Jan 26, 2013 – Grafton Lakes WinterFest 2013 – Here’s a few photos taken at the Winterfest on Saturday, January 19. Yeh, I know… a week behind but life sometimes throws you a curve ball and you have to deal with it. Max did a wonderful job at keeping calm amidst the hundreds of people, an occasional dog, and birds of prey eyeing him from across the room. He made several attempts to snooze but someone kept interrupting his naps. He stretched. He played with Mr. Monkey who was by his side through the whole exhibition. He even had blue bear between his paws for a while (missed that photo op!). IF he’s invited to next years Winterfest, I plan on using his 36″ kennel which will allow him to really stretch out! Thanks to the Pember Museum for their loaning of the Bighorn Sheep head.
Feb 3, 2013 – Purr-fect day with Max – It was a good day with Max minus my cold I’ve had for a month. I needed to get him out on a leash. It wasn’t the best walk. He was very anxious and kept pulling on the harness which led him to hack and cough. He learned after the third time to lessen his pull. I repeated his familiar commands, like sit, settle, and stay. He did pretty well, but I can see he needs more consistent walking and training. I find it difficult as I don’t particularly like the cold. My fingers got frostbitten when I worked at the zoo and now get red and painful quickly if I’m not careful. It was 30 degrees today with the sun shining so I had no problems. After our walk, I removed his harness and he went in his cage where I gave him a nail trim – without his muzzle! I was surprised that I could do this but he seemed to be in a good mood. Ok, he did bite a bit, but he wasn’t his normal aggressive self when he saw the nail trimmers. So, only scratches and no bite wounds. Progress. Then it was photo time for me and grooming time for him. Video – Max Canada Lynx Purr-fectly Happy
March 4, 2013 – Comfort – I took Max for a walk yesterday but he was freaked about something on our property and would not walk. Today he was a bit better although clearly on guard. I have seen raccoon tracks in our back area which is in clear view for him. Perhaps he has seen the coon and is freaked. Today, I wanted to snap a few photos for a calendar or note cards by request. He has been better at sitting still but it is difficult to hold the leash, move back and snap a photo without him wanting to be by my side. He did a great job at listening to commands and sat still. All this I attribute to animal trainer Kayce Cover. At one moment while I knelt in the snow/wet grass trying to get the perfect photo, he lept at me clearing my head landing squarely on my shoulders and laid down. This was a non-aggressive act. What was he thinking? What was he doing on my shoulders? With hair in my eyes, I tried to snap a photo of him. Imagine my surprise when it appeared that he had his eyes closed soaking up the moment. I titled it Comfort. Him jumping on my head is not a training behavior and it’s one I have been trying to deter since he was a cub. Although, he does it less frequently.
After our walk, I cleaned his outdoor cage and gave him a ton of fresh straw. It’s very important for outdoor animals to stay dry. He has thick fur and can withstand below zero temperatures, but I want him to have dry areas to stay warm and clean himself when he gets wet. He absolutely loved the fresh stuff and seemed like a little kitten again rolling in it and chasing pieces.
March 31, 2013 – Square One – What does “square one” mean? It means that is where I’m at with my training with Max Lynx. I don’t quite fully understand what has happened. This morning I took Max for a walk and it was horrible. Getting the harness on wasn’t too difficult but as soon as I said “Door.” He started pulling back into the room. I opened it and he literally refused to go outside. With a bit of encouragement he ventured out but was clearly scared. We have been doing this walk for over a year but our last walk was 3 weeks ago. If all I had to do was walk Max and train him then he wouldn’t be like this but I have other animals, other obligations, the weather has been uncooperative and then there’s a part-time museum job. So, my time has been stretched and our training time has suffered.
On March 9th he was skitterish and unwilling to walk. I attributed it to some raccoon tracks I had seen several weeks before and fox tracks recently. Max is a predator, all be it a hand-raised one, but still a predator and these animals shouldn’t bother him. When he was 5 months old and living outdoors, I had to chase off a red fox that was 20 feet from his cage barking at him. He was like “what was that?” but not at all phased.
Last week we were together in his indoor enclosure and something spooked him and I ended up at the ER. We both survived the ordeal. He faired better than I did. I had a black eye.
