Aug 5, 2014

The Cat Whisperer

by Mieshelle Nagelschneider

A book all about cat behavior and how to make it fit what you want to live with. Why cats do what they do- the basis being that cats are in nature solitary hunters out to protect their resources- so to have a peaceful housecat you must make sure they feel secure and don't have to ward off rival cats (whether in the house or out of it) or feel crowded at feeding spots and the like. That's just a little bit of it, but you get the idea. The author discusses in very specific detail how to handle undesirable things your cat might do such as soiling things outside of the litterbox, marking places with urine, clawing furniture, yowling in the middle of the night, sucking on clothing or hair, attacking people and/or other cats and so on. Also issues like how to introduce a new cat to an established cat in the home, how to help a cat settle in after a move and more. Points out when conventional advice is not the best to follow, and what medical issues could cause common behavior problems. In each instance she explains things from your cat's viewpoint- why they are probably doing what they do, and how to redirect their behavior- mostly by removing the stresses from their environment and providing more appropriate outlets for their needs. I don't currently live with a cat, but I do still help take care of my cat who now lives with my boyfriend and we've had to deal with him urinating outside of the box. A lot of the ideas in this book were very helpful (he hasn't had issues in a while, but I have a better idea now of what might have been causing them).

Some things of interest I learned from this book:
Cats and humans have similar pheromones, which makes it easy for cats to bond with people.
Cats communicate with each other mostly by scent, but learn that people respond better to vocalization.
You can transfer the scent off a cat's own body to alter its behavior, how it feels about things in the home or other cats and people it lives with.
Cats are good at "time-sharing" and can have peacefully overlapping territories because they use different resources at different times of the day.
Cats naturally live by hunting and eat small, frequent meals throughout the day- so she suggests you feed them more often in small portions, or leave food available all day long. I always thought that would make a cat fat.
I knew cats' temperaments could be shaped by early socialization or lack of it, but learned that they can also have behavior problems later in life if they suffer from malnutrition as kittens. Malnutrition can actually affect parts of the brain so it don't work properly later on.
How a cat ideally likes his litterbox placed was not exactly what I thought before.
Most cats like to be petted on the head and sides of the face, not along the body, back or near the tail.
Cats don't like to drink near the places where they eat- because in nature their dead prey could contaminate water. So she says that's why some cats prefer to drink out of your water glass, a dripping faucet, or the toilet.
A cat can feel frustrated when it plays with things you manipulate, but never let it catch. And, she says you should finish a prey-sequence play session not only by letting your cat grab and "kill" the toy, but also by feeding your cat or giving it a treat- then it will feel really satisfied.

A lot of things I never really considered before. Might just get a copy of this book to keep on my shelf. I found this one at the public library, just browsing my favorite section.

Rating: 4/5    310 pages, 2013

more opinions:
Book Reviews from an Avid Reader
the Conscious Cat
Different Time, Different Place

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

I might have to get a copy of this book as one of my cats likes to wake me up in the middle of the night to be petted and refuses to be ignored.