Mar 6 2015

Managing Your Kitten’s Rough Play

Abner

The first step with any behavioral issue is to take your cat to the veterinarian for a full evaluation.  Cats are very stoic animals and will hide illness and injury.  Sometimes our only clue that something is physically wrong is a behavioral symptom.  Many behavioral modification programs can begin in conjunction with or shortly after your trip to the veterinarian.

Kittens love to play but kittens also NEED to play!  Kittens use play to explore the world, learn social skills and practice hunting.  Chasing, pouncing, biting and kicking are all normal ways that cats and kittens play with objects and with each other.  For a young kitten up to a few years old, you ideally should have 3 to 4 scheduled play sessions a day.

Typically, kittens adopted in pairs or who have had adequate time with their siblings will learn appropriately to not bite and to retract their claws to keep from hurting their playmates.  They will learn stalking and hunting behaviors by playing with toys.  You should be using interactive toys to play with your kitten several times a day and you should be leaving smaller toys laying around for them to explore while you are away.  The most popular interactive toys are wand toys with a long string that ends in a feather, mouse or another toy.  You should also consider purchasing interactive feeders for your kitten to bat around and receive a portion of her daily kibble or treats throughout the day.

You should be the one setting rules and boundaries for your kitten.  Make sure everyone in the house is aware of the kitten’s rules and inform guests as well.  One of your rules should be that the kitten is NEVER allowed to play with hands, feet or any other human body part.  Allowing this behavior will lead to injuries and aggressive behavior towards humans.  It is a very important lesson for your kitten to learn when it is appropriate to play and what things are appropriate to use as toys.

It is not uncommon for a kitten or young cat to test the boundary of acceptable vs unacceptable playing.  As a parent, your job is to clearly enforce that line and redirect the kitten’s play to an acceptable target.  For example, if your kitten has previously been encouraged to bite and kick human hands you will need to redirect that need onto a soft toy that is about the same size as your kitten.

Scheduled play times are very important.  You should be initiating play with your kitten several times a day, ideally BEFORE your kitten decides to pounce on you to get you to play.  It might be helpful to keep track of your kitten’s favorite times to play and schedule your play session 20 to 30 minutes before that time.   A natural schedule for a cat would be to play, eat, groom and then sleep.  Use this pattern to your benefit especially if your kitten wakes you up at night wanting to play.

Encourage your kitten to play by dragging a toy along the floor for her to pounce on or throw a toy across the room for her to chase.  Keep things interesting by changing the toys you use each day and putting away the interactive wand toys when you are finished playing.  Provide small toys, ping pong balls and plush toys to wrestle with when you are away.  When you are using the interactive wand toys, mimic the movements for live prey to encourage hunting behaviors.

Discourage your kitten from inappropriately playing by withdrawing your attention.  If your kitten starts playing too roughly stop the play session.  Say “ouch” in a high pitched voice and leave the room if your kitten bites or scratches you.  The kitten will quickly learn what behaviors make you end the play session.  She may continue to test how rough she can play so be consistent in which behaviors cause the games to end and which behaviors cause you to leave the room completely.  Be sure to reengage your kitten in a play session after a short break.

Do not attempt to tap, flick or hit your kitten.  Any form of physical punishment will lead to fear and further aggression from your kitten.  Even picking her to move her to a time out room could be reinforcing her behavior.  That is why YOU should be the one to leave the area.  Be sure to clean all wounds thoroughly and consult a doctor for severe bites.

 

If after trying these suggestions you are still experiencing undesirable behaviors in your cat, SUBMIT QUESTIONS by clicking the link under Ask A Trainer on the Behavior and Training page of our website.

 


Nov 10 2014

Finding Franklin: Just The Right Dog For Our Family

My husband and I have always been a two-dog household. Months before our child was born, one of our dogs developed severe spinal and nerve issues. During the first year of my daughter Vivi’s life, he was in a lot of pain and scared, and being around a newly crawling toddler was hard on him. Although we tried to keep them separated, once he bit her rather badly. He became paralyzed, and his health and quality of life continued to decline. It broke our hearts last February to say goodbye to him.

Our other dog was just as heartbroken. Even months later, she seemed lost without him, and I knew that for her sake, I needed to move on and consider a new companion for her. We wanted to rescue a larger dog, preferably an adult dog. Because Vivi had been bit in the past, and because she was so young and not very graceful or gentle, a very patient, tolerant dog was a must. I began the task of hunting for our new buddy.

I follow a lot of rescues on Facebook. So, at first we took it slow. I just kept an eye out on their pages. Looking at all of those faces would wear on me, though. It makes me so sad to see dogs awaiting the love that they deserve and not being able to save them all. With my daughter now in the mix, I had to be incredibly selective.

One Friday night, on the second page of Wayside Waifs’s adoptable dogs, I saw Franklin’s photo. He was a 4 year old German Shepherd mix, and I seriously immediately fell in love with him. Then I read the profile. Who writes those things?! They are good. Real good. His profile killed me. I yelled to my husband in the kitchen, ” I found him!!! I found him!!”

