MeOW and welcome to our first Service Cat post of 2018. We’ve been chompin’ at the purr-verbial bit to get started. Me wants to point out a few changes we’ve made in an attempt to make these posts easier to find, and easier for you to ask questions. First, take a look at our menu options. We created a whole page with the links to every post in this series called Training Tips and Everything Feline. We will be adding descriptive tags so that you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for. We had hoped to have that done already, but as most of you know, we’ve had a few challenges keeping us busy elsewhere. Rest assured we will be doing that in short order. You will also find a contact form on the page that is completely private. Just fill it out with your questions or post suggestions and we’ll receive an e-mail readable only by us. If you’ve missed any posts in our Service Cats series, you may check this page to get all caught up. As Always you may continue to ask questions in the comments of our posts; we luv, luv, luv hearing from you. Remember when asking behavioral questions to purrlease be as specific as pawssible. Let’s get the business outta 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.
We had a lot of questions last year regarding the new PowerChair/WheelChair. Just in case you’re new to our blog, let me explain. Mommy’s PowerChair broke last June. One of the motors went out and the chair wouldn’t do anything but turn in a circle. Being over five years old, Medicare wouldn’t pay to repair it; so, we had to go thru the procedures to get a new one. Unfortunately, that process is long and tedious. We finally got approved and received our new PowerChair in January of this year. Here are some of the questions ya’ll asked about the new PowerChair and our Training/Ability to use it:
Old chair, but the joystick is the same on most chairs. It’s made of a
flexible rubber type material.
Q: Isn’t the joystick hard on a cat’s teeth?
A: The joystick is covered in/made of a fairly soft rubberized material, so it’s not any harder on a cat’s teeth than many of our toys.
Q: Does a repairman come out and evaluate the chair, and what steps are required to get a new PowerChair?
A: Yes, a repairman comes to our home to determine what’s wrong with the chair and if it can be fixed. If a PowerChair is over 5 years old, Medicare will not pay for repairs. So, the repairman must take measurements for a new PowerChair. The measurements required are the length of a persons arms, legs and torso. Measurements are also taken of the person’s width between the arms and weight. Other questions that will be asked is if the person has problems with incontinence, diabetes, ulcers or sores on their hiney, and the width of all doors and hallways in the home. Once those measurements are taken, the repairman will submit a request for a prescription from the person’s doctor. The person, (ie: mommy), must then see the doctor for a mobility evaluation, as well as a physical therapist. They will submit their evaluations along with a prescription to the PowerChair repairman who will submit it to Medicare for approval. The approval process can take as long as a year. There are emergency situations that can speed up the process, but it’s always best to expect a bit of a wait.
Q: Does the new PowerChair come with instructions or do we just have to figure it out ourselves?
A: The new PowerChair comes with a packet that explains how to assemble the chair and connect the control panel to the batteries as well as a description of the control panel. A small booklet with care instructions is also included. There’s no instructions on how to drive, which is why mommy ran into everything the first time she powered up.
Q: Why does it take so long to get a new PowerChair and do we have a manual chair we can use in the meantime?
A: We don’t know why it takes so long, but if you ever figure it out, let us know. MOL As for a manual chair, the answer is NO. Medicare and most insurance companies “rent” equipment in a succession based on health. That simply means they start with things such as canes and walkers and move up. Mommy skipped the manual wheelchair step because certain movements required to power a manual chair would cause her to pass out. She went straight from a cane to a PowerChair. So, when it’s broken, she’s left to get around however she can. In her case, that means crawling for several hours a day.
Q: Once the new PowerChair arrives, are we able to drive it or does it require re-Training?
A: Quite a few of you asked this question; but, until the new PowerChair got here, we couldn’t know for sure how to answer it. This is mommy’s third PowerChair, and each have been a little different. The first and second chair rode and drove pretty much the same and required no additional Training. Our new PowerChair however, rides and drives much differently than the previous chairs. The differences are subtle, but they are there. Enough so, that we will both require some new Training. Actually, me should say all three of us need some additional Training. The first time mommy powered on, she ran into everything and even fell off the sidewalk outside.
The view seems better from the new chair. And, the arms seem wider.
