My husband sent me a link to an article in the SF Chronicle this morning. It was an article on a well known cat animal behaviorist, Marilyn Krieger. I was pleasantly surprised and happy that other people are spreading the word about this very gifted cat behaviorist. I have met Marilyn and two of her cats, Sudan and Maulee. I interviewed Marilyn for my show, The Paw Stops Here.
Marilyn uses clicker training as well as positive reinforcement. She is very thorough and direct. I love that about her. When it comes to changing the stressful, frustrating experiences that could result in giving your cat to a shelter or worse yet, turning them out to fend for themselves, you can’t mince words. You have to be honest. The quicker the better. When you understand what your cat is telling you, there can be miraculous changes and you will form a deeper bond. Cats as well as other animals really respond, when they know you are hearing them, and they will repay you with more snuggles, purrs and head rubs. It becomes a harmonious household.
Cats have so many myths running out there. “you can’t train a cat, cat’s lack warmth and don’t know how to be affectionate…….black cats are unlucky….” the list goes on and on. But I am not here to keep the myth going. I am also a cat evangelist.
I became a cat convert when I was in my 30’s and I adopted my first tabby, Oscar. Oscar was the kind of cat that loved humans and would be the cat ambassador when anyone would come to our house. He had a quiet dignity and warmth and even people who didn’t normally like cats responded to him. He was my best friend and if I was having a bad day, he would come up and nuzzle me as a way of saying “it’s going to be alright, Mom.” Oscar lived to be 5 years. He had FIV since he was a kitten, which I didn’t know until he started exhibiting symptoms.
It was very hard seeing him go through that. We even set up a room where we would give him IV fluids. Within a very short time, his little body started shutting down and we had our vet release him from his pain and go back into spirit. He now is one of my animal allies. He helps me with my healing work with animals. He comes to me always dressed up in a Mourning suit. He appears to me 6 feet tall. Big enough to really give me a hug when I need it.
Through Oscar he taught me about acceptance, love, optimism, and letting go of a loved one when it is necessary. He gave me a great gift.
Fiona, Left and Moon taking a nap
In our own household with 3 cats with very distinct personalities, there is always negotiations going on throughout the day. Sometimes my 9 year old, Oski, will want to keep playing with his sister, Moon, who is going on 13 and she says stop. We intervene when we have to. But Oski listens when I use my “growl voice” and he will stop. We only intervene when I see there is a stalemate. But most of the time we let them work it out. Our youngest cat, Fionaage 6, is best buddies with Oski. She is the only one who really gets Oski and she is also the only one he listen’s to.
Oski, left, and Fiona
Rounding out our family are our two mini lops, Reggie 4 and Buster 3. We will talk to the cats and the rabbits as if we are talking to humans. We apologize if we aren’t getting their communication or if we accidentally step on their tails. This closeness and acknowledgement keeps our home a
When I read the article about two cats that weren’t getting along and one of the things that Marilyn commented on is that the pet parents didn’t have different levels for the cats to lay on or sit on. In our house, the cats have places to lay on to look out the window. We don’t mind that they sleep on the furniture, so there are many levels and different territories for them to claim and re-claim. What I have noticed is that they take turns in the different areas of the house and sometimes they compromise by sleeping together. That is always a photo op. and it shows that they like each other.
If you want to see the interview I did with Marilyn and see how Maulee and Sudan jump through hoops, sit for a treat or even seeing Sudan open his cat carrier, go inside and close the door, tune in. My show, The Paw Stops Here airs Mondays and Saturdays 5:30 PM, PST. If live in the Vallejo, CA area you can tune in on Channel 27 for Comcast viewers and Channel 99 for AT&T Viewers. If you don’t live in the area, you can tune in on our website, http://www.VCAT.TV.
If you would like information on Marilyn Krieger’s new book, Cat Fancy’s Naughty No More, or to schedule a consultation go to http://www.thecatcoach.com