Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Therapy Cat Tales from 4/16/14

Tabby writes:

You know that black cat that we met at the NW Pet and Companion Fair?  The one I mentioned in my last post?  Well, today she came to H. to see what I do!  Mommy invited her and her person, Chris, to come along with us and see how we work.  The kitty's name is Blackbird!

We got to H. before Blackbird and Chris did, so Mommy told the receptionists that they would be coming.  Chris had to get a sticker nametag instead of the pin nametag that Mommy has, because it was their first time there.  Actually, it was Blackbird's first time visiting at an assisted-living facility at all!  She got down off Chris' shoulder (where she likes to ride) and checked out my carrier bag, but she didn't come over to sniff me.  Strange!  I want to be friends with her, but I'm not sure if she likes me.  We hung out on the floor while our people talked and friends stopped by to say hi and pet us.  Mommy let Chris know what the routine was and what to expect.

Then, we started off!  I really showed off for the new people!  I walked over and showed them where the door to the office was, then walked in and showed them where S.'s office was.  They got introduced to S., who is our supervisor, and she told them a little about H. and asked Chris some questions about Blackbird (who was riding on his shoulder again).

S. walked with us most of the time when we were visiting.  Blackbird's eyes got very wide when we stepped off the elevator onto our visiting floor!  I didn't flinch a bit, of course.  I know my routine very well.  I was surprised that Blackbird was nervous, but I guess I was nervous the first few times I went visiting, too.  It was so long ago (about 5 years), that I really don't remember the specifics.  Mommy and S. say I was nervous for about the first three times, though, so I guess it makes sense that Blackbird would be.  She's about the same age I was when I started actually visiting.  She's 3 1/2 years old.

There were a group of ladies talking by the couch in the hallway, so we stopped there and visited with them.  They got introduced to Blackbird, who wanted to stay on Chris' shoulder and arm but let them pet her.  After a few minutes, the ladies had to go, so we went to visit more friends.  When we went into the individual rooms, I showed Blackbird the proper way to behave.  I hopped up on laps, beds, and walked in on my own (with Mommy holding the leash, of course).  Blackbird stayed on her perch and got petted, but a couple times she got to sit with people and once she got to lie on a table.  She liked the table!

She didn't like sharing the spotlight, however.  She was counting how many pets I got and how many she got, and she started getting jealous.  She hissed at me!  At one point, she was too much of a distraction, with her hissing and Chris telling her "NO", so Mommy had them go out in the hallway to wait and watch from there until Blackbird calmed down.  After that, she went back to observing me and learning how to visit.  When she hissed, I gave her the stink-eye, because she wasn't behaving properly.  I know if I tried that, I would get taken home right away!  Blackbird will learn, but it will take her a while.

S. and Mommy agreed that it would be better if Chris and Blackbird visit separately from Mommy and me for a while.  If we do visit on the same day, we'll start at opposite ends of the hallway and each visit with the same people at different times.  That way, she'll learn how to interact with people without worrying what I'm doing.  Chris and Mommy can try to socialize us away from H., so that the residents won't get worried about Blackbird hissing at me.  They won't try to socialize us to each other at H., though, because that's not good for the residents.

All in all, Blackbird passed the test to start training for therapy cat work, but she just needs to get over her hissing.  Great job, Blackbird and Chris!

After we got done visiting, Mommy took me to Columbia Sportswear in downtown Portland.  They were having a promotion for the Doggie Dash, which is coming up next month!  Mommy got some socks for 20% off, and I got to meet some people from the Oregon Humane Society.  Oh, and I got to ride in another elevator and lots of pets from the people who work there!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Therapy Cat Tales: NW Pet and Companion Fair 2014

Tabby writes:

I'm tired!!!  I was on an adventure yesterday and part of today!  Mommy and I did a talk/demonstration at the NW Pet and Companion Fair.  Well, Mommy did the talking and I sat on a chair and in my stroller and looked cute.  Does that count?  Everyone said it did.

