Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 

(aka Cats on the Couch)  
For a better view Click 

Dear Readers,

Halloween is always the ideal day to celebrate our relationship with our cats — especially — the safety and acceptance of black cats who have had a perilously wrong association with bad luck and evil.

My Orion obliterates this fallacious, erroneous belief with his acceptance and companionship of his robotic cat — Ziggy-Star-Dust — named after my late recovering feral. 
Orion and Ziggy-Star-Dust

Feral Cats Are Being Deployed In New York's War On Rats

What a gift this is to our city’s well being and more.  
Read more  
Volunteers with the New York City Feral Cat Initiative

Cats Are The Newest Customers For The Use Of Pot

Relief for an ailing kitty
Read more

Subscribe to Carole's free monthly Blog -- The Wilbourn Way 

Orion's Catitudes                                                                                                                     
(Orion, a recovering feral rescue gives his cat-speak and ©whisker waves on cat issues)

Orion always has a ©whisker wave for cool cats.

Cool Cats

Lloyd likes a toy that matches his eyes

Dante, female fashionista, faves fuschia
Gordon’s new spot to chill in the 18 wheeler big rig. 
Scroll through to Wayne's Cascadia in April 2016 Blog

Ari Is Withdrawn And Depressed
(Rejection Complex) 

Ari with his treasure toys
The following email made my day  
Good morning, and that it is. Ari has emerged from his corner beside the couch. I’m happy to tell you that early this morning Ari sashayed around in his usual royal manner, ate his breakfast and is now lazily sprawled out on the window sill while their music plays in the background. I’m so grateful you were available to do a session last night. And thanks for the Reiki. Read more

Ari Withdraws
Lana had called me in despair because her 15 year old Ari was not himself. Two days ago he planted himself in his favorite out of the way spot by the corner of the sofa and only emerged to eat and use the litter box. “Ari doesn’t greet me by the door and avoids me. If I manage to hold or brush him, invariably retreats to his spot. He totally avoids any provocative interaction with his litter mates, Rosie and Ben, which he usually initiates.”

Ari’s Session
As we hung out on the floor nearby, with Ari beside the couch, Rosie and Ben snoozed nearby in the bedroom. The three litter mates had a loose, live and let live relationship. Ari demanded most of Lana’s attention. Rosie had her moments. Ben’s acceptance of affection was on the short side. 
Ben reaches out for more attention

Ari accepted my strokes on his head and chin which told me he wanted to be noticed. He could have slid behind the couch but didn’t. He sniffed some catnip I sprinkled on some toys, while I went into the bedroom to offer Rosie and Ben some toys and nip. Rosie preferred to stay in nap mode while Ben, usually the out of sight guy, came forward to check out the offerings. 

A bit later as I stroked and acknowledged Ari, he suddenly gave me a darting glance and slowly backed up behind the couch. I turned around to see Lana with Ben beside her chair as she talked to him. 

The Tell Tale Sign
At that moment Ari’s sudden unusual behavior resonated with me. His instinctive kitty radar had told him Ben was present. His reaction was to withdraw. He felt abandoned and chose to withdraw from the painful feeling. 

“So that’s what you meant when you asked if there was a change in their relationship,” said Lana. “It was so gradual I didn’t think too much of it, but Ben has been more in need of my attention and affection. Certainly not like Ari who is usually my shadow and gets tons of my time.”
“ Doesn’t matter, Ari feels displaced and rejected. His withdrawal is his feline shout-out that he’s unhappy,” I said. 
“So what should I do?” said Lana. “ I love the three of them. I can’t ignore Ben,” said Lana.
"And you won't," I said. "Ari," I explained, "was not prepared for Ben's change in his relationship with you. He is used to the usual routine and couldn't accept, couldn't integrate this change."

