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Posts Tagged ‘cat photos

With our household of critters having expanded to include three cats and a dog, I thought it fitting to join a meme related to pets. After searching around, I came across Awww….. Mondays. The one rule is: “Post a picture that makes you say Awww…. and that’s it.” Every photo seemed to feature a pet and so the meme is a perfect fit!

“Bootsie, stroller!” I sat a few feet back from our pet stroller. It’s pushed up against our recliner with the flap open so that a cat could easily jump inside and explore. Bootsie turned my way. I tapped the clicker. As soon as she reached me, I gave her treats.

After praising Bootsie, I scooted closer to our pet stroller. The idea behind the training is to acclimate Bootsie to a stroller. Our other two cats enjoy rides in it. I suspect Bootsie will too, if she’ll learn to accept being confined to a stroller. Bootsie has a history of disliking closed spaces. I had to teach her to accept a crate so that we could take her for annual vet check-ups.

“Bootsie, stroller!” Once again, I called her. Once again, she turned my way. I tapped the clicker and waited for her to come. Ever cautious, Bootsie took one step, then another, and slowly made her way to me. As soon as she reached me, I gave her treats.

We repeated this process a few times and then it was time for the bigger challenge. I sprinkled treats directly in front of the stroller, at the front of the stroller, and at the back of the stroller. I issued the command, “Stroller!” And then I waited on the sidelines to see what would happen.

Bootsie showed no hesitation in seeking out the treats on the floor. Jumping into the stroller was an entirely different matter. She sat quietly on the floor. She studied me. She studied the carpet. She stared at the stroller. Finally, Bootsie stood on her back paws and stretched forward until she could reach the treats. One by one she ate them. And then she sat back down again. She studied me. She studied the carpet. She stared at the stroller. And I waited.

Just when I was ready to give up, Bootsie jumped into the stroller. She grabbed a treat, turned, and jumped back out. She did this once, twice … until all the treats were gone.

We still have a long way to get to the point where I can close the flap and zip it, let alone take Bootsie for a stroller ride. But she’s learned to accept a crate. And I’m teaching her to walk onto a baby scale so that I can weigh her. Oh the places training will take us!

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This month has been an adventurous one for our Rainy girl! She has been introduced to the great outdoors, our porch, and the sidewalk in front of our house. She’s also met one of our neighbors. We wrapped up May with more visitors and outings.

Day 1: When a visitor stopped by today, Rainy came strolling into the living room. I picked her up and brought her over to see our visitor. Greetings done, I left our visitor to get something. When I returned, I found that Andy was giving treats to Rainy and having the volunteer give her treats as well. He told me later that Rainy was frightened by our visitor. This surprised me because she had been fine in the living room. Cats are territorial. Did she not like our visitor having access to other parts of the house? Pets bond with their owners. Was Rainy timid because I wasn’t there? I don’t know, but her reaction makes me realize I need to be less casual about our new activities. Rainy is no longer a desperate stray kitten, and there are situations in which she’ll need time to adjust, and I should respect that as her guardian.

Day 2: Years ago, as a naïve new cat owner, thought that my years of experience with dogs and the insights from other cat friends was enough. Now I am not content to settle, and so I read lots and lots of cat books, the latest being Adventure Cats. In it, I learned a little tidbit. If one decides to introduce an indoor cat to the great outdoors, one should carry them out. Why? To avoid teaching them that it’s okay for them to go out the door, and thus decrease the chance that they’ll run away. Today I carried Rainy outside and I like that strategy a lot better. When I was coaxing her walk out the door, I was sending her mixed messages: When she’s on leash I encouraged her to walk out the door, otherwise I would shoo her away from the door. By carrying her outside for training, I can give her the consistent message that she’s never allowed to walk out the door.

Day 3: Last week I tried to build on success by encouraging Rainy to explore outside a little more each day. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how people and animals often get comfortable with each other simply by spending time together. For that reason, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Rainy and I just spent casual time together on the porch. I read a little from a book and researched a little on my laptop, while Rainy checked out the sights and sounds. One day there was rain and wind; another day there were bikers, kids, and dogs. On both days, after settling into the porch territory, Rainy searched for the treats I had scattered. In addition, Rainy tugged on her leash when she reached the stairs. I asked her, “Do you want to go for a walk?” Then I packed up my stuff and headed into the world with her. We walked one way and then the other on the sidewalk outside our house. I kept watch for dogs and other potential dangers. Both days, after about five minutes, Rainy calmly returned to the porch and stood at the door.

Day 4: Another visitor! A friend of mine drops by to talk about cat rescue. She meets the pets. We look at photos and share bios of cats needing homes. Then I bundle up Barnaby and Rainy for an outside jaunt. I walk Barnaby on a leash while my friend pushes Rainy in the pet stroller. Barnaby sniffs the grass. Rainy watches the world from the safety of the enclosed stroller. It’s another ordinary day in the neighborhood. We complete our trip around the block, head to our house, and then stop. My friend removes her water bottle from the cup holder atop the stroller as she gets ready to push the stroller onto the grass. Suddenly, Rainy retreats to a corner and then starts twirling around and batting at the stroller. Something about my friend taking the water bottle from the stroller and putting the bottle into her pocket startled Rainy. I take the stroller and talk in a soothing voice to Rainy. When she’s calm, we head inside and I have my friend give her treats. I want the visit to end on a positive note so that Rainy doesn’t associate strangers with bad stuff.

