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Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat Paperback – November 27, 2007
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- Steve Dale, author of My Pet World syndicated newspaper column
"She can, in fact, work miracles with problem cats."
-Pet Life Magazine
About the Author
Pam was vice president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the founder and longtime chair of the IAABC cat division. She served on the American Humane Association's Advisory Board on Animal Behavior and Training and the American Humane Association Cat Health and Welfare Forum. She is also on the Advisory Board for Tree House Humane Society. She lectures worldwide at veterinary conferences and animal welfare organizations.
Pam is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Winn Feline Foundation Media Award and the IAABC cat division award.
In addition to her work with cats, Pam is the co-author of Cookies for Dinner. This book chronicles the funny and often embarrassing side of motherhood. The sequel to Cookies for Dinner is set for release in late 2015/early2016.
Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, LLC. Website catbehaviorassociates.com
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This book was immediately accessible as a kindle book so I downloaded it immediately. I was happy to find it had a clickable contents page or shall we say pages...this book is very long...and I was able to locate the section on intercat aggression. Immediately we separated the cats and kept them separate for a few days. Then Pam Johnson-Bennett told me how to start a reintroduction process. It all worked. My two cats are now friends again and I'm happy the last five days are over. I don't know what I would have done without this book to guide me through the process. During the five days I read the whole book. It takes that long because it is like 6848 locations long. I read it every chance I got.
Some of the good things I learned included the fact that cats are aggressive because they feel fearful and threatened. So you have to do things to make the root of the problem go away. This book also alerted me to the fact that I could use a pheromone spray to calm Bear down quite a bit. The first day I found one I used it and it knocked her out. She slept for a long time the second time I used it too. I used it four times over the five days and each time it was effectively calming. So that was worth the price of the book. I would not have known about the spray I found otherwise.
Also this book is really funny in places. I lost track of all the times I laughed out loud with delight.
Basically this book gave me the confidence to solve the problems I was having with my two cats. Some of the other things I learned include:
How to interpret your cat's vocabulary
Good reasons cats should stay indoors
Things to consider when buying a cat a cat stand or tree
Why creating other options for your cat will solves many problems - like having a good scratching post
Pam Johnson-Bennett says it and it is true: "You can't force a cat to do anything." However she has ways of training cats that really work. This book discusses clicker training a lot. I know my cat can be trained because I've trained her to ask for treats.
What this book does is it helps you seek out the underlying causes for problems. So you feel a bit like a detective. A lot of problems are apparently natural responses to a cat feeling threatened.
This book also solves the problem of why cats go for the person that doesn't like them.
You will learn so much from this book. Reading it is an investment in your future happiness with your cats. Everyone who loves cats and has them as pets should read this book.
~The Rebecca Review
I had one cat peeing outside of the box and it was getting to the point that I wondered if I really could keep him. (And I've never believed in relinquishing your animals unless you medically/physically cannot care for them anymore....it had gotten this bad when I found this book). Living in an apartment made all of this worse because not only was he ruining several of our furniture items, I know we will have to replace some things in the apartment that do not belong to us before we move out. In this book there are several solutions to this problem, you just have to figure out WHY the cat is behaving this way. The author gives different ideas/ways to tell what the problem is and maybe some trial and error in figuring out the problem and then the solutions to change the behavior. She is very thorough in the process.
The author lets you get inside your cats head and teaches you how to read the body language. She also helps you figure out the pecking order of your cats (if you have more than one) and distinguishes the meaning of their reactions to each other. It is all very interesting, even if you aren't having these kinds of problems in your multi-cat home. It all helps you understand what is going on inside that crazy little cat head and then able to help the poor kitty by fixing the problem that he sees in his home. I really like that the author uses 'fixes' that don't associate the owner with a bad feeling. Its all very sneakily set up and the cat won't make the connection to you.
Personally I really liked the toy suggestions in the interactive play time section. I have bought so many cat toys and my cats just don't care about them. You have to find what they like....I'm not a cat toy expert. The author suggested several toys that are a hit with the cats she has worked with and these toys do work! I purchased several of them (even for my inlaws cat) and I even got some interaction out of the least interested cat in the household. We have even started clicker training. It's been successful for the most part (one isn't motivated by food)...I suggest the Cat training in 10 minute book for that.
Here is an overview of the chapters in the book:
