Monday, January 30, 2017

January 2017

The Wilbourn Way Blog 

(aka Cats on the Couch)  

Dear Readers,

Cats Are As Intelligent As Dogs
This was a recent segment on Fox 5 where Orion and I gave our input. Orion's discreet inner feeling concurs with T. S. Eliot in that "A Dog's a Dog -- A CAT'S A CAT" 
....... so what's the comparison????

Cats Find Safe Haven To Start 2017
More than 500 cats, who may have been exposed to an unusual flu virus, now have shelter in a Long Island City warehouse. This quarantine center has been constructed by an ASPCA team in less than a week. Read more

Safe Haven
Happiness Calls Your Name
Quiet your mind, and re-wire your brain with this book of short 1-minute meditations. You’ll want to take a look at this stunning book by Lorrie Kazan.

Ark For Animals Large And Small
The Ark, An Extraordinary Facility for Pre-Airborne Animals Opens At JFK Airport  Read more

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

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)

Dementia robotic cats

Therapy Cats for Dementia
Orion champions robotic cats. His vintage robotic cat Ziggy-Star-Dust, named after a feral black cat I adopted at a party for David Bowie. Read more   

Orion’s robotic companion often accompanies me at my presentations where live companion animals aren’t welcome.

Finding Dory -- Top Ticket Seller For 2016
Movie goers sought escape. Orion, particularly fond of fish tails and tales ©whisker waved “Finding Dory” in his June Catitudes.  Scroll through the June Blog

Finding Dory
A Trainer Gives Circus Animals, Newly Retired, A Second Act
Retired circus animals
The animals won’t have a total retirement as many will become part of a therapy program for disadvantaged children and older people. Orion feels it will be a mutual win-win. Jenny Vidbel, the trainer, will also take in animals who were not in the circus.

Yoga At The Good Mews Shelter
Orion chills out and frequently joins me in Tai Chi and my Reiki placements so he sends many a ©whisker wave to the Yoga sessions at the shelter in Marietta, Georgia. Read more.
Yoga with cats

Orion gives a blissful toast and ©whisker wave to 2017 and wellness at  his fave water wellness fountain.

And to Other Cats Who follow their bliss
Delilah, fifteen-years-old, and still counting, likes her toy time at any old time.



Phinneas, Delilah’s, younger, significant other, prefers toy time before and after a brushing.
Miss Precious

A very pink nose is often Miss Precious’ sign of bliss when she plays.


Kingsley, Miss P’s companion, blisses out with a toy near his basket.

Myla Throws A Hissy Fit
(New Cat Introduction-Integration
“Myla was so happy yesterday. She and Sage were even only a tail’s throw away on the couch,” said Laura. “But today Myla is Miss Hiss and tail flicker. Why?”
Happy Myla
“There’s been a shift in Myla’s attention,” I said. 
A sudden gasp, and Laura told me how Sam, her significant other and Myla’s main person, was at his office non-stop, which meant less attention for Myla. Sam loves Myla but can’t neglect work.

Break-Throughs and Break-Downs
I explained to Laura that Myla’s relationship with her newbie companion, Sage, was still a work in paw-gress. There would be break-throughs like yesterday and break-downs like today. But gradually with repetition of their get-together-integration-acceptance program, the two cats would comfortably co-exist.
Myla on the alert
Myla, I explained, was still very vulnerable to Sage’s presence, especially, because when Sage was introduced, she had a medical problem which needed constant attention and vet visits. So there’s that residual new cat competition angst that Myla has to chip away.

Prevention Of Blurred Boundaries
During my home visit to Laura’s cats, I recommended that she should be Sage’s main person and Sam would be Myla’s. However, when Sam interacted with Myla, he should acknowledge Sage verbally so she would feel included, and Laura should do likewise for Myla when she interacted with Sage. 

(Refer to A Home For Christmas, Integration of Inter-Cat Mingles for more recommendations on “Introduction-Integration of New Cat)

Recorded Audio Reinforcement
Sage and Myla -- peaceful coexistence
Now that Sam was absentia personified, he should record messages to Myla on voice mail or a special app that Laura could repeatedly play for Sage, and he could also acknowledge Sage verbally — “Right Sage”. 

“Got it” said Laura, and I can fill in for Sam. And, of course, I’ll mention Sage — so she doesn’t get pissed. “By the way, the gate I bought for the doorway of the room Sage is in, works perfectly. She and Myla can interact however they want without physical contact.”

