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Not Quite Clicking

So, as it turns out, Mr. Darcy is mildly afraid of both the clicker AND the target stick. This makes sense because although he is a very friendly pudd, he is very “head shy”. About the only part of the process he is a fan of is the turkey I’ve been using as the reward. I’m going to put the clicker inside of a sock to muffle the sound, and rub the target stick end in some tuna juice, and give it another go :).

I’ve also been trying clicking with a couple lucky catof the Bideawee Adoption Center cats- a very confident, but slightly naughty, 6 year old female, and a charming, food hound, 10 year old male, neither of whom are “head shy” or sensitive to noise. Even with the near constant interruptions and the muffled sounds of the dogs barking in the next room, they’ve made good progress. They have become bored with the commercial treats, though, so I think that I will have to invest in some turkey breast for them too!

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Vet Prep

tuxedo junction

 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that your cat not view has carrier as a scary, strange smelling thing that takes him to scary, strange places. Pull the carrier out from time to time, throw some catnip and some treats into it. and repeat for a few days at a time. If you do this once a month or so, perhaps even working up to serving a tasty meal or two in it, the next time you actually have to take him to the vet, things should start off much more peacefully!

Clicking with Mr. Darcy

Image

 

Darcy, our 7ish year old lap cat, is the most food motivated of our current trio. Hence, he has been chosen for my grand experiment. Clicker training is a form of operant conditioning that can improve your relationship with your cat. It helps to strengthen your bond, may improve behavior problems, and alleviate the boredom of indoor- only living. Or so I’ve been taught ;). Even though I have used basic clicker training techniques with several of my shelter cat “clients”, I’ve never tried to clicker train one of my own cats. That changes today! I look forward to sharing helpful, and I’m sure humorous, updates.

 

Here is some info on clicker training.

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/23

So…it’s been a while ;). Going to give this whole blogging thing another go!

Phil is our 9 year old feral/semi-feral boy. He is funny and quirky, only allowing us to touch him when we’re in bed at night, and then he can’t get enough. Clipping his nails used to be possible only by hunting him down, cornering him, and then hanging on tight while getting as many clipped as possible before he freed himself. Not a series of events that a cat behavior consultant could feel proud of, but a necessity none the less. For the last two years, however, even that has become impossible. With our sweet Juno gone, and with the addition of Mak, our lovable,

Phil

Phil

but hardly top cat material, senior boy, Phil finds himself vying for the highest rung of the hierarchy around Chez Sleuth. Basically, no one has the desire or skill set to be in charge, and since Philsy  has the ability to “go all feral” on the other two, he’s gotten a bit more confident, and this extends, sadly, to refusing to allow me to hang on to him for more than a scary second or two.

Here’s the problem. If an indoor cat’s nails NEVER get trimmed, they will eventually curl around and grow into their pads. My options are to bring him to the vet, wish them luck, hope they succeed, and repeat a few times every year, or to find something he will enjoy scratching that might wear down or even break off some of the tips. I’ve just brought in a nice, nubby welcome mat because he tends to like to lie by the door, and has shown a preference for that kind of scratching surface. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Junes and Me 2011

Phinny was my teacher- the spectacularly smart talking cat who reawakened my fascination with all things feline, and inspired my career path. Juno is my “kid”, my juvenile delinquent, my first behavior case at the shelter, and my heart.

Writing this now, a sleeping Junes in my lap, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. When I first met him, Juno was a “stray” from the city shelter, lucky enough to be transferred to Bideawee and given a second chance. Thin, sickly, and mad as hell, his history was a true mystery. He was picked up from one of Manhattan’s last “transient” hotels when his owner was taken to the hospital and never returned.

Juno was aggressive when handled and seemed to have no interest in humans at all, but he did respond to play. We developed a routine. Several times a day I would crumple up some extra crunchy paper and we would have a rousing game of “baseball”. Bit by bit he began to trust me, even gazing longingly out the window of the cat resort when I would leave work each night.

Then came the diagnosis of early stage chronic renal failure. Although our vets had caught it very early, this, combined with his behavior issues and age(around 8), would make him tough to find a home for, despite being a gorgeous seal-point Siamese.

He was my cat. Everything for a reason. I was overjoyed when my husband agreed. and he came home to be cat number three, with Phinny and feral Phil as brothers.

He thrived. His kidneys remained static for 5 years- twice as long as any of the docs thought he would live. He became a devoted, near obsessive, companion- full of affection for both of us, and the other cats. He saw me through a layoff, start of a business, and the death of my beloved sage, Phinaeus.

Now here we are, in the end stage of kidney failure. This previously “nasty” cat stretched out on my lap full length, frail, but purring. He takes his sub Q fluids like a champ, growling in protest, but without lashing out at me. His kidney values are very high, yet he still nibbles at his food and even bounds around a bit. Now he is my teacher- facing this new reality with spirit and love.

I don’t know how long we have, but, for now, we’re happy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/science/12cats.html?_r=1

Finally- equal time!

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/cat-people-are-people-too/?emc=eta1