New Digs With Precious Objects Not long ago I gave a workshop for The Learning Annex in Toronto. One of the attendees was very concerned about his cats and their claws. He had recently moved in with his new partner to a five room apartment.
Cat Room — Fun Room There were several sculptures and art objects that his cats might trash — as his cats were wannabe aerialists. I recommended he could either place all of his delicate art objects and sculptures in one room that would be off limits to the cats when he was not at home or he could sequester his cats in a room with all of their comforts. This would prevent any catastrophies.
Fitness in high motion
Crossed paws for post-fitness snooze
“But you and your partner should spend some time hanging out with them in their “Fun Room” so it becomes a catmosphere that is inclusive instead of exclusive," I said.
Room In Progress Although he wasn’t immediately wild about my suggestion, he realized he could make this room very cat friendly. He would cover part of the wall with sisal and build cat perches along the windows so they could zone out in the sun. I told him that I admired his flexibility and his ability to turn a difficult situation into a creative challenge that would provide comfort and fun for his cats and peace of mind for him and his new partner. “Don’t be surprised if it becomes their fave room, and maybe yours too."
A few days later I received the following message: My partner and I are excited about this new cat gig. Thanks for the inspiration.
It’s important to realize that your cat’s claws form a cool paramount part of your cat’s identity that you don’t want to compromise. (Scroll through October 2013 Blog to Tiger Will Keep His Claws — Read more.)
A Cat On His Favorite Post Here's Biggie on his post from Sisal Rugs Direct. Click on Cats for a variety of posts, all with free shipping.
Xena Felt She Was Jilted, Maybe even Ghosted, So ...... (Culture Shock, Rivalry, Interloper)
Xena and Des
A recent email: “Carole, I recently moved with my cats, Xena and Des, to a new house. When Xena started to become a little weird with Des and me, it was my wake-up reminder that she needed some extra acknowledgments. So I logged on to your blog where you wrote about them — especially the “Kick-Starter” section. (Refer to November Blog I Don’t Want To Give Des Away But… Scroll down to Kick-Starter) Anyway, that’s taken care of, but please call. There’s a new sequel I’d like your input on.”
“Ah, Xena and Des appeared as they heard your voice,” said Kim. As usual, I have you on speaker phone and they know your voice from the musical links you sent us.”
As Kim filled me in, and told me how she remembered to start her guys in a small room with all of their comforts — so they had a safe space to return to as she slowly introduced them to the rest of the house — I acknowledged her for giving her guys the support they needed during this domestic transition.
Des The Protector Vs. The Interloper “So what’s the sequel, I said?” And Kim was off and running — She told me how one night Des let out a blood curdling meow, threw himself at the window, while Xena bolted up the cat tree. Kim caught a glimpse of a cat in the bushes. Evidently, Des relived some of his old street cat behavior when he saw the cat, and he became the“protector” of his territory — a natural instinct — especially for a former street cat. Anyway, Kim purchased some special blinds for the tell tale window to prevent a repeat performance. When she mentioned the incident to a neighbor, she was told that this cat lived with an older couple who let him roam the streets and never had him neutered. One of his hangout spots was by Kim’s house as it had been vacant for awhile before she and her guys moved. As he was a tom cat, he behaved as a “tom” and was not a fave of the neighborhood.
Tell Tale window
“What’s your take?” said Kim. I told Kim I felt he was hurting. With a high hormonal level and low likability rating, he was at risk. There had to be some way the cat’s guardians could be approached and made aware of their cat’s precarious welfare as an outdoor, “intact cat”. If finances were an issue, perhaps a collection could be taken to cover the cost of medical expenses.
A Triple Win “As much as I’m pissed off about this interloper’s behavior, I do feel for him, don’t wanna dis him and will get the word out to my hood to help this guy,” said Kim. “ It will be a ripple effect. His improved quality of life will be the catalyst for your domestic peace. Des will not have to be the “Drama King”, and the interloper will no longer contribute to the homeless kitten population.”
