SOURCE: Western University of Health Sciences
POMONA, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 20, 2012) - Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show "My Cat From Hell," gave veterinary students and community members practical advice about living with and working with cats.
The talk, held at Western University of Health Sciences' Pomona, Calif. campus on Sept. 19, 2012, was organized by the WesternU student chapter of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, otherwise known as the Cat Club.
Galaxy explained the concept of cat mojo -- what propels them through space, what makes a cat historically -- and your cat specifically -- motivated to move, and what gets them through the day.
"Cats are on the planet to kill things," he said. "Anybody who thinks they're on the planet to cuddle with you, you have high regard for yourself."
Cat mojo starts and ends with ownership. A cat that is comfortable with the territory they're in is a confident cat that will have few behavioral problems. The two places in your house where your scent is strongest are your couch and your bed.
"They know how to mark you. They own you that way," Galaxy said. "When the confident cat scratches your couch, it's not a behavior problem. They're going to mark it with scent and a visual marker. This is how we reframe it. It's not a problem. It's a cat compliment. Me and you, we belong to each other."
So if you have an expensive couch that you don't want scratched, you need to find an alternative.
"Behind every 'no,' there has to be a 'yes,'" Galaxy said. "Put a scratching post next to the couch that has a texture they dig and they can make a dent in how it looks."
Cats are an elegant, perfect mechanism for hunting, yet we treat them like furniture, Galaxy said. They sleep a lot because they're gearing up for the hunt, yet we expect nothing to happen.
"That energy has to come out," he said. "You have to engage your cat in play."
He encouraged those who work in shelters to provide cats with more than just comfort when they arrive.
"At some point you have to become a challenger," Galaxy said. "Cats have to be brought out of fear, brought out of trauma. They're not going to do that by themselves. We can make these cats confident, and with confidence they're adoptable."