Sunday, August 23, 2009

Max on... Care and Training of Your Food Human -- "Feed Me" (part 1)

Note from Max: I am starting a new column today. There is much for all of us to learn from each other on the topic of training your human/staff. I thought I'd cover it all in one article, but there is just too much information. Therefore, after this first column, the Thursday column will address various facets of training Her Highness, fat boy, food human, staff purson, or whatever unique and quirky name you have given that person who THINKS he or she is in charge of your household. Feel free to comment at the end of each column. The more points of view the better....

A Full Bowl

Are you having trouble gaining the attention of your food human at that exact moment when your tummy starts to rumble? Do you take a quick happy trip to your dish only to face disappointment? Do you follow your food human (who happens to be carrying a plate with a tuna-fishy sandwich on it) to the couch fully expecting her/him to share the worderful fishyness of it with you only to hear, "Get down. People food."?

If so, listen up. this week we are going to begin retraining those humans on how this "food thing" is going to work from here on...

Before implementing any program, you must understand the psyche of the human. A brazen demand for food just won't work and often will result in a quick trip to time out. So, listen up pretty furry critter pals: it's important to plan ahead.

Stephen Goldmeir reported on results he found in Current Biology of a study conducted by Karen McComb at the University of Sussex. The results indicated that the combined purr-cry of a hungry cat triggers nurturing instincts in human beings. The study also showed that even humans who don't have cats responded to the high frequency purr-cries by a sense of urgency.

The significance of this finding is that it seems full-blown bellowing doesn't work and is down-right annoying, so we should cut out that action. Fainting with your head draped over the empty food dish also does not work. It will reap only chuckles from you food human and an occasional pitiful photo-op.

So, for best results, practice the slightly high frequency purring-crying sound. When practicing, watch the reaction of your food human. You'll know when you reach just the right amount of subtle urgency.

Don't overdo it. This is an important point. In order to communicate to your food human that he/she has understood you correctly, you must reward them the instant they put food in the dish. Your reward will take two forms:

First, the moment the first bite of food hits the dish, cease the purr-cry. For some reason, the cessation of the urgent sound coming from you is ever so rewarding to them.

Second, take a bite of food and then spend 15 seconds or so applying ankle rubs, nosetaps and head bumps to your food human. The food humans eat up this action and will remember the behavior chain (purr-cry, food to dish, end of purr-cry) that leads to those wonderful head bumps, nosetaps, ankle rubs, etc.

It may take a few repeats of this whole procedure before they learn to put food in your dish the instant you start the purr-cry. Be patient and remember that food humans are not always the quick studies that we are. But, it works, so it's worth taking the time to train them correctly.

Yes, with a persistent, low-key application of this new technique, you'll turn the "Feed Me Frenzy" into "Food Dish Delight" in no time.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roll around outside a lot when they get home - and try to look like you've been watching the clock all afternoon. Dancing on the bed works too. [I've done that photo op stuff and it's fairly intrusive.] =M= www.twitter.com/maxtheduster

Sheng_Chi said...

If you are a bit of what humats call 'overweight' try sitting on them when sleeping...they will soon give in and get up to feed you!

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