Acknowledge Ari
So, whenever you talk, touch or interact with Ben in any way, even if Ari is sound asleep in another room, acknowledge Ari verbally. “Isn’t that good Ari, right Ari, you take such good care of everybody." Include him so he doesn’t feel excluded.
“That’s all I have to do,” said Lana. 
I chuckled as I said,”Keep it simple. If it turns out that Ben and Rosie feel neglected, mention them or “right guys” whenever you interact with Ari." 
“I see all for one, and one for all,” said Lana.  
Ari, Ben and Rosie await Lara's tuck-in
(For more on Acknowledgment, refer to “I Don’t Want To Give Des Away, But…. " Scroll through 2013 Blog to Nov)

Theo Beats Up My Friends
(Aggressive Cat Syndrome) 
Theo, King of the Mountain on FaceTime
Ari’s situation reminds me of Theo, a young neutered cat who felt rejected and insecure, but unlike Ari who resorted to “flight”, Theo’s response was “fight”. 

Theo was referred to me by Dr. Dougherty, director of The Cat Practice, that I had co-founded with Dr. Rowan in 1973. 

Linda, Theo’s guardian, scheduled a FaceTime consult to resolve Theo’s aggressiveness. Although he was very affectionate with her, he was abusive with her visitors.Sometimes he was ornery with Lila, his companion, who adored him and everybody. She was the love or “flower kitty”.  

Theo’s Life Was Disrupted  
Theo was adopted two years ago. This once very friendly and lovable kitten was now predictably aggressive with everyone but Linda. By the time I’d finished Theo’s case history, I could clearly see how and why he was now the warrior. His behavior started to shift to surly when Lila was adopted last year.

Lila adores everybody

This adorable kitten was the catalyst to Theo’s dramatic behavior change. He bowed to her front and center demeanor but his feeling of rejection manifested in aggressive behavior. 

Theo loves Linda's stroking
Because he was unhappy and anxious, he was easily overstimulated. So his interactions with people quickly exploded into aggression with people and a yo-yo relationship with Lila. 

My major recommendations for treatment were these:
  • Give Theo special daily private time; maybe a walk in the hall, a brushing on his climber.
  • Tell Theo how good and loved he is whenever, wherever you touch Lila or talk to her.
  • Tell him how grateful she is to be his companion.
  • Whenever you have visitors, tell them that Theo will come to them if he wants attention,and if so, a few strokes but to stop before he becomes overstimulated.
  • As he likes to hang out in his carrier, put a basket beside the carrier with a sprinkle of some catnip inside so he has another place to hang out in. Add another basket if Lila is interested.
“Think of how good you feel when you’re acknowledged,” I said. “Before Lila arrived, Theo had all of your attention and didn’t have to share.”

Linda nodded and told me how my diagnosis really resonated with her, and she felt that it would take time but Theo would slowly become his old self. I reminded her that there would probably be break downs but the breakthroughs would rally.

Our Two Cats Deserted Us
(Post Vet Trauma In Wisconsin) 
Oliver and Wendell an inseparable duo
“We usually have a cat sitter when we travel, but we decided to board Oliver and Wendell at our vet’s because Wendell needed daily medication,” said Doris. “They were there for ten days. Ever since they returned, they give us the cold shoulder.” 

She went on to say how the kittens were only several months old and were adopted a few months ago. Before they were boarded, the cats slept with them and followed them about . “I feel that we’ve betrayed them, and now we don’t know how to regain their trust,” said Doris. 

Doris had arranged a phone consult to make amends with their two guys. I reassured her that their intentions were for the best when they boarded Oliver and Wendell, but a hospital has built-in stress with hospitalized animals that are away from home anxious, and on the mend. "Together with separation anxiety, it was total culture shock for your two guys, away from you, in a stressful environment. But not to worry, they can recover from this trauma with your caring assistance."

