Matt D
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:22 am

Yet another cat thread. But this one, I'll spare you the pictures and the same old schtick that most of you probably don't care about anyway. This time, I want to discuss training cats. How far can cats be trained?

Now I'm not talking about basic training such as litter box or showing where the food is. Indeed my cats Turbo and Bean required essentially zero intervention on my part. When I had the mother cat, SHE showed them where the litter box was. And they have no problem with their food. I've provided them with plenty of toys and scratching posts. Plus, they have each other to keep company. So other than the occasional roll of toilet paper or paper towels that they sometimes manage to unroll (and rib to shreds), the cats are pretty much well trained.

But I'd like to take it a bit further.

First of all, I'm trying to teach Turbo how to "shake" with his right front paw. I'm actually making some progress. I use a can of kittie treats. I'll get them and call him over and sit on the floor with him. I'll repeat over and over "Turbo...SHAKE.....Turbo....Shake."

He sniffs and licks my hand and walks in circles, trying to get the treat. But I don't give it to him. When he finally sits down and lifts his front right paw, I grasp it, shake it up and down while saying "SHAKE". Then I praise him "GOOD boy Turbo". And I give him a treat and repeat for about 10 minutes.

He doesn't have it down yet, but I'm confident that he will eventually learn to "shake" on command.

The other thing is that Jen said she wants to take him outside for a walk, just like you would a dog.

Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

Since Turbo and Bean are indoor cats, they don't even have collars on. So just putting one on them (to attach the leash harness) will probably freak him out.

So how would I do it? Would I just let him wear it for awhile? I also told Jen that if you put a leash on him, he'll just sit there. Any movement and you'll be taking him for a drag, not a walk, which I don't want.

I thought that, as with the collar, just put it on him, and just sit there for awhile until he gets used to it. Maybe try practicing around the house indoors doing a mock walk. Then, when it's time to take him outside, just do it for a few minutes at a time, preferably in the early morning or evening, when it's semi-dark outside; not in full daylight and not at night.

Plus, I'm a little concerned about him getting fleas or developing a desire to go outside. Since he's spent his whole life inside, he hasn't really missed anything. So he's not going stir crazy or chomping at the bit to go outside.

So what to do?

I won't let him freely roam outside. No way. He could get plowed by a car, mauled by a dog (although he is pretty feisty, and at 14 pounds, could probably put up a good fight), stolen, chased by kids with sticks, who knows what. I'd really just prefer him to stay inside. I'd like to get a full 15 or 20 years out of him.
 
BCAInfoSys
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:29 am

Lord almighty.. this is out of control. I've never seen a straight guy talk about his cats so much. Whats the deal? I'm starting to worry about you...
Militant Agnostic - I don't know and you don't either.
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:31 am

Easy, Sir Stevie...he's found that he has a heart.  Smile Nothing wrong with straight guys who love cats. I would never be with a guy who didn't.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
Matt D
Topic Author
Posts: 8907
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:32 am

would it make you happier if I went back to "bashing" illegal aliens or discussing reel to reel machines? Maybe post pictures of my Mustang Cobra again.

I could, if that's what you want.

Seriously. What's wrong with a straight guy talking about [pussy]cats? What? A straight guy can't have cats and care about them?
 
BCAInfoSys
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:34 am

LOL.. it's a joke my friends. Even if I do think the scurrying little furballs only have one purpose.. I'll keep it to myself before April tears me a new one.  wink   devil 

Me personally, I liked your thread about best Southwestern BBQ. Now that's something I can relate to!  bigthumbsup 
Militant Agnostic - I don't know and you don't either.
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:35 am

Sir Stevie has never been around cats - he's allergic, poor boy - so he's decided that he doesn't like them. Of course, Mr. Harlot and I are also both allergic to our cats, but that doesn't stop us from loving them.

Don't apologize, Matt. I think there's something wrong with a guy who doesn't like animals (not just cats). I am dead serious that I would never get involved with a guy who doesn't like cats.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
yooyoo
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:38 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 5):
Mr. Harlot and I are also both allergic to our cats, but that doesn't stop us from loving them.

