And can she train my cat to behave?
I get asked quite often if I am, in fact, a cat trainer.
That term is one that I shy away from using; a trainer, in my mind, would be someone who teaches your cat (or dog) to perform parlor tricks and delight audiences. In fact, here is a wonderful video showing just how fun it can be to train your cats to do tricks!
What I do is very different, and far more serious, than cat training. It is my goal in life to raise awareness about cats and how they behave by reaching out to cat owners, potential cat owners, and yes even children, to help them understand how cats think and what motivates their actions.
When people understand what causes their cats act in the ways they do, the easier it is for them to accept certain behaviors. From there, people learn how to stop unwanted behaviors and encourage more desirable ones instead.
Most of a cat’s waking moments are spent doing one of 4 actions that I like to call “The 4 PEGS of Cat Behavior:”
P = Play/Prey Drive – A cat spends a great deal of time in naturing being a predator, hunting for food. Since our indoor cats don’t need to hunt for their dinner, we humans need to satisfy a cat’s prey drive through deliberate play actions.
E = Eat – Of course, once your cat’s Play/Prey Drive is satisfied, he will eat his catch in the wild and also feed any young kittens, or in the case of our indoor kitties he will eat the dinner you provide.
G = Groom – After eating, you may notice cats will begins to lick their paws, clear their faces, and give themselves and all-over cleaning.
S = Sleep – After they are sparkling clean, cats will then take a long nap until the next hunt/meal.
Of course, there is a lot more going on here that just the PEGS actions themselves. Thousands of years of deeply ingrained survival instincts drive your cat’s behavior every single day, with their sole motivation being to ensure the continued existence of the cat population.
Yes, cats are more than just a pretty face. Cats are loving creatures who introduced themselves into our lives in search of food, and stayed loyal to us because of love. I feel it is our sacred responsibility to understand and honor them for the wonderfully wild creatures our indoor cats still remain at heart.
By teaching humans how to understand and then influence feline behavior, it is my fondest wish that more of these special beings will remain in their loving, forever homes.