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Friday, June 21, 2024

Feline Enrichment and Writing Suggestions with Sassafras Lowrey (PPiC Ep 11)


The significance of enrichment for cats, Sassafras Lowrey’s newest books Claw This Journal and Jillian on the Junior Showcase, and ideas for aspiring canine and cat writers. The most recent episode of The Pawsitive Publish in Dialog

Sassafras Lowrey, Zazie Todd, and Kristi Benson chat via Zoom from their home offices

By Zazie Todd PhD

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Watch episode 11 of The Pawsitive Publish in Dialog on Youtube or beneath, pay attention through your favorite podcast app or beneath, or scroll right down to learn the highlights.

Enrichment for cats and ideas for aspiring writers

On this episode, we chat with canine coach and creator Sassafras Lowrey. We begin together with her newest guide, Claw This Journal, which is stuffed with enjoyable actions to do along with your cat. We find out about how Sassafras’s cat Factor got here into her life and why she wrote this guide. We discuss enrichment for cats, and the way it’s necessary to tailor it for particular person cats. 

We take one of many actions from the guide, making awards on your cat, and think about what our cats would get prizes for. We additionally find out about Sassafras’s most up-to-date guide, Jillian on the Junior Showcase.

We get Sassafras’s ideas for budding writers and discover out about her personal writing routine. And as all the time, we chat in regards to the books we’re studying proper now. 

Studying Cats and Canine: The recording of A Dialog with Lili Chin, Sassafras Lowrey, Zazie Todd and Kristi Benson  (Studying Cats and Canine can be obtainable on Youtube)

Interview with Sassafras Lowrey about Chew This Journal

About Sassafras Lowrey:

Sassafras Lowrey  is a Licensed Skilled Canine Coach (CPDT-KA), Licensed Trick Canine Teacher (CTDI), AKC CGC/Trick Canine Evaluator and AKC FIT DOG Teacher.  Sassafras’ canine coaching books embody Methods In The Metropolis and Chew This Journal. Sassafras is an creator and multimedia educator who writes frequently about canine coaching for main nationwide publications. Sassafras’ canine coaching articles have frequently appeared in main canine magazines like Dogster, The Bark, Trendy Canine, and with The American Kennel Membership in addition to mainstream publications together with WIRED, Condo Remedy and The New York Occasions. 

Sassafras was not too long ago the recipient of a Cat Writers Affiliation Muse Medallion award for her journal work about cat coaching.

Sassafras Lowrey’s web site  Fb  Twitter  Instagram  

The books we chat about 

On Animals by Susan Orlean 

Doomsday with my Canine by Yu Ishihara 

Comparative Animal Habits by Richard Maier 

Dangerous Cree by Jessica Johns. 

The books can be found from all good bookstores and the Companion Animal Psychology Amazon retailer  

The books recommended in episode of 11 of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation are On Animals, Doomsday with my Dog, Comparative Animal Behaviour, and Bad Cree

Highlights of the dialog with Sassafras Lowrey

Z: The rationale that we’re speaking to you at this time is due to your fantastic guide Claw This Journal which is improbable, I find it irresistible. It is so filled with actions to do along with your cat. It is actually enjoyable, [it’s got] all completely different sorts of issues in there and it is obtained house for individuals to jot down in it as properly. So you are able to do the actions, you may hold observe of what you are doing, there’s even a bit on decoding your cat’s meows. It is simply beautiful. So inform me about this guide, Sassafras, and why you determined to jot down it. 

S: Yeah so it is a guide that was a lot enjoyable to place collectively. I really feel like there are usually not sufficient essentially like concepts about enrichment and play with cats on the market. And so I used to be actually excited to have the ability to to deliver collectively a few of my favourite actions and issues to to encourage individuals to have extra enjoyable with their cats, attempt new issues with them. And so yeah it was a ton of enjoyable to do and actually got here out of conversations that I’ve had with cat lovers eager to get concepts for various issues that they’ll do with their cats. 

Okay: So one of many issues that I actually like about this guide and your related guide for canines is that there is room and locations so that you can write which I feel helps immediate individuals to assume. I favored the way it made me take into consideration my very own cat and the stuff that I do with my cat. So one of many components that you just had was about your assembly along with your cat. So what was your assembly along with your cat Factor? Inform us about that.

“I’ve performed lots of writing about junior handlers and inside the canine present world and so it was very enjoyable to have the ability to create a fictionalized twist on that story.”

S: Yeah, so I at the moment have one cat. His identify is Factor. He’s 9 and a half which does not truly appear doable to me. However we had a fairly eventful first assembly. I used to be residing in New York Metropolis. I used to be strolling residence, it was pretty late at night time in the midst of a snowstorm, and there are in lots of communities, however undoubtedly in Brooklyn the place I lived, there are lots of feral cats. And we noticed — I used to be strolling with my companion — and in the midst of the snow we noticed one thing dart from a pile of trash luggage on the road in New York to a snow financial institution. And we thought it was a rat at first after which we noticed it transfer once more and we realized it was a really, very small kitten. 