  • As Oliver has a feel-good fascination with paper towels, place a few sheets on the rug and other places that he likes to hang out on. Sit nearby and talk to him in a fun manner. Let’s refer to this as “love at a distance”. After several or more repeats, stroke him briefly, and tell him how good he and Wendell are. As Oliver relaxes, Wendell will get a calming contact high from this interaction.
  • Two or three times a day, place a few sheets of paper towels on your bed. Hang out on the bed, talk to Oliver, but don’t touch him unless he wants to be petted. If so, stroke him briefly, but stop before he becomes ruffled.
  • Engage in some fun things that you particularly like — the more you nurture yourselves, the more your two guys will mirror your good feelings.
  • Oliver's passion -- paper towels
  • Think of this particular time as a temporary transition, and remember to play the link of music I sent you to relax and remind them of their phone consult where we doted on them.The music will be their security object.
During the session I had Doris place some paper towels on the bed. Oliver very carefully jumped up and took possession of them while Wendell sprawled out on the rug, and I did some distant Reiki to increase the good feeling.  I told them that if they had to board their guys again, they should arrange for their cat sitter to make daily visits so Wendell and Oliver wouldn’t feel abandoned.
“ Looks like we’re off to a good start, and I know that we feel very encouraged that our two guys will gradually recover from this trauma, and our relationship will be stronger than ever,” said Doris.

Sleepless On The Upper West Side
(Sleep Deprivation)
“Sappho lets me sleep until about 7 a.m. these days. No more burning the 1 or 2 a.m. morning oil — thanks to your suggestions,” said Ken. 

Sappho, a nineteen-year-old, but very active kitty, became very, very vocal especially in the wee hours of the morn. So Ken would oblige and follow Sappho into his study where she would deign to stop yowling — as long as Ken remained. Emily, Ken’s wife, had a chronic medical issue, and uninterrupted sleep was vital to her health. 
Sappho in her favorite box

  When I made a home visit to observe and advise Ken and Emily 
about Sappho’s “persistent raucous, high-spirited yowling", Sappho’s stride and grace disguised her golden years. So I wasn’t surprised when they told me the vet found no major complaints, except for slight renal failure, which was addressed with a kidney-friendly diet and the addition of a tablespoon of water to each meal. Also, her hearing had somewhat declined.

Pigeon Play Dates
Emily mentioned how Sappho’s favorite activity was to station herself at the windows on pigeon patrol. She would dash back and forth as the pigeons gathered on the window sills. Now and again a pigeon might flutter a wing at her continuous motion, but these New York birds knew she wasn’t a threat. And best of all,  bird seed was sprinkled on the sills to extend their visit. See the video  

Sappho, The Gamer
“Sappho is particularly on her game when she’s physically in motion. Action and fun are her template,” said Ken. I nodded as I watched her dart about after a taste of catnip and a couple of tossed toys.

Sappho’s raucous yowl is symptomatic of her geriatric golden years, lower stress tolerance, single cat syndrome, separation anxiety, slow down —break down — of physical organs and biological sleep rhythms. Although Sappho’s mental ability was on point and her overall physical condition was okay, her health was still on a natural decline. Because her hearing was on the minus side, she over-reacted with her meow. The more her body vibrated, the more she could experience the sound of her meow.

The demise of Hercules, her canine companion, contributed to her discomfort. The separation occurred about two years ago which coincided with the start of Sappho’s shout-out for continuous company — to be noticed. They were not best buds, but it was a live-in relationship. She was also vulnerable to Ken and Emily’s nocturnal biological rhythms which were usually in transition in the wee hours of the morning.

Treatment to Wipe Out Sappho’s Shout-Out
  • Join Sappho in her creative pursuit to enjoy her golden years. Supplement her pigeon patrol with flying birds on the internet.
  • Arrange play dates with a neighbor’s cat-friendly dog.
  • Play hide&seek, and when Sappho finds you, welcome her with a hug and taste of nip.
  • Consider the adoption of a cat-oriented adolescent so Sappho will have non-stop entertainment and diversion.
  • Engage her in a vigorous playtime period pre-bedtime.
  • Purchase a Sleep Sound machine for the study so Sappho has a continuous sound to accompany her during the night. She’ll feel the vibration from the machine.
  • Set up a tunnel of paper bags that she can scramble through.  

Emily and Ken were not ready for another dog or cat companion for Sappho, but they heartily welcomed my other recommendations. Their day jobs needed all the possible, positive support.

Progress Report -- 
Off the Slippery Slope
Sappho had delayed her nocturnal shout-out until about 3 a.m., an improvement but definitely in need of reinforcement. See Sappho in her blanket.
Although she absolutely needed to be sequestered at bedtime with all of her comforts and the door closed, this was not possible as she would probably yowl for the first few nights. Emily’s sleep and the neighbor’s peace of mind could not be jeopardized.

