Frequently Asked Questions
Don't see your question answered here? Feel free to contact me so I can help answer your question.
What is your role as a cat behavior consultant?
As a cat behavior consultant and Certified Feline Training and Behavior Specialist, the methodologies I use to understand and assess behavior are based on science. I'm well versed and educated in feline domestication, development, body language, social behavior, and sensory abilities that contribute to feline behavior. My understanding of these components and observational skills helps me identify behavioral and environmental areas that could be causing your cat's behavioral issue. Based on my observations, I will provide you with personalized recommendations for you to implement with your cat to help manage and work to resolve the behavior issue.
Do you have special abilities where you can communicate with my cat to let me know what’s wrong?
No. There can be a lot of confusion about what I do. I do not have any special abilities where I can communicate with your cat. You are thinking of an animal communicator or psychic. Some people work in behavior and animal communication, but my work is behavior-based only. I can make behavioral assessments about your cat by observing their body language/behavior, evaluating their home environment, and understanding your concerns.
Should I do an in-home or remote consultation?
It's really up to you and your needs. I can accomplish a lot in a remote consultation, especially with video and photo sharing. However, sometimes an in-person meeting and assessment of the environment can reveal more things that may get missed in a remote consultation. Also, some people prefer to discuss things in person. There isn't a wrong choice, but please contact me if you need help determining the right fit for you.
My cats are not getting along. What’s the difference between a Mini Behavior Consultation, regular In-Home/Remote Behavior Consultation Package, and an Inter-Cat Aggression Consultation package? Which should I choose?
For most inter-cat aggression issues, I highly recommend you consider at least a regular behavior consultation, especially if you have to separate your cats currently. The complexities of inter-cat aggression would be challenging to discuss in a 30-minute phone call. If you feel the issue is mild, then a mini behavior consultation could be appropriate.
The differences between a regular in-home/remote behavior consultation package and the inter-cat one are the length of support time. A regular behavior consultation you’ll have 6 weeks of support whereas an inter-cat aggression consultation you’ll have 3 months. My best recommendation if you’re unsure is to request to fill out my intake questionnaire, and I can help point you in the right direction. Inter-cat aggression issues are typically the most complex behavior issues in my practice and often require more time to implement my “Cat”ion Plan and more support time which is why I created a separate service.
How does a consultation work?
Will you be training or working hands-on with my cat during a behavior consultation?
I'll want to meet your cat(s), but I’ll mostly be observing them. Observation of their natural behavior in their environment provides me with a great deal of information. I can read a lot from your cat’s body language, learn a lot from your environment, and your concerns. Even though I know a lot about cats, I’m a stranger to your cat. I let cats decide if they want to approach me and how they want to be interacted with, as I do not want to add any stress to them. I will provide you with the tools and support to work on any training techniques I may recommend for your cat. As your cat’s guardian, you have the strongest bond with your cat and will be the one implementing their plan.
*If you would like to schedule a training session to help you implement any of the techniques I recommend, this can be arranged for an additional charge. This would be a separate service and visit from the consultation itself.
Can I still do an in-home consultation if my cat is shy and prefers to hide?
Absolutely! As mentioned above, my work is mostly through observation. You do not need to force your cat out from hiding for me. I will not force your cat out of hiding either. I’ll observe your cat from a comfortable distance so that I can take note of their body language. I will not do anything to add any stress to your cat, cause them fear, or any discomfort. I can learn a lot from your cat’s body language, along with my evaluation of your cat’s living space, and your concerns discussed in the intake questionnaire.
What type of training techniques do you use/recommend?
I only use and recommend positive reinforcement, meaning I use reward (food, praise, play) as a means to encourage desirable behavior. I will never use or recommend training techniques that use fear, intimidation, pain, force, or shock to a cat.
Will you be able to fix my cat’s behavior problems during your consultation?
My last name is Merlin, but there isn't any sorcery going on here! Behavior modification takes time; however, I will be able to identify the triggers that can be causing your cat's problems from our consultation. In a consultation, I will be doing more information gathering based on your questionnaire and observation of your cat and your home. This will helps me develop your "Cat" ion Plan, where I will provide you with my assessment of what is causing the behavior problem along with my recommendations you will need to implement to see a positive change in your cat. There are not any magic spells to change your cat's behavior overnight or during a consultation.
How long will it take to resolve my cat’s behavior problem?
As much as I wish I can give you a time frame, I can’t. This is all very dependent on your cat and your commitment to implementing the “Cat”ion Plan. I will help you set up realistic goals and support you throughout our time working together.
Can you guarantee you’ll fix my cat’s behavior problem?
You can read more about this here.