Today, like on March 9th, he kept rearing up and pulling on the harness. If he wasn’t pulling back, he was pulling forward. He wanted back into his enclosure. He was not interested in visiting the neighbor’s bench as we have done so often. He was on guard, cautious. There were several areas he sniffed intently.
Ever seen a nag that can’t wait to get back to the barn? I was stationed in the Philippines from early 1980 to late 1981 and one day some friends and I took a horseback ride through the mountains. We approached the area where you turn around and head back to the stables. The nag I was on immediately bolted up the rocky steep at full run. There was no reigning her back. My life flashed before my eyes thinking that she would lose her footing and we’d both end up on the ground or going down hill I would be thrown off. So, I chose to slide off the horse and ended face down in the dirt. The horse never stopped returning to the stables rider-less and I ended up in the hospital with lacerations to my back and a mild concussion. My friends said I looked like the Pony Express. Haha. I was an experienced rider as I was around horses as a kid and mom dated a guy involved in training race horses, so I got to ride them too. But this nag…
So, Max was a nag this morning. When I decided that he was not interested in walking, we turned around and started for his enclosure. He kept rearing up straining the harness. He is only 30 pounds but strong and kept pulling. I stopped several times and had him sit and he would but as soon as the butte hit the ground, he was back up pulling. At one moment he looked anxious and his glance said he was going to leap to my shoulders where he has always been “safe.” Noticing this my hand went up with a low “no.” He listened and we continued. We made it back to the animal room and he was very calm while I took off the leash and harness. As soon as it was off, he disappeared into his outdoor cage. Might I add that I have an acre and a half so it’s not like he had miles to walk.
This evening, I took him out of his indoor cage within the animal room and he rubbed alongside me. I thought it would be a good time for the name & explain game. I gave him the commands of sit and settle and he did. I touched his “belly” and then “face” and he seemed fine. No paws came up and no biting. He even accepted the brush to his belly and face. (He usually bites the brush) He rolled over so I could brush his “back.” I kept reassuring him with gggggg-good and a pat to the shoulder. At one time, he dashed off towards the corner and began chewing on something. I could see it was a piece of blue styrofoam from his play frizbee. He even allowed me to open his mouth and retrieve the piece from his tongue. Ok, we are back on track. He went “in” with a pat to the hip, grabbed his chicken leg and off he went.
I plan on working him again tomorrow since I am off and the weather should be fair. I don’t know if his anxiety is Spring in the air, strange critters roaming the yard at night or what, but I hope we can get it back under control.
April 16, 2013 – Square Two – Following Max’s walk on the 31st of March was another windy day. I took what animal trainer, Kayce Cover advised as to not force him and acknowledge his feelings. I didn’t attempt to walk him as clearly the wind was making him skittish. We sat within the animal room bonding once again with a deep tissue massage and the name & explain game. On Saturday, April 6, I attempted to walk Max. We saddled up and open the door. It took him several minutes to peak outside, only to view the mailman delivering a package and zoom…. he’s back inside the room freaking out. I gave him 30 minutes to calm down and we ventured out again. He seemed fine but only wanted to wander around his outdoor enclosure then return to inside which I accommodated his wishes. Since then the weather has been uncooperative, my mother took ill and I developed a cold so my time with Max has been brief. He has had play time outside his cage to run and frolic within the animal room along with a couple of brushings, but no controlled walks. This morning we had indeed a wonderful love fest with lots of commands, brushing, deep tissue massage and facial rubs. Although it has been a step backwards in our training, I think it’s been positive with a time to get reacquainted with the basics.