We took a taxi over yesterday, but today Grandma drove us.  Nice!  I got to spend time with Grandma!  The taxi was fun, too, but I took a nap most of that ride because I was in my carrier.  When I ride with Grandma, I get to be on Mommy's lap, although still on harness and leash.

Yesterday, after we checked in, we went over to the stage to see where to check in there.  We finally found the people and got everything situated, but there were doggies on stage before us so I didn't check the stage out beforehand.  The doggies were demonstrating how to do clicker-training.  They already knew how to do it, though.  They were just showing off for the people.  I didn't think they were very interesting, but some of the dogs in the audience were paying attention.

Just as we were getting ready to go on stage, a lady asked someone else if she was named Mommy's name.  Mommy overheard her, and went to meet the lady.  She turned out to be our friend from Catster, Michelle!

Michelle and her brother are Bitu's purrents, and our family has known Bitu's family on Catster for years now!  It's always so nice to meet the people who belong to our online cat friends!  Mommy Erin's sister, Anna, took this picture on Michelle's iPad.  It was nice that Anna could come, too.  We ate lunch with Anna after our presentation and walked around the expo with her for a while.  She got her face painted like a cat, even!  Mommy was going to get her face painted, too, but there was too long a line.

We also did the fashion show/costume contest.  No, I didn't win anything, but that's fine.  There were a lot of dogs participating, but I wasn't the only non-canine entrant!  For once!!!  There was a bird named Athena, who blogs on tumblr, and a pig named Periwinkle, who has a Facebook page.  Athena and I didn't mind being right near each other!  Here's a slideshow of some of the costumes from the contest.

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After the fashion show, we went around to more booths.  We got a huge bag of goodies from Pet Pros.  Thank you so much for all the yummy-looking food and treats!!!  Mommy had business cards made up for me, so she handed those out to the people we met and people who came to our presentations on both days.  I met a lot of new friends!  There were even people who want to know more about training their cats to be therapy cats like I am.  Plus, a few places that want us to visit people!

If you are one of the people we met at this event, feel free to contact us using the "PDX pride" profile link near the top of the right column on this blog or the message feature on my Facebook page.

This morning, we did our presentation again.  I was better about not sitting in my stroller the whole time.  I sat on a chair at the back of the stage, so Mommy picked the chair up and put it front-and-center.  Not what I had in mind, but that was ok for a while.  Then, I decided I wanted my stroller, which was off-stage.  I headed toward it, so Mommy picked that up and put me in it, then wheeled it to the middle of the stage and talked from behind it and the chair.  Everyone thought that was funny, but I was comfortable and was showing off that I had a safe space that I was trained to be in.  That was just fine with everyone!

The black cat that we saw last year was there again this year with her person.  Guess what?  Both of them want to be a feline-assisted therapy team, too!  They are going to meet us on Wednesday for our regular visit to H. to see what we do, and hopefully will get registered to visit different places, too!  Wouldn't that be cool?  Maybe we can even open up a Portland, OR, chapter of Love on a Leash!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feral Friday with Tigress

Tigress writes:

Hi everyone!  I know it's been a long time since I've done a Feral Friday post, but I've got some exciting news to share!  The Grandma person is an ok person!  She gives treats, foot pets, talks softly to me, doesn't chase me, and even will come let me out if I ask nicely enough!

At first, I was scared of her when she moved in a couple months ago.  The other cats love her and she'll even pet them occasionally.  I was scared of her, though.  I don't even know why, except that she was a new human.  She didn't do anything scary, but she was just there.  I didn't like being in the house with her, and would ask for out whenever I realized I was sharing the same house with her.  She tried and tried to show me she was nice, and my purrents told me I was safe and they wouldn't ever bring anyone around who would hurt me.  I believe them, but it still scared me.

