Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hazel the Pudders

King Street Cats has a special cat with special attention needs.  Her name is Hazel and she holds a special place in the volunteers' hearts here at KSC.  Please consider adopting her with patience and love because she sure needs both.  The following is a shortened version of a write up from an amazing animal behaviorist, Janet Velenovsky, owner of Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior, who took the time to help us with this amazing cat.

Hazel is a very athletic adult female cat with stunning black fur and luminous yellow-green eyes. She is spayed, all claws intact and in good health with an estimated age of 8 years.  She is very intelligent and confident, and can be insistent. From a behavior standpoint, Hazel can be considered a special needs girl. An appropriate adopter for Hazel needs to have experience with cats, the ability to give her focused attention several times throughout each day, and willingness to learn and solicit help as needed to manage her behaviors.

Hazel enjoys human companionship and interacts freely. She is not a cat who wants to be picked up, but she will tolerate it once you develop trust with her, and in certain situations. Allowing her to walk and stand on her own is a good default position wherever possible. If we need to handle her, put her harness on, or crate her, food incentives are helpful.  Hazel actively solicits attention by rubbing, chirping vocalizations, and head-butting. While being petted, Hazel often exhibits arousal by turning her head and lightly putting teeth on the handler’s hands or arms.

It is essential that a foster or adopter for Hazel learn how to respond to this action appropriately. To decrease her tendency to escalate to biting, it is best to redirect her to another activity. Scolding, yelling and physical reprimand will result in an aggressive response on her part. Calm interruption and redirection are called for.

Hazel enjoys chasing strings and small toys. She requires at least a couple of good workouts per day. (She’ll do 15 “figure eight” laps in a row while chasing the string, and still ask for more.) She is capable of jumping to 3 and 4 foot heights, and enjoys perching on high viewpoints. This cat will require enrichment in the forms of window views, forays outside (she is trained to walk on a harness), catnip fests, food puzzles, play sessions, and possibly clicker training.

Hazel will also use nipping and biting to indicate her frustration at not getting what she wants. If Hazel is excessively hungry, or is bored and wanting interaction, she uses this tactic to get a response from humans. The key to dealing with Hazel is to understand the motivation behind her actions, rather than responding in anger ourselves.  Appropriate responses – which will decrease her unwanted behavior over time – are to disengage from her and redirect her to a toy or food, or get her engaged in some other activity.

She is cautious when interacting with dogs, avoiding them if possible, and will swat to increase the distance between her and the dogs. Once space has been established, she will sit or lie nearby.  A relationship could be developed between Hazel and one or two well-behaved canines.  As for fellow felines, it is possible she could be introduced to one or two cats very slowly (potentially taking 2 to 3 months to accomplish the process) and learn to co-exist. However, a role as an only cat would be fine with Hazel.

Engaging the help of a certified behavior consultant is recommend for introducing Hazel to any other pet in a household, and for any arising behavior problems. Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior will provide an initial behavior phone consult at no charge for an approved adoptive family.

Here is Janet's company information:
Janet Velenovsky, CPDT-KA, CDBC, KPA CTP, ACCBC
Owner, Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior
"Improve Your Pet, Improve Your Life" (TM)
804-883-1014 (home office) :: 804-241-8405 :: (cell phone)
janet@velenovsky.com :: velenovsky.com
facebook.com/kaizenpets :: twitter.com/kaizenpets

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