This month’s attempts to better prepare Rainy for doing agility have been enlightening. Part of me has wondered if our quiet home environment has made Rainy less suited to being an agility cat. But indoors she bounces off the walls with curiosity and activity. In addition, on the one day that I recently took Cinder out onto the porch, she reacted in a much more introverted manner than Rainy. I know Cinder likes her home, but she does go on stroller rides with me, and I thought she might do okay on the porch. She immediately found our living room window, stood up on her hind legs, and peered into it. When I didn’t take her inside right away, she searched out the door and parked herself in front of it. There is an obvious difference between her and Rainy, enough that I am satisfied Rainy could come to love the agility life.

Even if Rainy ends up making it clear that the agility life is not for her our attempts to achieve that dream are forging a stronger bond between us. She views me more and more as a source of fun for her life. And I am being reminded repeatedly that, just like people, each cat is unique. In turn, I am trying to train and hang out with each of my cats in the ways that they most prefer, and thereby growing in my relationship with them. What better could I and the cat trio ask for?

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

With our household of critters having expanded to include three cats and a dog, I thought it fitting to join a meme related to pets. After searching around, I came across Awww….. Mondays. The one rule is: “Post a picture that makes you say Awww…. and that’s it.” Every photo seemed to feature a pet and so the meme is a perfect fit!

Back in the days of being a one-cat household, my husband and I used Yesterday’s News by Purina. I don’t remember why we picked it. Maybe the brand name? Maybe because it’s eco-friendly? Whatever the reason, the texture is that of paper pellets, and it suited our first cat just fine. The cost was right too until the number of cats began to increase.

When we adopted our third cat, we began to look for a cat litter particularly designed for multiple-cat households. The first kind, Feline Pine, didn’t work out. This brand’s pellets are made of 100% yellow pine. Supposedly, pine neutralizes ammonia, and thus leave the litter box with a clean fresh scent. Not true. The advertising also says there’s no dust or tracking, but that wasn’t my experience either. I even have (of all things) a journal entry where I recorded that Cinder had left half the litter on the floor. Just as bad is the fact our cats would scatter yellow dust throughout every room of our house.

The next kind of litter we tried, Arm & Hammer Clump and Seal has worked out better. Made with microparticles, this litter is described as having a soft feel and being easy to clean. Our cats do like it! And I have no complaints with my ability to clean the box. The litter forms solid clumps that I can quickly scoop and toss into the garbage. The advertising says that the microparticles form a tight seal around odors, guaranteeing a 7-day odor-free home. Perhaps our family just have sensitive noises, but we can always tell when a cat has recently used the litter box. However, it doesn’t take long for the odor to disappear, and so we’re happy enough. Just as importantly, the reside is minimal. I still do find litter in the area immediately surrounding the litter box, but no longer throughout every room in the house, and that’s a huge plus.

As the number of cats that we owned multiplied, so did the litter boxes. We have one in each bedroom and one in the utility room. The photos are of her looking cute in these three areas, not all bothered by the presence of a litter box. The fourth is downstairs, mostly to accommodate Cinder, who seems to view the basement as a resort.

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Step #3: Build on success

Step #4: Be prepared for the unexpected

Step #5 Know the signs of your cat’s stress

Last week, to better prepare Rainy for doing agility, Andy and I decided to expose her to as many new situations as we could. I started simple, by introducing her to the great adventure of our front porch. By the end of the week, Rainy no longer feared the porch, and so it was time to build on success. For week two, I made plans to encourage her to explore the stairs and to walk on the front yard with me.

Day 1: Upon returning from a daily walk with our dog, I met my neighbor. She had mail for me and offered to bring it to me. I immediately took advantage of the opportunity to ask if my cat could meet her. While my neighbor went into her house to fetch our mail, I grabbed a can of salmon and leashed up Rainy. As soon as Rainy saw our neighbor, she turned and tried to hide behind my legs.

Since adopting Rainy, Andy and I have invited friends over to see her and have taken her to visit in-laws. She’s not unaccustomed to strangers. Yet she did act wary of them when we visited Hearts United for Animals, and so perhaps we’ve gotten too lax about socializing her. After all, as they mature, cats can grow timid. At any rate, Rainy’s reaction to our neighbor is proof that exposing her to new situations is a very good idea.

Here’s where being prepared for the unexpected helps. I calmly sat on the porch and started scooping out salmon from a tin. I put some morsels on a plate and kept the rest on my fingers. I then extended my hand to Rainy and patiently waited for the fish to tempt her. Sure enough, she soon licked my fingers. I repeated the same action, but extended my hand less, so that she had to walk a few steps toward me. I kept doing this until Rainy came all the way up to me. Through all of this, my neighbor and I casually chatted.

