Saturday, August 13, 2016

Yes, You Can Train Your Cat

Dogs are man’s best friend. Cats? They’re more aloof. Even the millions of doting cat owners will often acknowledge that their pets can be enigmatic, hard to please and frustratingly antisocial. They run away. They hide. They scratch. They refuse to get in the carrier when it’s time to go to the vet. They kill rodents and birds and offer up the bloody carcasses up as if they were gifts.

None of this is the fault of cats. They are just being cats, obeying the rules that nature has laid down for them and in them. The fault is ours—both for holding wrongheaded expectations of these natural-born, solitary hunters and for failing to train them (yes, cats can be trained) in ways that make sense for felines, not just humans. It is long past time that we changed the way we relate to cats.

Unlike dogs, cats have become purely domestic pets only very recently, within the past 50 years. In many ways, they are still wild animals, and the demands of modern life cause them tremendous stress. That pressure often drives cats to act out in ways we find difficult: scratching the drapes, dragging mangled animal corpses through the cat door, pooping behind the couch.

The only way to help cats adapt to the demands we put on them is for their owners to intervene—kindly, through training. Many people will find this suggestion strange or downright bizarre: The conventional wisdom is that dogs need training and cats don’t. But cats can benefit even more from training than dogs, which have a much longer history of living and interacting with humans.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do cats liked to be kissed?

How do you tell your cat you love her? If you do it with kisses, have you ever wondered how much she likes them?
Woman kissing a cat

Franny Syufy, the cat expert on, ran an informal poll for me on her Facebook page and found that the vast majority of her readers kiss their cats regularly, but most were unsure if their cats enjoyed the attention.

Cats like to act demure, but research shows that they truly do love their humans. But the ways they express that love are different from what we're used to — which means it's something we can learn from. Are there better ways to show our affection?

A cat's like or dislike for affection may even change from day to day (or hour to hour.) The same cat that loves affection in the morning may swat or hiss at such attention in the evening. They can be moody critters, but learning to speak their language can go a long way toward understanding them.

For starters, kitty kisses are much different from the kind we dole out as humans. Have you ever noticed that when your cat is relaxed and happy, he closes his eyes while looking at you? No, he's not just sleeping. He's actually sending you a kiss! Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy explains that when cats close their eyes to you “they’re letting you know that they are vulnerable to you.” Now that's love.

Again, you need to know your cat's particular signs to understand what they mean. As cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett explains, "Narrowed eyes with ears at half-mast are certainly not displaying love and affection at that moment."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ban Ottawa pet store sales of dogs, cats, rabbits: group

An animal advocacy group believes it has City Hall by the tail.

The Puppymill Awareness Working Solutions group wants the city to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits, and says the intense scrutiny placed on council candidates during the 2014 municipal election helped its cause.

Veteran councillors in Ottawa should be familiar with the issue. In 2011, the Ottawa Humane Society called on council to follow Toronto’s lead and write a bylaw banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats that aren’t from shelters.

The city already has regulations governing pet shops.

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, chair of the community and protective services committee, said councillors will receive recommendations on changes to the pet shop bylaw on March 21, following public consultations in February.

Mr Andrews said in one area where feral cats have been culled, the pigmy possum juvenile population and the number of bandicoots have already increased.

Dogs were being trained and used to sniff out wild cats, he said.

The Turnbull government has committed to saving 40 endangered mammals and birds, in addition to 30 types of invaluable native flora.

The eastern barred bandicoot, the mahogany glider, the western ringtail possum, black-footed rock wallaby, the cassowary and the swift parrot are just some of the animals under fierce protection.

Mr Hunt was confident the target of two million cats culled in just four years could be reached.