Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 

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

Dear Readers,

Halloween is always the ideal day to celebrate our relationship with our cats — especially — the safety and acceptance of black cats who have had a perilously wrong association with bad luck and evil.

My Orion obliterates this fallacious, erroneous belief with his acceptance and companionship of his robotic cat — Ziggy-Star-Dust — named after my late recovering feral. 
Orion and Ziggy-Star-Dust

Feral Cats Are Being Deployed In New York's War On Rats

What a gift this is to our city’s well being and more.  
Read more  
Volunteers with the New York City Feral Cat Initiative

Cats Are The Newest Customers For The Use Of Pot

Relief for an ailing kitty
Read more

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

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

Orion always has a ©whisker wave for cool cats.

Cool Cats

Lloyd likes a toy that matches his eyes

Dante, fervent fashionista, faves fuschia
Gordon’s new spot to chill in the 18 wheeler big rig. 
Scroll through to Wayne's Cascadia in April 2016 Blog

Ari Is Withdrawn And Depressed
(Rejection Complex) 

Ari with his treasure toys
The following email made my day  
Good morning, and that it is. Ari has emerged from his corner beside the couch. I’m happy to tell you that early this morning Ari sashayed around in his usual royal manner, ate his breakfast and is now lazily sprawled out on the window sill while their music plays in the background. I’m so grateful you were available to do a session last night. And thanks for the Reiki. Read more

Ari Withdraws
Lana had called me in despair because her 15 year old Ari was not himself. Two days ago he planted himself in his favorite out of the way spot by the corner of the sofa and only emerged to eat and use the litter box. “Ari doesn’t greet me by the door and avoids me. If I manage to hold or brush him, invariably retreats to his spot. He totally avoids any provocative interaction with his litter mates, Rosie and Ben, which he usually initiates.”

Ari’s Session
As we hung out on the floor nearby, with Ari beside the couch, Rosie and Ben snoozed nearby in the bedroom. The three litter mates had a loose, live and let live relationship. Ari demanded most of Lana’s attention. Rosie had her moments. Ben’s acceptance of affection was on the short side. 
Ben reaches out for more attention

Ari accepted my strokes on his head and chin which told me he wanted to be noticed. He could have slid behind the couch but didn’t. He sniffed some catnip I sprinkled on some toys, while I went into the bedroom to offer Rosie and Ben some toys and nip. Rosie preferred to stay in nap mode while Ben, usually the out of sight guy, came forward to check out the offerings. 

A bit later as I stroked and acknowledged Ari, he suddenly gave me a darting glance and slowly backed up behind the couch. I turned around to see Lana with Ben beside her chair as she talked to him. 

The Tell Tale Sign
At that moment Ari’s sudden unusual behavior resonated with me. His instinctive kitty radar had told him Ben was present. His reaction was to withdraw. He felt abandoned and chose to withdraw from the painful feeling. 

“So that’s what you meant when you asked if there was a change in their relationship,” said Lana. “It was so gradual I didn’t think too much of it, but Ben has been more in need of my attention and affection. Certainly not like Ari who is usually my shadow and gets tons of my time.”
“ Doesn’t matter, Ari feels displaced and rejected. His withdrawal is his feline shout-out that he’s unhappy,” I said. 
“So what should I do?” said Lana. “ I love the three of them. I can’t ignore Ben,” said Lana.
"And you won't," I said. "Ari," I explained, "was not prepared for Ben's change in his relationship with you. He is used to the usual routine and couldn't accept, couldn't integrate this change."

Acknowledge Ari
So, whenever you talk, touch or interact with Ben in any way, even if Ari is sound asleep in another room, acknowledge Ari verbally. “Isn’t that good Ari, right Ari, you take such good care of everybody." Include him so he doesn’t feel excluded.
“That’s all I have to do,” said Lana. 
I chuckled as I said,”Keep it simple. If it turns out that Ben and Rosie feel neglected, mention them or “right guys” whenever you interact with Ari." 
“I see all for one, and one for all,” said Lana.  
Ari, Ben and Rosie await Lara's tuck-in
(For more on Acknowledgment, refer to “I Don’t Want To Give Des Away, But…. " Scroll through 2013 Blog to Nov)

Theo Beats Up My Friends
(Aggressive Cat Syndrome) 
Theo, King of the Mountain on FaceTime
Ari’s situation reminds me of Theo, a young neutered cat who felt rejected and insecure, but unlike Ari who resorted to “flight”, Theo’s response was “fight”. 

