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Community Manager
PetCareRx-Becky
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎07-12-2013

Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

[ Edited ]

Is changing your cat’s poor behavior a challenge? Do you struggle with how to keep your cat active and engaged? Are you at a loss for how to get your cat to stop ruining your furniture? Do you have multiple cats and wonder why they don’t get along?

 

Now’s your chance to get your cat behavior questions answered!

 

Join us to meet Pam Johnson-Bennett, the renowned cat behavior expert and star of the new “Psycho Kitty” TV series, currently airing on Discovery UK and Nat Geo Wild Canada. She is also the author of seven best-selling books about cat behavior, including .

 

Pam will answer your questions from August 26 through 31.

 

Ask a question now and you could win a copy of Pam’s classic cat behavior book, “Psycho Kitty: Tips for Solving Your Cat’s Crazy Behavior.”  Two members will win!

 

Just reply to this post to ask your questions!

 

You can find out more about Pam and her work at http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com.

 

     psychokitty_bookcover.jpg         pamjohnsonbennett_sm.jpg

 

Read the official contest rules here.

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New Contributor
littleBit
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-11-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Hello Pam! Thx for answering our questions.

 

My question is: My cat Guiness hates when we have company over. How can I get him to be better-behaved around guests?

 

Thank you!

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New Contributor
LoweDavis_2011
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-17-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Why do cats go so crazy over cat nip? Lol!

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Occasional Contributor
KittyKat
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎07-17-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Hi!

Thanks so much for answering questions for those of us that are having issues.

This is not directly about behavior, but my family moved back in October. I have been adopting ferrel cats for awhile. We get them spayed/neutered, release them, and they eventually become a little more tame. I have had most of them for 4-5 years. When we moved, we had to use a humane trap to trap them all, move them to our new home, and then we let them go in our laundry room. We let them stay in there a week. We left open crates with their old beds etc so they would feel more at home. Then we let them go into the garage and laundry room for about a week, then we finally let them go outside. They ran straight back to the old house! (We only moved ~3/4 of a mile from our old house).  We have now done this 3 times. Any ideas on what we can do? I don't want someone to move into the old house and call the humane society, but they will not stay home! 

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Occasional Contributor
KittyKat
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎07-17-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Oh and, then being inside kitties is not an option. My kids have allergies and I despise litter boxes! 

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New Contributor
lizard0305
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-15-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Thank you so much for answering questions!

 

My cat has a tendency to stalk my dog. She's a 13 lb. domestic shorthair, about 3 years old. Our dog is a 5 lb. Pomeranian. She stalks him when he's walking around a corner, waits for him on the stairs, both coming up and down, and full-body tackles him. He's an old dog, and I'm afraid she'll hurt him. She's already made sure he's too paranoid to climb the stairs on his own. We have scratching posts and cardboard trays for her, and lots of toys. Our children will play with her with the toys from time to time, but she seems to delight in dog-torturing. Is there anything I can do to persuade her to leave the dog along? All he wants is a comfy spot for a nap, and food that the cat doesn't steal. (yes, she will try to keep him from his food, and he's underweight). In all other ways, she's a delight to have around the house. She is not allowed outside, and shows no interest in being outside.

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Community Manager
PetCareRx-Amy
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎07-13-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!

Welcome! I really appreciate having a cat behavior expert here to answer questions. I'm wondering how I can encourage my cats to use their scratching paraphernalia rather than the sofa. We have plenty of scratch posts and toys for them, but they consistently ignore the human approved scratching items and tear up the sofa instead. I've put tape on parts of the sofa, but that looks bad, and I can't actually tape all of the many parts they scratch. So, they just scratch around the tape. I've tried luring them to the scratching posts with catnip, but only one of them really cares for catnip, and they all still vastly prefer the sofa. Any thoughts?
--Amy
PetCareRx Community Manager
Pet Parent to cats Miles, Mickey, and Paris
Temporary Foster Parent to kittens Dandelion and Snapdragon
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Occasional Contributor
Cat-Expert_Pam
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎08-23-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!


littleBit wrote:

Hello Pam! Thx for answering our questions.

