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We actually have a “pride” of 6 cats. Yang and Felix are brothers we had as kittens, Apollo came from a friend whose cat had a litter of kittens, Odin we found stray as a kitten, and Pooka and Dory we recently inherited after my fiancé’s father passed away. Most of our cats are very friendly, except for Pooka. He doesn’t like any of the other cats, though he tolerates Dory and Yang. The others he’ll swat at and try to dominate, biting their necks. He has a low people tolerance as well. Sometimes, we’re allowed to pet him. Sometimes, he’ll even greet us when we get home. But other times, watch out. He’ll swat, bite, scratch – and he’ll actually go out for revenge. When really annoyed, he’ll come running after us to take a swat, or he’ll take it out on the closest cat. There isn’t a lot out there about training cats. I’ve been trying to use strategies from “Dog Whisperer”. My question is this – how does behavior training differ between cats and dogs?

Smartliving Guest asked this
March 9, 2010 at 11:32 AM



Dear Erin,

Cats are different than dogs in temperament. The cats I have lived with seem less interested in pleasing me than having me please them. There is a book published in 2007 called Cat Behavior Answer Book by Arden Moore that discusses clicker training for cats. So it is possible to train a cat but few people ever think of the possibility. In the situation with Pooka it seems that he would benefit from some Bach Flower Essences. Diane Stein has them listed in her book, The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats. Flower essences help with emotional states. Individuals of any species can have bad mood days. Make sure there isn't anything physically wrong causing discomfort which is making him more irritable at times. In some situations behavioral counselors have set up a camera to watch the behind the scenes interactions of pets to get a better understanding of the group dynamics.

Does Pooka go outside? Does he get enough exercise? Hope we can figure out what is going on in Pooka's head. Please keep me informed of what you discover by watching him more closely.

Good luck,
Dr. Char

Dr. Char Wilson, DVM Health Coach answered
March 15, 2010 at 11:32 AM
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