Why seek the advice of a cat behaviourist?
I set up Cat Behavioural Solutions (CBS) with the aim of helping people manage and resolve their cat’s behavioural problems and restore the joy that cats can bring to our lives and our relationship with them.
Often behavioural problems are actually perfectly normal behavioural traits for cats living in the wild. To a great extent their brain is still hard-wired for that type of living and they need to learn to live with people, adapt to living in our homes and with our routines. A lot of cats are quite resilient and can cope but for some, life with humans – and quite often with another cat in the house - can be very stressful. Their behavioural responses, while normal in the wild is not what we expect or want in our homes and this can make for a tense and challenging relationship.
What does a cat consultation involve?
Cats are very individual and resolving behavioural issues means taking into account the cat’s breed, history (when known), the living environment and interactions with people and other pets. It’s not always easy to pin-point the reason(s) for your cat’s urine spraying or opting not to use the litter box, for scratching the furniture or attacking our hands and feet and so the most effective way is through gathering information and observing the cat in its home environment.
The process …
My Guiding Principles
The Five Freedoms (https://www.rnzspca.org.nz/animal-welfare/the-5-freedoms) is a particularly useful framework for ensuring a cat has a good quality of life. It addresses the cat’s needs for food and water but far more than that – this includes the freedom for your cat to interact – or avoid – others depending on their choice. It also reminds us that animals (in this case cats) need an environment that gives them freedom from fear and distress which can lead to poor mental health, stress and suffering. This is where the research into environmental enrichment is so useful and provides evidence-based findings to manage the environment and help to modify the cat’s behaviour.
This process will require your patience – your cat’s behaviour won’t change overnight so perseverance is key.