April 30, 2013 – Grass Time – On April 26th I decided to see if Max wanted to go for a walk. The last one was April 6th and he only walked around his outdoor enclosure and then ran back inside. I didn’t know what to expect once I harnessed him. I followed what animal trainer, Kayce Cover explained as to not push him but let him decide if he wants to walk. So, I stood there inside with the door open pointing to the door with my riding crop and asked if he wanted to go “out” for a “walk.” He sat 6 feet from the door peering for about 30 seconds and then made a dash out. I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera turned on. I’m looking into a helmet cam but there are many choices. If you have a suggestion, I would appreciate it and it’s difficult to film with one hand, hold his leash and my crop and watch his body language all at the same time while attempting to give him instructions. His first desire once outside was to eat grass. What cat doesn’t? Then we walk and when he gets a bit eager we stop and sit. I think he’s use to this and sits automatically. I try to avoid allowing him total control of which way we go so at times it looks like I’m pulling hard on the leash. I don’t want a tug of war and will usually let him sit until he decides to go. But at the same time I want him to know who’s the boss. When it comes to herb sniffing and rubbing, I limit his time. He can get stoned fast and then wild. You know how some domestic cats will sniff catnip and just lay out while others get crazy wild. Max gets wild and once he’s in this adrenaline mode, he’s dangerous to me and to himself. As with anything in life… a little is good… a lot is not.
May 7, 2013 – Max turns 2 – Maxwell turned 2 years old on May 4. I kind of forgot to get balloons for him. He loved them last year. This year, he got a maximum litter pan – 3 feet long. Lately, he’s been peeing on the walls and concrete flooring in his indoor cage. I just cannot figure him out since he was neutered at 5 months old. So, I thought a new pan would help. His other one was 27 inches long but just not long enough. I found the Max-i pan at Tractor Supply which is called a “mixing tub.” I put it in, put up plexiglass to save my walls and he used it perfectly. The next day, he pees between his bed box and the pan! Ugh!! What the heck? So, I deodorized the wall and flooring and moved the pan down to meet his bed and tucked a small litter pan at the end between the Max-i pan and the cage wall. I thought if I left flooring that would give him an excuse to pee on it. The little pan without litter has been a play box for him. So far, he’s been using the litter pan. Mind you he only pees in it. Outside he pees also and poops. Today, I thought I would turn the fan on him since when I came home he was stretched out on the cold concrete. Max loves the cold. Wouldn’t you know, he pee’d out the cage on the floor hitting a pop-up cage I have bagged against my work bench. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t want the fan blowing on him. I’ll try not using it and see if he continues to sprinkle where he shouldn’t. Besides the litter pan, he got a couple large split chicken breasts. Normally he gets legs or thighs, so the breasts were a treat for him. It was a gift from a friend, Heather. He also got a birthday walk. More importantly, we got to sit in the grass for about 3o minutes while he watched the birds. He sat calmly. It was really wonderful. A few times he gave me the “look” like I’m going to jump on you to play, but I would get up and we’d shift to a new position. This was a good distraction for him. We walked a bit to the neighbors backyard but he must have heard or saw her through the kitchen window and he was not in the mood for socializing. By the way, you can see that he’s lost his winter fur.
May 12, 2013 – Here’s a very short video of Max as I get ready to feed him. I’ve been approaching low and he makes little noises and tilts his head to the cage for a kiss on it. It’s odd. This time I had the camera and it threw him off but he still puts his forehead to the cage (Don’t blink or you’ll miss it) and you can hear the purring! Suppertime!
June 11, 2013 – Rainy Day Tuesday – What do you do when it rains and you can’t play outside? You play inside!! Here’s Max expelling some energy. He kept wanting to swat the camera or my hand on the camera and darn it… his nails need trimming. I’m very happy they were not out 99% of the time.
July 7, 2013 – Carnivores @ Grafton Lakes! – There were carnivores at Grafton Lakes State Park on Saturday, July 6! You should have been there to see a Grey Fox, Red Fox, Coyote, Raccoon, Ringtail, Skunk, Ermine, Fisher, Marten, Mink, Otter, Badger, Black Bear, Lynx and Bobcat. Oh, and you would not believe me but a live Canada Lynx was also there. After pacing a few minutes smelling the wind, people, cooking food, dogs in the area and the new environment, Max settled down. He did get hot and panted for several minutes to cool and then he just layed and viewed the people viewing him. At one point he started falling asleep. After all, he is nocturnal! Shhhhhh, I tried to get a photo of the sleeping lynx, but his eyes opened and from my camera point he looks angry at me or even annoyed but he wasn’t. It was just him staring and thinking “stupid human.” The hour trip home he slept like a baby stretched out in his 36″ kennel.
