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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Feline Enrichment and Writing Ideas 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 suggestions for aspiring canine and cat writers. The most recent episode of The Pawsitive Put up 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 Put up in Dialog on Youtube or under, pay attention by way of your favorite podcast app or under, or scroll right down to learn the highlights.

Enrichment for cats and suggestions for aspiring writers

On this episode, we chat with canine coach and writer Sassafras Lowrey. We begin together with her newest ebook, 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 ebook. We discuss enrichment for cats, and the way it’s vital to tailor it for particular person cats. 

We take one of many actions from the ebook, 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 ebook, Jillian on the Junior Showcase.

We get Sassafras’s suggestions for budding writers and discover out about her personal writing routine. And as at all times, we chat concerning the books we’re studying proper now. 

Studying Cats and Canines: The recording of A Dialog with Lili Chin, Sassafras Lowrey, Zazie Todd and Kristi Benson  (Studying Cats and Canines 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 embrace Tips In The Metropolis and Chew This Journal. Sassafras is an writer and multimedia educator who writes repeatedly about canine coaching for main nationwide publications. Sassafras’ canine coaching articles have repeatedly appeared in main canine magazines like Dogster, The Bark, Fashionable Canine, and with The American Kennel Membership in addition to mainstream publications together with WIRED, Residence Remedy and The New York Instances. 

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 the moment is due to your great ebook Claw This Journal which is incredible, I adore it. It is so stuffed with actions to do along with your cat. It is actually enjoyable, [it’s got] all totally different sorts of issues in there and it is received house for individuals to jot down in it as effectively. So you are able to do the actions, you possibly can maintain observe of what you are doing, there’s even a bit on decoding your cat’s meows. It is simply pretty. So inform me about this ebook, Sassafras, and why you determined to jot down it. 

S: Yeah so it is a ebook 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 desirous to get concepts for various issues that they’ll do with their cats. 

Ok: So one of many issues that I actually like about this ebook and your related ebook for canine is that there is room and locations so that you can write which I feel helps immediate individuals to assume. I preferred 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 elements that you simply 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 plenty 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 title is Factor. He’s 9 and a half which does not really 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 dwelling, it was pretty late at evening in the course of a snowstorm, and there are in lots of communities, however undoubtedly in Brooklyn the place I lived, there are plenty of feral cats. And we noticed — I used to be strolling with my associate — and in the course 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 actual fact coming in that evening. 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 grew to become Factor bites him, breaks the tooth off on this man’s glove. 

Ok: Oh no! 

S: And he is like do you continue to need this cat? And I am like “Sure?” as a result of I can not go away this kitten outdoors. We deliver it dwelling. We already had two canine and two cats at this level. And he instantly charmed his means into everyone’s hearts and ended up in the end being raised by my senior canine on the time. And the senior cats have been like we do not know what you’re however you possibly can keep. In order that was the very eventful means 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 like about this ebook is you’ve a bit known as Greatest in Present. And it is about how wonderful all cats are, however how each cat is wonderful in their very own means. And I actually love that. And really that set me desirous 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 like the best way this ebook 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 prime prize might be Pizza Thief. He’s a kitten and we wish to say it is most likely his origins. We expect he was about six weeks previous once we discovered him you realize. So he had most likely been surviving on bagels and pizza crusts and issues like that. However he’s a bit of carb fiend and you need to have to look at your pizza slices as a result of he undoubtedly could make off with a fairly good measurement slice of pizza. I do not advocate, it isn’t good for cats, but when he had his means he can 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? 

Ok: You already know I feel it could be laborious. 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 typically ship me a message and simply be like Apricat’s on my lap once more, like I can not even arise. 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 similar to wow I did not notice 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 canine. [Laughter] 

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

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

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

Z: Glorious and I like that Apricat got here to affix 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 status 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’ll have an extended dialog together with her if you happen to meow at her, however she does even like mmm sort of noises and if you happen to go mmm she’ll go mmm. And plenty of very stunning chirrups. So she’s at all times speaking, she’s at all times saying one thing, so that is what she would win for. 

As for Harley I sort of joke about Harley and I make out that he is not a really intelligent cat, nevertheless 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 all the doorways just about. So if it is a door with a deal with that you simply push down, he can soar up and he can push it down in order that the door opens. If he is on the fallacious facet of that door, a few of our doorways do not really shut correctly as a result of it is an older home, so he can put his paws beneath and he may open it that means. 

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 means. And all the cabinet doorways within the corridor, he can open all of these principally. You can not maintain this cat out of anyplace except you really 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 towards constructing code as a result of lots of people wrestle to open these spherical doorknobs, however now we have one and that is the one door that he can’t open. In order that’s his prize. That is an excellent expertise. And I like that your ebook made me take into consideration this stuff, Sassafras, I feel that is actually cool.

Ok. So I feel we’re speaking about enrichment. I really feel like for Apricat slapping the display is fairly enriching for him, no less than I try to body it that means. So I am not like I simply need to work. Then you’ve plenty of enrichment on this ebook which I feel is nice and I feel Zazie already talked about that is, and you probably did too, Sassafras, is one thing that folks miss for cats. You already know I feel lots of people are desirous about it for canine however I do not assume it is actually reached the cat world as a lot. So why is enrichment so vital for cats and what’s your cat’s favourite enrichment exercise? 

