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Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss [NOOK Book]

Overview

A fully revised and updated edition of the bestselling feline behavior bible.

There are approximately eighty-five million cats owned as pets in the United States alone. And-thanks to her regular appearances in the media and at veterinary conferences and humane organizations-most of their owners already recognize Pam Johnson-Bennett as the authority on all things feline.

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Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss

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Overview

A fully revised and updated edition of the bestselling feline behavior bible.

There are approximately eighty-five million cats owned as pets in the United States alone. And-thanks to her regular appearances in the media and at veterinary conferences and humane organizations-most of their owners already recognize Pam Johnson-Bennett as the authority on all things feline.

Over the past ten years, the award-winning author has continued to refine her work and techniques. From basic health care to more serious behavioral issues, from training cats to use a scratching post to avoiding litter box problems this newly revised edition of Think Like a Cat covers all of a cat owner's most pressing concerns-and solidifies its position as the topic leader for years to come.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Nice Kitty

Do you have a happy cat in your home? Whether your cat is old, young, a longtime family member, new to your home, or acting like a rebellious teenager, this book is sure to be an indispensable guide in helping your special feline live a long, healthy, and more joyous life. Pam Johnson-Bennett, the award-winning author of Twisted Whiskers, had always considered herself a dog person -- until she became a sudden owner one snowy night of two little kittens that needed a home. Since then there's been no looking back, and through her love for cats she has become a nationally acclaimed feline behaviorist. In Think Like a Cat, she shows you that by "understanding your cat's motivations, needs and communication" you can modify and prevent behavior problems, avoid common mistakes made by both novice and experienced owners, and ultimately continue to enrich and enjoy a relationship "in which you are unconditionally loved, endlessly forgiven for your mistakes, never judged, and constantly entertained."

How can you have a great relationship with your cat? "If your impression of cat ownership involves filling up a food bowl and putting a litter box in the extra bathroom, then both you and your cat will soon be very unhappy." Some people might get a cat because they think that a cat will be less trouble than a dog. Let's face it, comparing cats and dogs is like, well, like comparing apples and oranges. They are different, and they have different needs. A dog is a pack animal that needs a leader. By nature a dog expects to get rubbed and wrestled with. Dogs like to horse around. A cat does not. A cat is a solitary predator and needs its space. But what both cats and dogs do need is your love and attention. Just because a cat is, by nature, independent doesn't mean that he or she doesn't need your praise or physical affection. There are a lot of myths about cats -- like the one above -- that lead to their mistreatment. By learning more about what makes a cat a cat, you will be better able to give your feline the space, care, and love that he or she needs.

And this sentiment couldn't be truer when it comes to training your cat. Hitting or yelling at your cat when he scratches his claws on your nice new couch just doesn't make sense. Your cat is only being a cat. He needs to scratch his nails so they can stay healthy and strong. Also, scratching helps a cat relieve stress and relax. Imagine being yelled at and hit for sprawling out on the couch with a magazine and a glass of nice red wine after a long day's work. You must align your training expectations with your cat's needs if you want to have a happy, well-trained cat. Johnson-Bennett advises you to "get on her level emotionally, physically, and mentally in order to map out an effective training plan." She outlines three basic methods for training: positive reinforcement (rewarding kitty for good behavior), remote control (spraying kitty with a water gun when she jumps on the kitchen counter), and redirection (getting kitty to scratch on a scratching post instead of your expensive couch). By using these training methods in the first place, you will get a head start in establishing good behavior, and in the process you and your cat will become closer.

If you want to learn more about your cat and what you can do to strengthen and enjoy your relationship with each other, then Think Like a Cat should really be on your reading list. From years of experience as a vet technician and as an adoring cat owner, Johnson-Bennett knows her stuff. And she covers it all in this book -- from grooming, training, health, and nutrition to emergency care, games, and toys. So get ready to hear a lot more purring around the house!

