Sleeping is a time of intimacy, one with few interruptions. Your body is at rest, relaxed and tension is at its lowest. Even your shy, elusive cat may tuck in with you at bedtime because your energy is low key and non-threatening. So It’s not unusual for a cat’s behavior to go over the edge when this habit is changed.
Daisy misses her bedroom time
Daisy is a cat who had always slept with her guardians. This all changed when their baby was born. It wasn’t long before Daisy had bouts of coughing and irregular breathing. A vet check revealed borderline asthma, and Daisy was started on medication. Her guardians emailed me in hope that I could come up with a solution so Daisy could feel better. When I asked if Daisy slept with them, they replied “No more”. Daisy used to sleep in their room. Now the baby's crib was in the room and they shut the door because they didn’t want Daisy to go into the baby’s crib. Someone had told them that a cat could carry germs to a baby and to keep Daisy out of the bedroom.
I told them that they probably brought more germs in from outdoors than Daisy could transfer to the baby and they could cat-proof the baby’s crib so Daisy couldn’t climb in.(http://www.babycribsafetynet.com) A wireless baby monitor would alert them to any sounds in the bedroom when they weren’t with her. (http://www.intercomsonline.com/Wireless-Baby-Monitor_a/166.htm)
Back In The Bedroom
I explained that Daisy’s bedroom banishment had traumatized her, and the anxiety had triggered her medical problem. Well they decided to give my treatment plan a try. Daisy’s readmission to the bedroom was a winner for everyone. She reclaimed her spot in between them on the bed and had no interest in the crib. Their baby smiled and cooed when she noticed Daisy on their bed.
Back where she belongs
The best news was that Daisy’s borderline asthma gradually disappeared, along with her medication.
Goodbye to bedroom angst, and hello to a happy family.
Blood curling cries and the scent of urine were the beginning signs of a fall-out between Spanky and Henny — two senior cats. Their guardians quickly realized that Spanky was the aggressor and arranged for me to make a house call.
Case History and Catnip Time
Spanky wants what he wants, when he wants it
Shortly after I turned on the music and settled down on their sofa, Spanky, a solid gray cat, walked over and stretched out by my feet. He looked up at me as if to say, “Here I am, what can you do for me?” I reached down and stroked his head and he continued to stare. But when I sprinkled some catnip on the floor, his whiskers immediately plumed out, along with his tail and he gobbled up the nip. I sprinkled some more on some tissue paper beside him and Henny, an orange tabby, appeared from the stairway. I immediately put down a second sheet of catnip sprinkled tissue paper to keep it even Steven. Then Spanky looked my way so I quickly gave him some more of the nip.
Henry usually lets Spanky take the lead
As the two cats concentrated on their stash and stretched out on the tissue paper, I continued with their case history. Spanky, the oldest, was Nancy’s cat and Henny was Elaine’s. The two women were sisters and their elderly mother lived on the bottom floor of their three story brownstone.
They’ve Drifted Since Their Blow-Up “Spanky loves to be front and center,” said Nancy, as he rolled over and looked her way. “That’s so very true, whereas my Henny is more low key and doesn’t mind if Spanky always has to be first,” said Elaine.
Nancy went on to say how their relationship usually worked. “They usually groomed each other, slept and hung out together. Ever since their big blow-up, they’ve drifted, and lately Henny spends a lot of time by himself.”
New Bed Partners
“What about the sleeping arrangements?” I said. “Henny used to sleep in the living room and occasionally with Elaine but he’s been sleeping with me for the last couple of months,” said Nancy. “ And Spanky?” I said
“He only slept with me occasionally so I didn’t think he’d care if Henny slept with Nancy. “Sometimes Spanky would join me at bedtime but not lately,” said Elaine.
Blurred Boundaries I asked a few more questions and also discovered that Spanky used to occasionally sleep with their mother but now Henny spent more time downstairs with her. “Ye gads we have blurred boundaries," I said and explained that “bedtime” was a “big time” together session for most cats and apparently theirs. Maybe Spanky didn’t always choose to sleep with Nancy but no way did he want to have Henny there. As time went on his gripe grew and the blow-up was Spanky’s communication of his discontent. He let Henny have it. Henny was now his tension target because he was the interloper.
Redefine Boundaries “So what do we do now?” said Nancy. “You redefine the boundaries so your cats know and feel who they’re number “1” with — who they can count on,” I said. I explained that Spanky should sleep with Nancy and Henny with Elaine. No switches! “But what if Spanky doesn’t sleep with me and Henny appears?” said Nancy. “You gently but firmly escort Henny and close your bedroom door ,” I said “Oh, I get it. I can take Spanky to bed with me and shut the door,” said Nancy. “Yes, and if he insists on leaving, shut the door behind him,” I said. Nancy nodded in agreement and Elaine said she’d do the same with Henny and also shut her mother’s door at bedtime. “Cats, on principle, object to closed doors but your guys will gradually make the adjustment,” I said. The session ended with both cats asleep on the rug as their music played softly in the background.
Harmonious Sleep Time A few weeks later I did a follow-up session and WCBS-TV was there to film the progress. The boundaries had un-blurred. Each cat slept with his respective guardian at will.
It didn’t happen immediately but now the cats knew what to expect sleep-wise and Spanky had even groomed Henny. This was a first since their blow-up.
HAMLET'S GIG -- THE OFFICIAL GREETER
“There you are Hamlet,” I said, as I approached the Algonquin Hotel’s front desk. He was curled up in his cat tree house — but deigned to slightly open one eye to greet me.
Evidently, this was time out from his spot on the front desk as official greeter. (See September Blog and scroll through to Hamlet Has Officially Come Out).
I was there to give him a Reiki treatment which included some fitness fun. Two months ago Hamlet settled in as the hotel’s resident cat and I gave him Reiki treatments to ease and enhance his transition. These treatments are now a tradition for Hamlet — a recovering feral rescue and now “working cat”. Read More (Scroll down to Matilda’s Swan Song And Legacy to Hamlet)
As I talked to the hotel staff and waved a glitter ball with feather string fling, Hamlet very slowly made his way down to the front desk. From his previous sessions I knew Hamlet couldn't resist this glitter ball "intervention".
Hotel guests pointed their cell phones Hamlet's way as he lunged after the ball. One of the guests told me how Hamlet was a surrogate for her cat whom she hadn't seen in several days. Matilda, the former resident cat, was the original catalyst for her choice of The Algonquin.
"Looking good," said another guest. "Sign him up."
We ended the session on a lunch note. One of Hamlet’s staff had his lunch ready. And he is a foodie, not an anomaly for a recovering feral from the streets — where every meal is eaten as the last supper. Yes, food is on Hamlet’s very short list, but like many a rescued cat, he has this innate ability or desire to please, call it gratefulness. But because he is a cat, and a cat is a cat, he can be very contrary — why not? All the same, I instinctively want to hug him, but I remind myself that I am his therapist and Reiki practitioner, so I should be a tad reserved.
A few days after my session with Hamlet I received word that Matilda suddenly went into renal failure, and the emergency veterinary hospital was unable to prolong her life. Matilda, Hamlet’s predecessor, had recently retired to her forever home in Minnesota. But her retirement was so very brief.
She will long be remembered, and we’re all so very grateful that she was surrounded by love in her last moments. I sent distant Reiki to Matilda and relived my farewell visit with her at the Algonquin before she left for her retirement to Minnesota.
ORION AND HIS HALLOWEEN BLACK CATS
Wish you and your animal companion(s) lots of spooky spunk!!!