Understanding your Domestic “Wild” Cat
Most efforts to solve cat behavior issues fail. And they fail for two, key reasons: they are incomplete, and they offer outdated or erroneous (or even counterproductive) advice.
With her research of domestic cats here in the U.S. and wildcats in the montaine cloud forest reserve in Costa Rica with field biologists and a zoologist, and compiling 20 years of data from thousands of cat owners the clinic has helped, Mieshelle has developed the most accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive, and effective cat-behavior methodology. She calls it C.A.T.
How Can a C.A.T. Plan Solve All My Cats’ Behavior Problems?
A C.A.T. Plan is a cat behavior modification plan specifically tailored to your cat not only in the context of its behavior problems and particular household environment, but its natural wildcat instincts still genetically prevalent from the African Wildcat. What’s important is that Mieshelle and the client address all elements of the Plan:
Identification. You can’t solve what you don’t understand. Is your cat spraying — or just urinating? How can you know? If he’s spraying, which one of dozens of possible reasons is causing it? Is that just a stool on the carpet — or is your cat trying to tell you something by middening? (Do you know what middening is?) Last but not least, how can you know when the problem may have a medical cause — and what you need in addition to cat behavior techniques is a vet or even medication? In many cases, if you don’t identify the problem, you could waste your time and money and even harm your cat. We recommend that all cat owners have their cat checked out by a vet. Our behavior advice does not take the place of vet care.
The next three steps must go together. If you are using advice that (as often happens) only includes 1 or at most 2 of these steps, your success rate will never be as good as when working with a complete and comprehensive behavior plan.
C: is for Cease the Unwanted Behavior
For inappropriate urination, for example, Mieshelle will tell you how to clean and treat the soiled areas, how to do so properly, and what products to use — and which popular one to avoid. She’ll also save you from a lot of traditional, but wrong, advice. For example, should you or shouldn’t you place litter boxes at the scene of the crime? Is what you’re doing causing social hierarchy stress leading to litter box issues and even health problems? Does the African Wildcat share latrine sites?
Mieshelle will coach you on techniques to make the unwanted behavior unattractive, from simply strategies to scientifically-validated, and easy-to-follow re-association techniques. If any behavior products are involved, she will give you tips that are more effective than those of the product manufacturers themselves. She’ll even teach you what a real prey sequence looks like — and how to make sure that you are leaving your cats satisfied after they play (hunt), not damaging the delicate social hierarchy, and not becoming more frustrated!
A: is for Attract the Cat to a Desirable Behavior
Continuing the example of a cat with urination problems, Mieshelle will show you the second critical step: how to attract your kitty back to the litter box using techniques that fall in line with their natural wildcat latrine instincts that you can thank their wildcat ancestor (the African Wildcat) for. She’ll cover box type, size, design, cleanliness, dispersion and placement, number, and places to avoid. Should you use covered boxes? Automated? Which popular litter substrate to use and which ones to avoid. Mieshelle will tell you everything. Your (wild) cat will start returning to her box, every time.
T: is for Transform the Territory, or Environment
And Mieshelle is absolutely unique in providing a creative array of tools for the critical third step, that of Transforming your (“wild”) cat’s Territory and environmental landscape in order to greatly reduce any chances of a relapse. Do you know what should never go near litter boxes and what should? How to know when one of your cats is purposefully blocking the way to the litter box for others? How much light to provide? What Maintenance Litter should you use once the problem has been solved? How should the rest of your cat’s important resources be set up in the home to make sure you’re not causing litter box issues or social hierarchy structuring issues with other cats in the household? There is also very basic information (yet still unknown to most cat owners) on just how to make sure your cat is the happiest he can be that Mieshelle will set out for you in the “T” part of the plan because she believes in a holistic approach to every behavior issue. Nothing can be overlooked when it comes to cats that still have one foot in the jungle!