Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 
(aka Cats on the Couch)  

Dear Readers,

There are now food banks for your animal companions. Read more....  

Photo below shows a pet food pantry in the Fordham section of the Bronx. The pantry is run by Animal Care Centers of NYC, a nonprofit that operates the city’s animal shelters. 
CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times    

Frank Lloyd Wright Vintage Cat House 

Did you know that in the 1950's Frank Lloyd Wright designed what is now a vintage cat house for a cat named Felinus in Cincinnati Ohio. Read more.... 

A catdom for a shoe lace
                                                                               New Yorker cartoon

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

Subscribe to Carole's free monthly Blog -- The Wilbourn Way   
O2's Valentine
O2 receives a Valentine from his Reiki-mate
Happy, O2's Reiki mate and Valentine


Open the August Blog to meet Happy and see my article Reiki Sparks Trust. Be sure to scroll through to the end.

Thirteen Year Old Merci Moves In With Thirteen Year Old Sam
Senior Cat Competition 
"Carole, you're our only hope", said Lin. "Sam is mad, afraid, bewildered and withdrawn ever since Merci arrived. That was six weeks ago," 
Sam wonders about this new cat he's taken under his paw
She had contacted me to do a phone consult to evaluate the workability and stay-ability of this new senior cat relationship. Sam's male companion had passed on four years ago. They were best buds. So when Lin's friend in Maine mentioned she had to find a new home for her thirteen year old Merci, Lin and her partner thought Merci would be a good match for Sam. But now the only time they tolerated each other's company was when there were treats. Merci hung out in the bedroom most of the time and Sam occupied the living room.

He suffered with, but recovered from asthma several years ago,  Mold was suspect because when they moved to a new apartment his asthma slowly abated.  Later on he had twelve teeth extracted. Not to worry, Sam still enjoys a bit of daily dry food. Always affectionate, and at bedtime a constant bedmate.

Merci was the only cat when she lived in Maine and had outdoor privileges in a protected area. Always a talker, she continues to be front and center when she wants to be noticed. She has now claimed the bedroom as her territory.
Merci wonders if Sam is her Prince Charming
 "Carole we'd like to keep Merci but not if our Sam can't accept her." said Lin. I reminded her to put her phone on speaker so the cats could share in our two-way discussion. She preferred the phone to a video consult. As I continued to talk, Lin announced that the cats were coming closer.  They had been in their respective territories. I explained that as we spoke, some of her tension was lifted and they mirrored her relief.

I told Lin this was major culture shock for all four of them. Sam was used to all of their "cat" attention since the loss of his former buddy four years ago. The bedroom was his preferred digs - particularly at bedtime - and now Merci had title. Merci was in a totally new home, no longer the only cat, with the loss of outdoor privileges. She was clearly a candidate for separation anxiety. Lin and her partner now had to share their life with a new cat which they greeted, but it was still an additional commitment and adjustment.

"So how do we get through this? Can we?" said Lin. I gave Lin the following  protocol:
  • Let's declare the bedroom "off bounds" for now. They each can choose new places to hang out.
  • When they come together for meals or treats their main focus is on the food, a distraction from their rivalry. Follow up immediately with another distraction - toys or paper bags, boxes or whatever they prefer, so their focus is redirected to this distraction and not to their angst. Very slowly, with repetition, they will be able to co-exist at a distance. The distance will decrease as their trust and tolerance slowly increases.
  • Divide their daily diet into three meals so they have an added incentive to be near each other. You can slowly add a bit of low caloric veggies or fruit to their meals if it agrees with their GI system.
  • Every time you interact with Merci, mention how generous Sam was to take her into his home. Sam won't understand your words but will process the mention and acknowledgment. The more he feels included, the less he will feel betrayed and abandoned, the quicker their relationship will take off.
  • Because Sam is a brush-ee-maven, be sure to give him his daily brushing. That could be his private time - so he can maintain some feeling of independence and I-was-here-first.
  • Offer them catnip. 
  • If they're sun worshipers, a cat-friendly heating pad will give their senior bods a relaxed, cozy respite.  
I gave Lin a few more recommendations and welcomed her questions.
"Shouldn't we mention Merci when we interact with Sam so she doesn't feel neglected?"
"Lets start off with Sam and as soon as his mention becomes automatic, you can mention Merci's name when you interact with Sam. Let's keep it simple for now," I added. I finished the consult with a distant Reiki treatment (read more).

