Preview of Coming Attractions

Over the next several months, I will be traveling across the country in search of cat stories, visiting innovative cat rescues and shelters, interviewing eccentric cat lovers, leading vets and behaviorists and so much more. To view my travel schedule and learn more about my Cat Behaviorist business, please visit http://www.thecatbehaviorist.com/ . If I will be in your area and you feel you have some interesting cat stories to share, please don't hesistate to contact me via my website.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Rock Star of Cat Behaviorists: Pam Johnson-Bennett


Three years ago, I purchased my first cat behavior book—and completely transformed my life. After reading Pam Johnson-Bennett’s Think Like A Cat, I gobbled up her other books. Her insights opened me to this journey—moving beyond just loving cats to really understanding them. Pam Johnson-Bennett has a reputation for knowing more about cats than anyone else on the planet—and it may be true.

I finally got to meet her in person. She was gracious and supportive. But most of all she was brilliant. She spoke about the cat as a predator and how that defines everything about them. A cat’s body functions as the perfect hunting machine. Everything about them is attenuated to the hunt. Their facial whiskers, their carpal whiskers on their paws, their eyes, even the very tips of their fur all collude to create this master of hunters.

Catnapping gives them down time between the intense spurts of energy and brain power that define the cat’s predatory style. And yet, we bring these creatures indoors and delude ourselves that if they are fed and have a comfortable place to sleep—that they will be happy, when everything about them craves the hunt.

Play. (It’s the Pam Johnson-Bennett mantra.) Play with your cat., which really means creating a hunting opportunity for your cat—using pole toys, not your hands (never your hands). A pole toy allows you to animate the ‘prey’ swooshing and jittering it around the room. Bird feeders let the cat enjoy the visual aspects of the hunt—but then you also must engage the cat in play.

Most moving of all, she said, “When people really start to understand their cat’s needs—and respond to them, I see a blossoming of the relationship. It deepens and transforms. The cat and the human achieve a much deeper bond.”

After the group discussion, she spoke with my privately. She suggested some very interesting books (which I promise to review once I have a chance to read them) and offered some insights from her development as a Cat Behaviorist.

For some people, meeting a movie star or a famous musician is a heart-fluttering pinnacle moment. Living in Los Angeles, I met a lot of stars, from Jodie Foster to Chris Isaacs—but no one thrilled me quite like Pam Johnson-Bennett (after all, she is the rock star of Cat Behaviorists.)

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