—Jen Forman

Library Journal
Feline behaviorist Johnson-Bennett (Twisted Whiskers: Solving Your Cat's Behavioral Problems) suggests that if cat owners learn how to think like a cat, they can better understand their pets and build a more positive relationship. One way is to view the world not from the vantage point of a 5'7'' human but from the cat's level, ten inches off the ground. If you needed to scratch your claws and saw only drapes and furniture and no scratching post, what would you use? The author gives helpful tips for stopping destructive chewing, aggression, furniture scratching, and litter-box difficulties. Her advice on grooming, pests, traveling, and first aid are clear and straightforward. She also recommends types and brands of toys, equipment, food, and other feline products. A similar guide is Brian Kilcommon's Good Owners, Great Cats (LJ 10/1/95), which has a more attractive layout and is easier to use. Still, this volume is more comprehensive than Johnson-Bennett's earlier works, with excellent insight into feline behavior, humor, and common sense. Recommended for most pet collections.--Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101552674
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 86,605
  • File size: 691 KB

Meet the Author

Pam Johnson-Bennett is the author of seven award-winning books on cat behavior and training, as well as the founder and chair of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants' Cat Division. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Read an Excerpt




Chapter One

The Cat of Your Dreams


Will You be a Match Made in Heaven or The Odd Couple?


Cats aren't shirts that you buy at the store and then return if they don't fit. Nor are they a pair of shoes you give away or toss out when you've outgrown them. While these comparisons may seem ridiculously obvious to you, the sad fact is that too many cat owners actually do view their cats that way. As a result, countless cats end up relinquished to shelters or just abandoned because they didn't meet their owners' expectations of "the perfect cat."

    Why do you want a cat? Taking the time to examine your desires honestly can help ensure a lifetime of love.

    Choosing to become a cat owner is, of course, an emotional decision. It's also choosing to take on a serious responsibility because the cat's health and welfare will be completely dependent on you. If your impression of cat ownership involves filling up a food bowl and putting a litter box in the extra bathroom, then both you and your cat will soon become very unhappy. Although a cat may seem to be a lower maintenance pet than a dog, you must be prepared to meet his emotional, medical, and physical needs.

    Being a cat owner also involves a financial commitment which some people aren't prepared for. Cats or kittens acquired for free need the same veterinary and nutritional care as the purebred you paid top dollar for: the initial vaccinations and neuter or spay surgery, then yearly vaccinations for the rest of his life. He'll also undoubtedly needperiodic medical care for unexpected ailments or injuries, and veterinary care isn't cheap.

    Over the years I've seen many incredibly close cat/owner relationships. I've also seen cats and owners who seem to be just co-existing in the same house with no emotional bond. Many times, that's the result of the owner having had the wrong expectations about cats from the start. You have an opportunity now, with this book, to create a close cat/human bond. Even if you already have a cat (maybe you've had him for years), you can create a closer relationship—and that's the key, it is a relationship.


Rumors, Innuendoes, and Lies


Some of the comments I've heard over the years are:


    Cats steal the breath from babies.

    You must get rid of your cat if you're pregnant.

    Litter boxes always stink.

    Cats ruin the furniture.


If those were true, why would anybody ever want a cat? Unfortunately, people continue to pass along this inaccurate and unfair information. The result? Many people who might have become cat owners get scared off. It's the cats who suffer as they continue to be charged with crimes of which they aren't guilty. Let's take a closer look at some of the common misconceptions so that you can learn fact from fiction and go ahead with plans to share your life with a cat.

    Cats are aloof. We've all heard that! In fact, if most people had to describe cats in one word, aloof would be it. And, if you mention aloof, you might as well throw in independent as well. I believe these descriptions come from inappropriately trying to compare cats to dogs. It's the old apples and oranges comparison. The dog is a pack animal. He hunts in a pack and his whole social structure is built on the pack mentality. A cat, on the other hand, is a sociable animal but not the pack animal that a dog is. His social structure is built upon his sense of territory. Don't misunderstand me: Cats can and do live happily together, but unlike dogs, their primary focus isn't to establish a pack.

    Part of the reason cats may appear aloof is that they are predators (and take in their entire environment). Sometimes the cat may sit on your lap, enjoying your affectionate stroking, but there are times when he'd prefer just sitting nearby, relaxed yet ready should any prey come on the scene. Cats are stimulated by even the slightest movement, which might indicate potential prey.

