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Do You Need A Cat Behaviorist?

Updated on February 7, 2013
Little baby Dixie... notice the pink "blankie" in the background? This is the blanket she STILL has today!
Little baby Dixie... notice the pink "blankie" in the background? This is the blanket she STILL has today!
I noticed in a lot of Dixie's kitten pictures the little pink blanket was usually there!
I noticed in a lot of Dixie's kitten pictures the little pink blanket was usually there!
We took the "knot" out of the blanket and wrapped her in it! She was (and still is) a cutie!
We took the "knot" out of the blanket and wrapped her in it! She was (and still is) a cutie!
My favorite picture of Misty giving Dixie a "kiss" on the top of her head! :) She will still try this from time to time, but it ends up with good natured swatting at one another!
My favorite picture of Misty giving Dixie a "kiss" on the top of her head! :) She will still try this from time to time, but it ends up with good natured swatting at one another!

I keep getting awakened by loud HOWLING!

From time to time, our very sweet little girl kitty, Dixie, will awaken us either in the middle of the night or early in the morning with her loud howling! I have tried to play "armchair psychologist" to figure out her reason for doing this.

Now usually when we wake up and go see what the problem is, it turns out that she has brought her little pink blanket to us... it is a fleece blanket that I had tied a KNOT in when she was just a little kitten. I thought it would be a nice little "toy" for her. Turns out that she loves it and carries it around even today, five years later!

I think her howling is to let us know that she has brought her little "blankie" to us. She puts it in the middle of the hallway and proceeds to HOWL. Now if I get up, praise her for bringing her "baby" up to see Mommy, then she settles down and lays by her blankie and is quiet again. But, she has to make sure that someone has seen that she brought her blanket up to us.

I thought it was interesting behavior, and like I said before, trying to play "armchair psychologist" I think that she thinks this little blanket really IS her "baby." At least we call it that. I wonder sometimes if the howling is some kind of "missing her kitten days"... or perhaps it's even more complex than that.

I wonder if it could be that she somehow KNOWS that we had her "spayed" when she was young and she won't have kittens, so this replaces any kittens she might have had? Hard to say! Maybe it is a mournful howling that she won't be a mother, but has motherly instincts? Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I do think it's interesting behavior on her part.

I do know that I've looked into cat psychologists, and what I've found has been really fascinating! First of all, I had heard of "dog whisperer's" but never a "cat whisperer" until I found an internet site that has one!

For a fee, this cat whisperer will help you through your problem, no matter what it is...

What a fascinating occupation that must be!

Checking out this website made me think, what a fascinating occupation it must be to be an animal behaviorist! From what I have read, there are only about 50 of them (those who have actually gone to school beyond the usual four years of college and are now licensed to be animal behaviorists).

I wish I had found this out back when we first got our second cat, Misty... the two of them took at least four months to get USED to one another, and it took at least that long before they could be in the same room together without hissing and aggressive behavior! (The hissing was done by Dixie, and the aggressiveness came out in Misty).

But instead, we basically just "gave it time" (which is pretty much all our vet could tell us to do). Another thing we did was introduce them to one another through a crack in the door, let them "sniff" to get acquainted, and eventually they started to play underneath the door together. I called their little game "sassy paws." They would "smack" at one another playfully under the door, and lay there and try to see the other cat through the little crack at the bottom of the door.

I wonder if we had used a service like the cat behaviorist, if the transition of getting used to another cat would have been much easier on all of us, because to tell the truth, I was actually on the verge of taking Misty to a shelter because I thought that she couldn't get along with another cat!

How totally WRONG I turned out to be, these two are very good friends now, and have gotten very used to one another. They play together, chase each other around, which is very good for Dixie, since she has a bit of a "treat belly". Misty helps to keep her "young" and running, which is good! They even "groom" one another now. Usually it is Misty who licks the top of Dixie's head. It is SO cute to watch!

From reading up on this, it seems the most troubling behaviors that people seek help for are urinary issues, spraying, not using the litter box, and aggressive behavior towards other animals or people. There are cats who just don't like men for instance - it could be that men are perceived as a big "aggressor" where women are more nurturing? Again, that's just an armchair psychology thought.

But if you are having issues with your cat, instead of taking the cat to a shelter, where chances are they will end up being euthanized due to the huge number of cats in shelters, a better option may be to get some advice from a professional. Besides, it seems that most people who visit a shelter want a little kitten rather than an adult cat.

Perhaps a better solution really is to try using the services of a cat behaviorist? You can save yourself the heartbreak of feeling that you have to give your cat up for adoption, and in the process, you may end up pleasantly surprised with a cat whose behavior has totally turned around!