S: Yeah I feel it is such a thrilling matter that is simply beginning to actually grow to be extra well-liked or talked about extra within the cat world. I feel once we take into consideration enrichment it is typically about canine. And individuals are like, cats are simple pets they simply sleep all day, and it is like no, no our cats actually, actually profit once they have alternatives to make use of their brains and once they have alternatives to get extra lively, and it is such a good way to bond with them. 

So I like attempting out totally different enrichment actions. Within the ebook it is divided out in numerous sorts of you realize cat purr-sonality concepts. And you realize it is only for enjoyable however not each cat goes to take pleasure in the identical issues. 

There have been a wide range of actions within the ebook that Factor wouldn’t be a fan of. However his particular favourite issues by way of enrichment, as a result of he was so younger once we discovered him and we had very senior cats, I can not consider how previous they have been on the time, they handed once they have been 20 and 21. So I feel they will need to have been like 15 once we discovered him, and so they have been such as you’re not a part of us. 

So he grew to become actually linked to the canine as a result of the older cats have been like you’re lively and younger and never one in all us, they have been littermates. So he was at all times very enthusiastic about what I used to be doing with the canine. 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 got some chook feeders which can be outdoors the window and he’ll very fortunately sit and simply watch the totally 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 look at. So now he has like an entire little array of channels. 

Z: Superior I like that, and you have got so many various enrichment actions within the ebook and I feel they’re all enjoyable for the cat but additionally enjoyable for the particular person.

Ok: Earlier we spoke to you concerning the ebook that you’ve got written that is much like this ebook for canine [Chew This Journal]. I do know Zazie and I have been speaking about this, nevertheless it’s attention-grabbing that you simply’re writing for each cats and canine. And I do know there’s lots of people who’ve each, however I additionally assume simply you realize, not scientifically, that they are form 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 bit of bit totally different I feel in my thoughts no less than. So I suppose we’re interested in what variations do you discover about writing for cats, recognizing that some individuals might be within the each camp, however some individuals will certainly be very a lot within the cat camp. Was it totally different? 

S: Yeah you realize it is at all times such an attention-grabbing, I do not need to say problem nevertheless it’s at all times an attention-grabbing puzzle, to ensure to enchantment to the individuals which can be like deep cat individuals. I feel there’s plenty 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 canine I’m so not . So it is at all times a bit of difficult. I’ve really 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 sort of have their different world so typically canine people they will be like, I did not know you probably did issues with cats, and I am like sure, sure I do.

Placing collectively this ebook, it happened as a result of I had received 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 received the Muse Medallion, the writer of the canine ebook was like we must 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 sort of not as generally considered for cat individuals. Once I was placing the cat ebook collectively, it actually was not totally different essentially than the canine ebook by way of my writing course of, however I used to be very, very considerate of creating certain that the actions within the ebook have been issues that cats have been going to take pleasure in and that totally different sorts of cats would take pleasure in. And that there can be one thing for all cats from the very outgoing, social, perhaps form of like dog-like cats, as we’ll perhaps describe them, to cats which can be far more shy and reserved. And I needed to have issues in there for each cat. 

Ok: 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 canine, stuff that will be good for each, and stuff that is just for cats? Do you’ve that in your thoughts? What would you, if you happen to have been cornered, what bucket would you set sure issues in? 

S: Yeah you realize I feel that It is difficult as a result of cats are so, so totally different. So like for instance I might completely by no means, ever take my cat Factor out to a pet pleasant retailer. That will 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 cherished going locations, like from a tiny kitten to the day that he handed he was tremendous outgoing, nothing scared him. He would have cherished that. And I feel most cats most likely fall nearer into the camp of going backpacking, out mountain climbing, that sort of stuff, most likely not what they need to be doing, most likely extra of a canine exercise. However there are completely cats that take pleasure in these issues. So I tended to err on the facet of actions that have been nearer to dwelling for extra of the actions in Claw This Journal, although definitely there are kitty exceptions to that. 

Ok: 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 occasions 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 at all times, like that one TikTok cat that  does all of the issues and I consider that cat is clearly having a very good time, nothing is indicating that that cat is pressured or sad. However that is a one in one million cat. 

Ok: Yeah precisely, yeah. 

Z: Yeah and I feel one of many issues that I like about your writing, not simply on this ebook however the canine books as effectively and in Tips within the Metropolis too is that you have considered totally different creatures and what they individually would possibly like, and you have made certain that there’s something for everybody’s cat or everybody’s canine. And you’ve got been clear about what sorts of issues to consider as as to whether a sure exercise can be applicable 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 ebook, Jillian on the Junior Showcase. Inform us about this ebook. 

S: Yeah so Jillian on the Junior Showcase was my most up-to-date ebook launched in January. And it’s a chapter ebook for younger readers, actually all readers, that’s set in canine reveals. And Jillian is a younger woman who actually, actually needs an agility canine of her personal. She attends Kennel Membership with all of her associates and sooner or later she finds a bit of terrier combine behind the fuel station that has been deserted there and is hoping that that canine will grow to be the agility canine of her desires. In order that was a brilliant enjoyable ebook to jot down. I’ve performed plenty 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
stunning northern British Columbia, the place she is going to proceed to assist canine
guardians by way of on-line educating and consultations. Kristi is on employees
on the Academy for Canine Trainers, serving to to form the subsequent era
of canine professionals. Kristi’s canine are rescue sled canine, principally
retired and totally having fun with a very good snooze in entrance of the

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

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning writer of  Wag: The Science of Making Your Canine Glad and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Glad. She is the creator of the favored weblog, Companion Animal Psychology, and likewise has a column at Psychology In the present day. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, together with her husband, one canine, and two cats. 

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