Welcome to Houston Cat Behavior!

Beth Brown CCBC CCUI 

I’m so so excited to be able to bring some more cat behavior savvy to the city of Houston (and beyond, ask about our virtual services!) So I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself, so you know who you’re working with!

In short, I’m a lover of animals (except spiders, they don’t count. Sorry to any spider lovers out there, I’m sure they’re wonderful creatures, they just creep me tf out). I am the mother of 4 dogs myself, and have no cats in my home. Which sounds a bit hypocritical, if you ask me. If anyone wants to point this out to my husband’s allergies, I’m sure they would be open to an outside opinion. But, unfortunately, living with a cat is not in my future. Which is why I want to  help all of you to live the best life you can with your feline companions! Cats can be such magical creatures. Literally. I’m pretty sure they can levitate, it’s the only thing that makes sense. There’s got to be some mind control at work there too, but alas, it’s unprovable.

Cats get such a bad rep, which is just so unfortunate. Think about it. We, as a society, seem to think they’re adorable, extremely photogenic assholes. Anytime a cat bites, or scratches, we just chock it up to that’s a cat being a cat, can’t control them, can’t tame them, can’t train them! Well, yes and no. You can definitely, unequivocally, train a cat. I know. I’ve done it. A lot! Is a cat biting me just being a typical cat? Yeah, kind of. The way I see it, if a cat is biting me, there’s something going on in that cat’s world that is just not right. But who has the time to try to get inside the mind of a cat and figure out how to make them stop being so facetious? Well….not to put too fine a point on it, but I do! It’s literally what I do! I’m a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, (seriously, check out iaabc.org, it’s legit) which is basically just a fancy way to say that a panel of experts has decided I pretty much know what I’m talking about when it comes to cat behavior.

My goal is to bring cat welfare to an all time high in this city. And not only that, but I want you to have the most fulfilling relationship you can with your cat! I’m sure no one goes to a shelter with the intention of bringing home a cat thinking “wouldn’t it be fun to get a fuzzy, sharp terror that I can bring into my home and it will hate my guts and pee everywhere but in the box? So much fun!” I think I can speak for all cat owners when I say we want to bond with our cats, be loved by our cats as much as we love them, and genuinely want a good relationship with them. My job is to help you figure out a way to get to that place, no matter what your relationship is like right now.

I’m so excited to be able to work with you and your cat. It can be so stressful when things are not exactly going according to plan. Sometimes, all you need is a fresh set of educated eyes taking a look at the situation. Because I don’t believe for a minute that your cat is just weird, or you’re a bad cat parent. I think sometimes it’s hard to communicate with your companion when you don’t speak the same language. And that’s my promise to you, Houston. I promise to help you communicate with your cat better, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you get to the root of whatever stressors you and your cat are living with to the best of my ability.

If any of this has resonated with you, book your informational call today, so that you don’t have to experience a stressful relationship with your cat tomorrow.

So your cat’s an a55h@l3! Now what?

Cats, am I right? I mean, they walk on our counters, they pee on our beds, they tear up our furniture, and then to top it all off, they bite us when we’re just trying to show we love them! UGH!!! Listen, I get it. That can be really hard to live with. Coming home after a long day at work and just wanting to relax, only to find poop in the bed AGAIN, probably because your cat is feeling spiteful? It can be a lot to deal with. I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is, you’re definitely misreading the situation. Cats do not poop on the bed, or swat or bite, or tear up our furniture as a part of some complicated revenge plan. The good news is, I can help you with that. You don’t have to live with an asshole.

We hear this so often: cats are cats, they’re assholes, they’re spiteful and mean, it’s their house and we just live in it, that’s just the way cats are and there’s no changing it. WRONG! Cats are lovely creatures! But I’ll admit, when they are not getting what they need, if they experience stress or fear, if they’re not feeling well: they will find a way to communicate that with you, and it probably won’t be pleasant for you. Has your cat ever come up to you and told you it’s not feeling well, it’s tummy hurts, it burns when it pees, or it’s feeling nauseous? My guess is that they have at one point or another, you just didn’t understand what they were saying. You saw it as the cat being stupid and urinating outside the litterbox. Your cat saw it as “this is a pretty clear signal that something is not right, my human will take care of me from here”. The problem isn’t that cats are wild animals that we happen to share our lives with, the problem is that they don’t speak English and we don’t speak cat.

My challenge to you next time your cat does something that annoys you is this:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Stay calm
  • Think about what your cat might be trying to communicate with you

Did they bite you because you scared them? Were there signs that they were uncomfortable before they bit you and you just didn’t notice it at the time? What could you change about the circumstances next time to hopefully get a different outcome?

So no, your cat is not an asshole. And news flash: neither are you! I hereby give you permission to have feelings about your cat expressing itself in a way you just don’t understand. It’s scary to get bitten. It’s frustrating to have to clean up a potty mess again. It’s upsetting to see your cat going to town on the corner of the new couch with their little dagger claws. It’s ok to have some opinions there. What I want you to do next is to try to get to the root of the issue and figure out what your cat is trying to communicate rather than just punish the cat or ignore them.

I always like to recommend that anyone who lives with a cat read Pam Johnson Bennett’s “Think Like a Cat” because it helps you see life from your cat’s perspective. It’s well written and easy to consume, it’s a simple read and very informative. The American Association of Feline Practitioners also has some fantastic resources and guidelines that you can check out for some in depth, science based information on cat health and behavior.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to become an expert on feline communication overnight. That’s what I’m here for! If your cat displays any unwanted behaviors, please reach out and set up your cat behavior informational and scheduling call right now! You don’t have to live in a constant state of terror that you’ll get bitten, or wonder if you’ll have to change the sheets on your bed when you get home again. Let me help you experience a more harmonious relationship with your cat today!