    Cats by nature are not generally contact animals the way dogs are. With their pack mentality, dogs encounter a great deal of close physical contact with each other. In the wild, an adult cat's physical contact with another cat may be generally limited to mating or fighting. This isn't to say that your cat won't enjoy being petted or held, just that some cats need a larger personal space than others and if you respect that, you'll be able to build trust and eventually increase his level of comfort. How they were socialized as kittens and whether they were gently handled by humans also plays a role in how large a personal space they require later. Much of how your individual cat's personality develops and whether he becomes friendly and sociable versus timid and unfriendly depends on you.

    This book will teach you how to understand his language and communicate with him so you two can develop a strong, loving bond. If you expect him to do all of the work then you'll end up with, yes, an aloof, independent cat.

    The bottom line: Stop comparing your cat to a dog, and suddenly you'll start noticing his uniquely wonderful traits.

    Cats can't be trained. False! Once again, you just have to stop thinking DOG and start thinking CAT. My approach to training is based on positive reinforcement. If I want my cat to stop doing something, I direct him to something better. My think like a cat method involves understanding why he's behaving the way he does so I can meet his needs in an acceptable way. This training method is easier and more effective than continually reprimanding your cat for doing things that are instinctually natural to him (such as scratching). So throw out all of those old ideas you've had about how cats can't be trained. It's easier than you think. Actually, I'll let you in on a little secret: I think it's easier to train a cat than a dog.

    Cats are dangerous if you're pregnant and cats steal the breath from babies. I really hate these. First of all, if you're pregnant, there are precautions you should take concerning the litter box. The box could be a serious health risk to your unborn baby, but it doesn't mean the cat should be tossed out. To get the accurate story, refer to the medical appendix in the back of this book. As for that stupid myth about cats stealing the breath from babies, it's not true, yet it continues to resurface year after year. My theory on this is that long ago, before SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) was identified, cats were blamed for the unexpected death of sleeping babies.

    Litter boxes always stink. Well, actually a litter box will stink IF YOU DON'T CLEAN IT!!! As long as you maintain an adequate cleaning schedule, no one will ever have to hold his nose to enter your home.

    Cats ruin the furniture. Oops, you got me again. There's some truth to this statement but only if you neglect to provide him with a scratching post. Now I know some of you reading this are thinking, Well, my neighbor has a scratching post and the cat still ruins the furniture. My answer to that? Wrong post. Chapter 9 will teach you how to get it right the first time.

    So now that we've cleared that up and you're standing on the threshold of cat ownership, let's go get the cat, right? Uh, not quite yet. You have many decisions to make. Do you want a kitten or a cat? Male or female? Will the cat be an indoor or outdoor cat? Where should you get the cat? Pet store? Breeder? The next-door neighbor?


A Kitten or a Cat?


Kittens are cute. I mean really, really cute. Whenever I bring a kitten on television with me, just about every crew member has to come by for a closer look. Kittens are definitely smile magnets, but before you fall in love with that adorable little bundle of fur, take the time to understand what'll be required of you as the owner of a kitten.

    You need to kitten-proof your home if you decide on a youngster. You have to patrol for dangling electrical cords, dangerous cleansers, poisons, etc. (Even if you decide on an adult cat you'll have to safeguard him from these things as well, but kittens seem bound and determined to get into trouble.) Basically, you have to know where your kitten is at all times to prevent him from hurting himself. Kitten-proofing a home isn't that difficult, but for some people it's not possible. For instance, an artist friend of mine lives in a one-bedroom apartment. She wanted the companionship of a feline but knew that getting a kitten would surely result in spilled paint. Not only would that be messy, but it would cause a serious health risk to a curious little kitty. The artist chose to adopt an adult cat who had a quiet personality. Aside from one incident when the cat accidentally walked across Sonia's palette and left a trail of fuschia paw prints on the carpet, they have a very compatible relationship.

    A family with young children should reconsider the idea of a young kitten and opt for an older one (at least six months old). Kittens are very fragile and can easily be injured by exuberant young children. An older cat can still be injured, but he is better able to escape from a child's grasp.

    If you or anyone in your family is unsure of his footing, a kitten zooming underfoot through the house could create a danger.

