Friday, December 19, 2014

December 2014

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

Dear Readers,

Goodbye To Cat Fancy 

After 49 years of publication, Cat Fancy, America’s longest running cat magazine is being scrapped. I was a columnist for sixteen years, (Cats On The Couch) and I truly loved the interaction and fun I had with my readers -- many of whose current cats I still treat.  Catster, now online will debut in February. 

Read more….  


One of my favorite animal books is The Incredible Journey. It tells the tale of a cat and two dogs who become lost and under catastrophic circumstances make their way all the way home to their family. You can catch the film online. 

I remember when I took my late cat Sunny-Blue to a nursing home where one of the aides was cat-phobic. But one day she did a turnabout, as she watched Sunny cuddled up on my lap as we all watched the movie.  Disney outdid itself with this one.

Inside Llewyn Davis is another movie you can catch online if you're feeling home-bound. The Coen brothers powerfully portrayed how this marmalade cat, as with any cat, can define and shape a person's life.

Whatever you decide to do for the holiday, have fun and be oh so good to yourself. Your cat(s) will love you for it.

Youll want to make a reservation to have some refreshments and hang out with these splendid adoptable cats.

A Sisal Rugs Direct scratching post is on the way so the cats can greet the holidays in a style thats fit and fun. See Natural Cat Products at Sisal Rugs Direct.

Feline Nanny
Read Rona Cherrys article on animal companions whose love and loyalty made a critical difference in the lives of their guardians.  

One of my former patients, The Feline Nanny, is included.  

Carole's Take on Oscar The Cat Who .....  

(Aggressive Cat Syndrome
You want me to refer to Ninja as a recovering biter, said Merrie. Yes, I nodded as Merrie wiped and dried off Ninjas paws after his cat walk on their snowy porch. True to his Montreal roots, Ninja preferred brisk, snowy jaunts -- even if they were fleeting. Merrie would attach him to his harness, close the door behind him, and he would tap on the window when he wanted in.  
Ninja paws wiped

Stop Before He Stops You -- Prevention Therapy
Hes a nipper, and his teeth are stiletto sharp, said Merrie as she reached out and hugged and hugged Ninja. As his back slightly rippled, I distracted him with a throw of a toy, and he took off after it. I explained to Merrie “Stop before he stops you.” But hes so huggable.  
That he is, I said, but hes tightly wound and becomes over stimulated in a heart beat. A little goes a long way with Ninja.

What We Expect Is What We Get
I told Merrie that the more she refers to him as a biter, the more hell live up to her expectations. Many times what we expect is what we get. Ninja gets what she says by the inflection in her voice and from her body language. Call it kitty radar, cat sense or more simply a reaction to your action. When you say something good or positive, your body expands. Whereas something unpleasant or negative, and your body tightens and contracts. If Ninja does go over the edge, she should let out a sharp NO and follow up with a loud bang of a heavy object. Perhaps a few sincere tears would deter him.
Merrie felt she could  adhere to my prevention therapy tips. “After all, he's had a rough life and probably has all kinds of trauma to recover from,” said Merrie. Ninja had originally been adopted from a Montreal pound where he was labeled Aggressive Biter. Hed been adopted by a friend who had to part with him when her living situation was disrupted.
Although Merrie was allergic to cats, she was smitten with him and knew he could be a fun domestic partner. I told Merrie that a feline companion would be a natural way for him to work out his high and sometimes jangled energy, but she didn't want to totally overwhelm her allergies. I couldn't object.

As Merrie worked out Ninjas energy with a new toy I had brought along for his fitness program, I filled her in on the rest of his treatment program.

Ninja's Treatment Program
  • Think of Ninja as a Zen cat to create a new and mellow Ninja persona. Acknowledge him with praise.
  • His musical CD should play continuously as a reinforcement of his session. Think of it as his template or favorite song -- a reminder of his relaxation session.
  • Add canned food to his diet its less fattening than dry food and more kidney-friendly.
  • Arrange play dates with a friends cat friendly dog.
  • Purchase a Sisal Rugs Direct scratching post to enhance his fitness and preserve your furnishings.
  • To avoid a delayed, anxious reaction, announce transitions -- Im standing up, answering the phone, sitting down.
I reminded Merrie to wind his activity down slowly when she plays with him so he wasn't  frustrated by a sudden halt. As she made a few notes,  I did a distant Reiki treatment, gave him a farewell kiss and was off to the airport. 
On my return flight to New York, I thought back to when Merrie and I first met. It was when I stayed at the Ritz Carlton to see appointments and she wrote about me in the Montreal Gazette.  Merrie later engaged me to do a session for her then cat Kiki. That was over 20 years ago. 
I think youll agree that cats are indeed the tie that binds.

