Monday, November 11, 2013

November 2013

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

Dear Readers, 

I will be part of a segment on depression in cats and dogs in November on WCBS-TV N.Y. News and affiliates. Please check your TV listings for the date.

On Saturday, November 23 at 1:00 p.m.  I will be giving Reiki treatments to the feline stars and their star-keepers at the Westchester Cat Show.  Do stop by and say hello. It's 10a.m. to 5 p.m. at Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains NY.
And one of the many features you will want to see is Jake, the therapy cat, whose job is to bring his comfort to hospital and nursing home patients.
Carole’s Take on Oscar The Cat Who .....  
Let's not wear fur. Instead, let's love, respect and honor our furry creatures.

Maybe, A Catdom for a dog

It may be that my Orion has forgotten that Bug the Pug and her family moved a few months ago, and he's waiting for the door to open so he can bolt inside to visit and hang out
It may be his reminder to me to find him another dog for play-dates. I am on the lookout.

(Sleep deprivation, destruction derby)
Two years ago I introduced Des, a young, neutered male cat to a spayed female named Xena. He was my prescription for Xena’s love and hate attacks of her guardian Kim. Xena’s behavior was classic “single cat syndrome”. She treated Kim as she would treat another cat. Her aggression was in the fast lane.

With a follow-up session, a bit of Skype, and some phone conversations, Xena adopted Des. Kim was no longer scarred and terrorized. Xena now sought out Kim for affection and all the good stuff. Des became her target for the rough and tough cat play she had exhibited with Kim.

But now Kim contacted me because of Des. He wreaked havoc with her sleep, scratched away at her furniture, along with his posts and didn’t seek Xena out as he normally would. After all, Xena was his mentor.  Kim wondered if he’d be happier with someone else. We scheduled a session so I could evaluate the situation.


Midway into their session, I gave Kim my diagnosis. I told her that it was Xena who felt jilted. “Somehow you, unintentionally, dropped the ball.” I reminded her how it was important to acknowledge Xena whenever she spoke or interacted with Des.
“Oh, I didn’t realize that it was an ongoing ritual,” said Kim. “They’d bonded so well, and Xena knows she’s number one. After all, I adopted Des so she’d have a companion."

I told Kim that acknowledgement of Xena was not a kick-starter to cement their relationship. It was ongoing -- forever.  So, even if you only say 'Right Xena', whenever you talk to or touch Des, even if she can’t see you, that’s enough. Say as much as you want. You can also mention Des whenever you interact with Xena if you sense he feels neglected. Everyone wants to be acknowledged.”  

“Me too,” said Kim, and smiled as she leaned over to stroke Xena. “And now I see it was the ripple effect.” 

“Or the catapult effect.  Xena got pissed off at Des, and he became the bad boy out of angst. His destruction derby was all about feeling depressed and flash backs of old bad stuff when he was on the street.”

Des & Xena
“That explains why he looked so unhappy. I’m so relieved and happy there’s a solution. You know I want my two to be happy with me. We’re a family,” said Kim.

I nodded and gave Kim some further recommendations:

  •   Continue to play the musical CD to recreate the good feelings from their sessions.
  •   If Des starts to act out at bedtime or in the wee hours, tell him you realize he wants to play, lead him out in an upbeat way with the toss of a toy and close your bedroom door. Xena may want to join him. It may be necessary to sequester him in the bathroom with his creature comforts but be upbeat not accusatory or punitive. This could become a nightly ritual where at bedtime Des has his own digs to enjoy nocturnal play -- instead of nocturnal angst. 
  •   Encourage and praise both cats when they work out on their scratching posts and pads. They may need an addition to their collection. A very sharp, violent “no” when they scratch your furnishings.
  •    Remember R.A.C.E.  Repetition, Acknowledgment and Consistency adds up to the Endurance which will keep your guys scratching in all the right places. Give a pedicure when needed, and don’t press down on their paw pads as you trim.
  •   A cat-friendly heating pad will relax and comfort them -- especially if they enjoy the sunshine.  Cover it with one of their favorite light-weight blankets.

