Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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December 2006
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Cat Training

A few months ago, I started training my cat Alladin to do tricks. This was motivated not by boredom or excessive zeal in pet ownership, nor was it prompted by a lack of children or dog to take the brunt of my training euphoria. No, it was self-defense.
Alladin
You see, Alladin is too smart for my own good, and tends to bite and scratch too much in playing, and my husband and I have lost more than a small amount of blood just by sitting still and having him attack us. If I had a dog, the answer would be to train him to do stuff, so he wouldn’t get bored (a tired dog is a happy dog!) So, sometime in September, I started training Alladin using “Cat Training in 10 Minutes” (Miriam Fields-Babineau), in hopes that he would settle down once he had a job to do. The biting and clawing have improved, and he’s a lot better when new people come over. However, we introduced a whole host of new behaviors, like jumping up onto the coffee table (something he never did before) and demanding attention (and training) when my husband and I are at the breakfast table.

Today, I read a book titled Tricks Your Cat Can Do” (Gilbert W. Langley) which is a very slim volume about cat training. It was written in the 1980’s, but animal behavior has changed only slightly in the last 20 years. Most cat training books don’t encourage you to physically move the cat into position, as most cats get very anxious when they’re touched this way, but otherwise the principles of positive reinforcement still work on cats.

However, I had to laugh at some of the tricks recommended. We’ve already covered a couple of them with Alladin, but one of the tricks recommended was the “paw in glass” trick. In this trick, the cat sticks his paw into a glass of liquid. Says the author: “When you have guests at your home and kitty places his paw in someone’s drink he will impress everyone.”
Continue reading Cat Training

Where am I going with all this?

This past week, I’ve launched into what can only be described as “acts of desperation common to nearly all writers and artists.” In other words, I’ve been lowering the bar substatially on what I consider “my job.”

You see, I typically view my job as being something that involves stringing words together into sentences that explain or teach a person how to do a task, usually technical in nature, and how to do it safely.

Continue reading Where am I going with all this?

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