    Consider how much time you have to devote to a kitten. They require more supervision and can't be left alone as long as an adult cat.

    If you adopt a kitten, it affords you the opportunity to have a greater effect on shaping his personality than you would have on an adult cat. By exposing him to a variety of situations, you stand a good chance of raising a cat who is comfortable around strangers, not afraid of unfamiliar surroundings, adapted to travel, etc.

    So why would you want to miss all the fun and get a grown-up? One of the best reasons to choose an adult cat is that you know just what you're getting. Physically, it's all there for you: body type and color/ length of coat. You can also get a good sense of his temperament—whether he's active, nervous, docile, sociable, very vocal, quiet, etc. Because all kittens tend to be fuzzy little race cars, you don't know which ones will actually stay that way and which ones will calm down. If you want to be sure of a specific temperament or personality, go for an adult cat.

    One thing to keep in mind though is that a shelter cat may initially appear very timid or defensive in that stressful environment. Once he becomes acclimated to your home and family, he may begin to blossom. On the other hand, a cat at the shelter may have been relinquished by the previous owner because he had behavior problems. It doesn't mean the problem isn't workable, but you have to be prepared to address whatever situation does arise. I'll discuss shelter adoptions later in this chapter.

    An adult cat doesn't need the seemingly constant supervision that a kitten does. This is great for people who don't have the time to be following a kitten all around the house day and night.

    If you truly have the love and a desire to share your life with a cat, adopting an adult could literally save his life. Whether kittens are brought to shelters, found in alleys, or given away outside of grocery stores, they stand a better chance of being adopted than the adult cats. By taking that four-year-old tabby, you'll be saving him from a life behind bars or worse, death.

    Financially, an adult cat is often less expensive than a kitten. Kittens require a series of vaccinations and at six months of age, there's the cost of neutering or spaying. Adopting an adult cat from another family or from a shelter often means the cat is up-to-date on vaccinations and, in some cases, already altered.


The He or She Dilemma


This is another area where myths and rumors seem to run wild. If you know someone who has only had male cats, they'll be able to rattle off all of the great qualities of a male and numerous shortcomings of females. They'll tell you how much smarter and outgoing males are. Longtime owners of females will quickly dispute that and add how territorial males are.

    Here's the truth. Once a cat is altered, it doesn't matter if you choose a male or a female. Hormones are what drive undesirable behavior such as a spraying male or a yowling female in heat. Simply by having the cat spayed or neutered, you can control that. Left intact (unaltered), I don't care whether you choose a male or female, you'll be one unhappy (and that's putting it mildly) cat owner. Intact males are territorial and they will spray. If allowed outdoors, they'll roam and get into countless fights that could lead to death. Intact females, when in heat (which happens several times a year), call relentlessly in search of a male and will try to sneak outdoors every chance they get. Altered cats make much better companions. They won't spend their lives in frustration, and you won't spend your life pulling your hair out.


Purebred (aka Pedigreed) Cats


Although most cat owners choose nonpedigreed cats (or else those cats choose them), you may have your heart set on a purebred.

    Lovers of purebred cats will argue that there are hundreds of reasons to go that route versus mixed-breed, but I'm going to assume you're a novice in the cat world, and focus on what I feel would be of the most importance to a new cat owner.

    When considering a purebred, make certain you're aware of any potential genetic health concerns prone to that particular breed. Two familiar ones are the respiratory problems associated with the short-nosed Persians and the potential skeletal problems associated with the Manx. Do your homework before deciding on a purebred. Read breed-specific books and check cat registry Web sites. Talk to your vet, breeders, and owners of the breed you're considering. Visit cat shows in your area to get a closer look. Talk with the breeders who are there to show their cats. To find out what cat shows are in your area, check out the listings in the various cat magazines or visit the cat registry Web sites.

