Cat behavior experts will charge you a boatload of money for what I’m about to tell you! I’m not saying that you will never need a cat behavior expert after hearing my one big secret to understanding cats… but you will be two steps ahead of most of their clients. If there is only one thing you ever remember about cats, make it this one:
Anything involving cats will be clear only when you begin with the cat on her own terms.
This goes whether you are training a cat to do tricks or figuring out why she has litter box issues. It goes when you have two cats who are having a disagreement. It goes when you are shopping for cat toys or a new cat condo. It goes for just about anything, good or bad, involving us cats. It especially goes when you are at the cat adoption center, looking for a new family member.
Cats will never desire to please you in the same way a dog does. Not that we want to displease you. Actually we don’t really think about whether what we do is having an effect on you at all. That is, unless your reaction to what we are doing causes us to be stressed out. Of course we want a happy home life and a nice human companion. We just expect that human companion to start from square one, when it concerns us. And that square one is us, on our own terms.
Master cat trainers, like Samantha Martin of the Acro-Cats, always start their lessons on a cat’s own terms. They figure out what type of tricks the cat naturally gravitates to, and they build from there. Cat behavior experts want to know the origins of what has been upsetting a cat before figuring out a solution — one that is specific to that cat. Even complex solutions to cat behavior begin simply with the cat herself.
If you want a better relationship with your cat, forget what your expectations of her are. Look at her expectations first, and then go from there. You will both be much happier. It’s as simple, and as multifaceted, as that.
Does your relationship with your cat begin on her own terms, or do you let your own expectations get in the way?