Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 2014

(AKA Cats on the Couch) 

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Dear Readers, 

Theophile Alexandre Steinlen was an artist passionately fond of cats. He was a graphic artist who was Swiss-born but lived in Paris. Many of the cats he drew were from his own neighborhood, Monmartre. They hung out on rooftops, gardens, gutters and

often lived with artists, shop keepers and seamstresses. You can find these cats in Steinlen’s Des Chats. A copy is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Steinlen cat pins, based on the drawings, can be found in the gift shop.    

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

Orion may be the first to tell the First Dogs about Sgt. Stubby, the pit bull who served in 17 battles of World War I, a dog to be forever grateful for.


 To be told: “You’re the best cat. You’re so good.”
When you say pleasant and positive things you breathe freely and your body relaxes. Your cat mirrors your reaction.

 To be acknowledged verbally when you have company -- especially if you have only one cat. If an extrovert, your cat may like to be front and center for a bit.
Your cat may feel rejected if suddenly someone else is your entire focus. So remember to refer to him now and again.

A tidy litter box in a private spot. This contributes to your cat's regularity and helps avoid "out of box" incidents.
You can’t over-scoop, or over clean.  Provide extra boxes if you have a multi cat and/or large home.

Not for you to interrupt in the midst of your cat’s serious, private play; to engage for awhile, only to abruptly stop and ignore.
Your cat will become frustrated.  Don't be a tease.

A daily brushing if your cat favors the brush.

Brushing aids circulation, massages, deters hair balls and vomiting and contributes to less kitty fur in the cat-mosphere. Wet the brush and use a moistened paper towel to collect the loose fur.

More than one water bowl, or a water fountain so water is very accessible.

A senior cat with renal problems truly benefits by a water surplus.

At least one daily visit from a friend, neighbor or cat sitter when you're away overnight or longer. Don't rely on any technical gadgets to gauge your cat's welfare.
Anything can happen to your cat while you're away -- don't put your cat at risk.

Clean windows if your cat is a window gazer.

Yes, your cat can inspire your good housekeeping.

Play -- instead of stuffing with food so you don't have to be bothered.
An overweight cat is a candidate for diabetes and other health issues.  
Exercise is a shared benefit.

A cat-friendly heating pad if your cat is physically fragile or of golden years.

Rosie and her boys Boozer & Diesel 
I’m reminded of Rosie after I suggested a heating pad to her guardian. 

This pic shows Rosie and her companion’s immediate reaction.  Heat is a super relaxer and can minimize pain.


My Orion isn’t looking at simply any dog. The cool looking dog in this photo is a contender for Orion’s future play-dates. Although his former playmate was a seasoned female, Orion is an equal opportunity player. 

Check February's Blog to see if this relationship rocks.         

Molly, a midwestern cat, kept showing up at their door. Soon she even took short forays through their house. And one day she spent the entire afternoon asleep on their living room rug.             
With a little Q and A with the neighbors, they found out that Molly lived with a few cats and dogs.  She had started off as the only cat.  After a brief conversation with Molly’s guardians, and by unanimous agreement, Molly moved in to her home of choice. She prefers to stay indoors and loves to hang out in bags and to enjoy many cat naps on the kitchen rug.  She can rest assured that she won’t be spooked by another companion.

Cass, a New England cat, is another cat who moved on to another home. She felt rejected when her guardians adopted a dog. Unlike Molly’s former guardians, they didn’t want to let her go. Finally, they realized that if they loved her, they should make her happy. 

By the looks of this picture, Cass is a classic picture of happiness, as she celebrates Christmas in her new home.   



Cats are natural mediums for fluctuations in surrounding energy fields -- both human and animal. I like to call this “cat sense” which I wrote about in my book Cats On The Couch

Many years before, my adult cat, Sammy, taught me something that has become an invaluable concept to The Wilbourn Way (a core curriculum for understanding your cat’s communications and emotions). 

It occurred when I was reading on the living room couch and started to stroke Sammy’s adopted kitten.  Sammy was asleep in the bedroom. Although I had spoken not a word to the kitten, suddenly Sammy appeared and sat before me with a constant, rigid flick of his tail and a menacing glare. His body language was clear and over the top. And I got it!  His dictum was: I need to be acknowledged whenever you “interact” with the kitten.  Sure enough, I realized that Sammy was aware of my interactions wit the kitten even if he wasn't present.

With his cat radar, and being a descendant of the “wild cat” whose “cat sense” could mean survival from the enemy, Sammy didn’t have to be front and center to be in the know.  Soooooo, his brazen behavior taught me to mention Sammy's name whenever, wherever I interacted with his kitten.  How's that for a lesson in relationships!

(Aggressive Cat Behavior)
“We keep Evi in a separate apartment so she doesn’t terrorize Calvin and Cosmic Cat,” said Hilly. “You helped us with a similar problem some time ago, so we know that you’re our solution to Evi’s out of control aggressiveness.”

Evi was a kitten when they found her outside by their planter. That was about a year ago. By the end of our phone conversation, I had scheduled a home visit to Brooklyn.

The next day I arrived for the session to the squawks of Aloysius, a 19 year old parrot. After a short introduction and conversation, I concentrated on Calvin, the 11 year old neutered male, and Cosmic Cat, a year younger.  I explained to Hilly and her partner that I wanted to work with and acknowledge their two senior guys for starters. Once I felt they were comfortable, we would reintroduce Evi into the apartment.  This would provide the two guys with the advantage of familiarity. This apartment had been their turf for a few months so Evi would not be her usual “let me at ‘em” self when she was reintroduced.

So I gave the guys some new toys and a taste of catnip and had Hilly tell me all about them. Calvin was adopted at a year old from a friend. He loved everyone and was, indeed, the ‘equal opportunity cat’.  He slept the night through in Hilly’s arms. Sometimes she awoke to the sound of his purr. Cosmic Cat was found on a doorstep with three other kittens. Hilly wasn’t sure they wanted another cat, but Calvin greeted him with open paws. Calvin still looked after Cosmic Cat who benefitted by the attention.

“Well our two guys certainly look happy,” said Hilly as they stretched out on the floor.

They sure did. So I instructed Hilly to get Evi from the adjacent apartment and put her in the bathroom with her litter box. Once Evi was settled, I gave her a couple of new toys and spent some time with her before I shut the bathroom door.

When I opened the door, I had Hilly engage the two guys in play, told her to focus on them so Evi wouldn’t mirror Hilly’s angst and out Evi scampered. She detoured where the guys were and fled up the stairs.  I chose this opportunity to give Hilly a brief Reiki treatment.  As I placed my hands on her head, she stroked Calvin who sat beside her.  Cosmic Cat hung out nearby and Aloysius let out a few squawks to mark his presence.  By the end of the treatment, Evi showed up in the middle of the stairs.

“Phew, looks like there’s hope for peace if not true love,” said Hilly. 
I nodded and told Hilly that the prognosis was very decent. All she and her partner had to do was:
-  Let the three cats work it out. The more you’re out, the faster they’ll bond.
-  Engage the three in play.
-  Don’t eyeball their interactions.
-  Frequently, acknowledge them verbally.
-  Don’t manipulate them by telling them to like each other.
-  Call me with any questions and a progress report.

As I left, I reminded them that Evi’s abandonment and trials on the street had left her with her template of “I’m going to get them, before they get me,” which explained her behavior with their two guys.  Now she was in a better position to see that they were not “her enemy”.   Aloysuis punctuated my last words with a squawk.

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