Franklin listing

The only breed that my husband wasn’t interested in was German Shepherd. Go figure. First I read him the profile, then showed him the photo. This dog sounded so sweet and so gentle. He had been shipped over from another shelter when space had run out, and had become depressed when he arrived at Wayside. In his profile they explained that he longed for human companionship.

My husband agreed that we could go meet him the next morning. I kid you not, I was so excited that I went to bed early so that I could just get to it already.

That morning, my hot mess family—two adults, one crazy dog, a toddler and a giant stroller—rolled on in through the doors at Wayside five minutes after they opened. “We want to meet Franklin!”

When we first did the walk-around through the kennels at Wayside and first saw him, he calmly lifted his head to look at us, then despairingly put his head back down to rest.

Wayside was amazing at the process of introduction. At first the humans of my family went to the meeting room. They brought Franklin in. I immediately hugged him and he patiently sat, letting me hug him. Then my toddler clumsily waddled over and slightly pulled his tail. No reaction. So, next she tried with the ears. She gave a really good tug. I scolded. Franklin licked her face in response.

Franklin and Suki

Next, our dog Suki met him. It wasn’t immediate love, but a solid, solid tolerance. It was clear, this guy was fitting in great. So home we went.

Franklin Going HomeHe seemed a little nervous that we’d disappear if he let us out of his sight. An hour later, after plenty of treats and snuggles, he settled in for a happy nap on the kitchen floor. Throughout the afternoon he would be used as a chair and a makeshift horse by the toddler. He didn’t flinch and again, only responded to this pestering with sweet dog kisses. At one point a tiny hand caressed his giant Shepard teeth with merely an eye-bat in response. I was in absolute shock at how gentle, tolerant and welcoming he was to all of the complete impositions on personal space.

Franklin in the nursery

In just a matter of days, we had him contently snuggled among us all on the couch and in the bed at night. Franklin and Suki now nap next to one another, walk closely to one another on a leash, and spend hours playing together. At the end of the day when we wind down reading to our baby to sleep in a dim room, Franklin is her pillow on the floor during story time.

Franklin, Tuesday, and Vivi

Franklin may have desperately craved human companionship, but everyone in this home needed and wanted him just as much. We comment often on how lucky we were to find him. Amazing, amazing dogs needing love sit in kennels waiting. I’m thankful every day that we found ours.Franklin & Mr. Schmidt


Contributing Writer and Wayside Adopter: Tuesday Schmidt

 


Aug 18 2014

You Can Never Replace an Old Pet—But You Can Welcome a New Friend

A few years ago we lost Pumpkin, a golden retriever we had gotten as a puppy, to cancer. After we said our final goodbye, and she crossed the rainbow bridge, my husband and I cried so loudly I suspect people could hear us from the waiting room.

For a couple of days, Ginger, our other golden retriever, moped around the house. She stared at her sister’s empty bed. My husband and I decided to get a new dog. After all, we reasoned, it would be good for Ginger. It turned out to be very good for us, too.

We decided that we would prefer to adopt a dog from a shelter. Because Ginger was old and so gentle by nature, we wanted a smaller dog who wouldn’t be too tough for her. We went with Ginger to Wayside Waifs and introduced her to a cute little mix.

Moxie At Wayside Waifs

 

In the year she had been alive, the little pup had been in three different homes and had been taken to the shelter twice. She shied away from us at first, but when I was squatting down, she ran over, licked by nose and darted away. I knew she was our dog. We correctly suspected that her initial timidity hid a fierce little spirit, so we named her Moxie.

When we first brought Moxie into our house on a snowy night, she trembled and refused to take a treat from my hand. Just an hour or two later, she was curled up on my legs, as though she knew she was finally home.

MoxieOnMyLegs

Moxie and Ginger made a funny, sweet pair. Ginger was mellow, with saintly patience, while Moxie was high-strung and filled with energy. They played tug-of-war, although Ginger didn’t have to try very hard. Moxie took to sitting and lounging on top of Ginger, who found no quarrel with the arrangement.

Moxie On Ginger

Over a year after Moxie joined our family, we had to say goodbye to Ginger. It was just as painful as before. This time, we went almost immediately to Wayside Waifs for a new pet.

We were won over by a year-0ld rat terrier we named Clio. She had been picked up on the streets of Wichita as a puppy, and for the past several months, she had been in shelters.

Clio Sitting Up Straight

Clio seemed to be a good match with Moxie. True, at first Moxie defended “her” spots in our laps, and Clio guarded her food, but they soon learned there were plenty of cuddles and kibble to go around. They are funny, curious girls who love their walks and love snuggling. Every day when we come home from work or running errands, we find them sitting side by side at the front window, waiting to greet us.

Moxie and Clio at the window

Every one of our dogs has been different, and we love them for their own quirks and qualities – Moxie’s curious head tilt, for example, or the way Clio jumps about five fee in the air when she gets excited. But what all dogs have in common is their ability to love with all their hearts, once they understand they are loved.

You can never replace an old dog. Years later, memories of them still make you smile and tug at your heart. However, sharing your love and your home with a dog in need of both is always a blessing, and an opportunity to make wonderful new memories.