 

My question is: My cat Guiness hates when we have company over. How can I get him to be better-behaved around guests?

 

Thank you!


I don't know from your question whether he's running and hiding or attacking the guests. If he's attacking, then make sure all guests ignore Guiness totally when they come over. No eye contact, no talking to him. Nothing. Part of the problem is that he may be feeling as if this is a territorial invasion and if guests stare at him or attempt to interact, he'll view that as a threat. If they ignore him, he'll start to realize that he has more control in his surroundings. On the other hand, if he's running and hiding, then when a guest visits, after about five minutes, excuse yourself and go visit Guiness by yourself. Bring an interactive toy and conduct a very low-key play session. Even if he doesn't come out from under the bed it's ok. The important part of this exercise is that your body language and voice are sending the message that there's nothing to worry about.

I also use clicker training in situations such as this. You can find information about clicker training in my book Think Like a Cat, but you can also find information on the web. Clicker training is a way to "mark" the good behavior you want from the cat. It's typically very effective in cases of aggression or fear. It helps the cat focus.

 

Good luck and thanks for your question.

Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat Behavior Associates
www.catbehaviorassociates.com
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Occasional Contributor
Cat-Expert_Pam
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎08-23-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!


LoweDavis_2011 wrote:

Why do cats go so crazy over cat nip? Lol!


Nepetalactone, which is the volatile oil in the catnip plant is what causes the reaction. Cats take the scent in and that triggers the response.

 

There are several schools of thought as to why catnip creates a response in cats. It has been reported that the cat experiences a marijuana or LSD-type response. This response, luckily for the cat is without any of the risks and is simply getting high without any of the consequences associated with that action. Other theories include: the reaction being the same as the estrus behavior of female cats (rolling, rubbing); or that it simply triggers a pleasure response. Even though your cat may look like a love-sick feline, catnip is not an aphrodisiac. Cats who are neutered or spayed will have the same reaction as intact cats.

Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat Behavior Associates
www.catbehaviorassociates.com
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Occasional Contributor
Cat-Expert_Pam
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎08-23-2013

Re: Ask the Expert: Get Answers to Your Cat Behavior Questions and Win!


KittyKat wrote:

Hi!

Thanks so much for answering questions for those of us that are having issues.

This is not directly about behavior, but my family moved back in October. I have been adopting ferrel cats for awhile. We get them spayed/neutered, release them, and they eventually become a little more tame. I have had most of them for 4-5 years. When we moved, we had to use a humane trap to trap them all, move them to our new home, and then we let them go in our laundry room. We let them stay in there a week. We left open crates with their old beds etc so they would feel more at home. Then we let them go into the garage and laundry room for about a week, then we finally let them go outside. They ran straight back to the old house! (We only moved ~3/4 of a mile from our old house).  We have now done this 3 times. Any ideas on what we can do? I don't want someone to move into the old house and call the humane society, but they will not stay home! 


Thanks for caring for the feral cats and getting them spayed and neutered.

The problem you're having is due to the fact that the cats don't know the new territory. Cats are territorial and when they go outside in the new home, it's all unfamiliar and, they could even pick up the scent of other cats. Being feral, they spent a lot of time establishing their own turf at the old property so it's natural for them to want to return there.

 

Since they're somewhat tame at this point, perhaps you could contact a feline rescue group in your area for specific advice on how to handle this. I would also suggest going on the Alley Cat Allies website because they have lots of information on working with ferals.

 

From a behavioral standpoint, I can't offer you any advice other than to build an enclosure or allow the cats to have access to some form on indoor environment. I know that's not what you want to hear but their instinct to return to their old territory is too strong.

Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat Behavior Associates
www.catbehaviorassociates.com
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