Never saw it before. Never saw the use for it. Heck, never knew it existed. But they do, especially if they’re been hunting a stinging or biting insect and the score is Sam the Cat: 0, Stinging/Biting Insect: 1.
Sammy was batting away at something that flew yesterday. He was dancing around on his back legs and very wild of eye when suddenly the game ceased and the cat stared at his right paw, utterly dumbfounded. He licked his paw furiously to make the hurt go away and once inside, ran from room to room trying to escape the pain. It got sort of scary when he hid in a corner and panted with his tongue hanging out, so we called the vet. The vet said not to worry unless his face swelled up (and since Sam was pawing at his own nose we wondered if that was next), and to give him 15 mg. of Benedryl.
Fortunately, we had some on hand and after the usual cat-and-pill frolic that all cat owners know and love so well, we crammed 1/2 of the antihistamine down his throat. In about 20 minutes, Sammy had found a new hiding place and was dozing.
This morning he came tearing back inside, licking his paw and running back and forth. We think it was PTSD because the behavior soon ceased. Sammy, the Cat Who Didn’t Learn a Thing.
When I get back from the West Coast, we’re building a cat enclosure. I can’t stand keeping them inside but they need to be kept safe.
I just started clicker training with one of our cats and I’m optimistic. We’re at the very basic step at the moment – the cat (when hungry) is given a treat and a “click” at the same time. And this morning, I had an opportunity to test.
Both cats, Sophie and Sam, run outside for a few minutes in the morning and the young male wants to wander farther away than the female and stay out longer. Sophie is nervous and while always eager to run out the front door (not the back; the front, please), she is equally eager to return home. Sam, however, likes to loll about on the neighbor’s porch and stay out of viewing range. So after two sessions with the clicker over two days, I decided to try it. I went outside and clicked about three times. Out of nowhere, voila! Cat! So guess who got a treat?
Leah said that Moe has much more spirit and what-not now that he has someone to love him. That would be me!!!! Moe is now taking a joint supplement that’s got yucca and a bunch of other stuff. I’m hoping it eases his crookedness because he’s kinda mean when it comes to picking out his back feet. He cow-kicks at me and he hasn’t gotten me yet, but it’s not fun. He’s kind of a pain, Moe is.
And because Moe was needed for a young rider later in the day, I rode Stalker today for my lesson. The last time I rode him, I was in tears. It was winter, I was worried about Gabby, and Stalker kept tripping and stumbling in the frosty, frost air. Today however, I was able to ride his 16 hand butt without fear. Without much fear. OK, a little fear when he sped up on me which led to me slacking off on my commands which led to Stalker coming to a complete stop whenever possible which meant he’d buffaloed me which meant starting over at the beginning, but at least I wasn’t all shook up. I worked with another instructor who has joined the barn, Lynn, and she is good! She always works my legs very hard. We spend lots of time placing them in the correct position, and then replacing them back in the correct position after they slide out of same.
I bought Clicker Training for Cats and started reading it today. I want to start off small — and with one cat — l and see how it works with our little darlings and see if we can’t train them to stop fighting so much. Oh, and both cats are overweight. We went to the vet today and weren’t exactly surprised at this news. What was sort of surprising is that the female, Sophie, is so fat she can’t properly groom herself. We thought it was just bad skin. Er. . . can’t blame it on the cat, can we? (blush). The glorious days of free-feeding are over, guys. Welcome to the new way of doing things.
I don’t understand how I get interested in this stuff or how I get so paralyzed by it, but did you know that you can watch videos of kittens on YouTube? My favorites so far are “Moos plays with feather” because it is so amazing how the Django music works perfectly at moments with the frantic batting of the feather performed by Moos.
There are also some swell videos of bengal cats (a handsome breed!) performing amazing stunts inside of cat treadmills. The videographer has several more bengal videoes, as do other enthusiasts. My but they are lovely!
My favorite this far, however, is “4 1/2 minutes of kittens” —which now I can’t find by searching but it’s out there someplace. I mean, I’m telling my husband about it! “And then the kittens did this! And then they did that! And one of them lost its toy and so it started playing with its foot and then it lost its foot! Oh my God it was so cute!”
Pitiful. Me, not the cats.
Yesterday’s free ride was an opportunity to ride darlin’ Sadie of the Blue Blue Eyes and also an opportunity to go over some of those jump-pole things except on the ground. Just poles, right? Right. OK. It was yet another thing that made me nervous on Stalker the other night, when I had my smallish breakdown. Just walking over the poles let alone trotting was not working well for me. Worked just fine yesterday for both Sadie and moi. I even tried closing my eyes a couple of times as we walked over the poles, so as to keep from myself the chance of seeing anthing that might unerve me — like the pole we were preparing to walk over.
I endorese closing one’s eyes during safe and secure work. I did that once at the barn before last. My teacher, Laura, had the horse Vegas on the longe line and to practice my balance, I closed my eyes. Like a horse wearing blinkers, closed eyes took away all the extra spooky things that will leap out and grab me if I make eye contact with them. Hey, the horse sees ’em too, just not the same ones. And the really great thing about closed eyes is that at a moment’s notice, Pop! you can open them again! Ha!
Right, the kitten. Leah is working hard to save a small kitten that’s been abandoned by its mom. The eyes are open but the tiny tiger-striped thing needs some extra care, so Leah kept in inside of her shirt, safe and warm. Awww!!! And what a good idea! I know, there’s a blue million too many cats in the world and we don’t need any more but there’s something about saving one of something that’s so danged sweet.
Sophie says, “You can get back to your knitting when I say you can get back to your knitting. Meanwhile, fetch me a Whisker Lickin’. Thank you.”
My internet connection was so insufferably slow this morning that it rendered even the most casual use an exercise in extreme frustration. I was vexed, vexed beyond hope because I could not take the time this fine rainy morning to find good prices on winter riding boots, such as the Mountain Horse line offered by Dover and by many other fine purveyors of horse accoutrement.
But now, thanks to the good offices of AT&T/Yahoo/Ameritech/SBC we have blindingly brilliant and fast connections at all times, speeds that rival human synaptic response like a cat jumping into the air to fell a fleeing moth; anything other than this worse-than-dial-up thing today. And I only ran through 3 tech support people overseas and one nice technician who has Solved The Problem!!!
BUT…..I was going to ride today. And that didn’t work out. Now I have to wait until Monday.