Issue 28 | October 2023 — Cat

Issue 27 | October 2023 — Cat

Environmental Considerations When Treating Feline Osteoarthritis

Our friendly feline companions are starting to live longer lives, and with longevity comes inevitable aging woes, such as feline osteoarthritis (OA, or shortened to ‘arthritis’). Animal care professionals (ACPs) such as veterinarians, behaviorists, behavior...

By Morgan Redell

Case Study: Excessive Vocalization in a Cat

Summary: A case of a cat who vocalized day and night in the presence of her preferred human companion, across a wide variety of contexts — including if her guardian tried to take a nap. Resolution was almost completely achieved through intentional extinction,...

By Kate Luse, CCBC

Issue 26 | June 2023 — Cat

Non-Recognition Aggression in Cats

Summary: When a cat is taken out of their home and then taken back, for example to the veterinarian, they can experience “non-recognition aggression.” Even cats who previously had a strong affiliative relationship can fail to recognize each other under...

By Allison Hunter-Frederick

Issue 25 | February 2023 — Cat

Case Study: Mimi and Leo — Sudden-onset Aggression in a Cat

Summary: After years of the two cats living together with no issues, Mimi suffered an acute medical event and started to behave aggressively towards Leo. The aggression continued even after her recovery from surgery, which prompted the intervention documented here....

By Monika Januszewska, CCBC

Issue 24 | October 2022 — Cat

Brie Breathes Easy: Training a Cat to Enjoy an Inhaler

When I took Brie to the emergency vet, his respiration rate was over 80 breaths per minute. His two-day stay in the oxygen kennel receiving IV fluids and additional medications brought his respiration rate back into the normal range. The veterinary specialist...

By Prof. Robin Bisha

Case Study: Jumbo — Extreme Fearfulness in a Cat

Summary: What do you do when your newly-adopted cat refuses to stop hiding under the bed? 4-year-old Jumbo had a rough start in life, and now he was in danger of losing another home. When Certified Cat Behavior Consultant Hongfei Li was called, his caregiver was at...

By Hongfei Li CCBC

Issue 23 | June 2022 — Cat

The Sustainable Cat: Making Better Choices for the Environment

Summary: Plastic toys, strip-mined litter, and greenhouse gas intensive food – our pets are a surprisingly large contributor to the climate crisis. A look at the research can give us the numbers, but how can we make more sustainable choices for us and our pets? This...

By Tiro Miller, PhD

Spotlight on Research: Courtney Graham

Courtney Graham is a PhD candidate working with kittens in the Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Lab at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. She is currently investigating the effects of socialization and early management strategies for...

Issue 22 | February 2022 — Cat

Cat-Cat Play: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Summary: Play is an important part of cats’ wellbeing, and in a multi-cat household it can provide exercise and enhance social bonds. Cat guardians should be able to recognize when play is healthy and when it is showing signs of turning into non-play aggression...

By Patience Fisher ACCBC, CVA, DipFBST, BSBIO

A Guide to Socializing Older (Fractious) Kittens

Summary: Fosters are often called on to help increase affiliative behaviors, and decrease distance-increasing behaviors in older kittens that are showing signs of being undersocialized. This article explains what this process looks like for kittens who are outside...


Issue 21 | November 2021 — Cat

Issue 20 | September 2021 — Cat

Case Study: Barney — Human-directed Aggression in a Cat

Summary: As a kitten, Barney’s aggressive behavior was ignored by his family, hoping that Barney would grow out of it. A few years later, when Barney’s family bring home a new foster son, they find themselves unprepared to handle Barney’s behavior...

By Emily Carl, CCBC CPDT-KA

Issue 19 | May 2021 — Cat

Issue 18 | February 2021 — Cat

Another Way Out: Friends For Life’s Fraidy Cat Program

Summary: How can a shelter help its most frightened cats? The Fraidy Cat behavior program at Friends For Life was designed for severely undersocialized cats who cannot live outside safely. It is an intensive program that requires a high level of resources, but data...

