How I Became a Cat Behavior Consultant...
Hi there! My name is Lauren. As you probably already know, I am a Cat Behavior Consultant. But, like many (many of the few!) who have walked this path before me, I didn’t grow up knowing that this was what I would someday devote my life to.
I mean, let’s be honest, most people don’t even know that being a cat behaviorist is a legitimate career choice. Heck, most people haven’t even heard the words “cat” and behaviorist” in the same sentence.
You won’t exactly find it on the career aptitude test they make you take in high school. Mine told me I should be a chef. I don’t even really like to cook all that much.
I grew up in Southeastern Michigan, and as a child, I always loved animals. Over the years, I’ve had many rabbits, hamsters, fish, chinchillas, salamanders, dogs, rats, even a snake. But due to my mom’s allergies, we never had a cat growing up.
I spent years trying different things, debating on different career options, trying to get my life together, and find a normal and acceptable path to follow. I was good enough at many things, and I particularly loved working with my hands. But nothing could hold my attention long, before I was trying something else
Jobs and interests came and went, and frustration with myself took their place. Why couldn’t I just pick something?
Then, one day in late spring, I was visiting a friend of mine who lived amongst farmland close by my house. (I was living on my own at this point.) Before I even had a chance to get out of my car, his two small children grabbed my hands, and dragged me to the potting shed next to their house. They giggled and shrieked excitedly the whole way.
Upon entering the musty old shed, we were greeted by the soft sounds of faint mews, the kind of sounds that can only be made by the tiniest of kittens. As I gazed upon their squirming little bodies, my fate was sealed, and I didn’t even know it yet…
(If you want to read more about my first cat, Nia, and how I ended up finally taking her home with me, check out my Furratic Felines page, here. Spoiler alert! It was one of these kittens.)
After bringing home my first cat, who was about 5 months old at the time, I quickly became obsessed. Enraptured by everything that this little cat was, and everything she did. I studied and soaked up information from anywhere I could find it.
There’s this funny thing that happens sometimes in life, where you’re searching so desperately for something, that you’re blind to the fact that it’s sitting right in front of you.
And so the years went by, and still I struggled with what to do. All the while I was gaining expertise in the one area I truly had a never-ending passion for. After some time, I ended up with another cat, Ellie. Some years after that, Doja. And now, the newest member of my furry family, Jasper.
I became the go-to person for any cat-related trouble amongst my family and friends. My interest, and love for these beautiful and mysterious creatures branched out from basic behavior, into more complex areas, such as nutrition and metabolic function, and inter-cat relationships and training.
The more I learned, the more I realized how many misconceptions surround cats, to the detriment of both them and their guardians. And the more I came across these archaic beliefs and misread signals between cats and people, the more I realized how badly things in the cat world needed to change.
Not only do I feel a deep, compelling passion to help correct these situations. I have also realized that I have a responsibility, not only to the felines themselves, but also to the people who are filled with so much unconditional love and compassion for these truly special animals.
These are the kind of people who give our world hope. They are the light amongst the darkness, and I am truly honored to be of service to them, and their feline companions.
After years of frustration and contemplation, I found that my calling had been right there all along, just waiting for me to open my eyes to what was in front of me… Literally. So, I searched and searched for a program. As I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not exactly a common career choice.
Luckily, my search was not in vain. I enrolled, and eventually became certified in Cat Behavior Counseling and Retention. And for the first time in my life, I knew I was where I belonged.
So, What Exactly Does a Cat Behavior Consultant Do?
Okay, so I’m sure at this point there’s a fair bit of uncertainty as to what exactly a Cat Behavior Consultant is, and what in the world they actually do.
In a nutshell, I help cat guardians get to the root of their cat’s behavioral problems. I then provide them with the tools and support they need in order to create, and sustain, a lifestyle that’s conducive to healthy and positive behavior.
The Consulting Process:
Basically, I gather a lot of information from you by asking an annoying amount of questions. (lol) I also gather information by seeing (either over video or in person) aspects of your life as it relates to your cat. Depending on the behavior problem, this could be a myriad of different scenarios, such as interactions with you and/or other cats in the home, the home environment, playtime, etc, etc.
I will then problem solve based on all of the information I have gathered. Once I do that, I create a behavior plan that’s tailored specifically to fit the needs of both cat and guardian.
I deliver this behavior plan broken down into an easy to follow, step-by step process. The rest of the process depends on the behavior package you decide on. We may meet for weekly calls, I may be available to answer any questions between calls, via email. I may make adjustments to the behavior plan, as your cat progresses, and I may provide you with extra resources. It all depends on the behavior problem you’re facing, and how much support you want!
Why I Created Furratic Behavior
I started Furratic Behavior because cats are my passion.
The best part of my day is getting to come home to the sweetest little faces, and the excitement that makes it apparent that my furry family has been eagerly awaiting my return since I walked out the door.
No matter what’s going on in my life, hearing one of my cats purr as they cuddle up next to me, or picking up Nia and receiving joyful face- rubs, suddenly makes all my worries seem far less important.
It’s love that has no conditions.
But let’s face it, all is not well in the animal world. Pet Guardians relinquish their animals every day. Despite the efforts of shelters and organizations, the statistics are heartbreaking…
ASPCA Shelter Statistics:
- Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
- Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).
- According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, pet problems are the most common reason that owners rehome their pet, accounting for 42% of rehomed cats. The dominant “pet problems” being aggressive behaviors (35%), destruction (29%) and health problems (26%).
That means that 1,344,000 cats are admitted into shelters every year for behavior problems.
Behavior problems are the reigning champion for reasons that cats are taken from their homes and put into shelters.
With approximately 860,000 cats being euthanized annually, this indicates that most of these cats don’t make it out alive.
These behavior problems, when armed with the correct knowledge and tools (plus a little patience!) are always improvable, and almost always completely rectifiable.
I am a Cat Behavior Counselor, and it is my passion, and my job to provide the knowledge and tools for cat guardians in order for them to be able to make these improvements in their cats’ behavior, and restore peace to their home.
The Main Purpose of this Website
The Main Purpose of this blog is to shed some light amidst the darkness.
To educate, and provide assistance for those guardians that are at the end of their rope, and looking for help with behavioral problems that seem unmanageable, and unchangeable, or just downright wrong.
It is to bring that peace, love, and understanding to (or back to) your home, and your relationship with your cat.
And to share knowledge, and juicy tidbits that will come in handy to all of my lovely readers!
The secondary purpose of this site is to have fun, connect with animal lovers from all over, and create a community of like-minded people that support each other and animals.
An ultimate goal of mine is to help fund shelters and organizations that advocate for the welfare of animals. Just you being here helps me move closer to that goal!
I encourage you to reach out to me! You can do so via my contact page, or comment on my posts. Let me know what you would like me to write about, or if you have any questions or comments regarding my content (or your own animals).
Feel free even to reach out just to say hi! I would love to hear from you!