Kim emailed me a few days later to tell me that she moved her guys' tier of nesting nooks from her bedroom door to another spot. Now Des could no longer disturb her at bedtime with their shake, rattle and roll as he scampered about. No more sleep deprivation makes a happy, fun-loving family. 

I left Kim a message to “acknowledge” her.

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

This will mark Sunny's first Thanksgiving with Bo and his family. A win-win for Sunny and all of the Obamas. 

And Orion says it's the perfect time to be thankful for our blessings and to reach out to those in need. 


Christmas had been camped out in the kitchen for four weeks on either the cabinet or the microwave when Lin called me. There he stayed -- except for when he made a quick trip to the litter box. 

He started this bizarre behavior after what was to be a routine visit to the vet. But there was a twist. A urinalysis was needed to evaluate his renal and other bodily functions. So a syringe was used to draw urine from his bladder and blood samples were taken. What would be a quick recovery for most cats was a trauma for Christmas.

Fifteen years old, in his golden years, he was the patriarchal cat with three other rescued cats and Jenna the rescued Pug. 

Christmas was their role model. Summer, the lone female cat, adored him. But now she kept her distance. This mystified their guardians, Lin and Jip.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
During our phone consult, which was on speaker phone, so their cats could be affected and acknowledged by our conversation, I explained that Christmas seemed like a different cat to Summer. Consequently, she was freaked out by his strange behavior and now kept her distance. 
Christmas was so terrified during his vet visit that the usual flight or fight syndrome that kicks in to deal with “fear” was rattled and he was still fearful, even though he was home where he was safe and sound. He now clung to the kitchen because that was where they all ate. It was their comfort spot, his safe haven. “But Christmas won’t even go to the cat room which was always a favorite,” said Lin. When I answered that Lin had carried Christmas from the kitchen, upstairs to the cat room to put him in his carrier for his vet visit, Lin got it.

I had worked with Lin and Jib’s various cats since l988, and we had always rallied.
Although I was confident that they would be as caring and focused as ever, a breakthrough would depend on Christmas -- his stamina and will.

And so I devised a treatment plan to chip away at his PTSD and had them stroke Christmas and any of his companions who  showed up in the kitchen. Before I presented the treatment plan, I told Lin to relax her body and breathe freely. While I talked to Christmas and did silent, mental Reiki symbols, she should slowly carry him up to the cat room on the next floor. “Done, and I placed him on his pile of cushions,” said Lin.  I directed her to continue to stroke Christmas and to tell him how good he and his companions were as I presented the treatment plan.

Treatment Plan
  •  Brush Christmas while he hangs out on his cushions.
  • Tell him he’s safe, and everyone is okay.
  •  Carry him down to the kitchen at dinner time and back to the cat room if he  seems undecided. You be the decider.
  • Leave the door to the cat room open.
  • His musical CD should play repeatedly. That’s his security object.
  • Place a heating pad beside the cushions for an alternative cozy spot.
  • Tell him and his companions what a fun and fine family they are.
  •  Contact me with any questions.

When we next spoke, Christmas had accepted his change of scenery. Now he hung out in the cat room and would join the others for meals in the kitchen then scamper back to the bedroom. He purred when Lin brushed him and started to venture to other parts of the room. A week had passed, and my intent was to have Christmas venture to the bedroom and reclaim his bedtime spot.

Catapult Effect
Lin mentioned that Summer made a guest appearance in the cat room. She curled up in the closet for a bit. I told Lin that Summer was the psychological reflector. Her appearance was a reaction to Christmas’ breakthrough. The “catapult effect” was in a restorative direction for Christmas and his catdom.

Another week went by. When I next spoke to Lin, Christmas was purring and rubbing while she brushed him. By the end of the day he had looked out the window which was a first since his trauma. “He’s really moving along,” said Lin.

The following day I had a call from a producer from local WCBS-TV News. They were doing a segment on depression in cats and dogs and wondered if I had a case that would be appropriate. We scheduled a morning that she and the camera person would join me on a house call to Christmas and his family in Connecticut. The session would be taped and aired some time in November. I felt that the session would be beneficial to Christmas and his family.

Will the holidays be merry for Christmas and his family? Find out in December’s Blog.

The rest of the family


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