You say you love cats, but do you own any?

If so how do you survive without taking ridiculous amounts of medicine....or do you just "suffer"?

Andreas  spin 
I am so smart, i am so smart... S-M-R-T... i mean S-M-A-R-T
 
Matt D
Topic Author
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:44 am

I think that another reason why some people don't like animals (cats in particular) is that cats, unlike most others, make you earn their affection and attention. Although I like dogs, most dogs have no loyalty and will let anyone pet them. Plus, cats are a lot more independant. Provided that enough food, water, and toilet facilities are left behind, cats can be left alone for several days at a time and will do just fine. You can't do that with dogs.

When I was growing up, my dad and I had a couple of Lab/Shepherd mix dogs. Don't get me wrong. They were great pets and I miss them a lot. But they were dangerous. We had to warn everyone that came over that if they weren't careful, they risked being knocked to the ground and licked to death.

BBQ ribs for dinner.....that sounds yummy. Maybe I'll go to the store and pick some up (I took today off), and take step-by step photos of it and share the recipe with you all tonight.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 
skidmarks
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:47 am

Someone tell me how to train our youngest cat to stop howling everytime someone enters the kitchen! Seems to think our sole role in life is to feed him!

Seriously, I don't think you can actually train cats to do very much other than not to shit on your carpet. Our two do their own thing (unless you go in the kitchen) and treat any sort of training with complete disdain.

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:50 am

Quoting YooYoo (Reply 6):
You say you love cats, but do you own any?

Hell yes, I have three. We do none of the things you're supposed to do when you're allergic. They sleep on the bed, I rub my face in their fur, they cuddle up to me all the time.

I should amend this - as much as anybody can "own" a cat.  Smile

I take Claritin-equivalent and a steroid nasal spray daily, and steroid asthma meds twice daily. Mr. Harlot does nothing except take the occasional Benadryl when his allergies get too bad. I don't know how much of this I would have to take without the cats, because I have other allergies. But the cats don't help. Doesn't matter. I'd never be without them.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
S12PPL
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:55 am

Well, I would have to say "yes" it is possible to train your cat.

My cat is very different from any cat I've ever seen. He's a scardie cat. If I spelt that right, but whatever. If ANYONE but me or my dad comes in the house, he freaks out. He finds the nearest bed...usually mine...and hides under it until the guest leaves. When it's just us alone, he's cool. Affectionate. He's more drawn to me because he sees me more, and sleeps on my bed. Anyway, he's an outdoor cat. We want him to be an indoor cat as he's getting older, and he gets in fights. He's come home with gashes that required trips to the vet to check out. We followed they're advice and kept him indoors. However, he would have none of that, and started spraying all over the house. He is fixed, before any of you ask. He just refuses to be an indoor cat.

What worries us about him being an outdoor cat is that he's solid black. No white on him anywhere. So, as it's getting dark, just for fun one night we said "Ok, be home by 9:00." Sure enough, to our suprise, he was home at 9:00 on the dot, I shit you not. So the next night. "Ok...Be home by 9:00." Again, home by 9:00. Whenever we tell him what time to be home, he's home at that time, or VERY close to it. Sometimes early, sometimes a little late. Only two or three times has he been an hour or more late.

I've also got him trained to get up off my lap without touching him. All I have to do is say "Up, up, up , up, up." like that, and he's off.

