you won’t even remember a time when kitty was so afraid they wouldn’t let you see them.
The rule of thumb is always remember, Repetition, Repetition, Repetition and Rewards. And, Always leave them wanting more. Mommy says that’s a good rule of thumb to follow for even the most sociable kitty. You never want to over-stimulate any kitty to the point where they want to get away from you, bite or scratch.
Well, we’re gonna wrap this up fur now. We do hope this helps. All kitties can be Trained and desire normalcy. Even a Feral can live a happy and contented life as an indoor cat if you take the time to let them learn they can trust humans once again. Don’t furget to leave any questions, comments or blog suggestions below. And, have a pawsum week.
WooHoo It’s Monday!!! Hmmmph Nopawdy ever says that, do they? The truth is, me isn’t either. Me hates this clock changin’ thingy. Do you know we didn’t get brekky today till almost 10 am? That’s right, 10 am. T’ween the cold, cuz yeah, that’s back; and the time change, mommy’s body is all wonky. Come to think ‘bout it, so is RaenaBelle’s. Kittens, That girl is a mystery. Anyways, you all didn’t come here today to hear me meow ‘bout the weather and the time change and how our posty is really late and we still don’t have a special graphic. It’s Service Cat Monday, and time fur a trainin’ posty. Ifin you have any trainin’ questions or questions in general, or topics you’d like to see us cover, purrlease leave them in the comments section or send us an email.
We’ve got a topic today that everypawdy will benefit from. We get asked from time to time, how mommy medicates us. Cuz as you all know, we don’t like things added to our food. It’s not a casual dislike, it’s a won’t go near the plate and refuse to eat furever dislike. But as anyone who’s ever had an anipal knows, at some point and time, you will have to give said anipal some kind of medicine or supplement. As with all our Trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. And ifin you’ve missed any posts in the series, purrlease click on the links at the bottom of this posty. Our training posts are not intended to be a step by step manual but rather tips, tricks and techniques mommy has used/developed thru her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. Remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. Okay, the business is done, let’s get to it.
Medicating a cat is always a chore. Most cat owners hate the thought of it. You want to do what’s best for your beloved furry purrer, but you’d sooner cut your arm off than try to give them a pill. And let me tell you, if there’s an animal that has mastered the “fake out”, it’s a cat. Just when you think you’ve successfully got that horse sized pill down us, we go over to the middle of the floor corner and hack it back up, completely in tact me might add. Mommy is always complaining about feline medicine and how most of the treatments today are based around what works for dogs. Now, we don’t mean any offense to our doggy friends, but there’s no denying we are a completely different species with different needs and personalities.
Did you put medicine in mine’s food?
While there are some kitties who will eat their favorite foods with medicine mixed in, there are far more that won’t. So, cat parents have to become mad scientists’ and conjure up ways to get kitty his/her medicine. We know this, because it’s one of the most searched and talked about topics in cat forums and the internet. Mommy says it’s obviously easier to start training a kitten, but no matter the age, any kitty can be trained to open wide and gladly accept even the nastiest of medicines. Mommy doesn’t recommend paying the extra money to get kitty’s meds flavored with fish oils or malt. When done correctly, medicating kitty will be over and done with before they ever taste it.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools you will need. First up is the magic Pill Push (mommy’s word for it). At approximately 6 inches in length, your fingers are safe. These tools are also called pill guns, pill dispensers, pill poppers and just pillers. They are extremely effective when used correctly and affordable. You can buy a good pill push for as little as a dollar. Mommy loves a good pill pusher and we’ve had the same one for over 20 years. To use the pill push, you would load the pill in the small rubber piece at the tip of the tool and hold kitty’s head back, insert pill pusher as far into kitty’s mouth as is safely possible (should rest at the opening of the throat) and push the depressor end. Immediately close kitty’s mouth and hold it closed while rubbing kitty’s neck in the direction of the belly. A couple of rubs is all that’s necessary. Always follow with a dropper/syringe of water to make sure the pill goes down and doesn’t get stuck in kitty’s throat. This step is a Must!!! Do Not give kitty food or treats until after water is dispensed. Obviously, the Pill Push is only good for pills or capsules. This technique can also be used for all liquid medications given with a syringe or eye dropper.
