Behaviour Counselling for Cats
When a family cat develops unwanted behaviour problems, it can be distressing not only for the cat but for the owners too. It can be difficult to understand why your cat is behaving this way and how best to deal with the situation. The resulting frustration and friction can often lead to a breakdown in the relationship between pet and family. This need not happen however and, in most cases, behaviour problems can be resolved with the help of a properly qualified behaviour counsellor.
Help is available for:
- Toileting or spraying in the house
- Scratching furniture or walls
- Aggressive behaviour towards people
- Aggressive behaviour towards other pets
- Inappropriate play behaviour
- Anxious or fearful behaviour
- Night time vocalisation
- Over grooming
- Eating non-food items eg. wool
How It Works
Step 1 – Veterinary Referral & History
Following an initial telephone conversation, I will ask you to obtain a veterinary referral. I will also provide you with a behaviour questionnaire to complete and ask for a deposit to secure your appointment.
Step 2 – The consultation
I will come out to your home for the initial consultation, which takes approximately 2 hours. The environment is especially important to a cats emotional wellbeing and hence a home visit is important to allow me to accurately assess and treat the behaviour problem.
During the consultation, I will ask any additional questions arising from your questionnaire and make an assessment of your cat's behaviour. I will then explain the motivation for the behaviour and discuss with you the most practical course of action in this case, taking into account the welfare of not only your cat, but of your household and the wider community.
Before leaving, I will give you a written set of first aid strategies to implement straight away and you will be asked to pay the balance by cash or cheque. The fee for a behaviour consultation is £180.
Step 3 – Follow up
Following the consultation, I will send you a detailed written report which is tailored to suit your specific circumstances. This includes an assessment of the behaviour problem and step by step instructions for the behaviour modification itself. Support via email and telephone is also provided for 6 months.
I will provide a copy of the report to your vet and liaise with your vet as necessary throughout treatment.
I will provide follow up rehabilitation and training sessions as required, charged at £60 per hour (if a number of follow up visits are required these can be prepaid at a reduced cost).
People give behaviour and training advice on online forums all the time – can't you tell me what to do over the telephone?
Wherever you look, online, in the park, in the vet's waiting room… there will always be people willing to give you the benefit of their expertise. Of course, not all of this advice will be good advice and the problem is knowing who to trust. Behaviour problems should only be advised upon following a health check by your vet; the taking of a thorough multifactorial history and observation of the animal him or herself. In the interests of welfare, I may give emergency 'first aid' advice on the telephone, but a full behaviour modification programme can only be drawn up following a consult. There is no one size fits all solution and seemingly similar symptoms can accompany very different problems, requiring different therapeutic strategies.
Will my cat grow out of it, or get over it if I wait long enough?
Some behaviours are linked to life-stages and will diminish with the proper guidance from owners. In general though, behaviour problems don't tend to go away on their own, in fact quite the opposite, they will tend to worsen over time. The shorter the life of the problem, the better the prognosis for recovery. My recommendation would always be to seek advice sooner rather than later.
Can you promise to cure my cat?
When it comes to changing behaviour, quick fixes are rarely if ever what they seem, suppressing rather than resolving the problem, and leaving you with a ticking time bomb, as the behaviour is likely to resurface with a vengeance in the future. Initial changes can happen quickly, the reality however is that effecting long-term behaviour change takes time and patience. Achieving behaviour change this way is immensely satisfying. As a bonus, working with your pet rather than against him or her, can improve your bond and rebuild broken relationships.
What I do promise is to provide you with the understanding, strategies and skills to work with your cat to improve their behaviour and to support you throughout that process, without compromising welfare or jeopardising your relationship.
Teresa and Chloe
“Helen helped us when we lost Niven, one of our 2 cats, leaving behind Chloe, aged 18. Chloe was showing signs of distress and had started to toilet outside her litter tray and to yowl loudly at night. With her caring and intuitive approach Helen helped us to make Chloe feel safe and relaxed again and she is now using her litter tray again. Helen’s perspective on Chloe’s change of behaviour has enabled us to help Chloe settle into her new ‘single’ life and she is now very happy and most contented.”
Laura, Tiny and Tim
“I acquired Tiny & Tim, 2 brothers, from a rescue shelter at about 15 months, they were extremely timid and would not come into the same room as me. Helen’s advice was invaluable and her strategies for helping them to feel safe, as well as time and patience, has meant they are finally able to feel confident enough to join me in the same room and sleep on my bed at night.”