And so I instantly begin pulling canine treats out of my pocket and I am attempting to entice this very small kitten, who’s alone, out of this snow financial institution and out of in between luggage of trash, as a result of there’s a blizzard in truth coming in that night time. And in order we’re attempting to catch this kitten the bodega proprietor from throughout the road comes out very kindly with some cat meals as a result of he fed the feral cats within the neighborhood, and he proceeds to aim to assist us catch this kitten. He has gloves on, he catches the kitten Factor, the kitten that turned Factor bites him, breaks the tooth off on this man’s glove. 

Okay: Oh no! 

S: And he is like do you continue to need this cat? And I am like “Sure?” as a result of I am unable to depart this kitten exterior. We deliver it residence. We already had two canines and two cats at this level. And he instantly charmed his approach into everyone’s hearts and ended up in the end being raised by my senior canines on the time. And the senior cats have been like we do not know what you might be however you may keep. In order that was the very eventful approach that we met Factor. 

Z: That’s fairly an origin story for the cat. Factor is clearly a really particular cat! And one of many issues that I really like about this guide is you might have a bit referred to as Finest in Present. And it is about how superb all cats are, however how each cat is superb in their very own approach. And I actually love that. And truly that set me enthusiastic about my cats and I am additionally going to ask Kristi what her cats will get awards for too, as a result of I feel I really like the best way this guide is such a dialog starter. So for Factor, what awards have you ever made for Factor? Have you ever made any? What would you make for Factor? 

S: I feel that Factor is a really particular cat, however I feel his high prize might be Pizza Thief. He’s a kitten and we prefer to say it is most likely his origins. We expect he was about six weeks previous after we discovered him . So he had most likely been surviving on bagels and pizza crusts and issues like that. However he’s a little bit carb fiend and you need to have to observe your pizza slices as a result of he undoubtedly could make off with a fairly good dimension slice of pizza. I do not suggest, it isn’t good for cats, but when he had his approach he could be the final word Pizza Thief. Yeah, it is what he would really like. 

Z: Superior. And Kristi what would you give Apricat an award for? 

Okay: You already know I feel it might be exhausting. There’s going to be like first, second, and third for him. However undoubtedly lap, he’s an inveterate lap cat. He wants tons of lap time and so once I’m gone Yoenne, my spouse, will generally ship me a message and simply be like Apricat’s on my lap once more, like I am unable to even get up. I feel as a result of I work from home, so he is on my lap many of the day. I feel he is both on my chair or close by so once I go away she’s identical to wow I did not understand how a lot lap time he wants. So he is undoubtedly gonna be just like the winner for the lap, any lap competitors. Sorry different cats and canines. [Laughter] 

However he additionally actually likes to, and I feel it is most likely a reinforcement kind of contingency that I’ve arrange, he likes to stroll throughout my keyboard and bat at my display screen. Like earlier at this time I used to be having a banjo lesson and Apricat was identical to that, “Your banjo teacher’s taking place!” And so he was hitting my display screen repeatedly after which I used to be like, what was that? I did not fairly hear , like my laptop was simply wobbling round as a result of I attempted to, what chord is that? Yeah after which I will simply put him on my lap behind my banjo, it is okay. 

So that will undoubtedly be his primary and quantity two I feel, could be the lap. After which I name it pestering very fondly, however he undoubtedly likes to get consideration. And right here he comes, he is like “You’ve got you referred to as, human?”. 

S: Sure, Factor is superb at these video video games, the one’s for cats which you can swipe. He ought to be, yeah he is all about it. He is like smack it down. 

Z: Wonderful and I really like that Apricat got here to hitch us too. My cats wouldn’t win for lap time. I’ve two cats. They’d undoubtedly not win for that. However Melina would win for being conversational as a result of she’s very, very talkative. She’s a tortoiseshell cat so she lives as much as that repute that tortoiseshells have of being very, very chatty. And she or he makes every kind of noises, it isn’t simply meows, it is a number of chirrups. And you may have a protracted dialog together with her if you happen to meow at her, however she does even like mmm type of noises and if you happen to go mmm she’ll go mmm. And plenty of very lovely chirrups. So she’s all the time speaking, she’s all the time saying one thing, so that is what she would win for. 

As for Harley I type of joke about Harley and I make out that he isn’t a really intelligent cat, however it’s not true as a result of when he cares about one thing he is extremely intelligent. And the factor he’s so good at is opening doorways, and he can open the entire doorways just about. So if it is a door with a deal with that you just push down, he can bounce up and he can push it down in order that the door opens. If he is on the unsuitable aspect of that door, a few of our doorways do not truly shut correctly as a result of it is an older home, so he can put his paws beneath and he might open it that approach. 