There's other weird shit about my cat that I'll save you all from.... Smile
Next Flights: 12/31 AS804 PDX-MCO 2/3 AS19 MCO-SEA QX2545 SEA-PDX
 
jap
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:06 am

You'll need lots, lots and LOTS of treats to make him to what you want  Silly

With that said, I recommend that you don't use a collar- I think you should use a harness. That way, if he does pull hard on the leash, he won't get hurt and it's more comfortable, for both cats and dogs (it's easier to get out of the collar too wheras you can probably get to him before he gets out of the harness if he tries).
But of course, you need to get him used to the harness  Smile I did it this way with both of my cats:
First, put the harness on him. Wait until he lets you put it on him (as in: You don't want him to wriggle and such, of course he won't think it's funny anyway). He may be uncomfortable for a while, but let him walk around with it on for 5 minutes (unless he franticly tries to get it off of course- then, it has to be taken slow). Then take it off. Next time (next day if you have time), put it on for 10, then 15, etc. He should be pretty used to it after 10 minutes though  Wink But stop when you've reached a couple of hours, you don't need to go up only 5 minutes each time if he seems to be comfortable. Mine got used to it after 2 minutes the second day, and I let her walk around with the harness on for 1 hour.  Wink

Once he's ok with the harness, the time has come to put the leash on. Put his harness on and let him walk around with it for a while. Then put on the leash and let him drag it around for a while. It's the same procedure as the harness, and he should be used to the leash pretty fast too. Of course you have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't get caught anywhere. You can try to pick up the leash and follow him around too after a while, just to let him know that the drag he might feel in the harness sometimes is only you.

Once he's used to both harness, leash and you holding the leash, I'd say you're ready to head out- he might want to take his time exploring, or he might want to just leap out and run around. He might want to hide under a bush or something too- either way, it's pretty normal, and you just kinda tag along  Silly Of course, if it looks like he's going to hide under the bush for hours, you'll probably be better off taking him inside again and trying again later. However, none of my two cats have done this- they've been happy with it all and just leaped out to explore, with me attached to the leash  Wink

This is the kitten way- but I feel it's the best way as you're not stressing the kitty and he pretty much decides the pace  Smile

My cats didn't try to get outside without me either- they LOVED being outside, still do, but they knew they were only getting out if I was coming with them. I'm sure Turbo will accept this too.

I wish you good luck with your wonderful cats, whatever you decide Big grin
Scandinavian chick with a scandinavian horse- oh yeah! :D
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:33 am

Okay, as for training. Matt, about the shake a paw thing, it sounds like you are on the right track. Just remember that you've got to make it worthwhile for your cat. And watch for his cues about how best to train him. If you give him huge loves and pets after he shakes, and he responds well, remember that for next time. Or maybe food is his thing.

Jefferson is trained to sit in a certain spot when he's hungry. It was a kind of mutual training, actually. He often doesn't eat all his food so we put his dish on the counter when he's done, or in the pantry next to the counter if Walker's on the prowl. (Walker will eat until he pukes and then eat that, so we have to portion feed.) Jefferson figured this out and started jumping up and sitting patiently on a spot on the counter next to the pantry when he's hungry. We learned that that meant he was hungry and gave him his bowl out of the pantry, so now he's trained and we're trained.

Another example of this is Walker "turning on the skritches". We noticed that he responds to snapping fingers, so we'd reward this with skritches. We also noticed that he loves to rub our fingers with his mouth so we started snapping our fingers and then holding out an index finger. He comes running and then stands up and rubs his mouth against our finger. This "turns on the skritches", as we also say when he does this, and he gets a ton of good skritches. It's very cute.

So bottom line is to watch for their responses and behaviours and use them to your advantage. It's more of a mutual training exercise than with dogs.

As for the leash - you can certainly train cats to walk on a leash. I've had my cats out on leashes and harnesses. Don't just hook a leash to their collars. Get a good harness. BTW - since you're in earthquake country, like me, you have a risk of your cats getting outside and scared so they should at the very least be microchipped and preferrably have a collar and tags on too to make it obvious that they're someone's cats. But I digress. You do run the risk of fleas and of making the outside desirable. I only took mine out a few times and then stopped.

I definitely agree with you about not letting them roam. It is too dangerous. There are cats who refuse to be indoor cats, and there's not much you can do about that. But if you can avoid it it's much, much better for them.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
desertjets
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:36 am

I don't think training a cat is an impossible task. They just won't take to it as naturally as a dog does, afterall dogs are breed to do certain trainable tasks.