What are those differences, you ask? Well, for starters, the old chairs had a 360° turn without moving forward or backwards. The new PowerChair moves slightly forward when turning to the right, and slightly backwards when turning to the left. That may not sound like much to you, but due to limited space in our apartment, it can mean the difference in successfully turning around or hitting doors and walls and any other furniture that might be near, as well as falling off the curb. We have a very small kitchen and bathroom, so turning around becomes difficult in this chair. We’ll be doing more “backouts” instead of actual turning around. Mommy also says this joystick is very touchy. One little push or pull and the PowerChair starts moving. Altho’ that’s a good thing, it’s not something we’re used to and will require a few hours of additional Training. After all, we are cats and do find ourselves occasionally re-scenting the joystick with a little face rub. We for sure don’t want to go wheeling through the wall just because we showed the joystick some love. MOL The speed control on the new PowerChair is a dial up instead of a push button. Mommy hasn’t decided yet if that’s a good thing or not, but we’ll keep you posted as we go along. One small detail that others wouldn’t have given a second thought, is that the power button and horn are in the opposite positions from any chair we’ve ever owned. And the back wheels not only touch the floor all the time, they’re also the same size as the front.
So, a lot of little changes mean a lot of extra Training. Remember, altho’ the old chair was broken, we still had some form of Training each day, we just didn’t move. Getting used to moving again, is going to take a little time. However, mommy’s confident we’ll be ready for the races in no time. 🙂
Well, we hope we’ve answered the questions you all had about the new PowerChair. We’ll be posting more about our Training as well as tackling any other questions ya’ll might have. ‘Member, there are no stupid questions. Ifin you’ve been wanderin’ somethin’, you can rest assured you’re not alone. And be sure to check out our menu pageTraining Tips and Everything Feline to get caught up on any post you may have missed in this series.
We have a favor to ask. As you all know, we really want to go to BlogPaws this year. It’s a state over in Missouri. That’s just too close to miss, we think. Anyways, it’s time to submit your favorite blogs fur the Nose to Nose Awards. We fur sure would luv to be recognized and receive one of those pawsum awards. We’d really appreciate your nomination of our blog fur one or more categories. We’ve tried to make this as easy for you as pawssible, so, you can just do a copy and paste of the links. Here’s the categories we qualify for and the information you’ll need to submit us. Purrlease take a couple of minutes and fill out the form here. Fank you all so very much.
Best Written Pet Blog Post: Use the links above, unless you think another post was our best. If you choose another post, purrlease let us know which post you nominated. You may nominate more than one post or blog, it just has to be on a new form. Posts that are qualified for nomination/consideration: Any post created/published between January 2017 through February 2018.
Best Photo on a Pet Blog: We had a lot of trouble trying to narrow this one down. Purrlease feel free to choose one of the following, or you may choose any other foto of us on our blog:
We really ‘purreciate ya’ll takin’ the time to nominate us. If you’ve chosen a post or foto different from the links we provided, just let us know. We’re always innerested in knowin’ what you luv ‘bout us or our blog.
MeOW Welcome to Service Cat Monday. The holidays are upon us. Here in the U.S. we’ll be celebratin’ Thanksgiving this week. And in me’s house, we’ll be celebratin’ me’s Gotchaday. Anyways, we thought we’d take today to point out some helpful Tips to help your furries enjoy the holidays too. We are often asked ‘bout nutrition and human food safety fur kitties. We know it can be confusing, especially when you have V-E-T’s who really push prescription diets and commercially purrpared pet feeds. But, food isn’t the only pawssible danger that arrives with the holidays, so let’s have a little chat. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday 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 Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Let’s take a look at Thanksgiving. For most people it means a big feast, family get togethers and the beginning of Christmas parties and decorating. A traditional Thanksgiving feast might include a turkey tom lurkey, dressing, cranberries, potato salad, possibly a ham and much more. So, are any of the foods you’ll be preparing safe fur kitty to have? We do love us a big ole bite of real live cooked turkey. No seasoning required. A nice raw turkey neck, altho’ messy, is good fur helpin’ keep kitties teeth clean. But only if it’s raw. If you try to cook it, the bones become brittle and can be dangerous. What about the side dishes? Dressing/Stuffing often contains onions and other spices that can be toxic to your cat/dog. Altho’ we’ve also learned that stuffing actually cooked inside the turkey cavity may very well be dangerous for humans as well (possible e coli or salmonella poisoning). So, skip stuffing your turkey and leave it off your furries plate as well. Garlic and Onions can damage kitty’s red blood cells. You might think about making a small amount specifically for kitty/doggy. Avoid spices and seasonings when preparing foods for your pets.