Now, let’s tell you how to train kitty to open wide. Start training kitty before kitty gets sick. We want to remind you that all training should start with the bonding technique we discussed in our Training Foundations post (link at the bottom of this post). Load your pill push with a small treat. You may have to cut it down a little. You always want to start with the smallest “pill size” possible. If you’re using a syringe, you might want to fill it with a hairball paste, baby food, butter, or peanut butter. And don’t fill the syringe all the way. A typical dose is about 1cc, so it’s not a lot. Okay, tool is loaded and ready. Call kitty/doggy to you, or retrieve them from their napping spot.
Speak calmly and gently and tell them it’s time for medicine and a treat. Mommy’s too old to get in the floor with us these days, so she likes to put us on the bathroom vanity, cat steps or bed to administer medications. Hold kitty/doggy by the scruff of the neck, firmly enough to keep them in place. As you tilt kitty’s head back, firmly but gently say, “open wide” or “say aaaaaah”. Don’t be surprised if kitty clamps their jaws shut. Just continue to speak calmly to kitty. Insert the tip of the pill push/syringe/dropper into the side edge of kitty’s mouth and gently push up on the roof of the mouth. Kitty may initially fight or try to wriggle away from you. If necessary, re-insert pill push/syringe/dropper into kitty/doggy’s mouth towards the back of the throat. NEVER try to insert the pill push or syringe from the front of kitty’s mouth. It’s almost impossible and will cause more tension than is necessary for both of you. Continue to speak gently and inject the treat down kitty’s throat. Follow with the closed mouth, rubbing the neck and a bit of water. Tell kitty how proud you are and how good they were to take their medicine. You may also give them a few treats. Repeat this activity every day for at least a month. At some point kitty’s mouth will open on it’s own as you tilt the head back. At that point, repeat this activity at least once a month to keep kitty trained.
Now, let’s say kitty’s meds are in a powder form. Mommy likes the butter spoon best for this, but you may use other mediums as well. A few other things you can mix the powder with is: baby food, olive oil, peanut butter, honey, hairball paste or one of the many flavored medicine maskers on the market today. Mix the powder with kitty’s preferred medium and offer it as a lickable treat. If kitty doesn’t lick it or doesn’t like the taste, put the mixture on the back of a child’s spoon and insert into kitty’s mouth from the side and deposit mixture on the roof of kitty’s mouth or their teeth. They will be forced to clean and swallow. And if this is the case, you might want to mix the powder with water or a low sodium broth and give to kitty through a dropper. Always remember to speak gently to kitty and tell them how good they are and how proud of them you are. Always use just enough medium to mix up the powder and no more.
To train kitty to take “butter spoons”, again, start before kitty is sick. Start by mixing something harmless to kitty as a training treat. Mommy likes to use d-Mannose powder and/or crushed freeze dried treats. d-Mannose has been shown to help with the prevention of urinary tract issues. Offer kitty a small “butter spoon” daily for about a month and then once monthly to keep kitty trained. If using d-Mannose, use 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. daily for 3 days and then switch out to something else for a few days.
We know a lot of you make “treat pills” and the like, but mommy says it’s so much easier to have it done and over with so you’re sure kitty gets their proper dose. No kitty of mommy’s has ever seen a pill pocket, much less tasted one. If pills are prescribed, mommy’s preferred method is the pill push. Once you get accustomed to using it, medicating kitty takes about 10 seconds and it’s over with kitty none the wiser. One thing we might add, is when giving any oral medication, make sure you’re as far back in the mouth/throat opening as is safely possible and that kitties tongue is flat in their mouth. This will keep kitty from spitting the medicine out.
There are lots of ways to medicate kitty, and if you’re way is working for you, Great; keep up the good work. But for those of you having problems, or looking for a way to easily and safely give kitty medicines, then give our tips a try. Remember, it’s always easiest to medicate a cat that is accustomed to it and thinks it’s just another day in the life.
Me luvs a good butter spoon.
We hope this post helps some of you. Medicating kitty isn’t anything to be afraid of, and at some point everyone will have to do it. Because cats can be extremely finicky, it’s better to find methods of medicating kitty that don’t include tainting our foods. Remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. If you have any questions or training post suggestions, please leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on the links below or in any previous Service Cat post.