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IS there such thing as a Cat Whisperer???

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have watched the show "The Dog Whisperer" and was wondering if there is such a thing as a cat whisperer. Mr. Millian, is always talking about dog behavior and psychology. I was trying some of the same things on my cats to try and establish the alpha cat, but I think cat psychology is alot different.
I love my cats but sometimes they seem like they are the master and not me.
post #2 of 18
"Dogs have masters.
Cats have slaves."

That's on a Christmas ornament I got this year.

post #3 of 18
There is no such thing. I had the good fortune to have a long lunch with Jan Fennell, the Dog Listener (she's based in the UK and uses a style that I'll relate closer to Ghandi while Cesar Milan is more Hitler like). She is personal friends to the Horse Whisperer and works with groups all over the world related to wild animals (wolves in Yellowstone, Born Free in Africa), plus is on the Animal Planet in the UK. I assumed that if anyone knew the answer to your question, she would. I actually asked her that exact question. She laughed.

So I asked her why she laughed. Dog behavioralists have a great advantage due to the fact that dog behaviors, regardless of breed, all follow the same basic premise of canines in the wild (wolves, dingos, etc). If you understand that behavior, you can apply it to dogs.

Also, look at the pet industry in general and understand that people are far more willing to spend money on dogs over cats. Money is with dogs so people don't pursue studies on cats.

Cat species in the wild do not follow the same ritualized behaviors, therefore it is difficult for cat behaviorists to apply wild cat behavior to domestic cats. Lions don't behave like cheetahs, who don't behave like cougars. There have been some studies done with barn cat colonies (mostly in the UK) and they have found that domestic cats are most similar in behavior to lions.

I told Jan Fennell this little bit of information and she was intrigued, even to the point that she offered me her contacts within Born Free if I wanted to pursue it. She inspired me to go home and start research on lion pride behavior. I firmly believe that there is a link there.

So no, there is no cat listener. It's a daunting science with no demand to fund research on it. I simply do research in my spare time in the hopes of finding someone out there who is on the right trail.
post #4 of 18
I think that there are, I was watching a show on Animal Planet about a year ago that showed a woman who would come into the house and figure out what was "wrong" with kitty. I am not sure that it is something that I would spend my money on, but then again some people contact pet psycics to help them comunicate with their pets too. I believe that cats have their own agenda and if we happen to fit into it than great and if not then just make sure you are home on time to make dinner!
post #5 of 18
i dont think a cat whisperer can do what Ceasar Milan does but I do think there are people who have a special affinity or understanding of a cat and it's body language who can establish a rapport that helps a cat behave well faster. does that make sense?
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
i dont think a cat whisperer can do what Ceasar Milan does but I do think there are people who have a special affinity or understanding of a cat and it's body language who can establish a rapport that helps a cat behave well faster. does that make sense?
I totally agree with that. Dogs and horses are herd animals and their behavior can be predicted much more accurately. Cats are a different breed of carnivore, and are more difficult to predict. They just don't need us as much as the dogs do, etc. (IMO)
post #7 of 18
Awhile back I was watching "Barking Mad" a BBC program on Animal Planet, that specializes in behavior modification for animals. On this program there was a very aggressive cat that ambushed everyone coming into the house. He would growl, hiss and attack everyone but his owners.

This program aired very early in the morning, so I was in bed with my cat Dusty curled up next to me. When she heard that cat growl and hiss, she went balistic! She growled and hissed back, then jumped on the TV stand, went behind the TV to get that bad kitty! I finally had to change the channel.

BTW Dusty NEVER growls or hisses at anyone! Actually she is afraid of most people and her own shadow.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy-DHH View Post
"Dogs have masters.
Cats have slaves."

That's on a Christmas ornament I got this year.

When you feed a dog they say " Thankyou, you must be a god." When you feed a cat they say " About time, I must be a god."......
I do believe there is an understanding of cats that is less common then domestic pets, this beringthe reason many feel it is a lost cause to truely understand or believe it possible to truely understand the "person" inside each cat. True that each has thier own way of displaying feelings, some less common, but they are little gods of thier world we allow them to rule! How they behave in our world we allow them to think they rule, is up to us!
post #9 of 18
There are cat behaviour therapists who might qualify. I like Pam Johnson-Bennett. She wrote THINK LIKE A CAT, a book that I consult regularly, and PSYCHO KITTY. You've gotta love the titles.
Cats vary more by individual than dogs; they are not pack animals and don't naturally defer to a leader. I think that Gizmo is so easy to train because she considers me her 'mama'. Perhaps you have to establish this relationship with a cat before it will do anything. Dogs just defer to the Bringer of the Food.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmocat View Post
I think that Gizmo is so easy to train because she considers me her 'mama'. Perhaps you have to establish this relationship with a cat before it will do anything
I agree that this is the secret. my cat looks to me for comfort, protection, and help. we even bird watch together and if a bug is too high on the wall I knockit down for her. The result is a very very close relationship that includes obeying my rules (mostly) and a cat that comes when I call and only minimally fusses when I am doing something she doesn't adore ( like trimming, putting on her harness or giving her med when needed. She has never hidden from me or failed to come when I call her. After all i am MOMMY.
post #11 of 18
The one person I could think of who could come close is Mary Anne (Hissy). She just has a special affinity with them.

