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Pets New Years Resolutions

by | Jan 1, 2014 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 6 comments

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“More treetz, pleeze!” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

It’s 2014, wow. A new year is a time for reflection on the past, and resolutions for the future. This year has been incredibly rewarding on the pet-writing front. I’ve published three new nonfiction pet books in the ComPETability series, a debut dog-viewpoint thriller LOST AND FOUND, and I just sent my editor the copy edits for the sequel HIDE AND SEEK coming out later this month. None of this would have been possible without YOU, my wonderful readers and partners in furry-icity. 🙂 My furry crew tells me it’s a good time to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, too, and the year to come.

The Magical-dawg romped through the year and had only one “emergency” that thank goodness turned out to be a bug bite reaction that resolved on his own. He’s now seven, so I suppose it’s time he started slowing down. Seren-kitty has reached the grand age of 16 and noticeably slowed down. This year she had her first major illness, break out with schnorkles in August and has continued to snort and snuffle ever since. She sleeps more, her black mask has turned cream, her claws click when she walks (arthritis makes it hard to keep them hidden) but pestering the dog keeps her engaged in life. I pray that the years will touch me as lightly as they have my little Siamese wannabe.

Seren 008

“More naps, alla the time. Oh, and treetz, too.” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

So here are New Year’s Resolutions from Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.

Magic:  “I will train my humans to toss toys with better aim.”

Amy: He insists on fetch both inside the house and out. So I resolve to keep breakables out of tossed-ball-range, and use only the soft stuffed toys to cut down on household damage.

Seren:  “I will train my humans to offer more treats, more often—away from the (spit) dawg.”

Amy: She’s accomplished this and has trained my husband to give her a taste of plain yogurt each morning. So I resolve to keep offering her treats as long as she asks—out of Magic nose-sniffing range. At her age, she deserves feeling like the queen.

Magic: “I will kill all squeakers and chew sticky-out wrong parts on toys.”

Amy: He amputates teddy-bear ears, and SQUEEEEEKS toys forever to drive us crazy. I resolve to find a Magic-proof squeaky stuffed toy—been looking for years now. And I found an “ultra-sonic” squeaky toy, and if it lasts, I’ll be delighted!

Seren: “I will stand on table tops, hassocks and Amy’s lap and cry and yowl to get the (spit) dawg in trouble.”

Amy: She used to enjoy late night gallops from my office down the stairs and back again, but that happens less frequently now. I resolve to keep Magic otherwise engaged so that Seren can enjoy her teasing perch antics for as long as she continues to want to harass the dog.

Magic: “I will grab all the water from the hose, and dig out water from the pool every day.”

Amy: To keep Magic from drinking tainted tank water we introduced hose tag to keep him cool, and found a wading pool for the hottest days. I resolve to find a bigger wading pool that holds more water to cool off my hot dog.

Seren: “I will drink from every water bowl in the house.”

Amy: Seren loves sipping from running water, and she has two “cat fountains” and a water bowl at every sink AND on the kitchen table—and drinks from my glass, given the chance. Her water consumption reduced once we got her diet adjusted for early kidney issues, but sipping water has become a greeting behavior and interactive activity for her. If we’re there, she visits and sips. I resolve to keep giving her the attention she wants, whether she sips or not.

Magic: “I will train Amy to play with the Frisbees—all 12 of them—ALL THE TIME!”

Amy: Magic obsessed over the Frisbees. He’s learned to catch and retrieve them, if Amy can throw them correctly. And yes, he’ll stack and carry as many as I throw. I resolve to keep a supply of fresh Frisbees handy for the times Magic loses them (or they’re stolen by coyotes).

Seren: “I will sleep more, hiss less. Except around the dog.”

Amy: Seren’s blue bed rests on the dining room table under a stained glass lamp shade.  It’s out of reach of her nemesis, and a favorite spot especially on chilly winter days. I resolve to invest in light bulbs to keep the kitty “heat lamp” on at all times.

Magic: “I will go for a ride forever!”

Amy: Magic continues his love affair with the Magic-Mobile. I resolve to give Magic a car ride at least every other day, pending good weather.

Seren: “I will torment the dawg (hiss) at every opportunity! And pretend I don’t like him.”