I did a distant Reiki treatment for balance (Read more)  and told Laura we should do a FaceTime or speaker phone session for their next follow-up. My feeling was that the prognosis was promising and in time would be a shout-out.

Thirteen Year Old Pippi Is Confused And Aggressive
(Loss, Separation And Rivalry
Pippi -- 13 years old
“My Mom is now in a hospice so Pippi moved in with me a few days ago. She used to be my cat, but when my job involved constant travel, my Mom, very happily adopted Pippi,” said Connie. “That was six years ago.”

Louise and Daisy In Residence
As I watched Connie stroke Pippi, her eyes lit up, and Pippi purred as her tail fluffed out. These two were a meant-to-be match. Now Pippi was once again Connie’s cat in the very same apartment they once shared. But there was a ruffle, actually two —  Louise and Daisy. Three years ago Connie adopted these two litter mates. 
“Pippi yowls and hisses whenever the two sisters make an appearance. Louise and Daisy are now camped out in the closet —one of their fave hang-outs,” said Connie. 

How To Make The Three Cats Companionable
Connie’s heart went out to Pippi, but she couldn’t live with this upset. She realized that Pippi regarded the two sisters as interlopers as this was once her home, and she had been the only cat. But to the sisters, Pippi was the interloper. 

“Carole, what can we do to make my three cats companionable?” Connie went on to say that the two sisters preferred each other’s company to hers. Each was a cat’s cat, unlike Pippi whose preference was people. When she first adopted the sisters, they kept their distance. But now although they spent most of their time at play or entwined together, they would accept an abbreviated cuddle and hang out on Connie’s bed most of the night. 

Peace at Bedtime
Bedtime was Connie’s main concern. How could she keep bedtime peace? Pippi howled when they approached the bed, and the two sisters scampered away.
I explained to Connie that as Pippi’s separation anxiety and feelings of loss gradually weakened, Pippi would be less threatened and aggressive. Grief can trigger fear which can turn to aggression — which is now Pippi’s m.o. 
“Okay, but what can I do to comfort Pippi so she feels better and accepts Louise and Daisy?” said Connie.

Positivity — The Ripple Effect
I told Connie that she had to tell Pippi that she was safe, they were all okay, and she could lead the way for Louise and Daisy. And how it was so generous of her to be so kind and loving. No way, would Pippi understand Connie’s words, but she would be comforted by the warmth of Connie’s tone of voice, relaxed breath and body language.
“Ah, I see, and the sisters would be calmed — the ripple effect,” said Connie. I nodded, and gave her some more recommendations.

Daytime Bed Time
  • Spend some time on your bed after the cats have eaten, when they’re relaxed and low key. Don’t invite them, let them make that choice. Make sure you have their music on (the link I sent for their session) to reinforce their relaxation.  After they join you, remember if you interact with one of the cats, verbally acknowledge the other two so you’re all in sync.
  • Offer them some catnip while they’re on the bed. You can sprinkle some on their toys. They may not join you the first time, but eventually, they will.
  • A tall cat tree in the bedroom would provide a hangout for the two athletic sisters. They could play “Queen of the Mountain”.
  • Give Pippi some private time and do the same for the sisters. That would be a good time to brush them if they’re receptive. But remember to stop before they resist. Use a moistened paper towel if they resist a bush or comb.
“So the more I make sure we’re all going along in tandem, and neither cat feels left out, the better they’ll interact with each other,” said Connie.
“Yes, otherwise sadness sparks resentment, and Pippi’s aggressive behavior carries on.” 
Connie realized that the more optimistic she was about her cats’ relationship, the sooner peace and happiness would prevail.

Change Her Focus With Distraction
I reminded Connie that as soon as she noticed Pippi was agitated, she should distract her with the sound of her voice, a funny dance step or whatever Pippi preferred. 

I told Connie that as Pippi was now in her golden years, and a bit more fragile, she might enjoy the comfort of a heating pad. The warmth would relax her body, likewise her state of mind and attitude. As we said our good byes, Pippi stretched out with the toy mouse I’d gifted, and Connie told me she’d be in touch.

Break-down — Break-through
Connie’s Text:  “Last night I woke up to howls from Pippi as the sisters scrambled under the bed, but when I turned on their music, Pippi looked my way and started to groom. Guess it was my reminder they needed their music day and night — no lapses.

Artists And Their Cats
(By Alison Nastasi
Grandma Moses is one of the many artists included in this book. 

Grandma Moses continued to live and work on a farm well into her seventies. A few of her barn kitties were immortalized in her renowned folk paintings.