A Few Words From Mark Twain -- A True Ailurophile
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there -- lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)
Hamlet Has Officially Come-Out
Hanging out at the front desk. Official greeter
Hamlet is now officially settled in as the Algonquin Hotel’s resident cat — a legacy bequeathed to him by Matilda who’s retired to her fur-ever home in Minnesota. (Scroll to Matilda's Swan Song) Her legacy included Reiki treatments to ease and enhance Hamlet's transition as the hotel's resident cat. The treatments are now an ongoing tradition for this boy — a recovering feral rescue and a working cat. Below, with the orange wand gifted by Orion -- that Hamlet may regift to a needy cat.
Blissed out during Reiki
An orange wand for an orange cat. Is orange the new black?
Adoptapalooza At Union Square Park It was another Mayor’s Alliance event for NYC’s animals.
Honey is indeed a honey!!
I was happy to be able to give Reiki treatments to the adoptees. What a loving and fun filled event this was for all the animals, the volunteers and especially the kids.
** The Kitten and The Siberian Husky They share a special bond.
Rosie the kitten and her surrogate Mom
** Meet the Cats The feline models photographed for T's Fall Women's Issue, were all professional, except for one fledgling "foster" kitten. Alongside almost 200 Japanese sweets. Read more ** Annual Show At The Algonquin
The Algonquin Hotel in New York City hosted its Annual Celebration and Cat Fashion Show. Read more
"Just when I think I have my cat all figured out, she does something wacky to blow my whole theory" was a remark from one of my callers to a radio broadcast I was part of for the BBC. I told the caller that this wacky behavior is what makes a cat so fascinating and I liked to refer to this behavior as "catcentric". Yes, leave it to a cat to throw a curve when you least expect it. I'm reminded of Ju Ju and his "jaw action".
Toothless Grooming -- Jaw Action One of the cat's top priorities is grooming. This washing process also provides comfort as it is reminiscent of the mother cat's care. So it is not unusual for a cat to groom when in doubt or anxious. The tongue does most of the work but sometimes a cat will pull the strands of fur between his teeth. Bald Spots Emerge This can sometimes provide a challenge for a toothless cat. Ju Ju was one of those cats. Like his brother Faxi, all of his teeth had to be removed. Their guardian Terri, worried that they would not be able to eat. But no problem. They were even able to eat and digest their dry food. But one day she noticed that Faxi had a crescent shaped bald spot on his side. When a couple of more spots appeared, she was totally confused.
Ju Ju Adapts
Poor Ju Ju. His periodontal problems left him toothless. Now something was pulling out his fur. It turned out that Ju Ju was the 'something'. One morning she watched him as he groomed. He would grab a clump of fur with his mouth, clamp down on it with his jaws and end up with a mouthful of fur. He no longer had teeth to comb the strands of fur but continued to groom in his usual manner. Terri realized she couldn't teach him a new way to groom but hoped he would adapt to his new situation before he was fur-less. Luckily, Ju Ju probably tired of ingesting mouthfuls of fur because soon Terri saw him grooming without pulling and no new bald spots.
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She was found in a cardboard box and arrived at the Algonquin Hotel in 2010 where she reigned supreme. But Matilda recently hosted her final Annual Celebration and Feline Fashion Show. She has retired to a forever home in Minnesota.
(Photo NY Post)
Hamlet -- Matilda's Successor
(He Will Soon Be the Most Famous Cat in NYC) Read more Never fear! Hamlet, another orphan of the streets, will carry on for Matilda. Her legacy includes Reiki treatments to ease and enhance Hamlet's transition as the hotel's resident cat.
Hamlet's First Reiki Session His staff told me which executive office I'd find Hamlet in. Sure enough, he was stretched out on one of the swivel chairs. I added some tissue paper to his cushion, selected music on my iPad, and Hamlet zoned out to his Reiki treatment. Toy therapy wrapped up his session .... until the next one.
When You Meet Someone New Who's Rude (ViralThread) Artistic Cats Tommy and Jasper's pose mirrors their guardian's regard for art. She is on staff at the Whitney Museum.
Let's Plant Catnip What could go wrong? It prevents mosquitoes.
Straighten up and fly right
Matilda's Annual Celebration And Cat Fashion Show
My Orion's passion for Matilda lives on
Orion's tail always curls and whirls for feline hotties -- gender non-specific.
Orion sent his surrogate robotic cats to cat-speak and Reiki-assist with me at the Algonquin Hotel. Three lucky cats were adopted at the event, and 100% of the $12,000 raised from ticket sales and a silent auction will benefit the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.
