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CINDER: Cinder here!

RAINY: No, Rainy here!

CINDER: If you’re helping write this post, then Bootsie should be here too.

RAINY: But she’s asleep!

CINDER: And Barnaby should be here.

RAINY: But he’s looking out the window and barking at nothing.

BARNABY: Ruff! I’m here.

BOOTSIE: Yawn! The sun feels so good.

RAINY: Now can we write?!

From the Cat Trio and the Solitary Dog….

As we write this, we’re looking out our bay window onto the backyard with its giant maple tree. There’s a squirrel stealing another tomato from the vegetable garden and two blue jays bickering on the back fence. We’ve been living in our new home for over a month! There have been ups and downs, but now we’re finally feeling settled.

The first days our owners kept us confined to one room. They knew we needed time to adapt, but I think they also wanted to keep us out from underfoot. They finally let us out because we kept meowing and they didn’t want to lose another night of sleep.

RAINY: I was the first out of the room!

CINDER: You were the noisiest one. And you wouldn’t leave their plants alone.

RAINY: Hey, I slept some of the time. And you meowed too!

CINDER: I was the second out of the room! And you only went to sleep when Allison came into the room with us. Even then, you didn’t sleep long. She had to put a pillow by the door to keep you from scratching it. You’re a pest.

RAINY: We all wanted to explore! Remember how we sneaked past the box at the foot of the stairs and checked out the upstairs?

BOOTSIE: That was fun!

RAINY: And remember how we sneaked into the basement when they forgot to close the door?

BOOTSIE: We did?

CINDER: Well, we might have done that without you. I think you were off hiding in the cat tower.

BOOTSIE: I really like the cat towers.

RAINY: Those were some of the “ups”. Should we write about the “downs”?

CINDER: Why not? You were the one who threw up. And kept getting yourself locked in closets. And….

RAINY: We all threw up at least once. Moving is a HUGE change! And the dog is the one who kept peeing in the house….

BARNABY: I get excited watching all the action outside! The living room window is the best!

CINDER: You should join us on the bench in the dining room. The bay window is the best.

BARNABY: There are more people and dogs and cats out front. And the bench is too high for me.

RAINY: Can you believe the people next door have a cat that looks like me? And that our owners have petted it?

BOOTSIE: Why shouldn’t they pet it? They like cats.

CINDER: But they’re our owners!

BOOTSIE: You get jealous about everything.

CINDER: And you get scared of everything.

BOOTSIE: Do not!

RAINY: Yawn! I love how the sun shines through the back door. It makes me want to roll over and sleep. Can we post this now?!

BARNABY: Shhh! I think they’re home.

RAINY: We didn’t write about the visitors.

CINDER: Our owners are almost over their colds. Maybe they’ll want to write about that?

BOOTSIE: I like this photo where we’re all together with Allison.

CAT TRIO & BARNABY: Thanks for reading our story!

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From the Cat Trio and the Solitary Dog….

Our owners have bought their first house. All of us are moving this month. We’re sad but excited.

We’re sad because we have a lot of memories at our rental. It’s where Cinder recovered from stomatitis and had to wear a cone, but also where she learned how to do agility and discovered the wonders of basements. Whenever Cinder needed time alone, she’d retreat to the basement and soon her mood improved. The rental is actually the ONLY home that Bootsie has ever known. It took her weeks to venture beyond one room. Then her curiosity won over her fear. Soon she discovered the fun of cat towers and TV shows. The rental is where Rainy proved herself a troublemaker by knocking books and dolls off shelves and insisting that cats should be allowed on counters. It’s also where Rainy grew up and showed her family how much of a snuggle bug she is.

We’re excited because of everything our owners have told us our new house. It’s much bigger inside and so we won’t be as crowded. Our owners tell us now there will be more room to have guests. There are more windows. The front bay window looks out over a flower garden teeming with butterflies and how the back bay window looks out over a big yard dominated by a giant maple tree. We’re especially psyched about the basement. Our owners plan to set half of it up with agility equipment. We’ll even have a storage closet for all our stuff, instead of it being scattered through the house wherever there was space. Outside there is a deck. We’ll need to wear our leashes and harnesses to go out on it with our owners, but there’s going to be a lot of new smells to explore, and so we won’t mind. Lots of positives!

