Saturday 23 February 2013

Book ~ "The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do--and How to Get Them to Do What You Want" (2013) Mieshelle Nagelschneider

From Goodreads ~ Who says you can’t train a cat? Just when you thought you had reached the end of your ball of twine, one of America’s most popular cat behaviorists comes to the rescue of perplexed cat owners everywhere, providing practical and effective strategies for solving every feline behavior problem imaginable—from litter box issues to scratching, spraying, biting, and beyond.

Cat Whisperer Mieshelle Nagelschneider has been helping people deal with these dilemmas for two decades, achieving a near-perfect success rate. Central to her approach is a keen understanding of the unique way cats see the world—their need for safety and security, their acute territoriality, and their insatiable desire to catch and kill prey. Her proven C.A.T. cat behavior modification plan is a commonsense course of action that can be specifically tailored to your cat in the context of its behavior problems and its particular household environment. Easy-to-implement solutions help transform even the most anxiety-riddled companions into confident, gregarious, and relaxed cats who live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Inside you’ll discover
  • how to harness the power of “friendly pheromones” to improve your cat’s appetite, exploration, grooming, and play
  • where, when, and how to create a litter box environment that will provide ease of access and reduce anxiety for you and your cat
  • how to end aggression in multiple-cat households and help your cats coexist peacefully

Is it impossible to train a cat? Not anymore! Your days of yelling and tearing your hair out in the wake of the latest household “cat-astrophe” are over. In this fascinating and indispensable book, the Cat Whisperer takes you inside the mind of a feline to explain why members of one of the world’s most inscrutable species act the way they do—and how you can convince them to change their behaviors for the sake of your peace of mind . . . and theirs.

I love kitties ... we have a ten year old named Morgan and a two year old named Crumpet.  We got Morgan along with his foster brother, Byron, when they were three months in 2002 and Crumpet when she was two months in 2011. Though our kitties are perfect (!!), I like reading books about animals so this book caught my eye.

According to the author, we punish cats when we think their problem behaviors are somehow directed at us or are done when the cats supposedly know not to. In fact, cats are motivated by purely survival.  Hitting, kicking or shouting at your cat may make it see you as a potential aggressor, causing the fight or flight response.  It may start attacking you because you are now associated with something negative.  These practices are ineffective and inhumane.

There are seven basic classes of feline behavior problems and there is a chapter to cover each:
  1. Cat-to-cat tension
  2. Aggression
  3. Litter box issues
  4. Spraying
  5. Excessive meowing
  6. Destructive and unwanted behaviors
  7. Compulsive behaviors

To remedy unwanted cat behaviors, the author has developed a comprehensive holistic three part treatment plan:
  • C - cease the unwanted cat behavior (behavior modification)
  • A - attract the cat to a desirable behavior or location (positive reinforcement)
  • T - transform the territory (change the physical environment)

This was an interesting book ... it's good as a reference manual to have handy if you have a cat or are thinking about getting one.  I like that there is a cute cat picture at the start of every chapter and case studies putting CAT into action.

Our kitties are tabbies and are very chatty.  I'm not sure the author would approve that we encourage that.  Also, the author thinks litter boxes shouldn't have hoods ... ours does and our kitties don't seem to mind.  She recommends letting cats free feed (leaving food out all the time) and we do that.  Introducing cats sounds like a long process in the book (weeks?  months?).  When we got Crumpet, we let her loose right away.  Morgan pouted in our bedroom for the evening but within days they were sleeping together and cleaning each other ... I guess we got lucky.

Morgan is a good boy.  The most destructive habit of Crumpet's is she occasionally does this:

And by the time we realize it, she's usually snoozing somewhere looking innocent.  We've learned to keep a towel hanging over the toilet paper to hide it.  Hard to believe she has a ton of toys!

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.


Way Out Wear said...

Interesting book. I would definitely need to get it if I ever decided to live with a cat. It took me a while to realize that I shouldn't pet them like I pet dogs! LOL

Masshole Mommy said...

The picture of the cat eating the roll of TP is hysterical!!

BetteJo said...

With 4 cats - maybe I should read it!

JCB said...

We have two kitties right now, Nyx and Helios. They are spoiled rotten and do not kill mice because I was told we feed them too much. (They are also fat). Since we arent planning on feeding them any less I resorted to mousetraps.