By Melissa Taylor and Alese Zeman

Issue 17 | November 2020 — Cat

Working With Cats After the Camp Fire

Winner of the 2020 Rebecca Park Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice Scholarship In times of social isolation, Laughter can be the shortest distance between two people. Under the current pandemic crisis, I am reminded that the best resilience is built...

By Rachel Zarnt

Cat Reintroductions via Online Consultations

I did more virtual cat behavior consultations in March, April, and May of 2020 than I had done in my previous four years of consulting. I feel that I’ve really improved regarding being efficient at getting and giving information! In this article, I will share some...

By Patience Fisher ACCBC

Separation-Related Problems in Cats

Cats often suffer from the perception that they are the easier option, the “set it and forget it” pet that requires less attention and is less impacted by our absence. In reality, they are complex individuals who are capable of forming deep social attachments and are...

By Denise Johnson, DVM

Separation-Related Problems: Anxiety Is Not the Only Cause

Separation anxiety (SA) is the term commonly used to describe the collection of behaviors exhibited by a dog who is significantly distressed when left alone. It is one of the most well-studied behavioral disorders in dogs, and yet there is still no consensus of...

By Sharon Carroll CDBC, CHBC

Issue 16 | July 2020 — Cat

Training to Keep Cats Safe in Cars

Veterinarians must do the impossible to preserve the physical and emotional health of their patients. Advising owners on how to transport their pets in a vehicle is essential, since it is common for dogs and cats to travel for clinical consultation by car, where if...

By Dr. Silvia Vai

Beyond the Gate

Have you done cat reintroductions for clients, where everything was going fine until they removed the gate? Perhaps a cat chased the other one once the gate was removed. Or a cat just turned and hid when there was no gate. Or one cat played in a manner that was too...

By Patience Fisher, ACCBC

Issue 15 | April 2020 — Cat

Training Cats to Become Therapy Cats

“I’m so happy to see my favorite cat!” the older gentleman said as Rainy and I entered his room at the senior retirement community. He held out his shaking hand to pet Rainy and said that he had been feeling down and in need of company. After he had stroked Rainy a...

By Allison Hunter-Frederick

Scratch This, Not That!

Cats scratch for many reasons such as nail care, exercise, tension relief, and communication that includes both physical and chemical messages (DePorter, 2019). Scratching behavior is so innate that even cats who have undergone partial digital amputation, also known...

By Denise Johnson DVM

How to talk about….

Everyone has different strengths in how they communicate with clients, and one way to approach a situation won’t work for everyone. In our “How to Talk About…” series, IAABC members talk about the strategies they use to approach tricky situations in their behavior...

Issue 14 | January 2020 — Cat

Using Rotation to Reduce Stress in Multi-Cat Situations

Multi-cat homes where all the cats live indoors are growing more and more common in today’s feline world, as shelters, breeders, and behavior consultants recognize the benefits of bringing more than one cat home. In fact, most people who have cats have two or...

By Kathryn Weil

Outdoor cats: Science and Welfare

Recent research (Chalkowski et. al 2019) into whether outdoor access was a risk factor in the spread of 19 different pathogens, some of which transmit to humans and wildlife as well as to other cats, revealed that cats with outdoor access were 2.77 times more likely...

By Jane Bowers

Issue 13 | October 2019 — Cat

How To Talk About…Adding More Litter Boxes?

As trainers and behavior consultants, we’re often tasked with telling clients things that they might not want to hear. We’re experts in knowing what needs to be said — in identifying behavior challenges and creating ways to address them — but sometimes we can all...

By Dilara Parry CCBC and Sarah Dixon CDBC

Ask the Ethics Committee

The world of animal behavior consulting is always changing—we’re seeing new clients in unique situations, working with individual animals, learning about innovative techniques and cutting-edge research, and trying to navigate business, marketing, and social media....

By IAABC Ethics Committee

Issue 12 | July 2019 — Cat

Rebecca Park Scholarship Winning Essay

Twice a year, IAABC holds a contest for a Rebecca Park Scholarship, which grants the winner a free place on the IAABC Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice online course. The following essay was the winning entry for Spring’s scholarship, and was...