Pass the cranberries please. That’s right, cranberries are a great source of vitmamin C, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Cranberries are used in many of the UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) prevention foods, treats and supplements. Kitty may or may not like them, but they are safe to offer. As for all the other sides and salads, kitty can skip those. Cats are obligate carnivores and can’t actually digest most fruits and vegetables. And, Raisins and Grapes, often found in salads and deserts can lead to kidney failure in cats/dogs. Here’s a quick list of some human foods that are NOT safe for your pets: Avocado, Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine, Citrus, Grapes, Raisins, Nuts, Onions, Garlic, Xylitol, Yeast dough and Alcohol. Mommy says a good rule of thumb to help you remember what plants or foods might be toxic is: If the plant has a bulb, avoid it. While pumpkin is great fur kitties and doggies, pumpkin pie should be avoided, as well as pumpkin pie filling in the can.
For a lot of peeps, Thanksgiving is just a precursor to Christmas. Christmas trees and other decorations are often brought out and the decorating begins. Remember, not all anipals enjoy the hustle and bustle of parties, so be sure to set up a Decompression Room beforehand. Even if your furry does enjoy the party, it’s always nice for them to have a quiet place to get away if it becomes overwhelming for them. Christmas trees, real or faux mean dangling wires from lights and decorative balls. If you’re not sure how kitty/doggy will react to a tree, you might want to skip the antique decorations and place plastic or other non breakables toward the bottom of the tree. Remember, always set up kitty/doggy to succeed, not fail. Avoid Tinsel, Flocking (fake snow), Edible Ornaments, Lit Candles, Holly Berries, Mistletoe, Angel Hair or PVC Decorations and Ribbons.
Make sure all guests know not to feed kitty/doggy. This will help to insure begging doesn’t start and kitty/doggy doesn’t eat.drink anything toxic. Alchohol, Marijuana, and all other drugs/medications should be kept away from kitty/doggy as well. If you use Potpourri, essential oils or other air fresheners, keep them out of kitty/doggy’s reach. Many essential oils can be toxic or irritating for kitty/doggy and even some human guests.
Now for a few Training Tips. Redirection is Key to training kitty/doggy to leave holiday decorations alone. While catching kitty in the middle of the tree might make for a “funniest holiday moments” video, it can also be harmful. Remember all those live wires entwined on the branches? Electrocution is not fun for anybody/kitty. Getting wrapped up in cords or hung is no fun either. A lot of real trees have been treated with toxic chemicals to help prolong their life inside the home. If you have a live tree, be sure to cover the water dish with foil so that kitty/doggy can’t drink the water. If kitty attempts to play with the tree decorations, Redirect them immediately with a favorite toy. If kitty attempts to climb the tree: say NO in a firm voice and move them to an appropriate place (cat tree, cat shelf, etc.). Keep Poinsettas and other Christmas plants out of kitty/doggy’s reach and think about growing them their own pot of grass or catnip.
The holidays can be fun for everyone with a few safety precautions implemented. And don’t forget to keep the V-E-T’s number handy. It might be a good idea to keep the Poison Control Hotline number close by as well: 888-426-4435. You can check the ASPCA website for a more comprehensive list of foods, plants and other items to avoid for your pet’s safety. The last thing you want to do at the holidays (or any day for that matter), is to have to rush your furry friend to the emergency clinic/hospital because they ate or played with something seasonal. Something that could have been avoided.
Well, we’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We hope we’ve helped you and your furry with some suggestions fur a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. We wish you all a pawsum Thanksgiving. And remember, ifin you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, leave them in the comments or send us an email. You can ketch up on any post in this series, by clicking the links below. Come back Wednesday to help me celebrate me’s 8th Gotchaday.