The next step was an equally important one. I gave the tin of salmon to my neighbor and let her offer some on a plate to Rainy. Gradually, I moved the plate of food closer and closer to my neighbor. When Rainy willingly came all the way up to my neighbor, I then agreed for my neighbor to put salmon on her fingers for Rainy to take. Which she did!

In this adventurous afternoon, I made one mistake. When I tried to pick Rainy up to take her inside, so that I could get treats, she resisted. To avoid getting scratched, I had to let her down. Fortunately, she was on leash and so she couldn’t bolt anywhere, but here’s where I should have listened to the signs of my cat’s stress. Even though she acted perfect agreeable to being bribed with treats, Rainy had also remained vigilant. Her darting eyes and tense body showed me that she was prepared for the worst. I should have paid attention to those signs, and instead invited her to walk inside the house with me instead of picking her up.

To wrap up this story, we tried the entire procedure again except we substituted regular treats. I scattered ones in front of Rainy, and then close to me, and then next to my neighbor. By the time the visit was over, Rainy was eating treats from my neighbor’s hand.

Day 2: One training rule is to use high incentives. I’m still trying to figure out what those are for Rainy. My cats will all coming running for cheese, but Rainy might be lactose intolerant and so I have stopped feeding her dairy foods. After doing some research, I discovered that there are options such as lactose-reduced cow’s milk made for cats (sold in pet stores) and goat cheese. So, today I tried goat cheese.

After coaxing Rainy outside with it, I scattered some on the porch. She gobbled up the cheese and immediately meowed at me for more. To challenge her, I sprinkled pieces on the stairs. At first, she hesitated. Venturing onto the porch was one thing; going past the porch was an entirely different story! Only when I sat on the stairs did she agree to follow. Rainy is my shadow! We sat on the steps and enjoyed the twitter of birds and chatter of squirrels. To challenge Rainy even further, I sprinkled goat cheese on the sidewalk. Again, Rainy stayed put until I lead her onto the walkway. There, Rainy not only devoured the cheese, but also discovered the glory of grass. She nibbled on the blades and tuned out the world.

Day 3: Just like the first week, I switched to commercial cat treats on our final day of outdoor training. Always, the big question is: Will Rainy stay outside with me no matter what incentive I offer? I throw treats about the porch and she races after them, tracking them down one by one, sometimes with the help of my pointing finger. I throw treats onto the stairs. She occasionally checks to ensure I am with her, but otherwise gamely searches them out. Finally, I throw treats onto the walkway. Then together we search for them until they’re all gone. And then we’re both ready to go inside for a nap!

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

With our household of critters having expanded to include three cats and a dog, I thought it fitting to join a meme related to pets. After searching around, I came across Awww….. Mondays. The one rule is: “Post a picture that makes you say Awww…. and that’s it.” Every photo seemed to feature a pet and so the meme is a perfect fit!

Over time, after my first cat died, my memories of her blurred. For that reason, I’ve often regretted recording so few entries in my journals about her. When Cinder and then Bootsie and then Rainy came into my life, I decided to keep a notebook dedicated to our pets. As I look back over earlier entries, to find stories to share, I take pleasure in seeing how Rainy especially has changed.

Once upon a time Rainy refused to let me groom her or clean her teeth. With equal vehemence, she stole meals from the kitchen counter or refrigerator. Her sisters were none too pleased either when she grabbed treats thrown to them. She enjoyed knocking books and cards off shelves. No heights were off limits either. More than once, I found her strutting atop are cabinets, weaving her way in and out of toys that soon tumbled to the floor. When she discovered her tail, she could spend a great deal of time batting it. A pencil in my hand to her represented a chance to practice her paw grip. She also liked a good game of pounce, with my feet being the object of her bites. Oh, and at night, she loved to jump onto the bed even if I was in middle of a good sleep.

That was then.

Yesterday Rainy modeled for the camera, so I could illustrate my article about her grooming routines. She still loves food, but I am learning to outsmart her. Now I let her play in the basement while meals are being prepared and any tantalizing food in the refrigerator is well-buried. She also still knows no limits to the heights she’ll jumps or the objects she’ll shove. Except again I’ve gotten smarter. Now every shelf and cabinet has room for her to walk along the ledge. Although her tail and pencils no longer intrigue her, she does love to hide under our kitchen curio, and poke her paws out for us to grab. In other words, she’s learning to engage others in her play. She’s even started to reciprocate grooming from her sisters. As for the middle of the night, my little monster has become an angel. Every night she’ll curl up under my arm and snuggle in for a long sleep.

This is now.

I started my first notebook dedicated to our cats back in 2014. It has long since overflowed into a second and third journal. I’ve also been turning those notes into anecdotes and advice columns. All serve as a tribute to our wonderful feline companions!

>Want to start your week off with a smile? Visit Comedy Plus or Burnt Food Dude and see what others are sharing today.


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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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