    In the dog world you find big dogs, bigger dogs, small dogs, even smaller dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, sporting dogs, guard dogs, longhaired, shorthaired, no-haired, vocal dogs, and quiet dogs. Such variety! In the cat world, the greatest variety exists mainly within the purebreds. Let's take size, for example: If you want a very large cat, you'd probably be interested in the Maine Coon Cat. If an athletic cat is more to your liking, there are several breeds to choose from, for example, the Abyssinian. So, if you like specific physical traits or a certain personality type, purebreds can be more predictable. This could be an important factor in your decision-making process. Within the world of purebreds, you will find cats with folded ears, bobbed tails, no tails, kinked fur, no fur, or colors that could only exist in nature; cats who are talkers or couch potatoes.

    Some breeds require special attention that you may not have the time, desire, or ability to provide. For example, several of the longhaired breeds—such as Persians and Himalayans—require daily brushing or their hair will mat. Do you have the time required to care properly for this kind of cat?

    Finally there's money. A purebred will cost you. Some are much more expensive than others, but be prepared to pay.


The Long and Short of It: Hair Length


No question about it, a beautifully groomed longhaired cat is a head-turner. Cats such as Persians have the feline world's equivalent of Hollywood glamour. We watch them on TV as they recline on their pillows in their diamond collars, eating out of stemmed crystal glasses. Truly glamorous, dahling! That's probably why Persians are one of the most popular breeds. We see them and fall in love, unaware of the "behind the scenes" work that goes into maintaining that glorious coat.

    The coats of many longhaired cats will mat if not brushed daily. That silky coat can get into a knot faster than you can say "creme rinse." Aside from the unsightly look of matted fur, mats can create health risks if left unattended because they can prevent air from reaching the skin. Fleas can also seek refuge under mats. As mats tighten they pull on the skin and make walking painful. The nails of the cat can get stuck in the mats as he attempts to scratch. I've seen neglected Persians who have ripped holes in their skins in an attempt to scratch beneath the mat. If you love the look of a silky longhaired cat, give serious thought to the maintenance.

    Not all longhaired cats are prone to matting. Even if you choose a not-matting cat, be aware that all longhaired breeds will still require more frequent brushing. The Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat, for example, have thick, long hair that doesn't mat. Maintenance is still required, though, to keep this coat looking lustrous.

    Longhaired cats, whether they mat or not, occasionally need special assistance concerning their personal hygiene. Their long fur can now and then catch and trap pieces of feces. If a longhaired cat develops diarrhea, the cleanup is much more involved than with a shorthaired cat.

    Hair balls. You've heard of them. You've maybe even seen them. Although any cat regardless of coat length can have them (depending on how frequently they self-groom), long haired cats experience more than their share. A good grooming schedule by you and a regular dose of hair ball prevention paste (available from your vet) will help, but if you aren't able to maintain the cat's coat, you'll be subjecting him to certain hair balls. For more on grooming, refer to chapter 12.

    Some breeds are more fragile than others. The Sphinx, for example—which is a practically hairless cat—requires warmer temperatures and therefore wouldn't be a good choice for someone who prefers keeping the thermostat set low.


Magnificent Mixed Breeds


Some of the most loved, spoiled, cared for, doted on, cherished cats are the ones who don't come with a pedigree. They're the ones we find lost by the roadside, at our back door, in the neighbor's garage, in the barn, the local shelter, brought home by our children or shivering in the parking lot. So many are in need of our rescue. Really, I believe many more actually rescue us.

    Unless you're already set on a specific breed, are planning to enter your cat in shows (and actually, there are several mixed-breed shows), or embarking on a breeding career (something I strongly advise against), you should consider a mixed breed.

    What is a mixed breed? It refers to the product of the random matings of different or mixed breeds of cats. Sometimes you may see a trace of an identifiable breed (for instance, the cat may have a sleek oriental body and be very vocal) but usually, the years of random matings create cats whose histories are mysteries.

    Mixed breed cats come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. From a personality standpoint, you may not get the predictability that you often have with purebreds, but in general, what you will get is a hearty, adaptable cat.


Where to Find Your New Cat


Now that you're sure you want to share your life with a cat, let's examine the many sources out there for acquiring your new companion—whether a kitten, adult, purebred, mixed, longhaired, shorthaired, male, or female.

    As I'm sure you're well aware, cats aren't in short supply. You could probably open up your back door and literally find one hanging out in the yard. I live on three acres, and almost every morning I spot a different cat crossing through the field.

