And now a word from your sponsor

Along with its intended purpose, a good sturdy scratcher is great to lounge on. Don't hide it in an out-of-the-way place.

In rhapsodizing about the glories of cats, I’ve neglected to pitch my services. It’s easy to share pearls of wisdom about cat care and the joys of each individual feline. However, when things get tough, help is needed. Through my “Ask the Cat Lady” column in Pets Press, I answered readers’ questions, advising them about behavior issues such as out-of-litter box problems, aggression and nutrition. I could always tell when the issue came out because I would get phone calls.

The free advice I have been giving through that publication and, going back even further, through The Whole Cat Journal, has led to paid consultations, classes offered regularly through adult education, and talks at local venues. Here’s the pitch: Call me if you have a problem … before it gets out of hand. I can spend a half hour on the phone or, depending on location, schedule an in-home visit to help pinpoint the problem and suggest solutions.

Unlike dogs cats do not need to be “trained.” For the most part. With a bit of guidance, cats train themselves – to use the litterbox, scratch in the proper locations, grooming. Experience has taught me that cat owners experience three basic behavior problems: inappropriate elimination, aggression and scratching. The causes and solutions, however, are many and there’s a lot of detective work involved. The owner may be upset because the cat is shredding the sofa. But he has a scratcher, says the owner. Where is it? I ask. Over in the corner. Sure enough, there’s a scratcher, but it’s short, unsteady and very worn. No wonder the cat is using the sofa. The owner may be reluctant to clutter up the house with scratchers or just not aware that they’re a necessary accoutrement to cat care.

Many cases are not all that simple and people often wait until undesirable behavior is out of control before they seek help.
Dog trainers are not cat behavior consultants. It may take some effort to find one in your area, so call me. Many problems can be handled by phone.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

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