Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 2016

The Wilbourn Way Blog 

(aka Cats on the Couch)  

Dear Readers,

Be merry, bright and healthy for the holidays!
Whatever you decide to do, have fun and be oh, so good to yourself. your cat/s will love you for it.
A Happy Holiday Wish From Orion

A Herd Of Cats Fill Advertising Placements At London Tube Stop
Break Thru Radio (BTR)
Here’s a recent interview from BTR.

The Feline's Laser Chasing Scratch Post
If your cat likes the laser dot, take a look

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

Cat Talk Was A Lucky Break
“Hi Ms. Wilbourn, I wrote you a letter and need your address,” was a recent call from Barbara, a 91-year old golden age cat lover. Here’s an excerpt from her nine page letter.
Barbara named the rescued kitten Pretty Girl and wrote how her older cat, Fluffy, welcomed her with a wash from head to toe. She went on to write how Fluffy had some nerve damage in her legs which sometimes caused her to plop down as she walked.
A Look-Alike For Pretty Girl

More excerpts:
“But gosh, darn, Fluffy looked after Pretty Girl almost right up until I had to have the vet take over — a very sad moment for me. We’d been together for twelve years.”
Pretty Girl is now nine years old, black, silky, with a little white patch on her back and four white feet. I don’t have any pictures of her to send you. One day I thought I’d bust my britches laughing so hard. She was sleeping in the rays of warm sunshine on my carpet, on her back, spread eagle. When I told her to “sit up like a lady”, she opened her eyes, gave me a look and went back to sleep.
I’m so glad I purchased your book. Now I know what she wants when she makes different meow sounds and how her tail shoots straight up in the air when she feels proud and happy. There are many other things I learned, but most of all, that my kitty cat is normal.  Also, I’ve made arrangements for Pretty Girl’s future without me.

Sending love and hugs, I thank you.”

A Home For Christmas
Where Was Mom? “When my mom didn’t answer her texts or phone, and I realized we’d been out of touch for five or six days, I panicked,“ said Deborah. She arrived at her mother’s building to find some notices slipped under her door. As Deborah didn’t have the key to
the special security lock, and her mom lived with two young cats, time was crucial. With the help of the fire department, they got inside. Her mom was motionless, stretched out on the couch. She apparently had sudden heart failure. Deborah was grateful that her mom’s end was without long suffering.
And Her Cats?
One of the cats was found in the bedroom. The other was beneath the couch. Their bowls were totally empty — no food or water. Luckily, they were neither dehydrated or apparently weak, so Deborah, a vet technician, knew she didn’t have to take them directly to the hospital where she worked.
Preps For Cat Integration
After appropriate arrangements, she took the cats to her apartment where she lived with her husband and their two cats, Hot Rod and Chili Pepper.
Hot Rod and Chili Pepper
She put her mom’s cats, who were one year old, neutered brothers, in a separate room with their “own stuff” and creature comforts. As Deborah had consulted me in the past in regard to new cat introductions and integrations, she knew gates were essential in the doorway to their room so the cats could see and interact with each other without physical contact. Also, that her cats had to be verbally acknowledged whenever she interacted with the bros, so they wouldn’t feel displaced or rejected. Her cats needed to feel in control, so they wouldn’t act out of control. Refer to April 2014 Blog — Scroll down to Dante Attacks His Two Companions. Read more
Pumpkin and Squash used to be Best Buds
The next morning Deborah was awakened by shrill, menacing meows. Pumpkin had his brother Squash, cornered. She was able to distract Pumpkin with a toss of a toy so Squash could run for cover. Three days later with separations, time out, wind down time, toys, treats — Pumpkin was still in rage mode. Goodbye to the bros who were once best buds. 
Rabbit Hole Syndrome — So Many Traumas 
Deborah had wanted the cats to stay together. But Pumpkin’s grief had turned to fury. Squash was his tension target. Perhaps in time Pumpkin’s attitude towards his brother would change. But she had to consider the welfare of her guys. Deborah had to be flexible. The right choice was critical. No way did she want to create a quagmire. There had already been so many traumas — loss of her mother, culture shock of a new environment, new cat competition. Deborah couldn’t focus on what she preferred. She wouldn’t let herself go down that rabbit hole.
Pumpkin Moves On
Her husband reminded Deborah that her cat-less brother might be a possible home for Pumpkin who was a real people lover. He’d be the only cat and center of attention. By that evening Pumpkin had moved in with her brother who texted that Pumpkin had made his day. “I now have a domestic compatible, companion in time for the holidays.”  
After Pumpkin left, at first Squash stayed hidden in the closet, but with toys, catnip, brushing, his music and a distant Reiki treatment (Read more), he was all purrs and ate a hearty breakfast. 
Because Pumpkin was the decision maker and Squash the copy-cat, with “two” cats to copy, he would be able to make the transition without too many twists.
“Yes, and Hot Rod, the older, can chill at will, while Chili Pepper, the younger and Squash do their thing. A vicarious fun work-out for Hot Rod,” said Deborah.
Integration Reminders For Cat Mingle
  • When the gates are opened for “cat-mingle”, It should be for short intervals — even a few minutes.
  • Start off the intervals when the cats are relaxed and mellow.
  • Return Squash to his room before there’s any sign of agitation — tail swish, hiss, wide eyes.
  • Separate the cats while the going’s good to create a positive association.
  • Repeat the intervals several times a day to increase their acceptance of each other.
I told Deborah that gradually, they would gain tolerance and grow to accept each other. She and her husband would be able to give the cats the attention they needed for their relationship to evolve into a happy catdom. “Squash and Pumpkin are one of my mom’s many timeless gifts,” said Deborah.

