batchet: a cat sitting down, looking up. (Default)
[personal profile] batchet
For the time being, I have a new room-mate.  Her name is Mew.  The past few weeks, I've been going through a various range of emotions.  I've been so caught up in the news and in my head,.  I've created multiple theories that lead to ww3 and until I proved myself wrong, I felt like I needed to know more and more.  I've been finding it hard to get a good night's rest sometimes.  I've had some serious stress symptoms and at times, found myself experiencing cold war fears that I never expected to take part in.

I thought that was all old news that my father's generation had to put up with and we were done with those kinds of shenanigans.  Apparently not?

The hearing where FBI agent, James Comey, and that NSA guy, admiral Rogers helped explain the situation, it helped put my mind at ease...somewhat.  I'm still concerned about the two biggest armies in the world being lead by people like Putin and Trump but I've got a new theory that's better than seeing the beginning of a new world war.

The end of a cold one.

But does everything always have to be about politics?!

I had been feeling a depression coming on and was feeling hopelessness sinking in. I have no control over what's happening and I'm still dying to know what's really going on.  How can we trust that the NSA and FBI know what they're doing?  Has a lot of negative talk and suspicions about the NSA been another product of Putin's propaganda?  Then my mind twists it again and asks, is that last question propaganda by the CIA?  Are both sides telling various lies and is there a way to actually get to the truth?  How important is it, historically speaking, for us to find out what that truth really is?  What can I do in all of this?

I still have so many questions and strong worries.  Every day, I've been reading more than I ever have, learning about things not because I'm told too or to make money but because I feel like I'm on a quest for truth

While I feel like I've learned so much... it's also stressful at times when it's hard to know who to trust.

then I got a cat!

A good friend of mine asked me to watch her cat for her and she's one of the more interesting cats I've ever had.

She has characteristics so similar to dogs, I'm wondering if she was raised in the company of canines and picked it up from them.  My neighbor knocked on my door yesterday and she let out this lil growl that sounded just like a dog.

I had these extra cushions laying around so I set them up by my window so she could have a perch and last night, she was using it.  (it looks over my bed and out the window at the same time)  Last night, she had this protective look about her, like she was keeping watch.  I know it may be a confirmation bias, but growing up on a farm, I've seen a lot of cats and dogs and have gotten a good feel for the various characteristics that they exhibit.  Maybe the cat wasn't being "dog-like" but just picked up on the same "protective" gene that you might see in many mammals that have strong connections with their young.  That may be a more accurate way of looking at it.  I'm not sure yet, but I love learning about biology and understanding this stuff better.  It helps to figure out so many little things about animals.

An example is laser sights on cats.  They can't understand lasers... but they have spent millions of years hunting lil insects that move around in the same way.  So that's probably why they zip around after them like they're on a hunt.

Science is a problem solving tool.  When you understand science, you wield that tool better.

Mew is her name

She sure mew's a lot.  Sometimes it sounds like whining.  I've read about how that behavior is probably one of the reasons as to explain why humans domesticated cats over other animals.  It makes sense that it would be hard to kill an animal when it reminds you of your baby crying.

I used to think cats were actually "whining" when they meowed in that typical "cat tone".  Like a dog panting that shouldn't be seen as smiling when it might be miserably over-heating, I'm reminded that meowing in a "human sounding" whine might just be a cat's way of communicating.

There's an urgency that I feel when the cat meows.  I'm like, "What do you want?  more food?  Need petting?  Want to get picked up?".

I have to remind myself that this is most likely just the cat's way of communicating.  It's probably not actually in distress when it's that "whiny" tone, (now that I've written this out, I've had the opportunity to think and I want to say that I'll be watching my cats health closely and will take her to the vet if she is showing more subtle signs of pain because it's hard to know exactly how they're feeling when they can't actually talk with you). That being said, I used to have a cat that was similar and also very vocal.  Her name was Cinder.  She was a black cat with a lil white spot on her chest and white specks of hair all over.  (I describe it because I've seen that it's a common pattern)  When I discovered the science behind the behavior, Instead of getting upset at the apparent "whining" I started talking with her.  At the time, I had split up with my wife and was living alone for the first point in my life.  Coming home, she'd meow, I'd say "hi", she'd meow, "how was your day?" and so on.  After a while, I noticed that her tone started to change a bit.  Maybe this is just a bias, like I was looking for it, but I do remember what seemed like her adopting my tone of voice after a while.  I'm wondering if I can "teach" the same behavior to Mew.

She is probably dealing with some "new home" stress as well and I have already noticed her acting less worried as she gets more used to her surroundings.

My old cat was also "dog like" in the way that she seemed eager to impress me and be included in my activities, she also loved treats so she seemed willing to be taught tricks more than a normal "I don't give AF" cat.

Here is an old video of me showing off the "go up on chair" trick

Wow, watching those took me back.  I remember how I thought she was "whining" when I would get her to go on the chair.  I didn't read about the evolutionary behavior history until later in my life.  The video quality was so poor, that's too bad.  Cinder passed away recently.  After I moved into a place that didn't allow cats, I let her live at my parents.  She got to experience many years in a very free and open lifestyle.  Even though I couldn't live with her, I was happy to know that she had that.

I'm going to get some of those treats today and see if I can train Mew.  I've heard about a clicker to help with training, (it helps them know they're doing a good job that's going to lead to treats so you don't have to give treats out every time), I might try that but, maybe using lil encouraging sounding meows instead?

The first trick I'll be training her is pretty easy, I think most cats can probably learn how to do it with this method.  The idea is that you tell the cat to go to their spot to receive treats, or just, "jump up on a object on command".  It's just a few simple steps, but I've found that they have to really like the treat.  Cat's can be extremely hesitant/resistant at times when compared to dogs, so it also takes a lot more patience.  (depending on the dog).  For Cinder, I used a chair and the command was up, up, up, but you can use whatever.

1. hold treat over chair, issue command.
2. cat reluctantly goes on chair

next time

3. Take a small step back
4. Go to step 1

Not much else to it.  Teaching one trick gets the animal to start to understand the process, (I could see how the clicker is good for this) they recognize that it's "trick learning" time and it learns that whatever it's doing to make that thing click is what the owner is looking for.  Once they make that connection, you're on track for some trick training.


batchet: a cat sitting down, looking up. (Default)

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