Cat Behavior – Where Can You Find Help For Your Cat’s Behavioral Problems?

Many people are reluctant to look for help if faced with a pet behavioral problem, either because they think the idea of a pet psychiatrist is crazy, or they think it would be a waste of money.

If you are one of these people, you should think again. Consulting a behaviorist can save you time, money, and aggravation. You save time because someone with experience in animal behavior can quickly figure out the problem, without the emotional baggage that a pet owner usually brings to the situation. You save money because a consultation or two with an expert is a whole lot cheaper than a new sofa. And you save aggravation, which is obvious to a cat owner who has a bad behavioral problem.

The most important reason to get help for your cat is that it could save his life. Behavior problems are among the top reasons why people "get rid of" their cats by giving them to someone else, taking them to a shelter, or abandoning them to the streets.

Be aware that animal behavior is an unregulated field, and that anyone can call themselves an animal behaviorist. You are better off choosing a veterinarian who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. These professionals have gone through years of study in animal health and behavior, and have done a residency in the field as well. The best way to find one of these veterinarians is to contact your closest college of veterinary medicine's teaching hospital.

People who have other academic degrees, general-practice veterinarians, and people who pick up their cat knowledge completely in the field, will make themselves available for advising on animal behavior. You find helpful and not-so-helpful people in all three areas, which makes getting recommendations and checking references important.

In addition to checking with your closest school or college of veterinary medicine, ask your own veterinarian or local humane society. Either may be able to refer you to someone who can help. Some larger humane societies also offer behavior classes or consulting.

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