Additional Diversions For Sappho
“We need some more early evening diversions for her,” said Ken. 
I suggested that they offer her a new object each evening. It could be a sock, t-shirt, ball of tin foil, toy saturated with nip, even a wad of toilet tissue. They could casually show it to her before they hid it in a place where she could find it. Maybe they could put it in her tunnel of bags or boxes.

Throughout the next few months I would send them new diversions for Sappho. The latest was a NASA Sleep Promoting Light Bulb from Hammacher Schlemmer that appeared to enhance sleep — with a lifetime guarantee. Read more .

Vice Magazine
It makes me feel good that Ken no longer has to spend most of the night on his office couch to accommodate Sappho, and I especially appreciate their success with the campaign to comfort and engage Sappho in a healthy way. 

I’m reminded of Leo Ram, a young cat for whom I was called to remedy his intrusive, nocturnal activity and yowl. 

To sleep well together is to live happily and healthily together!

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 

(aka Cats on the Couch)  
For a better view Click 

Dear Readers,

The WiFi Communicating Pet Treat Dispenser.

This WiFi monitor allows you to check in on your cat or other animal companion from anywhere at any time and remotely dispense preloaded treats. There is a lifetime guarantee.

Watch Out For That Damn Cat, Marcel Duchamp 

Duchamp had equally groundbreaking experiments in cubism and non-representationalism, but never quite achieved the success and recognition that his contemporary, Picasso achieved. He had real trouble making ends meet and had to look out for any chance to make a little cash. So he entered the poster contest sponsored by his local Ladies Auxiliary Home Safety Committee.

Nude Descending a Staircase was originally entitled Watch Out for That Damn Cat. However, the Ladies’ Auxiliary passed on it as did the usual run of critics and patrons of Duchamp’s other works. His poster did not place in the money.

(Cats Of The Masters, Michael Patrick)

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Russian Gent In A Peugeot Saves A Kitten From Death On The Highway

Mayor's Alliance Adoptapalooza In Union Square Park

Orion sent me to the Adoptapalooza with his surrogate robotic black cat.

I was available for Reiki treatments and to support and cheer on the many adoptees.

Louie is a love!

Take a look at some of the terrific dogs.

Mascot for this Adoptapalooza
This puppy is ready to go
I'm yours

Orion's Catitudes                                                                                                                     
(Orion, a recovering feral rescue gives his cat-speak and ©whisker waves on cat issues)

Horror Films
Orion thinks this kitty has had his fill of horror. Click here to see the video.

Blissful Moments
Ulla blisses out as she’s weighed, praised and adopted! 

This Myanmar kitty is blissed out by the vintage phone.  

Why Does My Cat Do That? 
Litter Box Tribulations
One of the most common concerns or conundrums in my Cat Practice is litter box issues.

Carpet Fixation
Coco loves that nip
Coco, a spayed, fourteen-year-old, decided to use the carpet for her litter box. One of my recommendations was to place wee wee/puppy pads in a second litter box. I explained that when she felt uncomfortable or anxious, she deliberately tinkled or defecated on a soft surface. This put her in the comfort zone that she experienced when she was nursed or/and in contact with her mother — even if it was short lived. Her recent vet visit was A-okay, so there wasn’t any related medical problem.
Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily, her companion, needed daily medication which also involved extra positive attention, so it was important to acknowledge Coco with a favorite past time so she could feel included. 

Coco is now on target with the litter box. I decided to cut up strips of an inexpensive rug instead of wee wee pads,” was Coco’s guardian’s message. “Coco’s definitely more relaxed since her session".