Orion coaches his robotic cats Casanova and Ziggy StarDust
Orion's robotic cats will join me at the next Adoptapalooza, another Mayor's Alliance event. Bookmark please:
Will Our Two Cats Ever Be Friends? (Rivalry, Inter-Cat Hostility)
Matilda up high for security
"When there's food to be had, Matilda is fearless of Fito," said Alan. "She's there in a heartbeat. Otherwise, she hangs out on top of the kitchen cabinets." Fito -- An Arabian Mau As I watched Fito dart boldly around the apartment, I could see why Matilda could feel threatened. Fito was about six months when adopted from a shelter in Dubai. Alan and Meg were told he was an Arabian Mau.
Fito loves that Catnip Garden nip
Sounded fine, but to them, he looked like your handsome, American domestic short hair. Back in Dubai, he was their only cat, but he sometimes played with a neighbor's laid back cat. Matilda Moves In They moved to New York in 2015 when Fito was three years old and still their only cat. Matilda joined the family several months ago. The rescue group told them she was found on the street and had a litter of kittens who were all adopted. Now it was her turn to be chosen. At first she and Fito hit it off. But that was short lived. All he had to do was look her way and she bolted. Food Was Matilda's Courage Magnet"Have some catnip," I said and sprinkled some on some tissue paper for Fito. Even before I could offer some to Matilda, she had scampered down to the floor from the top of the kitchen cabinets. "She thinks it's food," said Meg. I quickly sprinkled some Catnip Garden nip on a separate piece of tissue paper which Matilda pounced on. Fito didn't stalk Matilda, but his eyes were glued on her, as she finished off the nip. While Meg diverted Fito with more nip on his tissue paper, Alan returned Matilda to her perch on top of the cabinets. Mutual Gratification "You've now experienced Matilda's total obsession," said Alan. I nodded and explained that when her focus was on food, her m.o. of 'Fito angst' switched to the fulfilling pursuit and gratification of food. Fito, if not absorbed with his own food gratification, became the voyeur of Matilda. Food became their mutual distraction and gratification. She only had eyes for food because it was her means of survival from her days on the street. "Unfortunately, non-stop food gratification isn't the key to a cat-friendly relationship," said Meg. "What is?" Appeal to Fito's Comfort Zone. Replace Rivalry With Acceptance.
You've got to stroke Fito's ego. Commend him on his generosity, but be authentic about it. The better he feels, the better Matilda will feel. Rivalry is what provokes Fito's aggressiveness with Matilda. He relives his early kitten deprivation and abandonment to the streets whenever you give Matilda attention, and she becomes his tension target. Her reaction is to run for cover. She's classic flight and he's classic fight -- I'll get her before she gets me.
Most of all, remember to acknowledge him whenever you touch, talk to or even mention her name, so you don't trigger his rivalry -- that 'left out' complex.
Provide visible not physical contact with gates or another see-through barrier to the doorway of the guest room where Matilda spends the night. It's best that she remains in this room until they have a major peace breakthrough.
You can play with them both through the gates so they'll both be engaged without physical contact. The barrier also allows them to hiss and posture without incident.
Always stop interaction with them on a good note before they become agitated or startled -- so their memory is a positive one.
Eventually, you can open the gates for brief cat-mingles.
(Refer to A Home For Christmas in December 2016 Blog for more recommendations on Introduction-Integration of a new cat. Scroll down to Integration Reminders For Cat-Mingles).
As we said our good byes Meg brushed Fito who blissed out, and I reminded them to play the musical MP3 to reinforce the desensitization of the cats' session and to be in touch with a progress report.
Paw-gress -- Follow-Up Two Weeks Later "Hi Carole," said Meg, "the phone is set on speaker phone. Fito plopped down beside me as soon as I turned their music on. Check out his selfies. How's that for bliss?" Meg went on to tell me that now Fito appeared to be fascinated by Matilda.The gates were set up in the doorway of her room, and Fito's eyes were glued to Matilda. He still hissed at her, and she sometimes took cover, but there seemed to be less resistance.
Matilda on her side of the gate
"Well there's a thin line between love and hate. Gradually, Matilda's fear will chip away, and Fito's love attraction will no longer be unrequited," I said. "They may even become BBFs, when Matilda gets it that Fito's fight has turned to play and evenlove."