By Allison Hunter-Frederick

Issue 11 | April 2019 — Cat

Hunting Enrichment Part 2: The great outdoors

If you ask clients why they do not allow their cat outdoor access, you will hear a few common things: The client is fearful that harm will come to the cat, the client lacks knowledge on how to safely provide outdoor access, or the client simply doesn’t feel the...

By Kathryn Weil

Cooperative Care: The How and the Why

Cooperative care involves training an animal to not only tolerate handling and husbandry procedures, but to be an active, willing participant in these experiences. In this column, we highlight some useful behaviors to teach clients to facilitate cooperative care, and...

Issue 10 | February 2019 — Cat

Hunting Enrichment for Indoor Cats Part 1: Indoor Activities

When one thinks of “enrichment” for cats, typically food-based activities such as treat balls come to mind, along with cat toys. A few cats are unmotivated by the treat ball, and a lot of adult cats couldn’t be bothered to give chase to that tired old mouse toy. Most...

By Kathryn Weil

Special Challenges of Senior Cats in Shelters

How do senior cats end up in shelters? For over a decade, I have volunteered in the cat areas at Dallas Animal Services (DAS), a municipal shelter which has the fifth highest intake volume of animals in the United States. I routinely see senior cats on their rescue...

By Molly DeVoss, CFTBS

Issue 9 | October 2018 — Cat

Cat Training Corner: Preparing for Bloodwork

Periodically, bloodwork may be required as part of your cat’s annual exam and in times of illness.  Blood draws require the cat to be exposed to various novel stimuli that may result in anxiety.  Getting kitty accustomed to the technique, sights, sounds, and...

By Lisa Bolin

Insights from Cat Agility

Over the past twelve years, I’ve trained five cats in agility (three of whom are still part of our family), and from them I’ve gained insights into cat behavior. Some insights were not unfamiliar to me due to attending dog training classes. For example, each animal...

By Allison Hunter-Frederick

Career Paths: Jessica Fritschi

One of the most common questions IAABC gets is about how to get started working with pets and their people. The truth is, there’s no set career path, and no single qualification that prepares you for this uniquely challenging, endlessly fascinating work.  In this...

By IAABC Editing Team

Issue 8 | July 2018 — Cat

Pet Retention Programs in Play: A Case Study

In July 2017, the Pet Retention Program at Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) got a request for the return of a young tabby cat adopted from the shelter a few months prior. When Stefani Buzzard, the pet retention coordinator at the time, responded with a request for...

By Dilara Göksel Parry, CCBC

Disaster Preparedness Skills for Your Feline Behavior Clients

When a client contacts you for help with their cat’s challenging behavior, you have an opportunity to give them tools that they may not even realize they need. In the course of identifying the problems their cat is having and coming up with a solution, a behavior...

By Kathryn Weil

Feral Kittens

It’s springtime, which means kitten season is upon us. Shelters around the country will soon be inundated with box after box of kittens that need to be bottle fed or “tamed.” These kittens will come from under a person’s porch, a live trap set for skunks, and inside...

By Kayla Fratt

Issue 7 | April 2018 — Cat

Cat Training Corner: Training a Kitten to “Go to Box”

Go-to-box training is a very useful tool. It enables you to not only relocate a cat, but more importantly to refocus him. It is an excellent tool for teaching impulse control. I find that target training is the best first step to teaching this. Below is a case study...

By Patience Fisher

Career Paths: Katenna Jones

Animal behavior consultants come from all walks of life. One of the most common questions IAABC gets is about how to get started working with pets and their people. The truth is, there’s no set career path, and no single qualification that prepares you for this...

By IAABC Editing Team

Issue 6 | February 2018 — Cat

Cat Training Corner

This column highlights some of the great training you and your cat can do together. We’ll start with how to train a foundational behavior, and build up to showing off some of the fun and useful tricks that build on that groundwork. This issue we’re looking at...

By IAABC Editing Team

Issue 5 | October 2017 — Cat

Cat Training Corner

This new column will highlight some of the great training you and your cat can do together. We’ll start with how to train a foundational behavior, and build up to showing off some of the fun and useful tricks that build on that groundwork. Our first installment will...

