Stephanie Merlin

Certified Feline Training & Behavior Specialist

My journey with my love for cats came later in life. I grew up in a dog only household because my mother was allergic to cats. My only experience with cats as a young child was with my mom’s friend’s Pat cat, far from the friendliest cat. My impression of cats at a young age was that they were aloof and withdrawn. This impression quickly changed when I moved out and found myself adopting my first cat in 2009. Our relations with our pets can change our lives, and my cat Chara did that for me. I recognized that cats and I are not all that different as far as personality goes. Cats are not aloof, but they’re particular. Many cats need time to get to know and win your trust. I’m somewhat of an introvert and found cat sensibilities similar to introverts.

This bond that I had with my own cat has led me to volunteer with cats at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. For those not familiar, the Pet Alliance was formerly known as the SPCA of Orlando. This became the most enriching and rewarding experience of my life. I met and worked with various cats and used my newly found insight into their nature to be their voice and advocate. I became passionate about enriching their lives in the shelter and educating the public on being better cat guardians. After many years of struggling to find a career path aligned with my values and personality, it occurred to me that my calling had been right under my nose the entire time. I was meant to work with cats, which led me to become a feline behavior specialist.

I am now a Certified Feline Training & Behavior Specialist via the Animal Behavior Institute. I have completed coursework and training in feline behavior, enrichment, and nutrition. I have 8 years (1,000+ hours) of experience volunteering with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and am a lead volunteer. I work with a wide variety of cats as well as training staff and volunteers on feline behavior. Additionally, I have led seminars on cat behavior and was featured in Orlando Magazine's October 2018 issue. My skills are sought after within the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and the cat community as the person to seek help with feline concerns. My main goal is to keep cats out of shelters and into permanent homes. Many cats are relinquished and or abandoned due to behavioral concerns, and I want to facilitate that change. I enjoy problem-solving and working to educate feline guardians to understand their feline companions better.

Membership Affiliations:

-International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants 

-Human Animal Bond Association

-Cornell Feline Health Center 

-Human Animal Bond Association

- Pet Professional Guild 

- Feline Nutrition Foundation