But starting now when they are kittens is a good way to go. The little buggers are probably more receptive to it too. As for the "walking the cat" thing. Not as crazy as it might sound. I had a neighbor in my apartment complex who would go out in the main courtyard with their cat, and the little guy stuck around at their side for the entire time (no leash too). Not sure how they did it, but it is doable.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
Matt D
Topic Author
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:45 am

afterall dogs are breed to do certain trainable tasks.

I know exactly what you mean. It would be ludicrous to string a hundred Chiuhuahuas together in the hopes of pulling a snow sled in Alaska when a couple of Malmutes will do it almost instinctively and on command.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:49 am

Cat tricks:

Shred the couch Ginger!
Good kitty.

Ignore me!
Good kitty.

They are companionship but they are no more domesticated than fieldmice.

A dog looks up to you.
A cat looks down on you.
A pig will treat you as an equal.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 2:28 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

Since Turbo and Bean are indoor cats, they don't even have collars on. So just putting one on them (to attach the leash harness) will probably freak him out.

Easily done, I do it with mine occasionally using a harness that goes around his belly. Had to learn how to do it since I live in a nature preserve, and dogs and cats aren't allowed to roam free in this area. A friend down in San Jose takes his 20lb. brute in a similar harness while shopping at PetSmart, and intially people think it's a dog.
International Homo of Mystery
 
desertjets
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 2:33 am

Quoting Matt D (Reply 14):
It would be ludicrous to string a hundred Chiuhuahuas together in the hopes of pulling a snow sled in Alaska when a couple of Malmutes will do it almost instinctively and on command.

I'd pay to see that!  thumbsup 

But the thing is cats are pretty smart animals. Certainly as smart as dogs. And being smart little critters they need stuff that can challenge them. So training a cat to do stuff is a worthy endeavour. Now if you can leash train em, take pictures of that and post them here.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
User avatar
EA CO AS
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:01 am

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
The other thing is that Jen said she wants to take him outside for a walk, just like you would a dog.

Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

As was mentioned earlier, the harness is the way to go. We're still in the process of getting our cat Chloe used to it - we just moved into a new house and while she was a stray when we found her, she doesn't know this area. So we figure we can take her out for "walks" around the neighborhood and sorta let her get the lay of the land in the event she ever does manage to slip out if our guard is down.

So - the harness. It's a two-man job, especially if your cat's a squirmy one. I just grab Chloe by the scruff while Jamie slips it over her head and around her legs. Snaps into place securely, and has a link on the top for the leash.

She still wigs out when the leash is on - she jumps all over the place trying to get away from it but eventually calms down. We took her out in the backyard on it once just to see the reaction and she bolted back into the house as far as the leash would allow.

I guess all cats are different when it comes to this, but so far this has been a challenge. I'm hopeful it'll be a worthwhile one though.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
andz
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:36 am

My cats have learned to look at humans with disdain and ignore what they are told to do, that didn't take long to learn at all!
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
TPAnx
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:29 am

Food would seem to be the training trick. My cat has spent the day asleep.
My wife, who doles out the kibbles just came home, and Kissa Licka, the
Queen of All Cats, went crazy. Ignores me even when I hand out the goodies.
TPAnx  scratchchin 
I read the news today..oh boy
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:39 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 2):
I would never be with a guy who didn't.

I like cats and I'm straight  scratchchin   Wink

Quoting Skidmarks (Reply 8):
Someone tell me how to train our youngest cat to stop howling everytime someone enters the kitchen!

Stare at him untill he walks away, always does the trick or attach a fog horn to his/her back and connect a wire to his mouth so that every time he/her opens his/her mouth, the fog horn goes off, it'll be a barell of laughs,
But seriously I love cats and you'll just have stroke him/her before and you enter and after you leave the kitchen until it keeps quiet.


Alistair
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:15 pm

RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:07 am

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 21):
I like cats and I'm straight

That's nice dude, I'm married!  Smile
But that was when I ruled the world
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:23 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 22):
That's nice dude, I'm married!

