I’m at home and made the mistake of going online to buy a new pheromone collar for Shadow (more about that shortly). While I was there, I was looking around and well, you know, it’s Valentine’s Day and I just have to have a little shopping spree for the kitties!
Little. Shopping. Spree. Not allowed to have a big one. (We’re saving for new windows) Oh – but there are so many MANY things I want to buy for the furry brigade! I have some self-control. Some. And – she said justifying it to herself – they didn’t get much for Christmas.
So here’s the list…
- New Da Bird with one piece rod – have had ours for years!
- Refills of ‘Da Bird’ spinners (a few) – the most wonderful thing (for cats) is that now and then they actually catch ‘da bird’ and though I’m really good at quickly releasing their jaws to free it, those feathers go through a heck of a lot of play. Cooper is relentless… even when he’s panting he will continue running and leaping after it. I have to slow him down and give him ‘rests’. And I’m getting the real ‘da bird’ spinners with the 3 stiff guinea feathers so it really ‘flies’ and ‘flaps’ its wings. There is no cheap substitute for awesomeness.
- A window cat bed – I really want one. It’s on sale. And though the kitties have stools, couches, climbing tree, scratching post at various windows, this one is something I want for our ‘foster’ room. Just in case. You’ve seen that main big window – it really needs a perch. And in the mean time, I’m going to set it up as a high hang-out for our kitties.
- And three pheromone collars for Shadow.
Is that bad? Not really right? I am all about the toys I love – I’m the loyal sort.
Now about Shadow… she’s come a long way. Her behaviour is not as fearful or extreme and she has not had any stress-related peeing inappropriately, no relegating herself to one corner, or stopping eating for fear of going near the food bowls. It’s very hard to distinguish whether the improvements stem from our hard work to integrate her with Cooper, reduced-fear based on bringing in a small kitten, Cooper’s more gentle and sedate (sometimes) personality, or the pheromone collar. Or is it a combination of some or all of these?
Shadow is now an older, rescued cat who is terrified of change and other cats – a history of hurt and fear. We tried to bring in Merlin and she shut down and began peeing in corners and had other fear-related behaviour issues. We opted to adopt a kitten (smaller and thus less threatening – and more behaviorally malleable) and integrate them very slowly. Since my problem is with Shadow and not a room, it didn’t make sense to use the recommended plug-ins. I’d have needed many of them to cover the house! (Or at least a few – litter area, food area, most-time rest area, and sometime rest area.) That’s WAY too expensive.
I decided instead to try this collar (Sentry Calming Collar – and no one is paying me to mention them) – since it addresses the cat instead of the space. She took to it easily, it didn’t irritate her, and her behaviour was more calm. She’s not placid: she’s herself with less of an edge. It’s not a miracle but it’s making the process much easier – one collar a month. There is a whitish powder which is the active ingredients, but that is not bothersome for humans and not an irritant to the kitty as far as I can tell. The lavender-coloured collar smells strong at first – pleasantly floral. Strangely, that smell doesn’t seem to bother her (we don’t buy scented stuff for the kitties normally). It’s very long and you trim off the bit you won’t use. Since that bit is also infused with the pheromone, make use of it- rub it on where you want your kitty to go. You need to make sure it’s on snugly, or the dangerous cat-getting-its-mouth-caught-in-the-collar or getting hung up can occur. While the box says it’s break-away, they are deluded. And while these are not cheap, they are much cheaper than the plug-ins.
I even have a slight sneaking suspicion that the pheromones (made to mimic the scent a kitten gets from it’s mother and remembers forever) might be what makes Cooper fascinated with Shadow and wanting to get close to her. Hmmmm…
I will keep Shadow on these for a few months until her interactions with Cooper become naturalized habit and routine.
Okay, bye for now – I’m off to enter my credit card. I know none of this is about fostering… but you are creative and can apply what you’ve learned here for a foster kitty. Integration and calming kitties are topics that fill many help boards!