Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July/August 2013

THE WILBOURN WAY BLOG  (AKA Cats on the Couch)
Dear Readers, 
I recently saw “Breakfast At Tiffanys” (1961) at the Museum of Modern Art. The theater was sold out.  Each time I see this film, I’m taken in by Capote’s dialogue. One of Hepburn’s lines: “I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”
And there’s another bit where Hepburn is almost unforgivable cat-wise. I truly wanted Capote to rise from the dead and choke on those lines. But the ending was his redemption. He latched on to “All’s well that ends well” -- could be one of the reasons that time after time I continue to see this film. You can catch it on Netflix -- streaming.

Recommendations from Carole

59 West 44 Street, NYC 10036 

Come and join the fun at Matilda’s birthday party on Wednesday, August 7, from 3 PM to 7 PM. There will be a kitty fashion show. The entrance fee is $25.00, but all proceeds from the event will go to Bideawee. Cats and dogs will be available for adoption. I will be available for Reiki treatments for guardians and their animal companions. Do stop by to say hello.  

I had introduced Pippin to Polly when Pippin was a young kitten. That was four years ago. And twelve years before that I had introduced Polly, when she was a kitten, to the family’s resident cats. Now Polly was gone. Kidney stones and a cardiac arrest had taken her from Pippin and her family. Polly had been one of my cat mates on a television special.
So when Nan, their guardian, contacted me about Polly, of course she asked me to find the right companion for Pippin. “Pippin’s eyes are so sad. Polly was his protector. He’s not himself with her gone,” said Nan. She went on to say that Pippin had become her shadow -- his way of letting her know how he felt without Polly.
I told Nan I would contact NY PetICare as I felt sure they would have Pippin’s right match. A young kitten or cat who was very healthy, playful, confident and preferred cats to people would bond quickly with Pippin.
NYPetICare provided the perfect match -- a healthy,  robust, female kitten who loved other cats. The foster guardian drove her in from New Jersey.  Soon after they arrived, I had him place her carrier in a small sitting room, with a litter box and water, with the door closed. She quickly scampered out of her carrier and wrestled with the fuzzy bunny I’d left for her. After her foster guardian left, I opened the door, and she eventually made her way to the bedroom where Pippin was hanging out. Nan had closed the doors of the other rooms so the kitten would not be distracted.
“I want to go in and see them, but I know The Wilbourn Way Intro well. Let them be,” said Nan. She went on to say how with the other introductions, her cat always found the kitten, but not this time. I explained that I could tell this eighteen week old kitten was sort of a type “A” catsonality. Although she would let Pippin reign supreme, she preferred to get right to whatever it was, no patience for the waiting game.

Before I left I reviewed the cardinal pointers with Nan:
  •  Keep your distance.  You don’t have to stay at home now. The more you’re out the better.
  •  When you must interact with the kitten, acknowledge Pippin. You might say: Pippin, I’m feeding the kitten so she doesn’t eat your food.”  Sure, Pippin won’t get your literal meaning, but he’ll sense your interaction with the kitten is on his behalf. This very simple technique will defuse rivalry.
  •  Remember, even after they have bonded, mention Pippin’s name whenever you interact with his kitten. So easy to do and Pippin will love you and the kitten even more for this gesture.
  •  Pippin won’t be deceived if you sneak attention to his kitten on the sly. He can feel or sense what is happening. He doesn’t have to see it to feel or believe it. Let Pippin be the affection provider.
  •  Have visitors follow the same hands-off policy or let your guys hang out in another room if they can’t resist the temptation to shower the kitten with affection.
  •  BedtimeI know Pippin always sleeps with you. If his kitten comes a-bed, and he’s oblivious, not to worry. But if this agitates Pippin, sequester yourself in the bedroom.
  •  Remember Pippin’s kitten is invisible to you – with practical or necessary exceptions.
  •  Ten days from the day that your two visibly bond, (Pippin grooms the kitten or curls up with him.) you can interact with the kitten.
"I remember how ten days seemed impossible when you introduced Pippin to Polly, but it really paid off" said Nan.
Later that evening I received the following email from Nan: “Look at the two of them. That’s my Pippin! By the way I named the kitten Melli. That’s honey in Greek". 

As you can see by the attached photos Pippin really found his Honey.

Roxy had licked and licked the fur from her tummy and now wore a cone around her neck so she couldn’t reach that spot -- her spot of choice to lick. 
Annie, their guardian, had been referred to me by Dr. Newman at Westside Veterinary where I am in residence. When I spoke with Dr. Newman, she told me that she had given Roxy a thorough medical exam. She’d ruled out a neurological seizure, an old injury, arthritis and kidney or cardiac dysfunction. Roxy’s blood test was normal, along with her urinalysis, and it was not an allergy. Dr. Newman had started Roxy on an anti-anxiety (psychotropic) drug, because she felt Roxy’s behavior was anxiety related. She told me now was the time for a behavioral session.
Often a cat will overgroom when doubtful or agitated because it produces a feeling of comfort and is a reminder of the mother cat.  A cat when anxious or excited may fixate on a certain spot to wash. Because the area becomes sensitized, it begins to itch or tingle, which causes more licking to reduce the discomfort. Consequently, the cat’s behavior becomes compulsive. Sometimes an oral or injectable type of cortisone can reduce the inflammation and discomfort -- especially when given at the onset of an attack.
After my conversation with Dr. Newman, and when I had taken Roxy’s case history, my impression was that there were a few major events that contributed to her deviant behavior. Two years ago Annie had a marital split and Roxy had been very tight with Annie’s ex. Roxy had recently had a bladder problem which added to her angst. The demise of Annie’s boss of many years distressed her, and Roxy mirrored Annie’s angst and sorrow.
I told Annie that Roxy’s stress target or vulnerable spot became her tummy. So whenever she felt anxious, she licked away. At the start of Roxy’s session, her face was tense and vacant. Ruby, her companion, who was also nine years old, chased after toys that Annie tossed and was front and center.
Roxy loved to be brushed, so Annie brushed her as I sprinkled catnip about. Together with the sound of the therapeutic, musical CD and a brief Reiki placement, Roxy’s face slowly softened as her muscles and thoughts relaxed.
Some of my recommendations included the addition of an omega fatty acid 3 and 6 to Roxy’s diet to help provide the extra fat that would remedy the problem. The CD should be played continuously because it would be a soothing association of Roxy’s session. It might be necessary to increase the dosage of the anti-anxiety medication. That could be decided within the next week. Because Roxy was thin skinned emotionally, she was a prime candidate for stress related behavior. Fortunately, the two cats had an amicable relationship, but I cautioned Annie to give Ruby some extra attention to compensate for the extended attention that Roxy required. It would take time for Roxy’s stress tolerance to increase. But I felt that very slowly she would rally. Annie would be in touch with progress reports and Dr. Newman would be on the same page.  


Orion loves the dustbuster.
My Orion is absolutely ecstatic about being dust-busted. This is a daily ritual. After I brush him, I dust-bust. 

It was his idea. One morning after his daily brushing, he head butted the dust-buster as I cleaned up his loose fur. He continued after I was through. Clearly, beyond any doubt, his wish became my command.

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

Divine Felines:
Cats of Ancient Egypt 
Orion wants Bo to have the White House add this Brooklyn Museum exhibition to its recommended “must see” venues. There are 30 objects of cats of all sizes, cast in bronze or carved in stone. They’re timeless, and will be on exhibit through December 2014.