Stephanie Merlin CFTBS
Cat Behavior Specialist & Educator
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 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 My impression of cats at a young age was that they were aloof and withdrawn.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. I recognized that cats and I are not all that different as far as personality goes. Cats are sensitive beings that look to us for compassion and understanding. We have much to learn and appreciate from cats, and I'm so thankful that my bond with my first cat Chara, helped open my eyes to the inner beauty of cats.
This bond 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 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 cat 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 help people better understand cats to help elevate, enrich, and enhance their lives and their bond with them.