Wee Wee Pad Overload — Obnoxious Odor!
As I type, Oscar is asleep in his box as he listens to the music you sent us. We are very excited. Your solution to place the wee wee pads directly in his preferred litter box has been a fave. He only used the pads outside the box twice when those in his box were saturated. When I mentioned that we had to stop the transdermal dose of Prozac because he became too frantic, you suggested we speak to the vet about a liquid prozac that could be compounded into a tasty food mix by a pharmacist or to grind the pill into a small amount of his favorite food. Liquid prozac mixed in his food was the answer. Oscar has always been needy but wary of touch — except with our youngest daughter. Thanks again for your help. I will keep you posted on his progress. We will wait at least a month before we have our carpet professionally cleaned.
Love at first sight when she spotted Oscar for adoption

My Reaction:   
Oscar, this young neutered cat, has a very likable relationship with his companion cat Bruder and a family that truly loves him. 

His behavioral program, coupled with medication to treat his anxiety attacks should slowly give him the support he needs to chip away at his emotional and physical fragility which has wreaked havoc with him.

Holly and Buddy Acted Out Their Frustrations  
Holly about to make a high jump
As I hung out with my cat Orion, I thought about Holly and Buddy. “ A good prognosis,” I said out loud, and stroked Orion’s whiskers. I felt that their session would be the key to the solution of their major current issues.
Three weeks ago Holly had started to use soft objects, in particular the bed, as her litter box. 

Buddy was frequently aggressive or aloof with his guardian Carl. He preferred Rona, his other guardian, whereas Holly favored Carl. Although now in recovery, Holly’s incidents coincided with Carl’s surgery and other medical problems. Her “incidents” on their bed started when her guardians were away for the weekend.

Holly and Buddy, a young 10 month old, were Carl’s first cats. Rona had lived with cats in the country who spent most of their time outdoors. So this was a new chapter in their living situation.

I explained that Holly’s “incidents” were symptomatic of the separation anxiety she experienced when they were away for the weekend, and she mirrored Carl’s angst and discomfort related to his medical issues. She communicated her angst with her “deviant, un - catlike” incidents. Her bladder and rectum were her stress targets.
Buddy wrangles with his toy

Treatment Program for Holly’s Litter Box Lapses     
Some of my recommendations were:
  • Close the bedroom door for at least a month
  • Provide a second litter box with litter and paper towel strips
  • Praise both cats when they use the box
  • Carl should reassure the cats that he was in recovery. As he acknowledged this, he would feel better and Holly, especially, would pick up on his confidence.
  • Most of all he should engage in activities that would nurture him.
I gave Carl a short Reiki chair treatment to defuse stress and create balance in mind, body and spirit. The cats’ relaxed expression conveyed they received a contact high.
Reiki .... Read more

Blurred Boundaries — Uncomfortable Interactions
Carl had grown up with dogs, and I explained that Buddy was a cat who preferred to seek out attention when he wanted it, rather than to be sought after. Buddy felt threatened when Carl persisted in his attention to him. I told Carl to allow Buddy to make the overtures. Evidently, Buddy preferred Rona’s softer energy, which was fine, as Carl had Holly to shower attention on. Also, he may have blurred the boundaries with his overtures to Buddy — which added to Holly’s angst.

Progress Report:
All is well. My relationship with Buddy is totally in the comfort zone and Holly is litter box happy again. Thank you for your guidance, but there’s another issue,” said Carl. "Yesterday we took our guys to be bathed and to have their nails clipped. When they arrived home, the cats proceeded to hiss at each other."

Displaced or Re-Directed Aggression
I explained that their cats were disoriented and stressed by the new environment that was filled with other animals. Their reaction was to pass this discomfort on to each other. “Distract them with a loud exclamation or toss of a toy when, or before, they start to carry on,” I said. “In the future, it would be best to arrange for an in-home pedicure. A bath is not usually necessary for short-haired cats, but if they’re receptive, a daily brushing can be fun — especially, if you tell them how cool and handsome they are.”