By Victoria Blais, Julie Posluns, and Cheryl Kolus, DVM

Issue 4 | July 2017 — Cat

Cat Social Lives: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

Although cats are stereotypically thought to be aloof and unsocial, domestic cats display great flexibility in their social behavior.  Cats have the ability to live solitarily, to live in extremely gregarious colonies, and to live socially in homes with humans and...

By Kristyn Vitale Shreve, MEn

Issue 3 | April 2017 — Cat

The Clinical Animal Behavioral Gold Standard

In the 1940s E. R. Guthrie and G. P. Horton designed an experiment to test feline problem-solving ability using a test box and cats that met the scientific standard. In the experiment, they placed individual cats inside a test box, outside of which they placed a food...

By Myrna Milani, DVM

Cat Training: “But it’s so difficult!”

I have never understood the difficulty that some people have training cats. I find them intelligent, interested and engaged when I work with them, so I assume it should be the same for other trainers. However, I frequently hear that people are having trouble and...

By Jacqueline Munera

An Interview with Sarah Ellis, Author of “The Trainable Cat”

Patience Fisher discusses Dr. Ellis’ research and new book with her, uncovering additional details and insights on how to train a cat. Sarah Ellis’ life of research, consulting, and educating people about cats has been focused on undoing the decades-long acceptance of...

Case Study: Cat Attacking Dog

Case information Cat’s name: Smudge Breed: Siamese/ Domestic Shorthair mix Sex: Neutered male Age: 7 years Other animals in home: 13-year-old spayed female Pomeranian dog named Bee History Smudge was found by his owner in a box full of kittens of mixed ages, which had...

By Emily Strong

Issue 2 | January 2017 — Cat

FeBARQ: Applied Research on Domestic Cat Behavior

Over 10 years after the release of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (CBARQ), cat owners finally have a feline version of this behavioral assessment tool available online. The Feline Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (FeBARQ)...

By Miranda Workman CCBC

The Science of Finding Lost Pets

If you were to ask me to spend the day searching a remote, wilderness area like the Cascade Mountains for a missing person, but you gave me no details about why they were out there, I would have a very difficult time knowing just what tools to use and where I should...

By Kat Albrecht

Panic and Pain as Complications of the Cat-Dog Relationship

You have—or your client has—a dog who is completely non-reactive to the household cats; in fact, she may even appear to love them. She might engage in mutual grooming and cuddling, and not mind the occasional cat-slap when she tries to sniff a butt. Does this mean...

By Jessica Elliott

Issue 1 | October 2016 — Cat

Behavior Consulting and Declawed Cats

If you work with cats in the United States or Canada, you will face a few conundrums related to phalangectomy procedures (onychectomy/declawing).1 The topic is considered controversial by many people, including some of your clients and their vets. This means that you...

By Jacqueline Munera, CCBC

Best Practices in Husbandry and Handling

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. I’ll add that video is worth a million. As professional trainers, we offer our services in a time where modern technology can be our best friend. A baseline video here, a quick video of us working with our...

By Laura Monaco Torelli

Countering Counter-Surfing

When my cat Lassie was young, she had springs for legs. I’ve never seen a cat jump as quickly or with as much agility as she would, especially when it came to accessing canned cat food as we opened it on the counter. We took video of her doing this once because it...

By Adria Karlsson

Case Study: Blade

Case Information: Cat’s Name: Blade Breed: Domestic Shorthair Sex: Neutered Male Age: 7 months Background: This kitten was presented at my practice for pouncing, biting, and scratching at both owners in the household. He was adopted through another veterinary clinic...

By Sally Foote

Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

The joys of keeping our cats indoors with plenty of environmental enrichment, good food, health care and an enormous amount of love and respect are all well-documented: besides having a happier and healthier companion, those fur-kids are living longer. Much longer....

By Jane Ehrlich

Brie Breathes Easy: Training a Cat to Enjoy an Inhaler

When I took Brie to the emergency vet, his respiration rate was over 80 breaths per minute. His two-day stay in the oxygen kennel receiving IV fluids and additional medications brought his respiration rate back into the normal range. The veterinary specialist...

By Robin Bisha