I saw how nice Grandma was to the other kitties, though.  She would often pet them with her legs or with her feet, and thank them for giving her leg pets (winding around her legs) and wanting to sit with her (even though she can't have them on her lap due to being sick).  I would hear her coughing and would get wide-eyed, going to Mommy or Daddy for reassurance, but after a couple weeks I wasn't wanting out right away when I would see Grandma.  I would watch her from a chair under the dining-room table or from my comfy chair in the bedroom, then want out when she saw where I was.  I wouldn't hide from her, though, unless she was walking toward me.

One day, the twins had a birthday!  We all celebrated by having a big treat!  I didn't know what it was, but the others were very excited about it, and were milling around Grandma in the kitchen.  She got Mommy to help her open a can of something.  I hung out in the hallway and watched, wondering.  Mommy took out plates and showed Grandma how to spoon out the something onto each plate.  Then Mommy set the plates down on the floor in the dining room!

Feast time!  The others invited me to join them, but I said no because I didn't know what the treat was.  It smelled kind of good, but I wanted to watch them eat to make sure it was safe.  They told me it was something called "tuna" and it was a fish.  What fish comes out of a can?  I catch the little fish in the marsh sometimes, but they don't swim around in cans!

You can see in the picture how we social-eat.  Dare and Starla are sharing a plate, Missy's eating by herself, Panther's eating by himself, Carbon only eats by himself because he tends to be food-agressive, the twins are sharing a plate, Tabby's eating out of a can, and Little Bit's waiting her turn.  At this point, I was still in the hallway (the first picture).

Mommy brought a plate down the hallway to Rori so she could have some of the tuna treat, also.  She likes it, but she didn't want to brave the mob in the dining room any more than I did!  Grandma stayed in the kitchen and made herself something yummy with the tuna, too.  She put something else in it and mixed it up, then put it on bread for a sandwich.  Heimdall went in to see if she had some more for him, but she had mixed the remainder for her food, so he came back out and licked a can.

I finally got up the courage to go social-eat and found out the tuna was yummy!  Wow!  Do you see me over in the top left?  I'm trying to get to the plate with Freya and social-eat with her.  Dare decided to share the plate that Missy was eating from, and Little Bit got the can that Tabby had.  Tabby got another can that she and Heimdall shared.

After that tuna treat, I decided that Grandma must be an ok person.  I let her pet me once, and almost have come in the door when she's tried to let me inside.  About a week ago, I wanted out and she was the only human awake.  It was my hunting-time, around 5 or 6 in the morning.  That's when the mice and the birds are sleepy, so I can catch them more easily.  I went over to Grandma, who was in the kitchen, and wound around her legs, talking to her.  She thought I was Tabby at first, because she does the same thing when Grandma's in the kitchen.  Nope!  She looked at my paws and saw that it was I instead of Tabby!  She asked me if I wanted out, so I walked over to the door and pawed it.  She walked over and opened the door for me.  I looked at her and meowed once, then ran out like I normally do.  Thank you, Grandma person!

Since then, I've said hi to her most of the time and she's let me outside a few times more.  Today, I even went down the hall to her room to wait outside the door until she came out!  Hi, Grandma!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Little Bit and Mommy Erin's Smokey!

Little Bit writes:

It's my birthday!  My sisters' birthdays, too!  Yay!  *runs around in excitement, playing THOE with Dare*  I'm now 6 years old!  I don't feel like I'm 6 years old.  I've still got all the energy of a kitten!  My sister, Smokey, acts like a grumpy old lady a lot of the time, but she still has the energy of a kitten when she wants to play.  She lives with Mommy Erin, so I don't get to see her since they moved out last year.  Here's a picture of her, though!

Our other littermate, Baby Chiba, is at the Bridge.  She was a kitten when she died.  We're thinking fondly of her today as well!  We don't know where our mama, Boo-Boo Kitty, is, but we remember her well!  She was a good mama to us.