Thanks for introducing yourself to ProtectaPet supporters Anita: it is great to have your support. Could you give me a little background about yourself? How did you become a cat behaviourist?
I worked for 25 years in the music industry but changed my direction after I experienced a personal tragedy which left me traumatised. I have always loved cats and knew I had the same passion about them as I do with music so it was an obvious choice to make. I studied behaviour and grooming at the same time, over 5 years of academic studying. This year I graduated, from Middlesex University, with a first class Hons degree (based on my feline behaviour practice) in Feline Behaviour and Psychology. I'm proud to say I'm the first person to get a work based award of this kind in the UK in this field.
Why should cat owners consider getting in a behaviourist - what are the benefits?
Clients need to check that any behaviourist they are hiring are qualified with a university degree. That is the first thing I would advise. A behaviourist should be sympathetic to cat owners and offer continued support as many cases are not quick fixes. They must also adore cats of course! The benefits to hiring a feline behaviour specialist are obvious really. The accredited specialist knows cat behaviour inside out and has studied their behaviours intensively (although one must never become complacent and think they know everything. There is always more to learn or discover). Therefore cat owners save valuable time by investing in the services of someone who will be able to guide them down the correct path and also offer much needed support. Everyone is an expert on the internet but this can waste so much time and make matters far worse in the long run.
What sets you apart from other behaviourists?
I never compare myself to other behaviourists. I think all people who have studied their chosen field have a valued service to offer. So, I will just state what I feel I have to offer people. I don't think there are any other accredited behaviourists living in London although their are several practitioners in the rest of the UK. I believe I'm the only cat behaviourist who also grooms cats too. I have a real empathy and connection with cats and, in this job, you absolutely need to be a people person and have empathy with the cat owners. Its not easy being at odds with your beloved pet. Clear supportive communication and friendliness are key components.
Could you give me a little background on the different types of advice and support you offer?
I deal with so many different issues such as:
- Feline territorial aggression
- Feline re-directed aggression
- Feline OCD - compulsive disorders/Feline excessive grooming
- Feline predatory aggression
- Fouling around the home
- Feline spraying/marking
- Furniture damage
- Feline obesity
- Problems arising from confinement/in-door cat problems
- Inter-cat relations/Multi-cat household tensions
- Feline separation anxiety
- Confidence building with shy anxious rescue cats
- Cat grooming/behaviour/grooming consultations: I'm also specialised in handling aggressive, timid or elderly cats and works long term with cats that hate being groomed.
Support is usually offered over 6 weeks. They can call me anytime or email me.
Once owners have used your services, what sort of feedback have you had?
Feedback has been awesome. Many clients have kept in contact and some have become friends. I love hearing from them and receiving little photo's every so often of very happy cats which makes extremely happy owners!