July 11, 2013 – Max Videos – We have a couple new videos of Max. This one is from Rainy Day Tuesday with Max playing with his little blue bear – Max & Blue. This video is taken using a GoPro camera which was a gift. I gave it a test run – Walk & Load.
July 29, 2013 – Summer News – Besides enduring a heat wave for days and extreme heat & humidity for weeks, I end up with a summer cold, packed left sinus and Strep throat! What the heck? What’s baffling is where I acquired the strep throat. I guess anything is possible when you work in the public. During these weeks of heat, I couldn’t walk Max because he was trying to stay cool inside his enclosure. Walking and training would not have been good for either of us. Then the weather changes and I’m sick, still unable to walk him. We are both hoping for continued mild weather and good health.
Max recently had his annual vet visit only to find that we need to modify his diet. He needs increased calcium, bone and supplements along with a special can food for felines with urinary issues. It’s not critical but we are modifying just the same. He is already on supplements, I just have to increase them. I’ve reduced his red slab meat to 1 pound and increased his boned chicken to 1/2 pound daily along with essential vitamins and additional calcium. 4 days a week he will receive 3 ounces of Hills canned Feline R/D with his meal reducing the red meat to 13 ounces. We are hoping this will make a difference since whole prey is not an option with this sissy.
August 11, 2013 – Fresh Mulch! – Max loves it when I give him fresh mulch. About three times a year I dig out the old mulch and replace it with fresh. Today he attacked the bag! He couldn’t wait to have it dumped so he could lay in it.
August 23, 2013 – Spoiled Kitty – A local store had their welded-wire outdoor dog kennel 5×10 on sale from $300 to $230 last week. I have been wanting to expand Max’s outdoor enclosure for some time now. I have checked Craigslist but most outdoor kennels for sale were chained link. This cat banks off the sides and a chained link enclosure would not be suitable. Not to mention the heftiness of it while rolled up and it’s difficult to install, to say the least. I prefer welded wire. So I bought the cage. With the extra panel I had from the last addition and if I used one from the current 5×10, I could expand his cage by 10×15. Max Inspection video
Additionally, I purchased Max a pet barn. He started out with a wooden box in his indoor cage and he would squash down and peer over the top. Then I recently put his travel carrier in there and well…. he loved it but it was filthy dirty when I had to take him to the vets for his annual visit. Of course I cleaned it first! So, it was time for something new. He actually preferred it more when I had it parked in the middle of my workshop. Now that it’s in his cage, it’s like old news! Ha ha. Max & Pet Barn video
It took 5 hours to put Max’s addition together. My good friend and owner of Over the Moon Beads, Heather Mitchell, helped me and I couldn’t have done it alone. The sides were the easiest with completion done in a bit over an hour. The top was more tricky as we had to insure the panels were level at top and bottom as we stretched the top wire and then stapled them to beams. Max has already looked up, saw that there was wire and therefore is not interested in attempting to escape. He couldn’t if he tried! Heather is a great friend because she had to be to put up with my perfectionism. That’s probably why it took so long! Scootin’ & Rollin’ video
Sept 7, 2013 – Max Videos – Here’s a couple new ones – Sniff, Lick & Purr video and Catwalk. The Catwalk was taken using my GoPro which is why it looks like you’re in a fish bowl. Max and I had not been on a training walk since early July. The weather was too hot and humid for him and I was sick on and off until late August. He did amazingly well and I’m very proud of him. Here are some photos from his sniff and licking session. It is really tough photographing an animal that does not hold still for any length of time.
Sept-15, 2013 – One on One – I thought today I would spend some one on one with Max but with me outside his enclosure. With camera in hand belly down on the grass I snapped off photos of him while he licked and rolled in the grass herbs I threw in his cage. I could have done this inside with him but Max tends to get overly excited with my shoes and he tries to dominate me when I’m in his territory. This way was safer for taking photos. I could give him attention without wondering when he would jump on me! I also had a chance to really look him over and noticed that his winter coat is beginning to come in. His legs are getting more grey and his fur is thickening all over.
December 30, 2013 – November Max – These photos are from our time on the 18th. He was a great boy walking, and playing and sneeking a peek in the porch window which was very funny. November and December was busy around here, and my blog sat on the back burner.