(Orion, a recovering feral rescue, gives his cat-speak on cat issues)

My Orion patiently waits for me to load his stocking so he can be a super happy cat

Protect Your Cat From The Trimmings And The Trimmings From Your Cat
Indulger - Let me at 'em

Your cat may choose to admire the Christmas tree and trimmings.  Thats a mutual plus. But if let me at em is the intent, dont be unwittingly provocative.  Protect your cat from the trimmings, and the trimmings from your cat -- especially tinsel, feathers and pine needles. You may not have to hang your tree from the ceiling, but you could sprinkle some tabasco sauce on seductive areas, a pot of kitty grass for some chewy nibbles and some new favorite toys. Alternative pleasures --  maybe some tissue paper -- can be your cats fun attractions.

Pancho was about four months old when I met him. That was fifteen years ago. He was the solution, the cure, for Cisco,  a young cat with alopecia nervosa, also known as psychogenic dermatitis. This is an obsessive compulsive disorder where he constantly bit and scratched away at his skin -- over the top grooming.
Cisco Pre-Pancho

My diagnosis was that Ciscos ocd was triggered by anxiety. His two older female companions snubbed him. He yearned for a playmate, a companion who would hang out with him, who would play with him. If his anxiety could be abated, his ocd would too.

Cisco's Treatment Program
As part of Ciscos treatment program, I recommended that a vitamin E and an omega 3 fatty acid supplement be added to his diet to combat and treat the inflammation and itchiness triggered by his over grooming. There should be lots of play time, and he should continue to wear his E collar for a couple of weeks before the introduction of his new playmate. In the meantime I would contact my rescue network to locate the very best match for Cisco.

Enter Pancho
Cisco needed a kitten that was very cat-oriented, who  preferred cats to people and lived to play. This type of catsonality is usually typical of a feral kitten a kitten whose mother was wary of people and usually resorted to flight when frightened or threatened. Liz and Rick, Ciscos guardians, were at first reluctant to adopt such a kitten, but I explained that this would be the silver bullet for Cisco and the entire family.

After Pancho
Within three weeks such a kitten was found, a kitten from a Brooklyn feral mom. I introduced the kitten The Wilbourn Way, and within two weeks Cisco had his ardent admirer and pupil. Farewell to angst.  

Time moved on. Cisco was later stricken with incurable liver cancer. The matriarchal female of 20 also entered the pearly gates, and that left Pancho and the second older female.  Although she didnt care to hang out with him, she was company at a distance. On occasion she would deign to permit him to give her a sniff or two. But when incurable cancer took her life, Pancho was the lone kitty.

Initially, he seemed okay. But when he cried to be stroked and cuddled at three in the morning and couldnt get enough love and attention during the day, his welfare and Liz and Ricks peace of mind had to be restored. They were not quite ready for a new addition, but it was clear that Pancho was a hurting.

Enter Ellie
So Ellie, a young, rescued kitty from Queens, moved in with Pancho of Manhattan. Now he has a live-in fan and continuous entertainment when he prefers to be a voyeur. Ellie is Panchos permanent distraction. Hes her Mr. Dandy. 
Pancho and Ellie
Trust Gap Slowly Fades
His guardians say Pancho, their once very feral cat, now claims a very prominent spot in their bed, is a total lap cat, and that they feel so honored that they gained his trust. Hes still over-reactive to sudden sounds and changes in their environment, but hes their Pancho, and they love him. And so does Ellie.

Sophie looks after Denzel
Mary & Lester -- tails entwined for a kitty snooze
Blissed out Paint knows how to hang
L.C. takes time out while Sweet Pea indulges

Adoptapalooza at Washington Square Park
And you too can make yourself, as well as many a cat and dog happy.  
Become a volunteer with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals

A Free Consultation With The Cat Therapist