Echo cat is a very food motivated cat–he loves his treats and will let you know he wants them (often!) by hopping up onto the tall chair and meowing, and often reaching out to paw at you as you walk past. I figured this would make it an interesting experiment to try to clicker train him to do tricks for his treats. I think what I’m trying to do with him is sometimes called “shaping” a behavior, but I could be wrong.
However, what I am trying to do seems to be working, just not so well in front of the camera in the outdoors. It’s a bit more distracting that in his chair.
Echo has developed stomatitis, which sucks. It usually shows up in cats once they’ve reached maturity, which fits for him. In a nut shell, something in his body decides something on his teeth is really bad and annoying so his gums, and potentially his throat and other parts of his mouth in bad cases get seriously irritated. He’s currently treated with every other day a low dose of a steroid, and when it was initially diagnosed earlier this year, the vet tried a steroid shot and an antibiotic. The steroids usually don’t work forever, but the go-to move for most people giving advice–to take out some/all of his teeth–is not something to do lightly. From what I’ve been able to dig up, the process can cost anywhere up to $3,000 assuming it goes well, and there are no complications. It probably can be done cheaper, but cat teeth apparently are notorious for shattering and leaving fragments under the gums which can continue the problem or make it worse. It’s also not a sure bet, from what I remember you’ve got a decent chance of some improvement, a goo chance in that decent chance that you might still need to medicate the cat to manage the condition, and well, in about 20% of cases, it really doesn’t help…but you still have the big ol’ vet bill, as well as the risk of sedating, operation, healing, and all that stress on the cat. Turns out Siamese cats are prone to this condition, and with his coloration, well, he’s probably got some of that in his gene pool.
So I figured I’d put Echo’s food drive and willingness to do things to get attention to good use, and see if I couldn’t make him an internet sensation. He’s got such a big personality, we figured we should share it!
Thanks you for watching… and p.s. if your cat has what I describe as Death Breath, or is acting weird about their food, or drooling a lot, or seems like he/she is not acting right, get it checked. We were afraid he had horrible tooth decay–good news, that’s not the problem, bad news, this condition is probably harder to manage. Oh well… never a dull moment! Stay tuned for future progress reports on Echo’s learning adventure.