Theo was referred to me by Dr. Dougherty, director of The Cat Practice, that I had co-founded with Dr. Rowan in 1973. 

Linda, Theo’s guardian, scheduled a FaceTime consult to resolve Theo’s aggressiveness. Although he was very affectionate with her, he was abusive with her visitors.Sometimes he was ornery with Lila, his companion, who adored him and everybody. She was the love or “flower kitty”.  

Theo’s Life Was Disrupted  
Theo was adopted two years ago. This once very friendly and lovable kitten was now predictably aggressive with everyone but Linda. By the time I’d finished Theo’s case history, I could clearly see how and why he was now the warrior. His behavior started to shift to surly when Lila was adopted last year.

Lila adores everybody

This adorable kitten was the catalyst to Theo’s dramatic behavior change. He bowed to her front and center demeanor but his feeling of rejection manifested in aggressive behavior. 

Theo loves Linda's stroking
Because he was unhappy and anxious, he was easily overstimulated. So his interactions with people quickly exploded into aggression with people and a yo-yo relationship with Lila. 

My major recommendations for treatment were these:
  • Give Theo special daily private time; maybe a walk in the hall, a brushing on his climber.
  • Tell Theo how good and loved he is whenever, wherever you touch Lila or talk to her.
  • Tell him how grateful she is to be his companion.
  • Whenever you have visitors, tell them that Theo will come to them if he wants attention,and if so, a few strokes but to stop before he becomes overstimulated.
  • As he likes to hang out in his carrier, put a basket beside the carrier with a sprinkle of some catnip inside so he has another place to hang out in. Add another basket if Lila is interested.
“Think of how good you feel when you’re acknowledged,” I said. “Before Lila arrived, Theo had all of your attention and didn’t have to share.”

Linda nodded and told me how my diagnosis really resonated with her, and she felt that it would take time but Theo would slowly become his old self. I reminded her that there would probably be break downs but the breakthroughs would rally.

Our Two Cats Deserted Us
(Post Vet Trauma In Wisconsin) 
Oliver and Wendell an inseparable duo
“We usually have a cat sitter when we travel, but we decided to board Oliver and Wendell at our vet’s because Wendell needed daily medication,” said Doris. “They were there for ten days. Ever since they returned, they give us the cold shoulder.” 

She went on to say how the kittens were only several months old and were adopted a few months ago. Before they were boarded, the cats slept with them and followed them about . “I feel that we’ve betrayed them, and now we don’t know how to regain their trust,” said Doris. 

Doris had arranged a phone consult to make amends with their two guys. I reassured her that their intentions were for the best when they boarded Oliver and Wendell, but a hospital has built-in stress with hospitalized animals that are away from home anxious, and on the mend. "Together with separation anxiety, it was total culture shock for your two guys, away from you, in a stressful environment. But not to worry, they can recover from this trauma with your caring assistance."

  • As Oliver has a feel-good fascination with paper towels, place a few sheets on the rug and other places that he likes to hang out on. Sit nearby and talk to him in a fun manner. Let’s refer to this as “love at a distance”. After several or more repeats, stroke him briefly, and tell him how good he and Wendell are. As Oliver relaxes, Wendell will get a calming contact high from this interaction.
  • Two or three times a day, place a few sheets of paper towels on your bed. Hang out on the bed, talk to Oliver, but don’t touch him unless he wants to be petted. If so, stroke him briefly, but stop before he becomes ruffled.
  • Engage in some fun things that you particularly like — the more you nurture yourselves, the more your two guys will mirror your good feelings.
  • Oliver's passion -- paper towels
  • Think of this particular time as a temporary transition, and remember to play the link of music I sent you to relax and remind them of their phone consult where we doted on them.The music will be their security object.
During the session I had Doris place some paper towels on the bed. Oliver very carefully jumped up and took possession of them while Wendell sprawled out on the rug, and I did some distant Reiki to increase the good feeling.  I told them that if they had to board their guys again, they should arrange for their cat sitter to make daily visits so Wendell and Oliver wouldn’t feel abandoned.
“ Looks like we’re off to a good start, and I know that we feel very encouraged that our two guys will gradually recover from this trauma, and our relationship will be stronger than ever,” said Doris.

