Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 2013


THE WILBOURN WAY BLOG  
www.thecattherapist.com
     (AKA Cats on the Couch)
Dear Readers,

A touch of Reiki to restore and enhance balance to our mind, body and emotional well-being. Let there be peace!





OXFORD’S REACTION TO LOSS
Oxford was Anna’s college graduation present. She was a three month old kitten. That was eleven years ago. During that time Anna had various roommates, was married for a short period, and lived first in Texas and now in New York City. Oxford has been her tie that binds.
Although she’s the only cat, Oxford has continuous live entertainment. She has her own pigeon community whenever she chooses to hang out at the nearest window. Last spring the pigeons built their nest on a nearby window ledge. Oxford became glued to the window when the eggs turned into baby pigeons. With spring on the wing, there’s sure to be a repeat. 

     One of Anna’s questions was about Oxford’s relationship with Anna’s late grandmother. She told me how Oxford shadowed her grandmother whenever they stayed at Anna’s parents. Wherever grandma was, Oxford could be found. She especially loved it when grandma knitted. But several months ago, when grandma became sick, Oxford slowly became the fair weather kitty. She totally avoided grandma. A few months later grandma passed on.
     I explained to Anna that Oxford was threatened by grandma’s change and decline in body, mind and spirit. She wasn’t able to accept or integrate a “different” grandma so she resorted to flight. Not every cat has the Florence Nightin-Cat instinct. Oxford did what she had to do to protect herself -- a genuine survivor -- who instinctively ruled out becoming an emotional sponge. (http://www.thecattherapist.com NBC -- Oscar the cat).
     Anna nodded in agreement, and Oxford -- birder extraordinaire -- jumped up on the window ledge as a pigeon flew by.
  
CAN OUR 22 YEAR OLD CAT TOLERATE THIS KITTEN? 
AND CAN WE?

     “What a looker your Rex is and so regal,” I said, as I watched this 22 year old, lick away at the catnip I’d sprinkled on some tissue paper. Ron and Ross, his guardians, had engaged me to make a home visit to evaluate and advise them on their current conundrum -- a young female kitten -- who now sat at a distance with her eyes glued on Rex.
     She showed up on their door step one morning. They had no intention of keeping her but had her checked out by their vet. No health problems. Although she was quite petite, he thought she could be several months old. He didn’t think she’d been spayed because he didn’t find any trace of a scar from an incision and recommended she be scheduled for surgery in the near future.
    Ron and Ross named her Sabrina and very slowly introduced her to their Rex. In the meantime they put the word out that she was for adoption.  That was over two weeks ago. They were very clearly of two minds. Yes, they were smitten by her, but their Rex came first. Would his physical and emotional health be threatened by her presence? She was, indeed, major culture shock, to the three of them. Rex’s long time companion and buddy, Wrinkles, had passed on a year ago. It was Wrinkles who took care of Rex.  How would Rex integrate this vivacious young kitten into his lay back and sedate life? And, they were skeptical about their relationship with her. Rex’s kitten days were but a memory. Would they be able to accept her kitten ways? Would she be better off with another family?
      As the guys conveyed their thoughts and feelings, Sabrina dashed about. Rex eyed her as he curled up in his basket.  At one point when she pranced over to him, he let out a small hiss. Off she darted. He yawned and gave a stretch. On another occasion, when she was under the dining room table, he gingerly walked over and positioned himself under his chosen chair. Regal Rex!
     “So Carole, what’s your insight? Is it a good match? Should we accept Sabrina into our family? What about our Rex?”
     As Sabrina bolted down the stairs from the second floor and Rex sat next to the guys on the couch, I gave them my impression and recommendations. I told them that Rex had given his seal of approval. Why not? Sabrina provided him with continuous entertainment, and she appeared to play by his rules. She seemed to sense that her “whereabouts” depended on his approval. Sabrina was endowed with street smarts. But when Rex couldn’t satisfy her need for play or contact they could pinch hit for him in this way:

THE WILBOURN WAY: INTERACTING WITH A NEW KITTEN

-   Acknowledge Rex verbally whenever they talk, touch, or play with Sabrina. Mention his name so he feels included -- in the loop. You could say, “Okay Rex, play with Sabrina. We got your message. You have other things to do, or we’ll feed her so she doesn’t eat your food.
-   Visitors should also focus on Rex.
-   It’s important that you acknowledge Rex orally even if he can’t see or hear you. His “cat sense” kicks in -- so don’t try to outwit him.
-    If Rex chooses not to sleep with you, Sabrina shouldn’t either. Bedroom privileges are a high priority.
           
          Rex had been declawed. They wanted Sabrina to keep her claws but without harm to Rex and damage to their furnishings. I told them to clip Sabrina’s claws. Rex would give her a good nip if she got out of line. They noticed she’d scratched the carpet once. I recommended the Felix Katnip Tree, ww.manta.com/c/mr0q79s/felix-katnip-tree-co to praise her whenever she used it and a very sharp “no” when she scratched their furnishings. “You have a large house so you’ll probably want to have more than one post.” 
       I autographed a copy of one of my books to Rex and his family which would fill them in on more of THE WILBOURN WAY. 
       "So you really think we should keep Sabrina?"
I told them they should take it one day at a time.  She certainly entertained Rex, and maybe he wanted them to join in the fun. Perhaps it was time for a new chapter. "Maybe you could adopt another kitten so Rex could have another consort," I chuckled. "But if a friend does adopt Sabrina, it's thanks to you for being the perfect rehab."    
     
THE MESSAGE IS IN THE SUBTEXT 
            MARATHON MONDAY  
     My Orion may get the connection that this cat is an Orion look alike and a shoe fancier. But the red shoes could also be a connection to sneakers.   It could be Orion’s way of saying, “Go Boston, we’ve got your back, Carry on.” Why not! The first and oldest annual marathon was run in Boston in 1897. 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN THE WHITE HOUSE
(Orion, a former rescue, will represent cats and offer nuggets of wisdom regarding Bo, the rescued First Dog -- a Portuguese Water Dog.) 

WIPE OUT NOISE POLLUTION   

You may have a cat or dog that freaks or bolts at the sound of a horn or any sudden loud noise. Perhaps you do too. Noise pollution is on the rise. Stophonkaholism.com http://beauhanson.com/6511/1158607/work/76-honkaholism) is a campaign that helps obsessive horn blowers to curb their honks. Orion would like Bo to be the poster dog for a nationwide campaign. Go Bo!