I tend to find with my crew is that I treat them as I would another human being. It tends to work better (though I do get a lot of back-talk ).
post #12 of 18
In the UK we have Vicky Halls she is the "Cat Detective"
http://www.vickyhalls.net/philapp.html
post #13 of 18
I believe that there are people out there that seem to have a special bond to all feline friends and may understand them on a level others cannot reach. However I hate to call it whispering.

And I don't like Cesar millan and I do not believe he's a "dog whisperer".
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
The one person I could think of who could come close is Mary Anne (Hissy). She just has a special affinity with them.

I tend to find with my crew is that I treat them as I would another human being. It tends to work better (though I do get a lot of back-talk ).

We all have what it takes to be a kitty whisperer, IF we learn to listen to our cats. Observing them from the floor, makes you their equal. I often lay down in the midst of my cats playing and playing comes to a screeching halt has kittens and cats come over to see why the giant has fallen. I am six feet tall.

Everything your cat does is instinctive, they are first and foremost predators. Learning about their behavior, knowing their normal routine and watching them when this routine is disrupted shows you more about their character than ever. They are sensitive, the ferals and strays can be socialized, the house cats are tamer. Hopefully, my book will shed some light on feral and stray cat behavior as I share my experiences of living with these extraordinary creatures for over twenty years.

I always find it astonishing when people attribute human emotions to cats. They are so far out of the realm of our reason, and many people mistake normal cat behavior for something else (human) and then the cat is usually punished for not being more "humanlike." It is sad and unnecessary. People do not do this to dogs as much as they do it to cats, and I sometimes wonder why that is.

At any rate, slowing down and observing your cat you can learn about them. Most of life is so rushed, phones going off, alarms calling you, bells to take you back to class. Cats are smart, when they hear these noises that try to organize a human life, they flee away from the sound. Maybe we should be the ones to take notes on that~

Happy New Year All may we all have peace in our homes and hearts~
post #15 of 18
I would not suggest trying Cesar Millans methods on a cat! He uses rather harsh dominance-based methods which I would not even use on dogs let alone cats... If you try that on a cat you're likely to either get a cat who is terrified of you or aggressive... I do not know why he chose the name 'dog whisperer' since what he does is more akin to shouting than whispering...it's not gentle or quiet or soft at all. I consider Paul Owens to be the REAL 'dog whisperer' as Paul Owens had a book by that name years before Cesar ever started.
post #16 of 18
Cats just aren't dominance-based creatures... they're more status-quo, territory, and watching from afar...

You cannot ever, ever judge cats by human or dog standards and expect to get the right answer!!

I agree we all have the ability to learn to understand cats... I have an instinctive understanding of animals in general; it takes two weeks to "learn the langauge" and then I'm pretty much conversational. No guarantee that the animal actually listens to me, but I can understand it . Of course, I probably have an advantage; being mildly autistic, I don't have a pre-set way of dealing with people (including the furry sort) and just take them at face value. Strangely enough a deficit in communication with humans can be a benefit when one communicates with animals... No preconceived ideas to take to the meeting, just observation. I think that's basically what anyone who understands cats does--they just watch the cat, interact with it, and talk to it on its own terms. It's not all that hard; all you have to do is "listen" (with cats, of course, that's mostly watching... but you know what I mean.)
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmanmib View Post
I have watched the show "The Dog Whisperer" and was wondering if there is such a thing as a cat whisperer. Mr. Millian, is always talking about dog behavior and psychology. I was trying some of the same things on my cats to try and establish the alpha cat, but I think cat psychology is alot different.
I love my cats
Quote:
but sometimes they seem like they are the master and not me
.
Make no mistake, your cats are the master and not you.
post #18 of 18
Having only a little knowledge of the TV 'Dog Whisperer', it seems they did not actually read the "Horse Whisperer". The Dog Whisperer is all about control. The horse (and it would be what you'd want in a Cat Whisperer) is all about trust and understanding. If a cat trusts you and thinks you 'get' her/him, they're much more willing to cooperate with our requests. Relationships with cats are better if there is no 'alpha', just friends. My cats have always seemed to want to impress me with how cooperative they can be IF IT SUITS THEM! Trying to force or trick a cat into behavior rarely works TWICE! Read a couple of books on cat behavior, and a few on cats by people who love them, and you'll see that by observing the cat and offering your calm friendship gets more results than any formula. Good luck. Breathe, and observe, and enjoy!
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