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  • How to Speak Cat: Exploring Feline Communication and Social Behavior. Presented by Paula Garber

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How to Speak Cat: Exploring Feline Communication and Social Behavior. Presented by Paula Garber

  • Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Tuesday, November 25, 2025
  • Virtual Audio and Presenter Files

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Cats are commonly considered by some to be “aloof,” “standoffish,” or even “spiteful” because their behaviors seem mysterious and nonsensical. But cats and cat behavior are, in fact, none of these things. To the untrained eye, cat communication signals can be obscure and, as a result, cat behavior is often misunderstood. Unfortunately, this can lead to inaccurate assessments of cats’ intentions and negative impact on the cat-human bondBut the great thing about feline communication is, once you learn to see the signals, you cannot not see them. And once you learn appropriate terminology, you will be able to see beyond the labels and accurately describe cat behavior 

The session will begin with a discussion about the language used to describe cat behavior and its effect on how cats are perceived. This will be followed by a brief history of the domestic cat to give us a full understanding of our subjects. We will then explore feline communication signals and their mechanisms, as well as the biological and social factors that influence how cats communicate. You will also learn the importance of context in determining what a cat is communicating and some of the factors that influence cats’ social behaviors with humans and other cats. We will then take a close look at feline aggression signals, some of which are extremely subtle. We will wrap up with some practice applying what you have learned and using the correct terminology when describing behavior. 

After the presentation, you will be able to immediately apply what you have learned. Most importantly, you will better understand the cats in your care. You will also be better equipped to help clients understand what their cats are saying, which will improve bonds and even save cats’ livesAn added bonus of learning to speak cat is that cats will suddenly start speaking to you—how cool is that? 

 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Use language that describes behavior instead of labeling it. 

  • Understand the biological and social history of the domestic cat. 

  • Appreciate the significance of scent in feline communication. 

  • Identify common feline vocalizations. 

  • Observe how cats use their bodies, ears, eyes, whiskers, mouths, and tails to communicate. 

  • Recognize that contextual cues provide important information about what cats communicate.  

  • Identify some specific communication signals used with humans and other cats. 

  • Recognize signs of impending and overt aggression in cats. 

  • Understand the flexibility of feline social behavior and its influences. 

  • Apply your knowledge of cat communicatiosignals and behavior to examples. 

  • Practice using appropriate terminology to describe feline behavior. 

Your Presenter


Paula Garber

Paula Garber is the owner of LIFELINE Cat Behavior Solutions in Westchester County, New York. She is a certified animal training and enrichment professional and certified feline training and behavior specialist through the Animal Behavior Institute. She is also a Fear Free certified trainer and is certified in Low-Stress Handling for Dogs and Cats (Silver-2015). She holds a Master’s in education and is currently earning a diploma in feline behavior science and technology from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute. She is chair of the Pet Professional Guild’s feline division, and also serves on the Cat Protection Council of Westchester and hosts an annual volunteer event to build winter shelters for feral cats in her community.

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