After which now we have a door that is a sliding door that slides, like a pocket door it slides into the wall. So if that door is closed he can put his paw beneath it and he simply jiggles it about till it begins to open after which he places his paw up and opens it that approach. And the entire cabinet doorways within the corridor, he can open all of these mainly. You can not hold this cat out of wherever until you truly put a latch on or lock it. 

And he opens the cabinet doorways within the kitchen. One time I discovered him curled up in a frying pan within the kitchen cabinet! So his prize is for opening doorways. And by chance now we have one door that now we have a spherical door knob on, which is in opposition to constructing code as a result of lots of people battle to open these spherical doorknobs, however now we have one and that is the one door that he can not open. In order that’s his prize. That is an excellent expertise. And I really like that your guide made me take into consideration this stuff, Sassafras, I feel that is actually cool.

Okay. So I feel we’re speaking about enrichment. I really feel like for Apricat slapping the display screen is fairly enriching for him, no less than I try to body it that approach. So I am not like I simply wish to work. Then you might have lots of enrichment on this guide which I feel is nice and I feel Zazie already talked about that is, and you probably did too, Sassafras, is one thing that individuals miss for cats. You already know I feel lots of people are enthusiastic about it for canines however I do not assume it is actually reached the cat world as a lot. So why is enrichment so necessary for cats and what’s your cat’s favourite enrichment exercise? 

S: Yeah I feel it is such a thrilling subject that is simply beginning to actually turn into extra fashionable or talked about extra within the cat world. I feel after we take into consideration enrichment it is usually about canines. And persons are like, cats are simple pets they simply sleep all day, and it is like no, no our cats actually, actually profit after they have alternatives to make use of their brains and after they have alternatives to get extra energetic, and it is such a good way to bond with them. 

So I really like attempting out completely different enrichment actions. Within the guide it is divided out in several sorts of cat purr-sonality concepts. And it is only for enjoyable however not each cat goes to get pleasure from the identical issues. 

There have been a wide range of actions within the guide that Factor wouldn’t be a fan of. However his particular favourite issues when it comes to enrichment, as a result of he was so younger after we discovered him and we had very senior cats, I am unable to consider how previous they have been on the time, they handed after they have been 20 and 21. So I feel they should have been like 15 after we discovered him, they usually have been such as you’re not a part of us. 

So he turned actually linked to the canines as a result of the older cats have been like you might be energetic and younger and never certainly one of us, they have been littermates. So he was all the time very enthusiastic about what I used to be doing with the canines. So his favourite enrichment undoubtedly is he likes to get entangled in trick coaching that I am doing, however on his phrases. So it is all on his phrases. If the treats are out he is like, I would really like treats please. So he is superb at spin, he’ll sit, he’ll provide you with a excessive 5, he enjoys performing some trick coaching. 

However his all-time favourite might be his window chook feeders. We’ve some chook feeders which can be exterior the window and he’ll very fortunately sit and simply watch the completely different birds that come to eat there. So yearly for his birthday the final couple of years, he is gotten one other chook feeder to observe. So now he has like a complete little array of channels. 

Z: Superior I really like that, and you have so many alternative enrichment actions within the guide and I feel they’re all enjoyable for the cat but additionally enjoyable for the individual.

Okay: Earlier we spoke to you in regards to the guide that you’ve written that is just like this guide for canines [Chew This Journal]. I do know Zazie and I have been speaking about this, however it’s fascinating that you just’re writing for each cats and canines. And I do know there’s lots of people who’ve each, however I additionally assume simply , not scientifically, that they are kind of a Venn diagram. And there is definitely people who find themselves all canine and people who find themselves all cat and they are going to be a little bit bit completely different I feel in my thoughts no less than. So I suppose we’re inquisitive about what variations do you discover about writing for cats, recognizing that some individuals will probably be within the each camp, however some individuals will certainly be very a lot within the cat camp. Was it completely different? 

S: Yeah it is all the time such an fascinating, I do not wish to say problem however it’s all the time an fascinating puzzle, to verify to attraction to the individuals which can be like deep cat individuals. I feel there’s lots of us which can be in each, which can be each canine individuals and cat individuals, after which there are the cat individuals which can be very like, if you happen to do issues with canines I’m so not . So it is all the time a little bit difficult. I’ve truly written for cat magazines and about cats for, gosh, over 10 years, although I feel lots of people do not essentially know that. And I feel it is as a result of the cat individuals have their very own world and the canine individuals type of have their different world so generally canine people they’re going to be like, I did not know you probably did issues with cats, and I am like sure, sure I do.

