Demystifying The Cat

10/18/08 - by TheCatCoach
  • 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.

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17 comments on “Demystifying The Cat”

  1. Hiya,

    I'm here via The Fabulous Lorraine and thought I'd take a moment to say hello. While I'm down to just one cat these days (and a geriatric amputee at that) I've been responsible for many, many cats over the years and love learning more about them. Looking forward to reading more blog entries!

  2. Hi Marilyn,

    I'm here via Fabulous Lorraine, too - good luck with the blog. I just have the one cat (no spooky leopards!) and he & I are pretty set in our respective ways, but it's always interesting to learn more..

  3. Hi Marilyn, I'm another one who has come via Fablo.I'm really looking forward to following your blog and learning more about cat behaviour and training. I have an almost 15 year old diabetic cat, and have learnt things I never knew since her diagnosis. I'm also going to pass your blog and website on to my niece who is a vet nurse and training up as a dog trainer.

  4. Hola! Great start....Cat training has been rather a mutual thing in our family--we learn how to ask/convince/motivate the cat to either do or NOT do certain behaviors, and it seems every cat with whom we've co-habited has had different ways of motivating us to perform the behavior said cat is seeking.

    Looking forward to reading your words of wisdom and experience!

  5. Looking forward to more posts from you 🙂 I'm the happy owner of two bengals (and previously a number of the backyard mix variety), and you are absolutely right - there's nothing wrong with training a cat. We've had success with clickers and other methods.

  6. Thank you everyone for reading and commenting on my blog...
    Cat Behavior is fascinating... and, yes... it's all about motivation. Doesn't matter if you're a cat or a human, it's all about finding the right motivator.

    Sally, I'm sorry to hear about your diabetic cat. Are you giving her insulin? Thank you for passing my blog and site on to your niece.

  7. Hi, Marilyn! I'm among the growing number of fiends from the Fabulous Lorraine's blog. I look forward to reading more from you. 🙂 I have an 11 1/2 year old cat that is indoors, and there are three kittens that have adopted our 19 month old Great Pyrenees mix dog that live outside. Maybe she adopted the kittens; I'm not sure which. 😉

  8. I also come via Lorraine's blog [I'm a huge lurker], but I wanted to say thanks, I guess. I had felt that cats were independent thinkers, but I hadn't figured out how to explain this to my husband [who is very much a dog person] that our [normal mixed variety, leaning heavily towards siamese/himalayan] fluff isn't just being a jerk when he does things that we don't want him to do. ^_^ At the very least, you've already given me a link to go "See?! She's an expert" with 😛
    Thank you!

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