Diego Blows Off Tess
(New Cat Competition)
“Omg, Diego is actually happy in the playpen. This is a first,” said Jamie. “And here we are on FaceTime.” 
Diego in playpen during FaceTime session
Diego, ten years and neutered, adored his former companion. So when she became very ill and passed on, Jamie adopted Tess, a young kitten. That was over a year ago. But Diego was not pleased. He either chased Tess or kept his distance. Most of the time, they were separated by a gate which allowed them to see each other without physical contact.

Playpen Frustration
When Jamie purchased a cat playpen, she thought one cat could hang out in it while she played with each of them. No luck. Diego only hissed or looked the other way, while Tess rolled back and forth before the playpen so Diego would notice her.

“This is such a break-through,” said Jamie. “Diego loves this undivided attention while Tess is in another room. But what will happen when she’s near the playpen?”

Program for Acceptance
  • I explained to Jamie that now that Diego has experienced this feeling of acceptance and security as we concentrate, praise and play with him, a positive association has been connected with this playpen. I told her that she should repeat this several times for about five or ten minutes before Tess appeared. 
  • When Tess appeared, Jamie should continue to talk and interact with Diego but mention Tess’s name and randomly wave or toss her a toy. 
  • She could say: “Diego, I’ll play with Tess so you’ll be entertained, and she won’t take your toys.” It was important to keep them both in the loop but to focus on Diego so he would gradually accept Tess. 
  • I told Jamie that when Tess was inside the playpen, she could engage the two of them with talk and toys. A sprinkling of catnip would add to their together time.
Jamie had a busy work schedule, but she knew she could and would make the time to follow through with their program.  “I can see how the music you provided will continue to relax the three of us while their relationship sparks,” said Jamie.

Mochi Never Purrs. Is He Unhappy?
I recently did a therapy session in Westchester for two kittens who were litter mates. Gloria,their guardian, had found them online. Their rescuer lived in Canada but drove in and met Gloria on the New York side of the Canadian border.

What's in my bag?
Kittens For Emmy
The kittens were a birthday present for Emmy, her three year old daughter. “Cats were the only present Emmy wanted. She named them Sushi and Mochi. Now Emmy had a sleep mate. Sushi slept the night with her, while Mochi tucked in with Gloria and her husband.

Sushi Snuggles And Purrs
But Gloria wasnt sure Mochi was happy. He and his sister Sushi were her very first cats. Unlike Sushi who snuggled, purred and was always front and center for attention, Mochi was reticent about being touched and Gloria never, ever heard him purr. (**See Note at end of article).  She hoped I could tell her how to make Mochi happy — more like his sister. Maybe she was doing something wrong. How could she nip it in the bud?

Mochi's Diagnosis
Sushi and Mochi at play
As I watched the kittens at play, tossed them toys I had brought for their session, and the musical link I had sent Gloria played in the background, I formed my diagnosis of little Mochis behavior. 

I explained to Gloria that unlike his sister who was more of a party-puss, Mochi was selective with his attention. He was of the cool catsonality. With Mochi less was more

Gloria's Goodness Was Contagious
As I talked, Glorias face and body relaxed, and Mochi slowly pawed his way over to me and climbed up beside me on the couch. He had mirrored Glorias reaction to my explanation. She felt good, and her goodness” was contagious — the ripple effect.

Thanks To The Wilbourn Way
Before I left, I gave Gloria some recommendations on diet, and how to clip their claws and told her to be in touch with a progress report.

Several days later I received the following text:   
Mochi purred today, thanks to The Wilbourn Way!  

**A cat can purr when unhappy. When a cat’s energy builds up, the purr mechanism is activated, and this can occur when a cat is fearful, agitated or even sad. But there are cats who never purr. They express their feelings with their body, voice and touch.

Attend The New York Pet Fashion Show
The N.Y. Pet Fashion Show benefits the Gems of Animal Rescue in support of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and 150 participating shelter and rescue groups.  

Date: Thursday February 9, 2017
Time: 6:00PM - 11:00 PM
Global Couture for Animal Rescue
Location: Hotel Pennsylvania - Penn Top Ballroom 18th Floor

My Orion once pawed the cat-walk at the Algonquin Hotel in his jaunty Hawaiian outfit. He was photographed by "Kids National Geographic” and featured in a special issue. Now Orion sends me with his robotic cat to do Reiki treatments for the cats and their guardians at the August annual cat fashion show at the Algonquin Hotel, where Matilda, the cat is in residence. This show also benefits the animal-welfare nonprofit, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

A Free Consultation With The Cat Therapist