Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 
(aka Cats on the Couch)  

Dear Readers,

A clip from Michael Patrick's Cats of the Masters:
Rene Magritte, once a struggling artist, agreed to take any commission that might earn a cent or more. When he was approached by an obscure writer of children’s verse, to accept an assignment to illustrate The Cat in the Hat, he produced this canvas within a few days. The writer rejected it because he wanted the cat to wear a hat, not actually to be in one. 
The Cat In The Hat -- Magritte
And a  New Yorker cartoon:
"We're out of flowers"

Anne and Amelia

From Puerto Rico:
Stray pooches jet off to shelters in the Hamptons. 

David Brownstein, one of the executives charged with helping this U.S. commonwealth through its fiscal emergency, launched his latest rescue effort at dawn on a San Juan airstrip. As a tribute to David’s rescue mission, I have offered to help any of the adoptees in need of my assistance. 
Follow the link below:

My Cat's Therapist
Vice Online magazine -- Motherboard section features one of my consults -- 

Subscribe to Carole's free monthly Blog -- The Wilbourn Way   

My Crazy Cat Attacked Me
“A case for you?” was the subject of a query I received from Rona, a Facebook friend and writer. Her neighbor had a triple fracture of her shoulder from a recent fall. That was a month ago. Now she was attacked by Noni her sixteen-year-old cat. This was a first. His unprovoked nip even drew blood.  
I arranged a phone consult with Blythe, Noni’s, guardian, for the next day. 
“You’ve come highly recommended by my vet,” said Blythe. "Noni seems to be going nuts, she went on. "I can’t live with this crazy cat. He stares at my sling and tries to climb on to my shoulder, and yow, does that hurt! Noni’s pissed because I can’t lift him up to sit on my lap. He’s always been a lap sitter. I love him, but he frightens me when his body puffs up, and he lets out a guttural yell. I can’t live like this. My senior body is more fragile than I thought. 

By the time Blythe had filled me in on Noni’s history, it was clear to me why Noni had this melt-down. He was found sick and injured as a tiny kitten. Blythe adopted him at seven months old. Benny, a young puppy, joined the family six years later. Although possessive of her, Noni hangs out with Benny and allows him to share Blythe. 

After her fall, Blythe and Benny went away to stay with her sister, and a cat sitter took care of Noni. She returned home without Benny who remained away for a few weeks. He was home now and being walked by Blythe’s generous neighbors. Noni mirrored Blythe’s angst and pain from her fall; suffered separation anxiety when she and Benny were away. He was confused and frightened when she returned home without Benny.

Noni’s attack cat behavior was triggered by fear. His anxiety was the catalyst. He resorts to fight when he’s threatened. Flight would be easier to deal with, but it wasn’t Noni’s M.O.

“Noni shouldn’t be so crazy now. I can’t trust him. He was always a little aggressive, but he never, ever bit me,” said Blythe.
I told Blythe that Noni’s world was totally upset and shaken. “Your sling is a source of fear for Noni. He senses your pain, and the sling cuts off his usual contact with you. 
“So we can’t trust each other. But what can I do to help my befuddled cat? How do I live with Noni’s anxiety attacks?” she said.

“Delete the crazy and nuts name calling.” I explained that her voice sharpened and her body contracted when she did this. 
"Accentuate the positive. The calmer you are, the calmer he’ll feel and act.  
“Ah, the ripple effect,” chuckled Blythe.

  • Reassure him. Build his confidence. Tell him he’s okay, you’re okay. A positive spin wins out.
  • Lean on your sense of humor. Refer to your sling as the “recovery sling” or “sling to health”. Chip away at his and your sling angst.
  • Don’t compromise his good qualities. You’ve had 16 good years together.
  • When he appears agitated, distract him with a snappy, loud tone of voice and a toss of a toy or other object. This will redirect his focus.
  • Hang out with him when Benny has his walks. This can be Noni’s “private time”.
  • Nurture yourself with whatever lightens and inspires a fun, happy mood. Noni will benefit and so will Benny.

I reminded Blythe that fiber would help to relieve Noni’s constipation and to add a teaspoon of pure pumpkin or sweet potato to his daily dinner. The more she relaxed, the more his handsome, senior bod would unwind.

Noni, blissed out
I ended Noni’s session with a distant Reiki treatment to restore balance and fun to their body, mind, and spirit and told Blythe I would send Noni’s case report to Dr. Elliot and recommend that she prescribe a homeopathic remedy to reinforce Noni’s behavioral program. 

Benny is back home -- much to Noni's delight

A few days later Blythe sent me the following: 

Noni is great now -- a different cat! I am very slowly making progress and starting physical therapy -- dance therapy tomorrow.

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

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.

