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!
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.
"Think like a catit's a tall order but sound advice in a fun book full of expertise and compassion, wisdom, and promise of great cat-filled years to come."
Roger A. Caras
"An insightful and easy-to-follow tour of the land and language of felines. Even experienced owners will benefit from this book. She's the queen of cat behavior!"
Steve Dale, author of My Pet World
"If you have a cat, buy ths book. If you know someone who shares their home with a cat, buy it for them!"
Mark Waldrop, DVM, Nashville Cat Clinic