The Tie That Binds

Holiday time always reminds me —
A few decades or so ago, I asked my sister, Gail, “If you could make a wish to have your dream career, what would it be?”
“To become a movie producer, and you?”
“I want my passion for cats to become my profession".

At that time, cats were my avocation and Gail worked at an art gallery. 

Gail's Cats Sophie & Denzel
A few years later I co-founded The Cat Practice, the first cat hospital in New York City, wrote my first book Cats Prefer It This Way and was dubbed the Founding Mother of feline psychology. Gail went on to climb the ladder to film producer. Rain Man was one of her early films. Her latest movie is The Danish Girl.  Alicia Vikander won the Oscar for best supporting actress. You won’t see a feline star, but there is a dog who will tug at your heart strings.

Being sisters, there are many things we share in common. Cats take the lead, and although Gail produces movies, and I treat cats, there is a connection. In my cat practice I deal with cat’s emotions. People’s emotions are a resonant theme in Gail’s movies.

Adopt Don't Shop For That Gift! 
You know your friend would be so happy with a cat. She loves your two cats. So you want to surprise her. But wait, you want it to be a good match. So include her in the selection, unless you’re positive she wants to live with a cat or even two. It may be you feel she would never make the plunge by herself. But you don’t want your “gift” to be returned to the shelter after the holidays.  
The Beauty Of A Feral Cat
“My cat needs a buddy, but I’m afraid he wouldn’t want to share my attention. He would abuse the newbie.” This is a common conundrum in my cat practice. But not to worry. Many times a feral kitten or cat is the best match for cats that I treat. A feral will usually bond very quickly with a new cat. Because he/she is a cat’s cat, the interaction preference is “cats” not “people”.
Frustrated, Furless, Anxious (OCD -- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
I’m reminded of Cisco, a very young black, neutered male who had a severe case of alopecia  (psychogenic dermatitis).  When I saw him, he was practically fur-less and had many bloody scabs from compulsive grooming.  I explained to his guardians that he groomed out of frustration and angst.  His two female companions refused to play with him. Cisco’s primary cure was a young feral kitten named Pancho.  
Cisco used to hang out under the tree
They quickly became “an item”, Cisco’s grooming returned to normal, and his fur returned. Sixteen years together until Cisco’s illness  …. 

Now Pancho lives with Elie, whom he’s taken under his paw. 

Pancho with Elie

And Cisco’s photo is on the Christmas tree — alongside Pancho’s

Cisco's photo is alongside Pancho's on the yearly tree

Mayor's Alliance For NYC's Animals
Adopt a little New Yorker today. Read about the Mayor’s Alliance.
(If you’re not a New Yorker, contact the recognized animal facility in your hood.) You might even decide you want to become a volunteer.

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

20 year old Poosia blisses out with Reiki treatment and toy therapy

20 Years And Still Counting 
Orion likes that Poosia enjoyed some toy therapy, along with her Reiki treatment.

Larry, Britain's top diplocat

UK’s First Female Diplocats
A week after Larry, the diplocat, took office at 10 Downing, there was a tussle with Palmerston, the newbie diplocat of the Foreign Office.
Evie, new diplocat at the Cabinet Office

And now there are two new sets of whiskers — the first females — Evie and Ossie.  And Orion feels the “burn”.
Ossie joins Evie at the Cabinet Office

As he wrote last year, Orion declares that holiday trimmings can be provocative!
Protect Your Cat From The Trimmings And The Trimmings From Your Cat

Your cat may choose to admire the Christmas tree and trimmings. That’s a mutual plus.
Let Me At ‘Em!
But if “let me at ‘em” is the intent, don’t 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. 

For your cat’s fun attractions offer a pot of kitty grass for some chewy nibbles and also some new favorite toys. And for alternative pleasures, maybe some tissue paper.

Toy Therapy 
Orion is a big player! Loves toys for fun and fitness! 
Orion and the blue mouse

Click below to see a few of his and other cats' faves from MultiPet Toys.

A Free Consultation With The Cat Therapist