Sleepless On The Upper West Side
(Sleep Deprivation)
“Sappho lets me sleep until about 7 a.m. these days. No more burning the 1 or 2 a.m. morning oil — thanks to your suggestions,” said Ken. 

Sappho, a nineteen-year-old, but very active kitty, became very, very vocal especially in the wee hours of the morn. So Ken would oblige and follow Sappho into his study where she would deign to stop yowling — as long as Ken remained. Emily, Ken’s wife, had a chronic medical issue, and uninterrupted sleep was vital to her health. 
Sappho in her favorite box

  When I made a home visit to observe and advise Ken and Emily 
about Sappho’s “persistent raucous, high-spirited yowling", Sappho’s stride and grace disguised her golden years. So I wasn’t surprised when they told me the vet found no major complaints, except for slight renal failure, which was addressed with a kidney-friendly diet and the addition of a tablespoon of water to each meal. Also, her hearing had somewhat declined.

Pigeon Play Dates
Emily mentioned how Sappho’s favorite activity was to station herself at the windows on pigeon patrol. She would dash back and forth as the pigeons gathered on the window sills. Now and again a pigeon might flutter a wing at her continuous motion, but these New York birds knew she wasn’t a threat. And best of all,  bird seed was sprinkled on the sills to extend their visit. See the video  

Sappho, The Gamer
“Sappho is particularly on her game when she’s physically in motion. Action and fun are her template,” said Ken. I nodded as I watched her dart about after a taste of catnip and a couple of tossed toys.

Sappho’s raucous yowl is symptomatic of her geriatric golden years, lower stress tolerance, single cat syndrome, separation anxiety, slow down —break down — of physical organs and biological sleep rhythms. Although Sappho’s mental ability was on point and her overall physical condition was okay, her health was still on a natural decline. Because her hearing was on the minus side, she over-reacted with her meow. The more her body vibrated, the more she could experience the sound of her meow.

The demise of Hercules, her canine companion, contributed to her discomfort. The separation occurred about two years ago which coincided with the start of Sappho’s shout-out for continuous company — to be noticed. They were not best buds, but it was a live-in relationship. She was also vulnerable to Ken and Emily’s nocturnal biological rhythms which were usually in transition in the wee hours of the morning.

Treatment to Wipe Out Sappho’s Shout-Out
  • Join Sappho in her creative pursuit to enjoy her golden years. Supplement her pigeon patrol with flying birds on the internet.
  • Arrange play dates with a neighbor’s cat-friendly dog.
  • Play hide&seek, and when Sappho finds you, welcome her with a hug and taste of nip.
  • Consider the adoption of a cat-oriented adolescent so Sappho will have non-stop entertainment and diversion.
  • Engage her in a vigorous playtime period pre-bedtime.
  • Purchase a Sleep Sound machine for the study so Sappho has a continuous sound to accompany her during the night. She’ll feel the vibration from the machine.
  • Set up a tunnel of paper bags that she can scramble through.  

Emily and Ken were not ready for another dog or cat companion for Sappho, but they heartily welcomed my other recommendations. Their day jobs needed all the possible, positive support.

Progress Report -- 
Off the Slippery Slope
Sappho had delayed her nocturnal shout-out until about 3 a.m., an improvement but definitely in need of reinforcement. See Sappho in her blanket.
Although she absolutely needed to be sequestered at bedtime with all of her comforts and the door closed, this was not possible as she would probably yowl for the first few nights. Emily’s sleep and the neighbor’s peace of mind could not be jeopardized.

Additional Diversions For Sappho
“We need some more early evening diversions for her,” said Ken. 
I suggested that they offer her a new object each evening. It could be a sock, t-shirt, ball of tin foil, toy saturated with nip, even a wad of toilet tissue. They could casually show it to her before they hid it in a place where she could find it. Maybe they could put it in her tunnel of bags or boxes.

Throughout the next few months I would send them new diversions for Sappho. The latest was a NASA Sleep Promoting Light Bulb from Hammacher Schlemmer that appeared to enhance sleep — with a lifetime guarantee. Read more .

Vice Magazine
It makes me feel good that Ken no longer has to spend most of the night on his office couch to accommodate Sappho, and I especially appreciate their success with the campaign to comfort and engage Sappho in a healthy way. 

I’m reminded of Leo Ram, a young cat for whom I was called to remedy his intrusive, nocturnal activity and yowl. 

To sleep well together is to live happily and healthily together!