Placing collectively this guide, it took place as a result of I had gained the Muse Medallion from Cat Writers Affiliation for an article in Catster journal about trick coaching with cats. It was a canopy story in 2020 or 2021, uh 2021 I feel for the journal. And so once I gained the Muse Medallion, the writer of the canine guide was like we should always discuss cat actions, and I considered it and it was like, yeah we completely ought to. 

“I used to be actually excited to have the ability to to deliver collectively a few of my favourite actions and issues to to encourage individuals to have extra enjoyable with their cats.”

So we’re going again to this dialog that we have been having a pair minutes in the past about enrichment being type of not as generally considered for cat individuals. After I was placing the cat guide collectively, it actually was not completely different essentially than the canine guide when it comes to my writing course of, however I used to be very, very considerate of constructing certain that the actions within the guide have been issues that cats have been going to get pleasure from and that completely different sorts of cats would get pleasure from. And that there could be one thing for all cats from the very outgoing, social, perhaps kind of like dog-like cats, as we’ll perhaps describe them, to cats which can be far more shy and reserved. And I wished to have issues in there for each cat. 

Okay: So do you discover that there is stuff that like, pondering once more about Venn diagrams, is there stuff that you’d say is just for canines, stuff that will be good for each, and stuff that is just for cats? Do you might have that in your thoughts? What would you, if you happen to have been cornered, what bucket would you place sure issues in? 

S: Yeah I feel that It is tough as a result of cats are so, so completely different. So like for instance I might completely by no means, ever take my cat Factor out to a pet pleasant retailer. That may not be enjoyable and thrilling for him, he would discover that very, very scary. A cat that I had 20 years in the past was a cat who completely liked going locations, like from a tiny kitten to the day that he handed he was tremendous outgoing, nothing scared him. He would have liked that. And I feel most cats most likely fall nearer into the camp of going backpacking, out mountaineering, that type of stuff, most likely not what they wish to be doing, most likely extra of a canine exercise. However there are completely cats that get pleasure from these issues. So I tended to err on the aspect of actions that have been nearer to residence for extra of the actions in Claw This Journal, although definitely there are kitty exceptions to that. 

Okay: Proper, for certain. I was into sled canine sports activities, and I could not even rely on all my fingers and toes the variety of instances individuals have despatched me like a Fb video of a cat that skijores. And I am like okay that is cool, however no. That is like, I’ve by no means met a cat like that. No. 

S: Yeah there’s all the time, like that one TikTok cat that  does all of the issues and I imagine that cat is clearly having a superb time, nothing is indicating that that cat is burdened or sad. However that is a one in 1,000,000 cat. 

Okay: Yeah precisely, yeah. 

Z: Yeah and I feel one of many issues that I really like about your writing, not simply on this guide however the canine books as properly and in Methods within the Metropolis too is that you’ve got considered completely different creatures and what they individually may like, and you’ve got made certain that there’s something for everybody’s cat or everybody’s canine. And you have been clear about what sorts of issues to consider as as to if a sure exercise could be acceptable on your personal pet, so I feel that is a very nice factor to do. So yeah thanks for that. And also you’re such an completed author since you additionally write for youngsters and I feel it is your most up-to-date guide, Jillian on the Junior Showcase. Inform us about this guide. 

S: Yeah so Jillian on the Junior Showcase was my most up-to-date guide launched in January. And it’s a chapter guide for younger readers, actually all readers, that’s set in canine reveals. And Jillian is a younger lady who actually, actually desires an agility canine of her personal. She attends Kennel Membership with all of her mates and sooner or later she finds a little bit terrier combine behind the fuel station that has been deserted there and is hoping that that canine will turn into the agility canine of her goals. In order that was an excellent enjoyable guide to jot down. I’ve performed lots of writing about junior handlers and inside the canine present world and so it was very enjoyable to have the ability to create a fictionalized twist on that story.

Kristi Benson is an honours graduate of the celebrated
Academy for Canine Trainers, the place she earned her Certificates in Coaching
and Counseling (CTC). She additionally has gained her PCBC-A credential from the
Pet Skilled Accreditation Board. She has not too long ago moved to
lovely northern British Columbia, the place she’s going to proceed to assist canine
guardians by on-line instructing and consultations. Kristi is on workers
on the Academy for Canine Trainers, serving to to form the subsequent technology
of canine professionals. Kristi’s canines are rescue sled canines, principally
retired and totally having fun with a superb snooze in entrance of the
woodstove. 

Web site: http://www.kristibenson.com/  Fb   Twitter 

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning creator of  Wag: The Science of Making Your Canine Completely satisfied and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Completely satisfied. She is the creator of the favored weblog, Companion Animal Psychology, and in addition has a column at Psychology At this time. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, together with her husband, one canine, and two cats. 

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