MeOW and welcome to Service Cat Monday. We seem to be gettin’ later and later with our posts. All me can meow is that it’s gettin’ colder and we still don’t have a wheelchair, so we’re doin’ the bestest we can. Mommy’s been a bit unner the weather lately, but never fear, Raena and me are takin’ real good care of her. Anyways, let me get the business outta the way and we’ll get on with today’s posty. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday 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 Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Today we thought we’d talk a bit about chewing. This is something most dog owners are intimately familiar with, but only affects a small percentage of cats. Dogs never seem to outgrow their need to chew on things. Us kitties on the other hand, don’t usually find your stinky shoes appetizing. There’s a big difference between stinky goodness and the stench coming from your old sneakers. So, what do we kitties find interesting to chew you ask? Well, that cord draped from your desk to the outlet that connects you computer to the almighty power sure does look enticing. So does that cord that connects your monitor to the computer, or the one that charges your phone, tablet or other digital device.
Yes, dogs seem to chew based on scent or sensation, but we kitties chew based on a response to Hunt, Catch, Kill. A dangling cord might look motionless to you, but we see the slightest movement caused by a shift in the air, or the slight shaking of your desk or table. We can’t help that our tail appendage just happened to touch the cord and cause it to sway as we passed by. But, that slight movement awakens our need to “Hunt, Catch and Kill”.
Kitties can also chew because of frustration or boredom. Generally, we still chew things like cords or small dangly items like curtain tassels, rug tassels, etc.. Why do you think we like wand toys so much? MOL There are exceptions to every rule. Raena likes to bite and chew metal and porcelain objects. Mommy finds this very frustrating herself, as these objects are extremely hard and could cause tooth breakage. But, let’s be honest, cord chewing isn’t any safer. The teeth might not break because of it, but kitty could get electrocuted or worse.
So, how do you get kitty to stop chewing? The good news is, that most cats grow out of this behavior. In the meantime, wrap cords in cord protectors when possible. There are many products on the market that are designed to dissuade kitty, but mommy says she never found them very effective. And in some cases they were a bit sticky and she feared they could cause bugs. Not something mommy ever wants to encourage. The one thing Mommy has found to be helpful is electrical tape. Electrical tape is an inexpensive fix to keep kitty from chewing on cords that must dangle for whatever reason. It even comes in colors these days. Although, mommy still prefers basic black. Just be sure to wrap the cord from the base of the plug to the base of the device it powers. In all of her years with fosters and resident kitties, she’s never had one chew a cord wrapped in electrical tape. You can also try hiding or blocking kitty’s access to as many cords as possible with furniture. Remove all tassels and fringed items. This step should only be temporary.
Fabric covers, easily made by sewing a seam in one side of a
piece of fabric cut a few inches longer and wider than
the cord it’s covering.
But, for those cats who chew out of boredom, electrical tape and removal of enticing items won’t be the only fix needed. So, Redirect, Redirect, Redirect. As soon as kitty starts chewing, firmly say NO, and get a wand toy or throw kitty’s favorite toy their way. IN KITTY’S DIRECTION, NOT AT THEM!!! The startle will be enough to stop kitty from chewing and get them to investigate the toy. Remember, spray bottles and water dousing doesn’t work. We know several of you just disagreed with us based on your own experiences. And while it might work a time or two, the damage it does in the long run isn’t worth it. Not to mention, kitty will eventually get used to getting doused and ignore it. Besides, spray bottles and dousings are for the lazy kitty owner who isn’t interested in learning why kitty is doing what they’re doing and helping them. You can also try some of the electric interactive toys on the market. We have several that will turn on intermittently throughout the day. Of course, they don’t work so well when kitty learns how to turn them on and off themselves, but hey, at least kitty isn’t bored. MOL You might also look into getting kitty a friend.
