Kitty Corner

by Derald Freeman

(Pause your mouse over the photos for a description)

Cat Whisperer

Dorothy went to work at a medical center in Fort Worth, Texas eight years ago. After that she took over the colony of feral cats at her work place. She was frequently called THE CAT WOMAN. Before leaving there for retirement she was officially named…

Cat Whisperer

What is a cat whisperer?

A Cat Whisperer is someone who tames and trains cats, heals emotional damage and creates a better relationship with cats.

cat whisperer

A Cat Whisperer is a person who relates particularly well with cats. This person has unusual luck and success with cats. Often people bring cats or a single cat will just show up at their home. This cat will adopt the whisperer.

Some say that a Cat Whisperer is a cat therapist, but in truth, most Cat Whisperers are good cat behaviorists. Most have never had any formal training, and come by it naturally. They understand a cat's way of thinking and work with its existing behaviors to achieve the desired results. Gentle cat handling and patience are the best qualities exhibited by a cat whisperer.

The mindset of a cat whisperer

Junior

Most cat whisperers come by it naturally simply because a certain type of personality will appeal to a cat more than others. If you can come to understand a cat as an individual, you realize that each one of them is different. The first thing to remember is that you cannot train a cat in the same manner you would train a dog, although you can train cats. "I don’t train cats, " said Dorothy. "I communicate with them on their own level and respect them as individuals."

In understanding a cat, there are some basics things you should know. When you first meet a cat they will size you up. In their mind, they are wondering if you are a threat to them. If they determine that you are a threat, their first response is to run away or hide or both.

Atti Speckles

A cat whisperer is not simply a person who sets out food for feral cats living in the alley behind their house. A cat whisperer loves and respects cats. They will usually have more than one cat, and most of the cats will have chosen the cat whisperer rather than the other way around.

A cat whisperer is often a host or rescuer of cats, not a collector of cats. A cat whisperer loves cats as individuals and knows that each cat will have a unique personality. While a cat collector might have their cat de-clawed, a cat whisperer would never do that, and might think of it as cruel and selfish.

Squirt O.J.

How Dorothy became the cat whisperer

As mentioned above, Dorothy went to work at a medical center in Fort Worth years ago. A few male and female cats had been living around the medical center and hospital and the females had kittens. They were just doing what comes naturally. Nobody was feeding them. Cats in business areas have a difficult time finding enough food and look thin and scrawny.

You treat them like people

The key to her relationship with the cats was talking to them like they were children and demonstrating to them that she was not a threat. Gradually other cats joined the colony and soon there were nine.

Every cat needs a name

She gave each one a name and called them by name. She called them in the morning and when leaving each day and they came running each time. One female became so friendly she would rub against Dorothy’s legs while she was putting down the food and allowed her to touch it.

Dorothy, the Whisperer

Feral cats do not always have a source for food

She spotted the little kittens, who were only a few weeks, old near the side entrance to the office and started feeding them. Other cats discovered the free food and soon there were a colony of feral cats. Two other employees were taken in by the little feline faces and joined in to help with the feeding. Debra helped feed them in the mornings and late afternoons. Both Debra and Dorothy gave them a concoction (see below) of moist and dry food in the mornings which the kittens loved and really helped to fatten up their thin bodies. Michael, who also works there, drove from his home to the office every week-end on Saturday and Sunday mornings to feed them so they would not go hungry. Michael also helped with feeding at other times. He used his photography skills to capture some great photos of the kittens. Many of the photos on this page were taken by Michael. These cats grew up looking like they lived in homes; beautify coats, clean, filled out and well cared for. They deserve this.

Ant Proofed bowls

Ant Resistant Food bowls

She found ant-proof bowls at PetCo. They sit on three padded feet and are shaped so ants cannot crawl up and into the bowls. The sides roll over and come down almost to the ground so the ants cannot go straight up the sides. We added petroleum jelly to the underside of the sides to help turn the insects away.


Feeding methods was a key factor

Cat Treats

Cat Treats

Dorothy always carried a bag of cat treats and all she would have to do was shake the bag and four of the cats would run to get treats.


The Concoction

The Concoction of Moist and Dry Food

When the kittens were little she hit on the idea of a concoction of food. Each morning we took a four cup container with a sealing lid, added a can of Friskies and filled it up with dry Friskies cat food, then mixed it all thoroughly so they were getting both dry and moist food. This was put in their food bowls each morning. They loved it and developed healthy coats and bodies. They no longer look like feral cats. Adult cats and kittens could both benefit from it.


Correcting behavior

Scolding and punishing does NOT work for cats ...and it can make your cat even afraid of you! Cats learn from experiences but will interpret your actions as threats. The most successful way to change the habits of a cat is through redirection.

Talking with your eyes

Direct your intentions with your eyes. Have you ever called to your cat to get it to come to you and it acted as if it were completely and utterly deaf? Next time, try this simple exercise with your cat. When you want your cat to come to you, or jump up on your lap, make eye contact with your cat for about 2 seconds, then shift your eyes to look at where you want the cat to end up (be it on your lap or beside you). Then immediately shift your eyes back to making eye contact with your cat, hold for one second, then look somewhere else. You may have to do this two or three times before your cat understands that YOU understand the whole " eye thing". Pretty soon you will be able to do that without any hesitance on the part of your cat.

cats eyes

This is the easiest form for your cat to understand. The message says it involves you. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, but most people - having the relative ease of vocal cords use words instead.


Things that cat's eyes signify:

* Eyes wide open and looking at you: "I'm listening or Yes? You need me?"
* Eyes half closed: "I trust you and everything around me, I'm secure or I'm sleepy."
* Eye pupils in slits: "I'm feeling alert and confident."
* Bug-eyed: "I'm frightened or if looking at another cat What in HADES are you doing?"
* Blinking: "I'm talking to you, I like you."
* Eyes clouded: "I'm ill or I'm relaxed."
* Eyes staring at a person: "Stay away. I don't wish to be disturbed"
* Eyes staring at a wall: "I thought I saw something move!"
* Looking at you then turning away "Oh, it's just you"

Cat stare

If you wish to make friends with a cat, the best thing NOT to do is to stare at the cat. Cats take staring as a personal challenge, as well as a confrontation. Much like you would with an aggressive dog, the best thing to do is to look away, or look downward.

If a cat allows you to pet it, then if you close your own eyes, you are showing the cat that you are trusting him/her and want to be friends.

Cats read our own eyes for signals they use themselves and therefore recognize; it's a heck of a lot easier than that human-speak. So when around a furry feline, monitor your own eye movements and what they are saying to the kitty, kitty might just surprise you and start talking back! When cats look at you where are they focusing their eyes? They are focused on your eyes, of course. Cats do not meow to communicate with each other, only to humans to get your attention.