    While a great many people come across the cat of their dreams through rescue efforts, that method isn't for everyone. The injured or starving cat you pick up from the roadside or the one you rescue from the shelter's death row may or may not turn out to be the friendly, trusting, well-socialized animal you'd hoped for. I'm certainly all for anyone who gives a cat a second chance at life, but you should make sure you know what you're getting into. I want you and your cat to spend many, many happy years together.

    A note of caution: When you begin your search, I recommend that you not bring your children along. Your first visits to shelters, breeders, etc., need to be strictly to evaluate the facilities. I've seen too many owners coming home their first day out with a kitten they weren't prepared for because the children fell in love. Oh, and by the way, children aren't the only ones who suffer from the inability to walk out of a pet store or shelter empty-handed—we adults wrote the book on that one!


SHELTERS—FINDING YOUR DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

Walking into a shelter is a very emotional experience for an animal lover. Walking out empty-handed is very difficult for an animal lover. Be prepared—you can't save all the animals. It's very tough to go from one cage to the next, staring into the eyes of the cats in need of homes. As much as you may want to take the neediest of the cats into your arms forever, be sure you know what it'll require. Making an impulsive decision you aren't ready for could end up being wrong for you and for the cat.

    There are many shelters around the country, ranging from public animal control facilities to nonprofit private organizations. In your search, you'll find well-run facilities and you'll come across horrible jail-houses.

    Chances are very slim that you'll be able to come across a purebred cat at a shelter but it does happen (most likely the more popular Persian or Siamese). If you're looking for a kitten, they go fast—everyone wants kittens, especially around Christmas. But if you're open to the idea of an adult cat, you'll find many ages, colors, and personalities.

    Although most shelters are staffed by caring people who try their hardest to house the cats in as comforting of an environment as possible, considering how stressful shelter life is, don't expect the cats to be on their best behavior. Very often these cats are in emotional shock. Many have been abandoned by their owners, lost, homeless, or injured. Suddenly they're put in a cage, away from anything even remotely familiar from life as they knew it and they're terrified. Even though your heart's in the right place and you plan on giving a cat the best home in the world, initially he may not act very appreciative. Some cats who've been relinquished to the shelter by a family due to a behavior problem will pose an extra challenge to you. Very often, though, a cat adopted from the shelter eventually puts his past behind him and ends up being the love of your life. Some of the smartest, prettiest, most sociable, tolerant cats I've seen came from shelters.

    Nowadays shelter staffs work with cats when they're first brought in to help them become adoptable. Years ago, when pets were brought to most shelters they'd be tossed into a cage or dog-run and remain there until they were either adopted or put to death. Luckily, more and more shelters have volunteers who come in daily to interact with the pets, offering comfort, affection, and playtime.

    Before you decide to go to the shelter adoption route, inspect the facility, ask questions, and be completely informed regarding their policies (for instance, many shelters have rules stating that the adopted cat must be kept indoors). Some even require an in-home visit first to make sure you are suitable.


CAT RESCUE GROUPS

If you'd like to provide a home for a kitty in need through a local rescue agency, keep in mind that as with shelter-adopted cats, you'll very likely be dealing with a traumatized animal. These cats need a stable, peaceful, secure home and an owner with an abundance of patience and love.

    Many of the cats rescued will not have had the advantage of having been socialized to humans during kittenhood. This is an important thing to consider if you absolutely want a cat who will sit in your lap and view life in a carefree way. A cat who has been rescued may need quite a bit of time before daring to trust. When it happens, though, it's amazing to watch as the cat begins to lower his guard and let you in. The times I've experienced it will stay in my heart forever.


BREEDERS—THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

If you truly have your heart set on a purebred, your best source will be a breeder. A good breeder isn't so easy to find, though. As with any other business, when money is involved, ethics can get lost on the way to the bank.