While we’re a kitty blog and focus mainly on feline behavior, we try to help all our friends whenever possible. We mentioned that dogs are incessant chewers. You’re not likely to stop your dog from chewing, but you can provide appropriate chew toys. Keep your shoes, clothes, remotes, phones, and other enticing items out of doggy’s reach. Keep closet doors shut, invest in a remote/phone caddy and Redirect, Redirect, Redirect. If doggy gets hold of an off limits item, immediately remove it (use basic training command: Drop It) and replace it with an appropriate chew toy. Again, there are tons of them on the market, from chew sticks to teething ropes, etc..
Well we hope we’ve helped those of you who might be dealing with cord chewers. We got a similar question about fabric chewing that we’ll cover next week. These are two completely different behaviors. And remember, ifin you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, leave them in the comments or send us an email. You can ketch up on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ the links below.
Meow and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re getting a lot of questions regardin’ the “new” wheelchair and how we’ll be affected by it. Unfurtuantely we can’t really answer those questions till the “new” wheelchair gets here. We can say that mommy’s had 2 wheelchairs now and, fur the most pawrt they are similar enuff that they don’t require a lot of new training. However, we will certainly keep you all updated once we’ve received the chair. As with anythin’ involving the government, the red tape is long and we’re still waitin’ fur said chair to be ordered and delivered. That bein’ said, let’s get the business pawrt of this posty outta the way and get on with today’s question. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
The first question we’re going to meow about today comes from our sweet friend Annie from the Gooeylounge. She asked “what we thought about the use of water bottles, water pistols and the like being used to Discipline kitties.” She noted that they’re not used in her house, but she’s familiar with a lot of peeps that do. We added the word Discipline to her question, as a water bottle can really only be used for discipline purposes. Since so many kitties actually hate water, being squirted with the same for sure wouldn’t be seen as kitty having fun.
As you know, we always tell the truth. When mommy started out, she had a water bottle. It was recommended by not only the VET, but also several trainers at the time. We must note, these trainers worked with dogs only. Back then there weren’t any kitty trainers to get advice from. The first time mommy used the water bottle, it had very little effect on the kitty’s behavior. Mommy quickly learned that discipline should NEVER be used as a training tool. So, the water bottle moved back to it’s home in the bathroom to be used to spruce up mommy’s perm (a hairstyle popular throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s).
In recent years we’ve seen Air Cans being used to train cats. The idea is the same as the water bottle. A can of compressed air is placed near the area you want kitty to avoid. When kitty comes near it, the Air can forcefully spews out a blast of air at kitty to startle him/her. These Air cans are yet another form of disciplining kitty. Our stance on any form of Negative Discipline to kitty’s body is that it has no place in Training. The old saying, “Two negatives doesn’t make a positive” is absolutely true. We suggested other forms of swaying kitty to behave properly in our post entitled Discipline. Cats respond better Positive reinforcement and Love.
We also wanted to address a question asked by Jan from the Funny Farmers. She said, “Raena seems to be doing a lot and going everywhere now. Does Dezi get jealous? How is Dezi?” Thanks for worrying about me awnty Jan, but, no worries. Me is doing great. When me joined mommy and sis Lexi all those years ago, me did most of the going and doing as sis Lexi was getting older and not enjoying the hustle and bustle of certain outings anymore. She still enjoyed trips and short outings, but Walmart and the like were a bit overwhelming. While we may be calm and quiet, our presence does draw attention. A lot of children seem to have no boundaries and often try to poke at us through the stroller. As a kitty ages, that type of behavior can become a bit too much. Me loves mommy very much and will tolerate anything for her, but thankfully, Raena enjoys being the center of attention and for the most part doesn’t get annoyed at the poke attempts from sticky little fingers. And, me quite enjoys the few hours of alone time me gets while Raena is out accompanying mommy. There’s no reason for jealousy, because when we’re together, mommy spends plenty of time with me. Me also continues Training each day to stay sharp; and me still goes on short outings with mommy as well as strolls around the apartment complex.
Well, we hope we’ve answered some of your questions today. As me said earlier, we have quite a few questions regarding the “new” wheelchair that we can’t answer till it gets here. So, ifin you have any other questions or topics you’d like us to cover, purrlease leave them in the comments section or send us an email. And, remember, you can ketch up on any post you’ve missed by clicking the links below.
Are your kitties sociable?
Do you have one that seems to like outings more than the other(s)?