Sunday, June 24, 2012

We're Back! Training Your Pet For A Feeder Bottle

Well, we're just about moved into our new home, and there's more room for EVERYONE!

We'll be adding a new addition to the family very soon (hopefully next month), and we're quite excited about our new four legged adoption.

In the mean time, I've been crating the kitties at night to keep them out of all the boxes and mischief. Frankie's a 'digger', when it comes to his sandbox. A company was kind enough to send us a solution, in the form of a high walled litter box (NVR Miss, more on that soon)- but it takes up so much space in the crate!

I decided to undertake the task of bottle training Frankie to save some floor space and give him more room at night. The other half was certainly skeptical, but i did some reading and found they even make feeder bottles for larger felines and canines. The whole transition process only took us about 5 days!

It's important to remember to Never leave your animal unattended for any length of time without water, until you are certain they understand the concept of the bottle. I've found that a cage bottle can be purchased for about 1/2 the price when designated for large rodents/rabbits. Purchasing a bottle marketed for cats or large breed dogs can be quite costly and offer no added benefits. For those unfamiliar with feeder bottles, these easily attach to any wire based crate/cage, with a simple hooking loop. the bottle sits in the loop and rests on the cage's bars, itself. The animal then licks a little ball to release a few drops of water; effectively lapping water to drink.

To train Frankie I began by literally bottle feeding him water every time he emerged from the cage. Timing is everything- if your pet is thirsty, they will drink! Simply remove the bottle from the cage hook and gently squeeze above/into the animal's mouth. Be careful not to hold the animal down with any force- you don't want them thinking they are punished. The first few attempts will make a mess, and result in some dribbling- it's water, no big deal. The point here is to begin the association of the water bottle and water. While the animal is caged, approach the cage and gently squeeze the bottle, so drips emerge. You may place a bowl or small dish under the bottle to catch any stray drips. I chose to do this about every hour, or when I passed the cage.

When Frankie finally noticed the association of me and the water coming from the bottle he would rush to the bottle. Unfortunately, at this stage he thought I was making the water come out, and had no interest in attempting on his own. Now I moved on to squeezing for steady stream, which he would drink from. once this behavior emerges you are well on your way! The cat will naturally lick the nozzle/ball, soliciting more water. Simply ease off the squeezing, and enable the cat to continue to drink. you may need to repeat this for a day or two until the cat is visibly seen (or heard) drinking from the bottle without your presence.

Remember to Never leave your cat without a water source unsupervised until you are certain they understand the bottle process. I have also read that food motivated cats can be taught this process with the aid of some tuna water or peanut butter on the nozzle itself. Good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment