As a certified cat behaviorist counselor, I am often asked: “Why do you spend all of your time helping cats? With your doctorate in education, why aren’t you helping people?” But the truth is, when you help cats, you are also always helping people.
People tend to assume that if a cat has a behavior problem, the problem must be with the cat. Most of the time, this simply isn’t true. Most of these cats are not difficult and they don’t really have behavior problems; the fact is – their humans have problems and this creates problems for the cats.
Whenever a human being has a serious problem such as illness, bereavement, job loss, or divorce, you will often find an animal suffering at the end of it. So, you never help a cat without also helping a person.
Yes, I help a lot of people whose cats won’t use the litter box, cats who scratch on everything except for the scratching post, and what to do when you bring home Fluffy as a companion for Puffy – and as it turns out, Puffy did not want a new brother or sister all that much! But I also help people in distress, whose life situations are affecting their cats.
My work as a cat behaviorist involves advising clients both locally (Massachusetts) and throughout the country on how to resolve their cats’ behavioral and emotional problems, always with the goal of creating permanently harmonious relationships between cats and their owners. I consider a lot of my work “surrender prevention” as many of these cat owners are at their wit’s end and are considering surrendering their cat to a shelter. I successfully keep over 500 cats in their homes every year.
I also do a lot of training in shelters, teaching staff and volunteers about cat behavior and how to resolve problems.
Last, I would like to add that I do not charge for my cat behavior counseling because it my personal mission that there never be a financial barrier preventing people from keeping their cats in their homes. Proceeds from by book Saving the World, One Cat at a Time: What I Know About Cats – And Why You Should Know It, Too are also donated to cat shelters.