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We’re on a mission to provide resources and practical tips to pet people

Ask a Trainer: A Friend for a New Feline

Q. I recently acquired a male, neutered cat, who is about 3 years old. He lived indoors all the time, his first two years with a sibling. They were separated when the owner passed away, then fostered. I’m the third owner in a month now. He is a gentle lapsitter, content to be in his room, looking out the window. I am contemplating getting him a companion. What’s your suggestion? Same age or a younger cat? Male or female? Breed? (He is a domestic shorthair, tuxedo.) – Thanks, C. A:… Continued

To Save a Starfish: A Compassion-Fatigue Workbook for the Animal-Welfare Warrior (Book Review)

Several of us who have animals as pets also volunteer or work in the animal welfare field at some point. You might give your time to an animal rescue or shelter, veterinarian clinic or hospital, or even animal control. Whatever your role, if you intend to stay in the field, you should consider adding “To Save a Starfish” by Jennifer A. Blough to your reading list. Burnout and Compassion Fatigue “To Save a Starfish: A Compassion-Fatigue Workbook for the Animal-Welfare Warrior“ is a self-care workbook designed to help its readers… Continued

Looking for a Fun Way to Enrich the Life of Your Cat? Give Agility a Try!

Modeled after the equestrian sport of show jumping and adapted first by the dog world, feline agility is a team sport whereby a handler directs a cat through a preset obstacle course. By the very fact that agility is a team sport, it can strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Agility has physical and cognitive benefits too. It gets everyone off the couch, burns calories, and builds muscles. Because it draws on environmental memory, agility helps cats adapt more easily to new situations. Finally, agility uses cats’ natural… Continued

Meeting the Environmental Needs of Your Pet Cat(s)

Enrichment provides cats with ways to engage in natural behaviors. It improves their physical and mental health, alleviates stress and boredom, and improves their ability to cope with challenges. There are numerous types of enrichment, but perhaps the most basic and well-known is environmental enrichment. It will be the focus of this article. EATING/DRINKING Feeding stations should be located in calm and quiet areas that allow cats to eat in peace and without interruptions. This will help keep them from being interrupted or disturbed, which will in turn help prevent… Continued

Ideal Pairings to Consider When Getting a New Cat

Thinking of adding another cat to your household? In this article, I describe the best combination of cats, based on the advice in professional articles and the experiences of animal welfare workers. Best Cat Pairings What do I mean by best combination? It’s when all members of a group of cats live together peacefully, stress-free, and happy, and with acceptable behavior. International Cat Care (ICatCare) says siblings who grow up together make the best pairings. ICatCare noted that this is especially true if “there was evidence of sociability with each… Continued

Cat Introductions – One Step at a Time

Since starting my cat behavior consulting business in 2019, the issue that I have been most often contacted about is that of cat introductions. While there are some cats that will roll out the welcome mat almost immediately for a newcomer, most need a more structured approach. 1. SAFE ROOM The first introduction step is to start your new cat in a safe room. This room should have all the major resources that a cat needs: feeding station, litter box, scratching post, bedding, and toys. One benefit of a safe… Continued

What You Need to Know About Kitten Socialization

Are you fostering kittens, or have kittens of your own? One of the most important gifts you can give them is effective socialization. Socialization is about more than just introducing kittens to people. It’s about providing kittens with positive exposure to new stimuli: such as people and animals, environments, objects, and situations. Before I discuss the right way to socialize, I want to point out that the main socialization window for kittens is from two to seven weeks of age, but it can extend up to 14 weeks. During this… Continued

Teach Your Cat to Like the Carrier – You Got This!

Does your cat run and hide as soon as she sees the carrier? Even worse, does your cat scratch and bite if you try to force her into the carrier? Take a deep breath! There is a way to teach your cat to like the carrier.   Make the Carrier a Happy Place First, put the carrier in a part of the house frequented by your cat, so your cat gets used to seeing it. If the only time your cat ever goes into the carrier is for a vet… Continued

Agility for Cats!? A Cat Behavior Consultant Answers What, Why and How

Our three cats coax us daily for their agility time in our basement! Agility is also a sport that I have introduced to more than one of our foster kittens and taught to more than one of my clients and/or students.   What is Agility? It’s a sport whereby a handler directs a cat through a preset obstacle course. Modeled after the equestrian sport of show jumping, and adapted first by the dog world, agility is designed to demonstrate coordination, intelligence, beauty of movement, training, and speed. In competition, cats… Continued