What is Cat Behavior Consulting?
An animal behavior specialist uses training and knowledge of feline behavior and behavior modification, to help guardians enable their cats to express natural behaviors, but in ways that are acceptable for both the humans and cats.
How do I know if I need a behavior consult?
If you notice your cat's behavior changing drastically, having a problem, or causing you problems, it's time to reach out to us. If your cat is having medical issues, reach out to your veterinarian.
What are some common "problems" cats have?
The most common reasons we see are inappropriate urination outside the litter box, clawing furniture/destroying items, aggression to people, aggression to other cat/pets in the home, obsessive/compulsive actions (over-grooming, chewing on things other than food, etc.)
Will behavior consulting change the personality of my cat?
No. Just like with people, your cat's personality and their behavior are two separate things. Your cat may be acting out (behaving bad) due to an environmental stimulation, or it might be shy due to a personality trait, but the consulting process, and subsequent environmental changes, will not change the personality of your cat.
What should I watch for?
If you see your cat have a sudden change in behavior patterns, excessive vocalizations, or anything that is "different" from the norm, you should always reach out and touch base on what to do next. Remember, cats don't typically show weakness or pain, so if you think your cat is in pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What methods do you use?
We promote the physical and psychological wellbeing of your cats. We use force-free, positive reinforcement based techniques that are least invasive and minimally aversive.
What is the process for a consult?
If you think it might be time to seek help, fill out the Initial Consult Form on this site. You will receive an email with additional questions and/or a proposed time to take a phone call. Upon receiving your responses to those questions, a virtual consult via Skype call or on-site consult will be scheduled.
How much does a behavior consult cost?
On-site behavior consultations are a $300 donation — however, CBS is dedicated to serving your cats' needs and is set up as a non-profit, so if you can't afford the consult donation fee, please feel free to donate what you can afford. Your inability to pay will not keep us from serving your cat. If you are out of our service area, consults are done virtually, via Skype call and those run $175 - $250 (depending upon the complexity of the case) donation — again, we are dedicated to serving your cat so if you can't afford the donation amount, please donate what you can. All donations you make for your consult are tax deductible.
What is a virtual consult?
A virtual consult happens through a Skype call. An on-site visit is preferred, but sometimes clients live outside the service area and this is required. The guardian will need to provide a drawing and photos/video of the environment prior to the call.
What is an on-site consult?
An on-site consult takes place at the guardian's home and gives the behavior consultant the best opportunity to observe firsthand the environment and behaviors. Once the consultant has gathered background information, an on-site consult will be scheduled at the home. The consult usually takes about 1-2 hours.
What about follow up?
Both virtual and on-site consultation processes include follow up. The behavior specialist will ask you to follow up after a prescribed time period and you will keep in contact via email and phone until the issues are resolved or referred to another area of specialty.
What happens during the consult?
The behavior specialist will meet the cat, people and other pets in the home and discuss the behaviors that are causing concern. The cats' resources (litter, food, water, etc.) will be observed. The consultant will look for antecedents and dialog with the guardians to uncover potential causes of the behaviors.
Cat behavior consulting is a dynamic process which structures and changes an animal’s environment in a way that provides behavioral choices to animals and draws out their species-appropriate behaviors and abilities and enhances their welfare.
The behavior specialist will educate the guardians about the cat's natural behaviors so reasonable expectations can be established. Then changes may be recommended to the environment, routines, nutrition, etc. that will make the cat more content.
A content cat = happy guardians!
How can I help Cat Behavior Solutions' Mission?
We're so glad you asked! Check out our How You Can Help page.
What are your Standards of Practice?
As a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), I work under the Standards of Practice, code of conduct, and code of ethics as follows:
Strong professional ethics, education, and expertise within our profession are crucial to the wellbeing of the animals and humans we serve. We are competent, ethical professionals in our field.
I only use positive reinforcement-based training.
I understand and promote Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) training and behavior work
I continue professional development by reading relevant material; attending conferences, workshops and seminars; and pursuing other educational opportunities
I review and understand source material and academic texts for information
I abstain from representing training and behavioral information as scientific, unless the information is derived from peer-reviewed and published research
I refrain from offering guarantees regarding the outcome of training and behavior work
I always maintain professionalism through:
Providing services honestly
Treating animals and clients respectfully
Valuing and preserving the privacy of clients
Maintaining professionalism with colleagues and other professionals.
More About LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive)
LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. In the vast majority of cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal’s environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counterconditioning. LIMA is the most in-depth, answerable, evidence-based set of applied guidelines for trainers and behavior consultants focusing on positive reinforcement-based behavior change. The LIMA guidelines do not justify the use of aversive methods and tools including, but not limited to, the use of electronic, choke or prong collars, in lieu of other effective positive reinforcement interventions and strategies.
Have a question you don't see above, shoot us an email so we can answer it!