15 Sep 2017.
Cat in a Flat had a little chat with Anita Kelsey, cat behaviour specialist to get a snapshot into just what your cat is really thinking.… Are they in fact plotting world domination? What are the not so obvious signs they could be in distress?
All will be revealed in our Q&A, we hope you find it as informative as we did…
I guess a passion for cats and wanting a change in direction from my previous career.
Helping cat owners understand their cats and build a harmonious relationship with them.
Sometimes having to re-home a cat to improve a situation. It’s always a tough decision for the owner which is upsetting to see but down the line it has always been the best outcome for the cat in question.
I always notice body language, whether it is nervous and showing tensions or affectionate. This guides me on how the cat should initially be approached.
Usually the cat’s typical daily pattern/activities will change. An example is lying about too much when initially the cat was active. Less interest in food or human interaction is another sign something isn’t right. Toileting outside of the litter tray is another sign.
Behaviours like over-grooming to the point of self-harm are typical of cats suffering from anxiety or boredom as a behaviour issue rather than medical. Some cases can be extreme with the cat ending up bald or the skin broken in areas of the body. It is upsetting to see but can usually be worked with once diagnosed correctly.
To lower expectations and understand the cat as an animal first. Not all cats like petting or being held. Working with a cat’s individual personality and seeing life from their point of view is any cat owner’s first port of call.
Food! Get the new partner to start feeding the cat and playing with it using good quality hunting style toys. I’m sure it won’t be long before the cat and new partner are best friends.
1. Respecting a cat’s space, don’t always assume a cat wants to be stroked and picked up.
2. Understanding a cat’s body language improves relations between humans and cats. Recognise when a cat may feel nervous of a stranger entering its home for the first time (as an example). As a cat sitter allow the cat to approach you in their own time, get down to the cat’s level to allow it to sniff your hand as a first good introduction.
3. Always look at the home as a cat would and try to stimulate the environment as much as possible considering a cat’s natural behaviours.
To understand a cat by looking at life as they see it and not as we see it.
I think we all love cats because of their large eyes which appear big in comparison to their heads, because they are a curious independent species that make us laugh by the nature of that curiosity and they have learned to live near with us to get exactly what they want when they want it. We find this cute. Whether we work professionally with them or not we have all fallen under their spell.
Anita Kelsey holds a first-class honours degree in Feline Behaviour & Psychology and runs a vet referral practice in Notting Hill dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. Anita is a full member of The Canine and Feline Behaviour Association. To contact email please email email@example.com.
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