When do you need a cat behavior consultant?
If you’re having a behavior problem with your cat and you’ve tried resolving it yourself without success, you may want to consider hiring a cat behavior consultant (aka a trainer). The resource “Why We Use Relationship-Based Training” provides information that will help you screen feline behavior consultants based on their training methods. You can also visit cat behavior consultants’ websites and social media channels to evaluate their effectiveness and client satisfaction.
Finding a certified behavior consultant, certified applied animal behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist
If your cat has more challenging behavior issues, or if a trainer tells you that he or she is not qualified for your case, ask the trainer for a referral to a certified behavior consultant, a certified applied animal behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist. These professionals can assess a cat’s history, temperament, environment and reaction to various situations to help everyone involved understand what it will take to manage or correct the behavior. Here are several options for finding a behaviorist or behavior consultant:
- You can find a certified behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
- To learn more about finding a certified behaviorist, talk to your vet or go to the website for Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists.
- You could consult a veterinary behaviorist, a veterinarian who has undergone extensive training and education in animal behavior. The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists lists their members on their website.
- Talk to your veterinarian, who may have access to a veterinary behaviorist through the laboratory service he or she uses.
For more information about getting help for your cat’s behavior problem, read “Pet Behavior Help” and “Pet Behavior Helplines.” Below are some other resources that can help you learn more about how cats think and how you can enhance your relationships with them.
Books on feline behavior and training
Clicker Training for Cats by Karen Pryor
Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions and the Psychology of Cats by Dr. Nicholas Dodman
Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat periodicals, newsletters and blogs
CatWatch: This informative newsletter is from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
IAABC Cat Division blog: The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) offers this open-access blog about cat behavior and training.
Videos and DVDs about cats
Dogs Have Owners, but Cats Have Staff! DVD by Patricia McConnell: In this DVD, an applied animal behaviorist helps you to understand cat behavior better and also gives practical advice on solving behavior issues.
Short cat training videos by Dr. Sophia Yin: A respected veterinary behaviorist offers DVDs on low-stress handling of dogs and cats, as well as some short videos.
Miscellaneous Tellington TTouch videos: Tellington TTouch is a gentle approach to the care and training of pets and other animals.
- Come With Me Kitty cat harness by PetSafe
- Kitty Holster cat harness by Crazy K Farm
- Size Right adjustable cat harness by Coastal Pet Products
- “Walking a Cat”
- NurtureCALM 24/7 feline calming collar
- Feliway pheromone diffuser or spray
- Nutritional supplements (including Nutri-Calm, Zylkene and Solliquin), to be used as advised by your veterinarian
- ThunderShirt or Ace bandage wraps
Toys and other enrichment:
- “Enrichment Ideas, Activities and Products for Indoor Cats”
- “Cat Enrichment: Toys, Puzzles, Aromatherapy and More”