Continuous Diarrhea And More  
Giardia persists  
Muji and Yayo at paws length
I adopted Yayo from a cat hoarder. I couldn’t resist this handsome, two year old, blind in one eye kitty. Kook was our only cat, and my roommate and I knew it would be okay,” said Meg. She went on to say that he came with giardia (One-celled organisms found in the small intestines of cats -- infectious, causes diarrhea and sometimes bloody stools). This was diagnosed and treated with oral medication. Since that attack, they have had him on a grain free diet. Yayo had recently urinated outside the litter box which was a new development. He was very friendly with Muji, whom they’d adopted as a kitten. But ever since Muji arrived, a year ago, Yayo no longer tucked into bed at bedtime. It was Muji who dominated the bed. Kook, cat number one, always preferred to sleep in different places.
Kook knows how to let go

Rap Music Can Release Some Fun Energy
Meg mentioned how Yayo was a constant talker and usually joined in when she rapped. Videos were her day job, but she was a rapper — a second profession — aka Uncle Meg. During the session, I requested that Meg give a sampling of her rapping. It was a fun release of energy for them.

Advice for Meg
I recommended that Meg should contact the vet to adjust Yayo’s diet and to arrange a possible vet visit. Clearly grain free food was not the answer for his continuous diarrhea, and this discomfort probably triggered discomfort with his bladder.

During the phone consult I had Meg interact with Yayo on her bed but included the other two cats in the conversation. “Tell Yayo he keeps the bed safe for all of you,” I said and explained that they would pick up on her relaxed body language and tone of voice. Repetition would create a positive Yayo association and acceptance of the bed.

Yayo’s Progress Report
Carole, I still put on the music you sent for them, and Yayo’s feeling a lot more comfortable. He's been coming on the bed again too, and even all three of the cats have been coming on the bed together and sleeping in the same area. I changed his food, and the vet did some blood tests. Giardia is still present, and Yayo is now on medication which should wipe out the parasite. Thanks again for your help.

It’s not unusual for giardia to hang on. Sometimes a cat can be a host, without becoming infected and can still infect other cats. Yayo was from a cat hoarder so it’s not surprising that he became infected with giardia.

Single Cat Syndrome -- Aggressive Cat Syndrome 

Life Before Des  
Xena has found her disciple in Des
When Kate contacted me five years ago, because her young cat Xena was beating her up, I told her Xena’s aggressive behavior was a symptom of the “single cat syndrome”.

Enter Des, a dapper, carefree, young, neutered male. No longer did Kate have to assume the unwanted role of Xena’s cat.

Scroll down to Introductions The Wilbourn Way.

She recently sent me a video of how Xena displayed her boredom and frustration with her cat bed before Des became the feline focus of her life.

A Kitten To Restore Tigger's Well being 
Tigger and Oreo at play Before
Loss wreaked sadness and aggressive behavior with Tigger when one of his guardians passed on. Tigger had rarely left his side up to the very end.  See March 2016 Blog. Scroll down to Loss Wreaks Sadness And Aggressive Behavior.

He had always been best of buds with his companion Oreo but now he started to chase and torment him.

Grief Therapy Session
Boo the matriarch
I did a family grief therapy session to defuse the sorrow and create peace and harmony. During the session Tigger hung out by Oreo — a major break-through. But a few weeks later, Tigger started a continuous yowl, while Oreo and Boo, the matriarchal kitty, kept their distance.  

Ronni, their guardian, felt Tigger needed a new major distraction to comfort him, and the family would mirror his relief.

Introduction of New Kitten
So I recommended she adopt a very playful, cat-oriented kitten of Tigger’s coloring and use The Wilbourn Way to introduce a new kitten. Also, she should give the kitten a name that made her happy whenever she spoke to the kitten. 
Oreo Takes Time Out

A few weeks later Ronni called me in a panic. Silly, the new kitten, has frightened my other cats. Although Tigger plays with her, sometimes he runs away and hides — Oreo too. Boo can’t be bothered."

Silly, the Tigger Look-Alike
So I did a session to evaluate the new relationship. 
Click here to see their interaction. Take a look at Silly, the new addition. Notice the way Tigger looks at her. I told Ronni that Silly was all that Tigger had yearned for. When he and Oreo scrambled to cover, it was to take a break. They needed their down-time.

By the way, Carole, I took your suggestion and got a hula hoop. Watch me spin.”
Looking good, Ronni. Now there’s fun and therapy for the whole family. See the video.

I ended the session with a short Reiki treatment for Boo to ease her arthritic limbs.  Reiki .... Read more   

A Free Consultation With The Cat Therapist