A Good Breeder


* is very knowledgeable about the breed

* welcomes any questions you may have

* competes in cat shows

* offers references

* welcomes inspections of her cattery

* lets you see the parents of the kittens

* has all registration papers

* requires the buyer to spay or neuter the cat

* has documentation of health exams and vaccinations

* doesn't sell any kitten less than twelve weeks old

* prohibits declawing

* specifies in the contract that the cat must be kept indoors

* doesn't pressure you to buy

* displays a genuine love for the breed

* screens you to make sure her kitten goes to a good hom

* offers a refund and not just a replacement kitten

* requires the kitten be returned if you can't keep him.


    Good breeders are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of their breed. They lovingly keep a very clean, healthy cattery and are extremely knowledgeable about cat health, nutrition, and behavior. They should know about any congenital problems that their breed is prone to and how to avoid them. Good breeders welcome questions and inspections of their catteries.

    To begin your search for a good breeder, start by attending the cat shows in your area. Even if the nearest one is a bit of a drive, it's worth it. Good breeders show their cats. It's a good opportunity for you to talk with several breeders. Unless they're getting their cat ready to be judged, they should be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

    Raised underfoot is a phrase you'll hear very often when talking to breeders. That means the kittens have been handled and socialized by humans as opposed to being locked away in cages. Beware, though, anyone can claim that their kittens were raised underfoot; it's up to you to decide if they're truthful. Visit the cattery; ask questions; carefully observe and handle the kittens. Remember, a registered kitten means he comes with an official-looking piece of paper. It doesn't guarantee that he's a well-adjusted kitten.


PET STORES

Don't be a sucker. Kittens in pet stores are way overpriced, undersocialized, and most likely the result of someone's breeding boo-boo. Don't support the unethical business of purchasing kittens from pet stores.

    A good breeder would never sell a kitten to a pet store. Just because you have the cash or can flash a credit card doesn't make you the right owner for the purebred. Anyone who would sell a cat based on who can fork over the cash fastest isn't someone you should even think about buying from in the first place.

    Some pet supply stores have changed their policies and refuse to sell kittens and puppies because of the vast number of unethical breeders. I applaud them and show my support by purchasing my pet supplies there.


BUYING BY PHOTOGRAPH

Whether your dealing with a breeder or a private owner, don't agree to purchase a cat you haven't seen. Some breeders who live out of your area will agree to sell cats long-distance. They send you a photograph and the first time you actually get to meet your cat is when you pick him up at the airport. My word on this practice? DON'T.

    If the breeder of the specific breed you want lives far away (and this usually is the case if you're interested in a rare breed) and you absolutely have to have this kitten, then get on a plane and go see him, evaluate the facilities and then if all seems right, take the kitten back with you.


NEWSPAPER ADS

Be cautious. Just because a kitten is advertised for free and the description sounds perfect doesn't necessarily mean things are as advertised.

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    Check out the home carefully. Don't let the owners meet you at the mailbox with the kitten in their arms. You want to see where he was raised and if possible, see the mother cat.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
1 The Cat of Your Dreams 1
Will You be a Match Made in Heaven or The Odd Couple?
2 Head to Toe 23
A Guided Tour of Your Cat and the Ways He Communicates
3 Watch Out for That Hot Tin Roof 39
Creating a Safe Home for Your Unstoppable Kitten
4 The Doctor Is In 65
The Other Most Important Person in Your Cat's Life and
How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick
5 House Rules 87
Basic Training
6 Fast Forward Stop Rewind Play 103
Playtime Techniques Used for Behavior Modification
7 Sour Puss 125
Solving Common Behavior Problems, Serious Problems, and
the Ones You're Too Embarrassed to Tell Anyone
8 Litter Box Survival Guide 153
Everything You Need to Know from Setup to Troubleshooting
9 Scratching Posts, Sofas, Antique Chairs Which One Will
Your Cat Choose? 183
Yes, You can Have a Cat and Nice Furniture, Too
10 The Kitty Chef 195
Finicky Eaters Aren't Born—They're Created
11 Relationships: Other Cats, Dogs, Kids, and Your
Grumpy Aunt Esther 223
Does Your Cat Hate Your Spouse? WillHe be Jealous of
the New Baby? Should You Get a Second Cat? How About a Dog?
12 Glamour Puss 241
How to Make Grooming a Pleasurable Experience
(Really, It Can be Done)
13 The Pest Patrol 257
Taking the Bite Out of Fleas and Ticks
14 Fasten Your Seat Belt 267
Traveling Without Trauma
15 And Baby Makes Three Four Five 285
What to Do When Your Cat Makes You a Grandparent
16 Getting Gray Around the Whiskers 297
What You Need to Know About Your Geriatric Cat
17 Legacy of Love 305
The Goodbye We're Never Prepared to Say
18 Emergencies and First Aid 311
Keeping Your Cool in a Medical Crisis
Medical Appendix 335
Resource Guide 399
Index 405
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2000