 

–  Stacey Donovan, Contributing Writer for Wayside Waifs


Jul 14 2014

Meet Wayside’s First Canine Behavior Modification Specialist

Gabby Muñoz began her new position at Wayside Waifs in May. Along with overseeing Wayside’s behavior modification and enrichment programs, she also works with the most challenging dogs to make them adoptable. Gabby works with one of our Waifs

Gabby received her Master of Science degree in Biology, with Zoology concentration, from Western Illinois University. Before joining Wayside she served as head of dog training at Dog Pawz Day Care in New Orleans. Most recently, Gabby was a zoo keeper at the Kansas City Zoo. She has two adopted cocker spaniels, Wylie and Brando and has been a volunteer at Wayside since last May.

Gabby has created a new series of dog training classes at Wayside. Check out our website to learn more about these classes and to sign-up for upcoming sessions.

Written by: Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager
Wayside Waifs


Jan 13 2014

Meet Miss Monroe

MonroeIf you are looking for the purrrfect cat companion, you must meet one of our star pets. Sometimes the sweetest of animals are overlooked, which is exactly what has happened to this adorable, little cat. Wayside Waifs is home to a number of adoring, adoptable pets, one of which is Miss Monroe. Although this black-haired feline doesn’t have the blonde tresses of Marilyn Monroe herself, she certainly packs a celebrity-caliber personality. If you want to learn more about our latest starlet who is available for adoption, you don’t have to make a trek to Hollywood.  Our very own animal shelter is proud to house Miss Monroe.

A Behind-the-scenes Look 

So, what do you need to know about Miss Monroe? Well, for starters she has A-list looks that kill. Monroe sports a full, black coat that is as soft and fluffy as it looks in pictures. However, what makes Monroe a true star are her twinkling eyes. Elizabeth Taylor may have had violet eyes, but Monroe has ones that are equally glamorous. Her golden stare is a reflection of her heart of gold. Monroe can be a bit standoffish and nippy with strangers, but it is only because –in true celebrity nature—she has strong ideas about who her forever owner should be. You see, she is looking for a true Hollywood ending…preferably one with a warm, loving home, a bowl of cat food, and some snuggles – at her discretion, of course.

Other things you need to know about Monroe? Well, given her posh personality, it should be no surprise to learn she is house trained. Monroe is also two years old, so she is the perfect companion for someone with more mature needs. Because Monroe has been with us for so long, her adoption fees have been waived.

If you would like to meet Miss Monroe, please contact Wayside Waifs – we provide red-carpet access for all interested parties.

To interact with Monroe, be sure to visit our animal shelter; Monroe looks forward to making your acquaintance.

 

Shelter Hours

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm 


Aug 14 2013

Long-term Waifs – Cats waiting 30+ days for their purr-fect match

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Aug 7 2013

Long-term Waifs – Dogs waiting 30+ days for their furever home

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Jul 31 2013

Brotherly Love – Siblings connected through a Wayside Waifs adoption

Brotherly Love


Jul 17 2013

Where is the love?

Wayside Waifs is starting a new blog feature called Wordless Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, we will feature photos with a theme. Perhaps it will be volunteers, long-term waifs, or fun animal photos. Today’s blog post features adoption success photos you submitted to Wayside Waifs via social media. We love them so be sure to keep tagging us when you post!

 

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Jul 14 2013

Sharing Adoption Success

After more than 150 days at Wayside Waifs, Dollar finally found his person. Within minutes of meeting each other, Dollar was giving plenty of hugs and kisses. #100KSaved #100KChallenge

After more than 150 days at Wayside Waifs, Dollar finally found his person. Within minutes of meeting each other, Dollar was giving plenty of hugs and kisses. #100KSaved #100KChallenge

In the last six weeks, Wayside Waifs has challenged Kansas City to help us find loving homes for hundreds of homeless dogs and cats in our community. Your adoptions are helping us qualify for grant funding to ensure our emergency shelter and rescue services continue to be available for animals that need them.

This past weekend, you answered the call once again through Adoptathon. Wayside would like to give a big thank you to 106.5 The Wolf and all the incredible Kansas Citians who came to out to adopt.

YOU can help Wayside Waifs in one more way simply by sharing your adoption success. Your entry in the ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge Photo Contest could help Wayside Waifs win up to $5,000. If you adopted from us between June 1 and July 15 – you are eligible! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Take a photo of your newly adopted pet

2. Go to www.aspca.org/100kphoto

3. Submit your photo and fill in the form. YOUR photo could help us save more lives!

Please don’t delay – the deadline to submit your photo is this Monday, July 15th at 10:59PM.

A panel of ASPCA judges will select 40 photo finalists to compete for prizes. Then, the public gets to cast the deciding votes between July 22nd and August 4th by liking and/or repinning their favorite photos on Pinterest. Likes count as one vote and re-pins count as two. Sixteen winners will be selected and grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be given to the adoptee’s alma mater. Plus, winning submitters will receive an ASPCA t-shirt and water bottle!


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