Cats Have Quirks And Unique Personalities!

Now for us, our "problem" is so minor, I don't even consider it to be a real issue. Bringing her little blanket up to us and howling at night seems to be just a "personality quirk" in our kitty, Dixie, and we love her for it! Cats are really complex creatures and they DO have emotions similar to human emotions! They CAN feel things like jealousy, sadness, anger... but they don't know how to channel those feelings, they just act on them as they are "hard-wired" to do.

I have read some of the success stories about people who have consulted a cat behaviorist, and they are pretty amazing ~ they really do seem to get good results! So, if you have a cat behavioral problem that is really a disrupting concern in your life, try this instead! I think you'll be thankful that you did.

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    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      5 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      That's how I felt, Mary, why not get up and see why she was making noise? I remembered the "old" saying about getting up in the night for a toddler who was crying that you would somehow "spoil" them by giving them the attention they sought. I thought, maybe if I get up I am rewarding her somehow for this behavior? But that's completely false in the case of children, and our cats are already spoiled anyway, what's a little more going to hurt? :) Thank you for your thoughtful comment! :)

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 

      5 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      Very awesome story and information. We have three cats. Two are sisters that we adopted together, but the third one is one my daughter brought in six years after getting our other two. They mostly get along, other than the fact that they younger one always wants to play and our two "middle aged" girls are just not up for that sort of nonsense. It is amazing how they all have their unique personalities, interactions and such. Because of this, it's no wonder they become part of the family, and yes, if our child was crying, we would see why. So why not see and understand why your cat is making a fuss?

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, PeanutButterWine! :) I don't think I could work with the wild ones either, too unpredictable! Glad you liked the hub! :)

    • PeanutButterWine profile image

      PeanutButterWine 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

      Loved this Hub... My sister has cats and they are part of the family, (one she has had fifteen years!) laughed out loud at the 'treat belly' comment... haha. Animal behaviorist Does sound fun.. as long as it was just 'tame' animals. I don't think I would want to be a behaviorist for a mountain Lion or a bear, they could behave any way they like..! Great Hub :)

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      I think I would consider this as a career too, MarloByDesign! :) I think it would be such an interesting job! :)Thanks for stopping by!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Dwizard, it's fun trying to figure out why they do what they do! :)

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 

      6 years ago from United States

      If I was starting out my career, I would definitely consider being an Animal Behaviorist - what an excellent job to be able to work with pets - they are better than working with humans, in my humble opinion! Voted BEAUTIFUL.

    • Dwizard profile image

      Dwizard 

      6 years ago

      Nice hub, I think cats are just born schizophrenic normally and trying to figure out why they do what they do is a pretty hard task.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      I absolutely LOVE the name you gave to your little "chow mix", JamaGenee! So creative!! And I do think that Siamese cats are extremely intelligent and sensitive to the world!! Genius wrapped in fur maybe? :) Your fur kids sound so cute, thanks for your comments!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR

      KathyH 

      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Those are some good thoughts, Stephanie! :) Sometimes Misty will bring one of her fur mice to us, so I do think that is to show she's bringing "food" to us... interesting thoughts! ;) Glad you like the article! :) Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Cats when raised alone in kittenhood are extremely territorial, much like an only child who rebels at the arrival of a sibling and realizes he/she isn't the center of Mom and Dad's world anymore. Cats just take longer to accept a rival.

      And then there are Siamese cats. A breed until themselves. Attitude on steroids. Ours would pout for DAYS after a friend had the audacity to bring her cute, playful puppy with her for coffee. Wouldn't even come into the same room with it. And no cat behaviorist could ever have made him warm up to the Chow-mix puppy we rescued. From the day Puppy Chow arrived, Mr. Siamese took up residence on top of the fridge and the tops of the kitchen cabinets. Would only come down if PC was outside. Personality conflict mostly. The cat was a laid back, watch-the-world type but the puppy was an eager beaver, constantly in motion. We just lived with it! ;D

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      As a fellow cat lover, I tend to view these little quirks in our cats as lovable idiosyncrasies that prove they are smarter than the average cat. Perhaps your Dixie is pretending her "baby" is a mouse and she's bringing you food? I'm not sure that cat behaviorists will be able to tell you any more accurately what your cat is thinking than you can. Cat owners are usually pretty perceptive about their beloved pets! I enjoyed reading about your cats and think the way you got them used to each other is great! Very nice hub and cute pictures of your "fur kids."

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