If you’re going through a behavior issue with your cat or if you’re on the threshold of becoming a brand new cat parent, take time to get educated about behavior, training, and health. Read books by qualified, certified experts in the field, ask questions of your veterinarian, attend public seminars held by local humane organizations, and if necessary, consult certified behavior professionals. If you have a kitten, take the time to socialize him right from the very beginning. Puppy socialization classes have long been popular but did you know there are kitten kindergarten classes available as well? Kitten kindergarten sessions are typically conducted at veterinary clinics and humane shelters. Contact your veterinarian to find out if there’s a class in your area.
Take time to train your cat and help him get comfortable with being around people, being handled, traveling in his carrier, noises and other novel experiences. All-too-often, people get cats because they claim they don’t have time for a higher maintenance pet such as a dog, and then they wind up dissatisfied with the cat because he doesn’t bond with them, doesn’t behave as expected or he doesn’t interact with family members.
Your relationship with your cat requires YOUR participation. This is a relationship! The more you invest in training him, socializing him and learning about what he truly needs (nutritionally, medically, physically and emotionally), the better the chance of having the relationship you’ve always wanted.
If you’re experiencing a behavior problem with your cat, don’t give up on him, punish him or resign yourself to living with things the way they are. The key is to find the underlying cause of the problem and then create a better option for the cat. If you’re stuck on the notion that kitty is behaving badly because he’s spiteful, stupid or mean, then you’ll never correct the problem. You have to look at the situation from the cat’s point of view. Come on, you’ve watched enough CSI episodes to know that the clues are all around you. You just have to put the pieces together. If you’ve read enough articles on this site then you know you need to use a “think like a cat” approach in order to uncover what your cat is truly communicating by his behavior and how you can train him using positive techniques.
Cats have been second class citizens in the pet world for far too long. It’s time to give them the attention they deserve, whether you’re just starting out or whether you and kitty have been longtime companions. If you’re a first-time cat parent, start your cat off right by learning about his needs and taking the time to understand what makes your newest family member tick. If you’re a seasoned cat parent who has been dealing with a long-term cat behavior issue, stop wasting time and help your cat get back to a happy life. Behavior problems cause stress to everyone in the family — most especially the cat.
Want More Information?
You can find comprehensive cat care and training techniques in the book Think Like a Cat. The book is available at online retailers, bookstores everyone and on our website.
Note: the information in this blog is not intended as a medical diagnosis. If your cat is exhibiting a change in behavior, consult your veterinarian to rule out potential underlying medical causes.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.