Several years ago, a popular YouTube video showed a young woman attempting to bathe her cat in a tub of water. The horrified cat appeared to be screaming nooooo each time it was moved closer to the water.
Now, I ask, how funny is that?
Not very, unless you are sadistic and enjoy scaring the wits out of a helpless animal.
The person recording the event and the woman holding the feline thought it was hilarious enough to publish the episode online.
The owners of the cat were unaware of the abject fear the cat was exhibiting, but the video was shockingly brutal to someone who understood the cat’s body language.
“I don’t think they were trying to be mean, I just don’t think they recognized the cat’s trauma,” said Jennifer Mauger of Akron, owner of L’Chaim Canine and Feline.
Mauger, a certified professional dog trainer, said she realized that for the sake of their feline pets, owners needed to be educated to the responsibilities of owning a cat.
Some pet owners believe it is necessary to bend a pet to their will for its own good. All that does is cause ill will between a cat and its owner, Mauger said.
“You can do almost anything to a dog and it will forgive you. A cat is not like that,” said Mauger during a class on kitten basics held earlier this week at her Richfield studio.
The classes teach kittens 8 to 12 weeks of age the art of socialization under the tutelage of staff cat, Juice. The sessions help accustom the kittens to different sights, sounds and textures via a mat in the center of the room piled with irresistible toys.
Naturally, a couple of them discovered it was more fun to explore a few boxes stacked under a table.
It took about 15 minutes of solitary play before the six kittens discovered the toys were more fun while playing with a companion. Those favoring the boxes began chasing each other in a game of tag.
Owners are taught to recognize feline behavior and how to handle a kitten properly so they aren’t fearful. The class teaches owners it is possible to take the fear out of getting into a carrier for a trip to the vet, to trimming their claws so there is no need to have a cat declawed — a horrible and inhumane surgery in the eyes of most pet lovers.
“If we can avoid declawing, that’s what we want to do. If the nails are short enough, they aren’t going to scratch,” she said.
A word to the wise, Mauger noted: Cats need scratching posts taller than they are when stretched out. Don’t waste money on a too short scratching post.
“So, if your cat is 20 inches long when stretched to its fullest length, you should provide it with a 25-inch high scratching post,” she said.
Shoving an ill cat into a carrier is very traumatic for an animal that is not crate trained and can result in numerous cat scratches for the owner.
“The No. 1 reason people don’t take pets to the vet is because they can’t get them in the carrier,” Mauger said.
On Monday, assistant trainer Kelsey Hrusch of Parma clipped the claws of an 8-week-old kitten that was so intent on licking baby food from a spoon she had no idea she was being attended to.
Three kittens from Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron attended the sessions “because they needed a little extra socialization,” Mauger said.
One of the younger kittens at the class, a feral rescued by Tara Good of Kent, learned hand targeting — touching its nose to Mauger’s hand to get a reward — in less than three minutes.
As Mauger moved the treat-filled spoon in her left hand behind her back until the cat touched her right hand, unbeknownst to Mauger, a second kitten patiently waited behind her for the spoon to reappear to delicately take a lick.
Whoever termed the phrase “dumb animals” obviously never met an 8-week-old kitten.
Within the $40 two-class session over two weeks, kittens learn to adjust to harnesses and leashes, meet friendly dogs, come when called (OK, if they choose to come) and get into their crates by themselves.
The whole idea is to accustom animals to the things you want them to do and not make them afraid and run away, or fight back.
Cats are members of a family and should be treated as such.
“They aren’t just furniture,” Good noted.
To learn more about positive, reward based training, contact Mauger at L’Chaim Canine at 330-962-1878 or visit www.lchaimcanine.com.
Other animals in the news:
6th Annual Hudson Wine Festival — 4-10 p.m. July 19 and 2-10 p.m. July 20 in the First & Main shopping district in Hudson. Over 150 wines from local, national and international producers will be featured as well as select craft beers and spirits. The event will benefit animal welfare groups in the Summit County area. Tickets are $22 in advance, $27 at the gate and include 10 tastings and a souvenir wine glass. Additional tastings are available for $1 each. Weekend pass $32 in advance, $37 at the gate. Designated driver tickets $10 and include two soft drinks. For tickets go to www.hudsonwinefestival.com.
Casino Night — 7-10 p.m. July 20, St. Thomas Orthodox Hall, 555 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Fairlawn. One of a Kind Pet Rescue is sponsoring the event that includes $200 in “fun money,” two adult beverages, food, music, auctions, raffles and more for a $35 ticket. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 330-620-8102.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have a question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to email@example.com.