Short Takes

February 2018 Issue




Kitten Kindergarten

Program designed to educate cat owners

It makes us purr when we hear of an effort to help cats remain in their homes. A veterinarian in Australia is using education to help prevent relinquishment of cats by educating new owners about cat behavior.

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Dr. Kersti Seksel, a behaviorist from the Sydney Animal Behaviour Service, explained the program at the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2017 conference, as reported the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association. The program helps owners understand feline development, problem intervention, and socialization. It explains how to reward desired behaviors and how behavior is determined by genetics, learning, and environment.

The domestic cat is a solitary ambush hunter who is active at dawn and dusk. Cat societies are insular, with strangers not readily accepted, Dr. Seksel tells participants in the class.

Cats need access to resources and will override their emotions to get access to important resources. Cats do not wait, says Dr. Seksel. “Cats look at things as ‘mine, mine, mine’ and ‘now, now, now,’ ” says Dr. Seksel.