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Top 3 signs you should hire a cat behaviorist

Virginia Chavez is a Phoenix-based freelance writer covering pets and lifestyle in the Southwest. In addition to regular contributions both online and in-print, Virginia locally owns and operates two pet care and supply businesses. For t...

Cat Consultant

If your home resembles the makings of a life-sized cat condo or a filthy feline sandbox, it's time for a change. Truth be told, whether it's blatant ignorance or pure oversight, many cat owners neglect the obvious (and often vile) cries for help.
Crazy cat

Stop making excuses for Whiskers and start calling in reinforcements. Before you kick your cat to the curb, or vice versa, pay attention to these top three signs your kitty might need an attitude adjustment from a professional behavioral consultant.

What exactly is a cat behaviorist?

Despite common misconceptions, a cat behaviorist does not possess psychic powers, the ability to speak to animals or perform magic (well, maybe a little magic). Cat behavior specialists are highly trained professionals with an extensive knowledge of and education in the habits and behaviors of our furry feline friends.

Marking

For years you've had the perfect kitty, one that always uses the litter box, eats right, cuddles up for nap time snuggles, everything a cat owner can be proud of. Until one day, you find a little brown gift on the carpet or maybe even a yellow spritz in the bathtub courtesy of Fluffy. No big deal, just clean it up and move on right? Wrong. Fast-forward a few months and this one-time occurrence becomes part of the daily cleanup routine. When your perfectly trained cat begins handling business outside of the litter box, it could be a medical issue or a behavioral problem. Have your vet conduct a urinalysis on your furry friend. If the vet give you the green light on health, find your nearest cat whisperer to help nip the problem in the bud.

Scratching

Cats love to scratch. It's part of their nature and the reason we thank heaven for the multitude of scratching goods we've come to know and love. When your couch and drapes become Fluffy's favorite scratching posts, then we have a problem. At times, fixing the problem can be as simple as placing a scratching apparatus (or two) in areas where your cat likes to roam. For more extreme cases, it takes more than cardboard and carpet to keep your home safe from kitty demolition. If you and your favorite sofa have recently become victims of a bad clawing incident, a cat behaviorist can help determine an action plan to keep Fluffy's claws off your furnishings before it's too late.

Aggression

Whether your cat came from a sordid past or has become suddenly aggressive, there are multiple reasons to end this behavior immediately. Hissing, scratching, biting or lashing out is not only harmful to other pets and humans, but they are huge signs that your cat is in dire need of help. Most often, your cat could be in physical pain and should see the vet for a diagnosis. For nonhealth-related concerns, a cat consultant can observe your cat's demeanor and spot behavioral triggers that can pinpoint the source of aggression.

Watch: Cats behaving badly

Check out these amusing shorts of cat antics.

More on cat care

Litter box maintenance 101
Tackling odor from kitty's indoor accidents
Introducing a new cat to your home

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