Demystifying The Cat
- Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
- Cats do what they want.
- Dogs come when they're called. Cats take a message and get back to you.
- Cats are mysterious.
These are a few of the misconceptions and cutisms that feed a false myth about cats. Cute as some of these sayings may sound, they have perpetuated a false stereotype about cats that has harmed and in many instances, killed cats. Unfortunately, many people believe that cats do whatever they want, and that their behaviors can’t be changed. They think that unappreciated cat behaviors such as inappropriate elimination, scratching the furniture and aggression can not be modified or stopped. Unfortunately, since so many people have bought into the myth, cats are regularly surrendered to shelters and or euthanized for these very fixable problems.
One of my goals as a certified cat behavior consultant is to bust this myth and to demystify the cat. Educating people about cats is very important, will help save lives and also help people appreciate how wonderful and special cats are. Cats are very trainable and behaviors that we don’t appreciate can be modified. Many times the reasons the cats are engaging in these behaviors is because of human error. Usually it takes some management and behavior modification, both of the cat and her human companion. Sometimes the fixes are simple, the result immediate, other times it takes more work, including environmental management, positive reinforcement and an understanding of the triggers. In the majority of cases, the behaviors can be modified and stopped.
Please, if you have a cat that is engaging in a behavior you don’t like, don’t give up on the cat. Chances are, the behavior can be modified. Instead call either a certified cat behavior consultant or a veterinary behaviorist. If you have economic challenges, then call your local humane society for behavior help. Many humane societies offer free phone consultations both for cats and dogs.