Are you struggling with a cat whose behavioural problems make you think you might need professional help?
Whether they call themselves a cat therapist, a cat behaviourist or even a ‘cat whisperer’, there are people available who can help you to better understand your cat’s behavioural issues, and find a way to deal with them.
Why Your Cat Might Need Help
You may think you have a ‘problem cat’ if he exhibits behavioural issues like aggression, anxiety, inappropriate toileting or over-grooming, but there’s usually an underlying reason for the way he behaves, and you just need to take the time to find out what it is.
It’s possible to modify your cat’s behaviour yourself using your knowledge of cats, and the countless cat behaviour books and websites out there for you to browse including our own cat behaviour articles, which discuss common cat behavioural issues and hints and tips on how to remedy them. Sometimes though, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to fix your cat’s problems – that’s when you could consider enlisting the help of a professional cat therapist.
Where to Find a Cat Behaviourist
The first stop in your search for a cat therapist should be your vet, so you can rule out any medical issues that might be causing the problem behaviour first. Once that step is complete, your vet should be able to refer you to a cat behaviourist who can help. If the unlikely event that your vet can’t recommend a suitable professional, you can find recommendations via friends, family or professional associations online.
What to Look For in a Cat Behaviourist
You’re looking for someone who’s fully qualified in feline behaviour, because after all, anyone can set himself or herself up as a cat therapist, and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be able to help you. In fact, they might even do more harm than good if they don’t have the appropriate training and experience. You’re placing your precious kitty in their hands, so make sure that you feel comfortable with them. Discuss their professional background, their successes with problem behaviours in cats and how they work to make sure that they’re the right fit for you and your cat.
What Will a Session With a Cat Behaviourist Involve?
As well as spending time with your cat to observe him and his behaviours, a cat therapist will usually want to talk to you about his personality and behaviour both past and present and any changes in his environment. They may ask questions that don’t seem relevant to the problem you’re having, but they need to get the full picture, and something that you don’t think is relevant may actually be the key to solving the issue! After finding out at as much about your cat as possible, they’ll be able to offer suggestions on what you can do to correct the problem behaviour. Think of it like a treatment plan – a step-by-step guide and possibly a hands-on demonstration of what you need to do and possibly change to help him with his behavioural problems.
Have you consulted with a cat behaviourist to solve your cat’s behavioural problems?
Top image: Orias1978 via Flickr