    A book to read

    This is a book any cat lover should read...at least once in her/his life! Sure, Im absolutely serious about this: if you want to understand your cat buy this book... and read it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    Pure Heaven

    I got married 8 months ago and my new husband disliked my cat. He wouldn't pet the cat or even fill his water bowl. The stress was becoming unbearable for all of us. Then I found this book. The other night, while I was getting into bed I noticed the most amazing thing...my husband was reading the book. At first he told me that he was just flipping through it but the next day he began telling me things he'd learned. Bless you, Pam Johnson-Bennett. This book is the best!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend this book for cat owners!

    Well-written and easy-to-read, this book is very helpful when it comes to figuring out why your cat is or isn't acting a particular way. Ms. Johnson-Bennett offers answers and solutions that absolutely make sense. I've read numerous books on cat behavior and highly recommend this one if you're looking for advice and answers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Gets you thinking

    This book really makes you start to think like a cat and helps you understand why cats do the things they do.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Help For Shelter Cat

    I purchased this book to help our new shelter cat become well adjusted. He was either not socialized or trained to play rough. This book gave me tools to turn his behavior around. He is now becoming a pet we can enjoy without getting hurt.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    Best book on cats

    This is the best cat book I have read. It is comprehensive, easy to read and full of good, useful information for cat owners. It is especially helpful for a new cat owner like me. I have read many books, web sites and magazine articles. This book has it all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2000

    Comprehensive and easy to understand

    This book covers all aspects of caring for a cat in a clear, easy to understand style. Her writing style is very entertaining while providing the reader with excellent behavior advice. I would highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2000

    Wow!

    Pam does it again! Nobody knows cats better than this woman and she proves it again in her astounding new book. This is, without a doubt, the best book on cats you'll ever read. I wouldn't be surprised to find this on the New York Times Bestseller list. I hope this author never stops writing. Wow!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2013

    Great book! I agree with most of the readers. Pam may not be a

    Great book! I agree with most of the readers.

    Pam may not be a vet but she is dead on about the canned food. Dry food has little to no moisture in it, and healthy cats need a lot of moisture in their diets. They don't eat kibble in the wild. A good balance of good quality wet and dry foods is probably ideal. What cats DO need to combat the teeth issue is regular dental care - brushing the teeth regularly or cleanings every few years is essential! If you don't believe me, answer this - how would your teeth be if you never brushed them or went to the dentist??

    If you don't believe her about the canned food, do your own research instead of just talking to a single vet! There are a lot of different schools of thought on this subject, even among the best vets and scholars. Information is readily available in bookstores or on the web.

    All in all, this is a great read, easy to understand, and I recommend this to anyone who is bringing a new kitten - young or old - into your family! As a new kitten owner, and an owner of two very healthy and happy 19 and 17 year old cats, I give this two thumbs up!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2000

    Awsome!!!!

    This is the ultimate cat book! I really enjoyed reading it. I hope Pam will come up with another great book sometime soon!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2012

    Great read, lost a star for ONE reason, only!

    I read up on cat ownership sooo much before adopting a shelter kitten and found a lot of great tips in this book. My kitten turned out to be soo good (even with me as an owner) but the ONE thing I was disappointed in was that Pam claims that we should be feeding our animals canned food otherwise they won't get enough water. Turns out this isn't true and canned food actually rots their teeth faster... I had read this, but Pam is very convincing so I went with her advice, but she is a behaviorist, not a vet! My vet said I should try to get my kitten off of canned food, but it is so not easy after she's had it for so many weeks now. So, 5 stars for the tips on modifying behavior, but minus one for undermining solid veterinary medicine.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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