In this last part of this three-part series, I speak with animal advocate and communicator, Michele Sanders. and we touch upon whether communication with feral cats is different than it is with housecats.
Michele first did a consult for me when I had adopted a Himalayan cat who had been declawed by her previous caretakers. Although it would never be in my frame of reference to declaw a cat, I found out firsthand why it’s bad practice to do so. Lana, our Himalayan, was and still is a fairly reclusive cat who right away refused to use the litter box when we got her. Moreover, she would incessantly urinate and defecate on our area rugs or in the bathrooms sinks.
At first, I thought it was a behavioral issue where Lana was “acting out” and showing either her rebellion, her dissatisfaction about being in a new home, or if she was “marking her territory,” letting our other cats know that she was asserting herself. Her previous home had two small dogs. And, although the dogs would occasionally eat Lana’s cat food, the previous owners never said that she had litter box behavior problems.
We did our best to make Lana feel as “at home” as we could, and we cleaned the area rugs with all kinds of scent-blocking products on the market, but she refused to use the litter box. It was so frustrating, and, as I got to meet more cat-people and cat-experts, such as Dr. Jenny Conrad of The Paw Project, I learned how I’m not alone and how so many declawed cats are either dumped on the street or surrendered to shelters because of peeing outside the litter box.
Having to constantly clean up after Lana was terribly frustrating. I turned to Michele to help me figure out why she was doing what she was doing. In that first communication, Michele could feel the pain in Lana’s declawed little paws, describing how the litter on Lana’s paw-pads feels like “a thousand paper cuts each time she steps in to the litter pan.”
I wouldn’t dream of surrendering Lana to a shelter. I just needed to know what I could do to accommodate her issues and still not be cleaning pee and poop all over the house every day.
Michele’s advice was this: Lana might feel less pain to her paws if you fill one or two of the litter pans with a wee-wee pad or some newspaper. That way her urine will be absorbed, and you can discard the pad or newspaper after she used it.
We started doing just that, and we continue to do this for her to this day!
But the communication Michele went deeper than just this. I felt that Lana wasn’t happy in my home because of the other cats or that maybe she didn’t like me. As I mentioned, she was very stand-offish when we first brought her home, and it seemed to never get better.
Michele relayed to me that Lana was confused that I would not recognize her signs of affection towards me. She said that she loved me very much but felt it important to maintain her distance and to feel “in control” of her body and her surroundings. Just that slight piece of information made me realize that Lana would often follow me from room to room. Although she wouldn’t sit on my lap, she was always nearby, keeping tabs on me.
Moreover, Michele asked Lana if she wouldn’t mind expressing her affection more outwardly to me, to make me understand that she loves me. No lie: the DAY that Michele said she would be “speaking” with her, Lana began to come to me and rub herself around my legs, purring all the while! It was as if she were a different cat!
Michele posits that we humans all have the capability of using our own inner telepathic abilities to communicate with our pets. Until I can perfect my own, I’m glad to have someone like Michele to call upon!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series. Please let us know in the comments below. And, for our guest post on why cats need their claws, please click here.
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