1. Get Reacquainted with your Feline Einstein
2. Real Estate Reality Check - Is your Cat's Environment Part of the Problem?
Hideaways and Tunnels
Scratching and Climbing
The Litter Box Environment
The Feeding Station
-Feline Home Makeover: Operation Enrichment
-Climbing and Perching
3. Serious Fun - Play Therapy
How to Use Play Therapy to your advantage
Choosing Interactive Toys
Interactive Play Therapy Techniques
Play Therapy Schedule
Interactive Play Sessions for Multiple Cats
Interactive Play Therapy for Retraining
Clicker Training in a multi cat home
Beyond Basic training
4. Retraining old habits and More Serious problems you thought you had to live with
Retrain with the right 'starting from scratch' attitude
Correcting those Little Annoying Problems
-Computer Crashing, cat style
-Interior decorating with toilet paper
-Toilet water fascination
-Nightly noises and crack-of-dawn wake-ups
-Oliver Twist Syndrome
Correcting More Serious Problems
-The grieving cat
-The fearful cat
-Fear of people
-Wool sucking, chewing and pica behavior
Medicating a Cat who doesn't want to be medicated
-Knowing your options
-Administering liquid medication
-Applying ointment or cream
5. Tired of those Out of Box Experiences? - Retraining to the litter box
Reevaluate the Current setup
-What we assume cats want
-What your cat really wants you to know
-Why problems occur
-Spraying and indiscriminate urination
Back to the box
-Products you'll need
-Retraining a Sprayer
-Retraining and indiscriminater
-Turf Claims and overcrowding
-Other deposits that occur outside the box
-Toilet training cautions
6. Tattered and Shredded - Retraining inappropriate scratching
The need to scratch
Refresher Course on Scratching
Rethink the Current scratching post setup
The Retraining process: Operation Velvet Paws
-Furniture Armor: Set the stage for retraining
-The right post
-The right Location
-Bonus retraining tips
7. Mealtime - I want what I want when I want it!
Maybe the Bowl is the problem, not the food
The bottomless bowl: pros and cons of free-feeding
Pros and Cons of Scheduled Feeding
Finicky Eating Syndrome and Fixed Food Preference
Retraining the Finicky Eater
Cats on Different diets
Tubby Tabbies: Safe Mealtime Retraining
Stick to the Plan
8. Spits and Spats - Aggression, Biting, and FIghting
-Petting Induced Aggression
-Pain induced aggression
-Status related aggression
The Starting From Scratch Reintroduction Technique
Other Uses and Variations on the Reintroduction Technique
When professional Help is needed
9. Why Can't we all just get along? - your cat and other family members
Is your cat meant to be the only cat in the house?
-Dislike or Fear of the new cat in the home
+Starting from scratch with a proper introduction
Birds, hamsters and other small pets
When the new baby creates kitty crisis
-If the baby isnt home yet
-After the bundle of joy arrives
Kids and cats
Fixing Blended family cat-astrophes
The cat avoiding spouse
The spouse avoiding cat
10. Travel retraining - on the road with your own Mr. or Miss Grumpypaws
Look at travel from your cats point of view
Retrain Your Cat to the Carrier
-The starting from scratch retraining process
-The emergency technique for getting a carrier-hating cat into the carrier
Long Distance Car Travel
Home Alone Kitty: Retraining the cat who hates pet sitters
How to reduce anxiety for Vet Visits
Leash Training an Adult Cat
Moving to a new home
-The new home
11. Cat versus Brush - groom your cat and live to talk about it
Look at your current grooming technique from kitty's POV
How the grooming session should be view by kitty and the cat owner
The retraining process
Time for tools
Brushing and combing
12. Looking ahead - Senior Cat behavior
Behavior and physical changes
Make adjustments as needed
The litter box
Feline cognitive disorder
Other companion animals in the home
Show patience and tolerance
Enjoy this time together
-Understand what your cat is thinking/what he wants
-Understand What you are really saying to your cat by your actions
-More than one suggestion on fixing each problem
-You don't become the bad guy when fixing different behavioral problems
-Great suggestions on items/products that work
-Doesn't just tell you to 'make it more interesting for your cat'...actually gives suggestions on how to do that
-Informative book for the new cat owner and the old cat owner.
-I really couldn't think of any....
I cannot vouch that all of the suggestions in the books works, luckily I haven't had all of these problems with my cats. All I know is that the ones that I've tried have worked. My cats are more interactive and I can use what I've read in the book to help in future situations. Example that might not be obvious to all cat owners: I dropped off one of my cats for some dental work yesterday and after picking him up close to 5, I brought him home and my other cat flipped out. She was hissing at him and running up to him acting like she was going to bop him one on the nose. So from the ideas I had gotten from this book, I figured that 1. she had anxiety that he wasn't there all day with her. 2. He spent all day at the vet and smelled like the vet. 3. He was still drugged up and walking funny...causing her more confusion. Before I read the book I probably would have scolded her for trying to smack him around but instead I separated the two cats for awhile until he was acting more normal and hopefully smelled a little more like home. They were both fine after that.
I hope this review helps some people. I definitely recommend the book to anyone with cats or a love of animals. It is a very interesting read either way. ( I purchased the Ebook and I'm very happy with it since you can click on the different titles in the table of contents and go back easily for a refresher.)
I consider myself pretty hands-on & knowledgeable about all things cats- I've never had a 'pee-er- but this book had not 1, not 2, but SEVERAL important points and things to try I hadn't known or thought of.
The importance of interactive playtime and bonding is stressed and I
have seen a change already. I would highly recommend this
book before you spend tons of money on flower remedys, and please, please always remember it's NOT the cat so do not ever punish, grumble, or emit any sort of negativity your cat will feel.
If you only get one book I'd get this one- I got 3 others- twisted whiskers, psycho-kitty, and cat behavior book- none compared to this book, even for considerate and knowledgeable 'cat-people' it's full of revelations. And Rmember-SPAY, NEUTER, and DON'T DECLAW!
Top international reviews
Would recommend it to any one just fantastic.
Thank you for all your hard work in writing this book. It will continue to be in constant use as time passes;a tiny smoke-gray,part Persian also says thank you. Keep writing,Pam! Jennifer [Lee]
It's easy to read and very interesting, even if your cat is very well behaved.