While it may be impossible to “herd” cats, as the saying goes, there are good reasons to try to understand and manage cats' social interactions.
Dog owners are compelled to prepare their canine companions for social interactions because they take them everywhere – in the neighborhoods and parks, to friend’s houses, or outdoor public events. So through the time spent training a dog, the owner becomes pretty good at recognizing even the most subtle stress signals and knowing when to intervene.
Unfortunately most of us aren’t as fluent in the language of cat communication. Maybe this is because we don’t take our cats on many social outings in the neighborhood. In the world of our homes our cats seem quite self reliant. They usually run and hide when guests arrive, entertain themselves, and don’t need to be walked.
Cats are experts at subtly and, at times not so subtly, communicating with each other. Anyone who has more than one cat has witnessed the effectiveness of these interchanges. Unfortunately, as well meaning human companions to our cats, we often misread their "speech" and behaviors.
Do you want to better understand the feline in your life? Is she having a hard time accepting another cat or dog in the household? Does she avoid everyone but you? Are you nervous when children want to touch your cat? Two upcoming blog posts will outline a “green light” to “red light” guide to understanding cat behavior. Watch for them!
In the meantime, here are some Local Resources:
- Washington Humane Society – Offers private sessions for cat behavioral issues both by phone and in person. They also hold a “Frazzled Feline” workshop series that help you to learn to identify and manage your kitty’s stress more effectively.
- Spot On Training - This is a Capitol Hill based training business that offers both group classes (on location at Metro Mutts stores) and in home private sessions. Owner Heather Morris has helped many clients to better manage the relationships between the dogs and cats in a family so people can achieve a more Zen inter-species household.