Five days later, Lin messaged:
"We were on an upward spiral until today. Now there's continuous hissing and screaming, and I can't concentrate on my work. My partner is spared this melt down as he's a 9-to-fiver." 
My response was: "It's not unusual for them to have a break-down. Increase the volume on their musical mantra, think recovery instead of problem or animosity, so you don't add to the drama. Draw on your sense of humor and approach them with a clean cat-scape to create a calm cat-mosphere. If they seem unreasonable, don't hesitate to tell them that their surrealism is beyond the pale, inhale and exhale, and they'll get the message from your body language and tone of voice."
Sam is back in bed

Lin's next message:  
"Since we talked, things have calmed down immensely. Merci swipes at Sam once or twice a day, but he doesn't flinch or react any more. Sam even tried to groom her today, which she allowed for about 3 seconds.
It's crazy amazing.
Thank you, thank you, thank you."

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

Orion shares Eli's picturesque nod to dinner.
Eli savors his awaited dinner

Orion gives a ©whisker wave to Pancho and his intimacy-bliss with Elie.
Elie and Pancho with paws in sync

Picasso's cat coughing up a hairball

Orion agrees with discerning critics, that although Guernica is a powerful and better known canvas, that Cat Coughing Up a Hairball, is chock full of sly innuendos. 
He opts for the upchucked hairball as a symbol of violence and the cat as peace during the period of Franco's reign in Spain.  (Cats Of The Masters, Michael Patrick)

Pancho The Nurse, aka Healer 
I recently received this message from a former client about how her cat Pancho reacted during her cancer bout:  
Pancho -- 24x7 Nurse
Pancho stayed on the bed with me throughout my chemo/radiation sessions. But, he stayed inches away from where I could touch him. When I moved closer to stroke him, he would move a little farther away...just out of my reach. But, he rarely left me throughout that time. Once the sessions were over and I was getting better, he again cuddled up to me and once again slept with me on my pillow.  Some say that there is a "smell" associated with chemo, so perhaps that is why he chose to keep a distance.  Or perhaps he knew that my body was not comfortable and he gave me space to heal.  Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled to have my buddy back next to me ... especially, when I'm sleeping.    
Yes, Pancho could sense and feel your discomfort, so rather than become an emotional sponge, he was your round the clock "nursie" at a distance. No doubt, his keen, innate sense of smell was sensitive to the residual scent of your chemo.

What a cat! And what a transformation! Sixteen years ago, he was a feral kitten (preferred cats to people) and my recommended cure for your late and very loved cat, Cisco, who had severe alopecia nervosa - obsessive compulsive grooming. See testimonial page and scroll down to Obsessive-Compulsive grooming (alopecia nervosa).
Mateo Lost His Mojo  
I first met Mateo when he was a kitten. His guardians, Kate and Jill, had asked me to do a session to treat Cloud, his kitten companion. Unlike Mateo who joined me in a game of hide and seek, Cloud was shy of anything new, particularly people. I had helped Kate and Jill with their first generation of cats, so they felt confident I could offer relief to Cloud. Within three weeks and a second session, Cloud had greeted a couple of their friends at the door and no longer bolted at every sudden sound.

Now four years later I received the following message: 
"Our Cloud became critically ill. His condition was irreversible. We were heartbroken, but we had to let him go. In the aftermath of Cloud's death, Mateo briefly enjoyed our full attention, but when he started to scratch and nibble at us, our translation was - "get me a playmate". So we did.