Loss Wreaks Sadness and Aggressive Behavior
“OMG, Carole, it feels so good to see Oreo and Tigger so close together, and Tigger hasn’t tried to beat Oreo up,” said Ronni. “I knew you could help them. You’ve always been there for me and my cats, and this is my third cat generation.
Tigger is at a loss
Ronni’s husband Lance had recently passed on and she contacted me to do a grief therapy and restoration session. Tigger, her six-year-old cat was very close to Lance and up to the very end, rarely left his side. They had adopted Tigger from a shelter where he was dumped after his right front leg was amputated. He and Oreo had always been best buds. But within the past few months Tigger seemed to ignore Oreo, and lately he chased and pounced on Oreo who quickly ran for cover. Boo, the matriarchal twelve-year-old usually hung out close to Ronni and preferred her own private time and space.
Boo is the matriarchal kitty -- la grande dame of this catdom

I told Ronni that she was still in shock and major transition. Her cats mirrored her emotional grief and angst. Tigger’s reaction was to strike out at Oreo. He became Tigger’s tension target for emotional and physical release. As the relaxation music played in the background, I seated myself on the floor and asked Ronni to tell me all the ways in which Lance shared his love, fun and happiness. After she did, I told her that each day she could remember how good he made them feel.
“Tell the cats that Lance will always be with you -- that the four of you will always be there for each other, and that you’re all okay now that Lance is at peace,” I said. Ronni nodded and sat down beside me. “Put Tigger in charge. Tell him Lance left you in charge, because he knew you would take care of us in a loving way,” I said.
A toy to change the mood
“I get it, the good old sense of humor. Tigger is very needy and needs to feel very special. He’ll feel acknowledged by my feeling when I say this even if he doesn’t understand my words,” said Ronni. While Ronni talked, I sprinkled catnip on some tissue paper, along with a few toys. Ronni’s face lit up as Tigger and Oreo stretched out not far from each other as they buried their angst and focused on toys and fun. Cat play eases angst and creates harmony. 
What a pleasure it was to see Ronni lighten up and her three cats react to her reaction. I explained to her that the music, catnip, toys, touch -- as Ronni stroked and talked to them -- enhanced their five senses. Lance’s love would live on as their love for each other would. 
I reminded Ronni to distract Tigger when he appeared agitated -- flick of tail, ripple of back, flattened ears. The clap of her hands, a loud shout or tight hug if he was within reach, would redirect his attention. She should also find some new and fun distractions to welcome new fun into her life.
Oreo and Tigger -- play bridges renewed friendship
Almost immediately, she told me how she once loved to “hula hoop” and that would totally add a resurgence of fun to her time-line. I laughed and agreed that it would provide her cats with continuous entertainment. She promised she would pick up a hoop from a friend who had a few extra.

I concluded the session with distant Reiki where I mentally thought of the learned symbols that created balance of mind, body, and spirit. Ronni responded with a hug, and I told her how her wedding on roller blades was such a fond memory of mine.
“Yes, I married my instructor. How’s that for balance?” she said.

Grief Therapy  Read more,
Distant Reiki  Read more.

Weird Rituals
Eating ritual
Q. Why is it that my cat meows, runs to his food dish and mews until I appear by his side? Sometimes a few strokes and praise satisfy him, but not always.
A. He wants your approval and company to enjoy his food. It may be because he didn’t have the attention and nourishment he needed from his mother cat. You’ve become his surrogate mother or security object — his food association. You’re the comfort and companionship he wanted and lacked as a kitten.

Q. Why does my cat sometimes avoid my enthusiastic cat lover friends and cozy up to those who are allergic, fearful or indifferent?
A. She may not always be in the mood for a high display of hands on high-energy affection from a cat lover. Whereas, your cat may be intrigued by your fearful or allergic friends, or she may be agitated by their angst and approach them in a way to stamp it out. Opposites can clearly attract!

Q. Why is it that one moment my cat purrs away as I stroke him and out of nowhere, he gives me a nip on my fingers. It’s a Cat or Catch 22!
A. Evidently, he wanted to be stroked but only so much. He became over stimulated by your touch and decided he wanted to be close by with no more physical contact. A flick of his tail, ripple of his back may be a signal for “no more, I’ve had enough.”

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. 

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

Orion wants to take this opportunity to congratulate, his aunt and my sister, Gail Mutrux, the producer, on her film The Danish Girl. Alicia Vikander won an Oscar for her role of best supporting actress. Always an advocate for equal opportunity, Orion supports the right of gender-identity -- the paramount theme of The Danish Girl. Although you won’t see a feline star, there’s a singular dog who will tug at your heart strings. Gail optioned the book for this movie sixteen years ago. Determination and substance persevere. Orion can attest to that.

Orion was also pleased that an Oscar was awarded to Inside Out for best animated feature – a gem of a movie with an exquisite insight on emotions.

The Danish Girl

Alicia Vikander with Gail

Cats and emotions
Rosie his Mom prefers to be cool
Bennie blisses out with heat

Colby wants some of Lamb Chop's bliss

Abi and Paco communal bliss. Notice the paw connection

Cat's Emotions -- News.Mic
I first wrote about cats and their emotions in the early seventies. At that time I was a tail or trail-blazer in the treatment and documentation of feline mental health. I was recently mentioned in an article by Jon Levine for News.Mic — read more

Mayor's Alliance For NYC's Animals 
Volunteer Extraordinaire
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