Friday 28th October: Billy is 9 weeks and 3 days old
Today has been a good day. Apart from the ‘worming’ part. More of that in a moment.
I am trying hard not to handle Billy too much, whatever ‘too much’ might be. What with the whole ‘allergy’ thing dragging on.
The antihistamines are keeping most of the itching and puffiness at bay, but I do worry about Billy’s firm belief that he needs to sleep right up against me, at all times.
If Lucy is here, he is very happy to sleep on her lap. But when she isn’t, he is pretty determined to sleep on mine
I’ve figured out a way to reduce contact a little without offending my tiny friend.
When Billy climbs on my lap I have a kitten cave handy. The idea is that once he is asleep, I can slide the kitten cave with him inside it sideways onto the bench next to me.
But Billy is getting wise to this now and as soon as I slide him gently to one side, he wakes and climbs back onto my lap, purring with pleasure at the thought of us being back together again!
Here he is pointing out, to Meg the spaniel, that sharing is not an option he is prepared to consider
Making progress with the clicker
Today I have progressed a little with the clicker. Instead of just clicking and treating, I have been waiting for Billy to look at me and clicking him for doing this.
I have some fairly extensive experience in clicker training puppies and dogs, but cats are a new adventure for me.
As I have been feeding Billy from the floor (he is rough about taking food from my hand) I was surprised at how quickly Billy cottoned on to the fact that I was clicking him for looking at me.
He soon started looking at me repeatedly in the hopes of earning another click (and the reward that always follows it. )
We ended this morning’s session when he got over-excited at the whole ‘food’ thing, and started yowling for more!
I am so interested in the difference in response to this type of training, between cats and dogs. So far, Billy is responding in just the same way that many puppies would
I’m looking forward to doing more of this with Billy, but find it difficult to commit to the process when Billy’s future (with or without me) is still undecided
Worming a nine week old kitten!
I decided to worm Billy today. I had bought some Panacur paste from Amazon. This is a wormer I have used a lot for puppies, and it is also suitable for kittens.
Paste is great for puppies because unlike a pill, it is difficult for a puppy to spit out. And it tends to be gentle on the stomach.
Puppies, on the whole, are very tolerant of having something pushed into their mouths
Cats however, are not miniature puppies. And Billy was entirely unimpressed about having anything pressed into his mouth, no matter how gently. Teeth and claws were put to good use!
A first offence
Billy and I have never fallen out and this was the first time that I have ever done anything to upset him.
He was more than a little put out at having some white paste squirted into his little mouth.
I felt quite the villain. And decided that the next dose would be mixed with his food.
He recovered quite quickly and obviously forgave me as half an hour later he was once more installed on my lap.
Into the living room
Another new experience for Billy today, was to be allowed into our living room.
This is the furthest point from Billy’s litter tray which is why I have left it until last. And I have only let him in there for half an hour before each meal.
He loved it, and spent the entire time confidently exploring this new addition to his realm.
Saturday 29th October: Billy is 9 weeks and 4 days old today
I have taught every cat we have ever had to come to a whistle. This makes life just a little safer for a cat that is allowed outdoors.
It means that you can call a cat in if you know there is going to be a firework display, a thunderstorm, or a very cold night.
Or if you need to take him to a vet’s appointment
Even if Billy can’t sty with me, a good recall will be a useful thing for him, wherever he lives, so I been making an effort to ensure Billy comes whenever he is called.
And over the last couple of days I’ve been calling him from further away
The secret to recall training kittens and cats is VERY generous rewards. The ideal time to whistle your cat to begin with is while you are preparing food. And this is what I have done with Billy.
But I have also been practicing recalls with Billy in between his meals.
Billy’s recall response is getting better
I initially started whistling Billy when he was a few feet away from me and dropping a tiny piece of kibble on the floor for him when he reached me.
He caught onto this really quickly
For the last few days I have been whistling Billy from all over the house, deliberately waiting until he is some distance away from me.
He now comes flying down the stairs, or from room to room when he hears my whistle to eagerly get his reward.
The next thing is to teach Billy his name. I’ll be doing that soon.
On the ‘allergy front’ I am starting to cut my antihistamines down now. 3/4 of a tablet a day instead of a whole one.
I have to be clear of antihistamines for three full days before my appointment at the allergy clinic. Presumably because antihistamines would interfere with the test results.
But I’m too scared to go ‘cold turkey’!
Keep your finger’s crossed for me
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