I am very sorry  sorry   sorry 
I was thinking of HorizonGirl when I typed that, I'm going to sit in a dark corner and never come back  Wink

Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
jaysit
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:23 am

I've taken my cats out on walks on a leash. Boo and Chaka (named after Chaka Khan because as a kitten she used to go nuts whenever I played "Feel for you" on the stereo) don't much care for it, but as long as they're on quiet side streets where there is no traffic, they're ok. Boo even has a dog friend, a pug who belongs to a neighbor. Both the pug and Boo get all excited when they see each other.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
ScarletHarlot
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:15 pm

RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:38 am

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 23):
I'm going to sit in a dark corner and never come back

Don't be silly, dude, it's quite all right. Just want to remind you!
But that was when I ruled the world
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:48 am

I also like cats, i'm straight as well.

I'd rather have a cat than a dog actually.


Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
TNboy
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RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:47 am

I hope you have lots of patience MattD. It will be the cats who will train you. One of ours is desperate to come with us when we walk the dog, and usually slinks along about 20 metres behind until she gets bored and goes home. Its OK close to home, so we let her tag along, but once we get to busier areas there's other dogs, more traffic, etc., so none of that is a good mix for a cat - even one like Blue who would fight any dog or vehicle that came near her. I am tempted to take them to the beach together, but its bad enough with just the dog. Every time I swim, he thinks he has to rescue me, so I get covered in scratches. I dont want to have to cope with a dog AND a cat lifesaver tag team.
Cheers
Bill
"...every aircraft is subtly different.."
 
prosa
Posts: 5389
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2001 3:24 am

RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:22 am

Humans cannot train cats. Cats train humans.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
wrighbrothers
Posts: 1807
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:15 am

RE: Training Cats?

Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:47 pm

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 25):
it's quite all right

Oh, good.

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 25):
Just want to remind you!

Ok

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 25):
Don't be silly,

I'm a silly person  Wink

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 26):
I'm straight as well.

We are a dying bread.

Wrighbrothers
Good wishes to all, Alistair
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
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RE: Training Cats?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:26 pm

gotta add cute cat story here

can only type w/ one hand cos furss is asleep on my lap w/ his head on my left hand, he just moved it, I can type better now.

Walker is asleep and is having growly dreams. He's asleep in his cat carrier (which we keep out with a towel in it) and he's growling like crazy. Emily is rather perturbed about this and keeps looking over at him. Furss doesn't care.

They are so funny! Furss fell into deep sleep on my legs yesterday and had a big twitchy dream. He almost lolled his head off my lap!
But that was when I ruled the world
 
4holer
Posts: 2733
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 1:47 am

RE: Training Cats?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:40 pm

I lost the cats in the divorce.
Pretty bitter about it.
But Skipper was trained. Best cat in the history of felinity. L'il guy thought he was human. His brother, Little Buddy, untrainable and retarded. Don't miss that one.
But if you have a cat that is cool, scratch it once on the head for me.
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
 
57AZ
Posts: 2371
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:55 pm

RE: Training Cats?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:50 pm

Actually training a cat is possible. The problem is that most people do not have the required amount of patience to do it properly. Of course, that is dependant on the temperment of the individual cat too but should not be a problem assuming that the cat picked you.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
TNboy
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2002 8:12 pm

RE: Training Cats?

Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:40 pm

OK, 4holer, Dusty and Blue have just been scratched on the head! They say thanks, man! (They are both pretty cool cats). And now the dog wants a scratch as well. See what you have started! Sorry about Skipper, thats a real bitch!
Bill
"...every aircraft is subtly different.."
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:15 pm

RE: Training Cats?

Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:48 am

4holer, that's awful. I couldn't stand to lose my cats. Have you considered adopting new cats? Not to replace your old cats, of course, but to rescue an animal who needs a home and so you have kitty company.

All three of mine have been skritched for you.  Smile
But that was when I ruled the world

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