Our owners tell us the move will take most of this month. That means there won’t be postings of our stories for at least a few weeks. Instead we’ll be having adventures!

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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!

Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! What happens when three cats live with a dog? Depends on the cat!

Cinder might run up to Barnaby daring him to chase her. When she takes off, Barnaby will bark and run after her. Cinder will race into the living room and dart up the cat tower. Or she might race into the bedroom and duck under the bed. Either way, Barnaby will stop short and stare at her, unable to follow. Cinder’s a tease!

Bootsie is less certain what to make of Barnaby. She’s backed away from him when he’s gotten closer. She’s even batted him. But Bootsie doesn’t really seem scared of him. After all, the two have shared a spot on the back of our recliner next to the living room window. Maybe her reaction depends on how which prevails: fear or desire. If Barnaby lies beside me, but Bootsie decides she wants on my lap, she’s going to find a way to me. One night she stared back and forth between him and me. Then she leaned forward and sniffed Barnaby’s tail, before stepping over him to nap with me. Victory!

Rainy has her moods. We have several endearing photos of her snuggling up to Barnaby, nibbling on Barnaby’s ear, and laying on top of him. Ah, siblings. But Rainy will also torment and steal from him. “Go get her!” That’s us warning Barnaby that she’s at his food. “Rainy!” That’s us telling her to leave alone his treats. Rainy used to crawled under Barnaby to get at his food. She was that determined! Nowadays she’s a little less bold. She’ll instead sneak up to his side and waited for pieces of his bone to drop to the carpet. One night she even got hold of a bag of his treats, hid under the bed with them, and devoured them. That’s perhaps the only time I’ve seen Rainy puke. It’s not the last time I’ve seen her take Barnaby’s food. Poor starved girl!

Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! What happens when three cats live with a dog? Sometimes the four play, other times they squabble, but best of all they’ve learned to be a family.

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Training rule #6: Take precautions.

Training rule #7: Praise baby steps.

Last month, to better prepare Rainy for doing agility, I decided to expose her to as many new situations as I could. I started by introducing her to the great adventure of our front porch and then encouraged her to explore the stairs and sidewalk. I also began inviting more visitors over to see her. With the start of a new month, I decided it was time to venture beyond our yard.

Day #1: I took Rainy to a nearby park in a pet stroller. When we got there, I clipped a leash to her harness and took her out of the stroller to let her explore. Despite my feeding her treats, Rainy immediately found a bench to hide under. I picked up both her and the treats. Then I sat with her on a bench. Rainy nibbled at treats in my hands, all the while staying alert to the world around her. She’s a cautious cat, which isn’t necessarily bad; her caution keeps her near me and the stroller While we sat, a man strolled by, then stopped to glance back at us. “Is that a cat?” he asked. When I said yes, he told me that he takes his cat to the park too. His cat is old and loves the outdoors. He left and a family came along. The two children pointed and exclaimed, “A cat!” No one came over to pet Rainy, the way they would have if I’d had our dog with me, but from their excitement I could. Next another man walked by. He stared and then laughed, but he said, “Have a good day!” And you know what? We did. Rainy and I soaked in the sunlight and enjoyed the glorious bright and warm day.

Day #2: One of my training rules is to build on success. For that reason, I headed back to the park with Rainy. We were assaulted with a lot of chatter even before we reached the park entrance. Two large families passed us, with kids who once again acted happy or perhaps amazed to see a cat at the park. At the first bench, I took Rainy out and put her on my lap. Another of my training rules is to provide high incentives. Today I brought goat cheese. I didn’t even try to hand feed her, but just let her stick her tongue into the container. Although her body trembled at all the commotion going on, Rainy did relax enough to eat her treats. And while she ate, I caught up on phone calls. When I was done, I put Rainy on the grass. She just sat and looked at me. I tried multiple places and got the same reaction. I respected her stress and brought her back to the bench. Unlike the day before, however, this time Rainy didn’t dive under the bench. Instead she climbed up on it and looked around. I smiled and sat beside her. Baby steps!

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!

“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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Fall 2017

This fall I will be on hiatus except to post family news. Stay tuned!

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