BELLA - of Emma Stone bravado and Mateo's Fervent Fan
Bella having a well-needed rest
Her name is Bella. We adopted her six weeks ago. She's four months old, spayed, and absolutely adores and worships Mateo. Sometimes he allows her to sit beside him but otherwise dashes off. She constantly copy cats his every move. She's taken over all of his favorite toys and hang-outs. The boundaries are totally skewed. When Mateo greeted us with a "tinkle" on the floor, we knew we had to contact you.  A session would help tremendously. Please let us know when you can come."
Bella greeted me at the door when I arrived to do their session. Short of doing cart wheels, she was in constant motion, unlike Mateo who was under the bed -- far cry from four years ago, when he joined me in hide and seek. I removed a few toys from my bag and tossed them in different directions for Bella's sole amusement. "What a little hottie you are," I said. "Have fun."

I closed the door behind me as the girls led me into the bedroom. While the mp3 musical link played in the background, I stretched out on the rug and slipped some nip and a toy under the bed. Mateo slowly appeared and focused his green eyes my way. "You're so very handsome, so brave and generous," I said and moved away from the bed so Mateo could have his own space while the girls brought me up to date.  
Mateo joins us in the living room

"Whew, I can see why Mateo has lost his mojo," I said. "There were three major life-changers. Two months ago Cloud passed on, Kate had emergency surgery for removal of a kidney, and now Bella -- what a melt down." 
I centered our conversation on Mateo's former relationship with Cloud and Kate's bout with her kidney surgery and gave them a brief Reiki chair treatment (read more) to conclude their grief therapy. Mateo would benefit from their relief.

"We don't want Mateo to feel dumped. What can we do? Is this an impossible match?" said Kate. "We feel so bad for Mateo. He spends a lot of time in his cat carrier."
My red girlie sweater -- red for courage

"I do believe this relationship can be resurrected," I said and told them that now they should refer to Mateo as courageous to restore some of his inner bravado. With tongue in cheek, I mentioned, "I purposely wore this red girlie cat sweater on behalf of Bella -- Mateo's fervent fan. Red is for courage. Although he'll always be Cloud-loyal, let's assume that now he prefers being surrounded by three females."

  • Mateo needs a special hideaway or getaway that Bella can't invade. A high perch is an option, and he's already chosen his cat carrier as his private refuge.
  • At bedtime Bella can have her private quarters along with her creature comforts so Mateo can have exclusive bedtime privileges. As he grows to accept her, Bella can be included if she doesn't keep you awake with her kitten capers.
  • Decide who will be each cat's primary person so the boundaries aren't blurred.
  • Nurture yourselves with a bubble bath, meditation, Yoga, a hot movie. Mateo will get an added jump start to undo his angst from your pleasure.
  • Remember to talk out, announce any change of action so Mateo isn't startled by the change -- especially when it pertains to Bella. This will temper his current vulnerability.
Mateo starts to rebuild his mojo
By the end of the session, Mateo was stretched out on the couch. He was definitely on the rebound to reclaim his mojo.

The very next morning:  Delete Sleepless!
"This is the best night's sleep we've had post-Bella. After a few meows, she settled down in her private quarters (bathroom), and Mateo slept the night away with us. Before he was like a yo yo, back and forth. He responded to her every move as she bounded about. We know this is a temporary measure, and the two of them will share our bed or hang out together wherever they choose."
Mateo deigns to let Bella snuggle

Few days later:
Mateo makes room for Bella.  

A Cat Devoted To His Post  
Biggie's passion for his Sisal Rugs Direct post delights his guardian whose furnishings are now catproofed.                

Select Cat Products at Sisal Rugs Direct. Check out their special discounts. 

Carole's Been Anthologized   

In The Big New Yorker Book of Cats see Lulu, The Cat The New Yorker Left Behind by Lois Metzger, Huffington Post.

Mayor's Alliance For NYC's Animals 
Volunteer Extraordinare

You too can make yourself, as well as many a cat and dog happy.  Become a volunteer with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals 

Adoptapalooza at Washington Square Park


A Free Consultation With The Cat Therapist