Amy: Seren’s favorite game is to get Magic in trouble. But her hiss quotient has reduced this past year, and she’s allowed more actual dog-sniffs than ever in the past. Part of that may be her arthritis makes it hard to leap away, so she puts up with it. But she also “flips” and rolls in front of Magic so…I think he’s grown on her! I resolve to “pretend” that I don’t notice Seren actually sorta-kinda-in-a-way likes the (hiss) dog.

Seren: “I will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip. And whisker-kisses.”

Magic: “I will train Amy that naps together are a good thing. So are tummy rubs.”

Amy: I resolve to listen to my furry wonders. What about you?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

6 Comments

  1. Patricia

    I love this blog and the pics of Magic and Seren. I can relate to these New Year’s Resolutions because Macy, Thomas, Termite, Blackie and Snooki have the same requests. They want more treats, milk, sliced turkey breast or smoked turkey salad from Kathleen’s Kitchen (yes when I get something from there I must get them something or be mauled). They have me wrapped around their little paws. Of course they also want more toys, catnip, chairs, recliners, tables, countertops, beds, petting, massaging, naps and laps. But my four-legged babies are worth it all.

    • Amy Shojai

      Awww…thanks Patricia! I’ve not been to Kathleen’s Kitchen in a while, need to go back. LOVE the spinach salad with strawberries and poppy seed dressing (well, really everything they serve…). Today hubby brought home ham and roast beef sandwich cold cuts and boy, the fur-kids were in fine form begging for their “fair” share, LOL! And yes, they are very much worth it.

  2. Kim Freeman

    Amy–I do lost pet recovery service for cat owners. My New Years goal is training my cat Henry to track escaped indoor cats. I’ve been clicker training him to target cat fur/scent, but he’s totally UNinterested in treats when outdoors. D

    o you have any training suggestions? Here’s a video of him tracking cat scent on our first day out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phYQw1t9GqU
    Thank you!
    Kim Freeman
    Lost Cat Finder

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Kim,
      Wow. I’ve never heard of training a CAT to track missing pets. While cats certainly have the scenting ability, it comes down to the motivation (as you say) to get them to do this. Dogs and their ancestors used scent to hunt/track food while cats hunt/track based more on sight and sound. So for dogs, tracking with scent is instinctual and self-rewarding. With cats, and with Henry, you’ll have to find some kind of reward that TRUMPS the allure of all that is outside. Honestly, I’m not sure how successful you’ll be. *s* Even among dogs, only a few really love to track other pets and the experts I’ve spoken with say it’s important to choose a motivated tracker to have any real success. Good luck with it! What is Henry’s most favorite thing in life–if not treats, maybe a certain toy (the “red dot” of a laser pointer perhaps?). You might experiment with reserving that as the reward.

      There is an excellent book on training DOGS to track lost pets may offer some insight, (some things may be applicable to Henry). It’s called DOG DETECTIVES by Kat Albrecht. It goes beyond simply training the dog to track and deals with evidence collection, behavior of lost pets (dogs/cats act differently), cat-detection training and more. Fascinating stuff. Here’s the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Detectives-Train-Your-Find/dp/1929242484/ and her site is here: http://www.katalbrecht.com/ She might even have some tips for you. Keep me posted, please!

      • Kim Freeman

        Thanks, Amy! I am a huge fan of Kat Albrecht–she’s my hero and trained me to find lost pets back in 2006.

        She’s been guiding me and has great advice, although the clicker aspect is an addition I’m trying. Henry’s more interested in sniffing things outdoors than any kind of laser, toy or treat. Maybe following a trail IS his biggest motivation. He loves other cats, so we’ll see how this progresses. I will keep you posted!

        Meanwhile, I’m finding many lost cats on my own just using my tools and what Kat taught me, the science of lost cat behavior, tracking, and bird language. I love reuniting lost cats with their owners!

        Kim Freeman
        Lost Cat Finder
        http://www.lostcatfinder.com/Lost_Cat_Finder/Cat_Finder.html

        • Amy Shojai

          Small world! I’m not surprised you know and work with Kat. I met her when she spoke at the Cat Writers’ Association Conference some year’s ago. Here’s another idea for motivation…some of the scenting dogs are not food-motivated, either, and one trainer I know creates a “stinky squirrel” reward. Basically, fills a baggy with something pungent like dehydrated salmon, and uses the “stink” as a reward. Maybe something like that would work better than treats for Henry? This is exciting! Can’t wait to hear more. My next thriller has the dog character working as a “pet detective” tracking lost pets and I must admit the idea was inspired by Kat’s work.

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