Merry Christmas to Me: Decoding Your Cat Arrives!


It’s the best Christmas gift ever; my advance copy of Decoding Your Cat, authored by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists just arrived. You can order your advance copy too!

I suppose I do take credit for this all beginning.

The concept for this collaborative book idea was hatched at the Western Veterinary Conference in either 2010 or 2011. I commiserated with veterinary behaviorist Dr. Gary Landsberg as we shook our heads in disgust walking out of a session wondering why all these knowledgeable veterinary professionals attending a talk could suggest that a then-popular TV dog trainer could be right about having to “dominate” dogs and using aversive methods.

Landsberg told me, “You have platforms to deliver messages, but we don’t. How do we get the science out there?”

I suggested, “Write a book!”

It took a fews years, but that’s exactly what happened, and in 2014 Decoding Your Dog was released, and became in instant top-seller – it still is.

My agent (who I admire a ton) has never been keen on cat books, but I knew sales of the dog book combined with an increased interest in cat books might sway him. And it did. Again, it took a while, but Decoding Your Cat will be available this June.

I co-edited Decoding Your Dog and authored the Introduction. I also authored the Introduction of the cat book, and wrote about how one cat, named Ricky, changed my perception of cats and arguably did that same for millions of others. Still, though, cats continue to be misunderstood, even maligned.

Veterinary Behaviorists: They Know ‘Stuff’

Our cat Roxy loved the delivery box I think more than the books, Decoding Your Dog

When interviewed (and am always happy to be to promote these books), I suggest my greatest accomplishment wasn’t only to offer real science from those who often conduct the science in the first place, and dispel myths, it’s also to enhance awareness regarding veterinary behaviorists – a specialty many pet owners know nothing or little about.

There are all sorts of behavior professionals, and many are superb, but only veterinary behaviorists can tease out if there’s a specific medical condition that may contribute or cause the behavioral response. For example, a cat who urinates on that bed may have lower urinary tract disease or the dog with separation distress might actually also suffer from canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (like Alzheimer’s in dogs).

The problem is that anyone and everyone can put out a shingle and claim “I am a behaviorist.” If that individual is certified by a legitimate organization, you’re probably in good shape (though the exact word ‘behaviorist’ should be reserved only for veterinary behaviorists). I am personally a certified animal behavior consultant, but defer at all times to veterinary behaviorists. There IS a difference. And Decoding Your Dog, and now Decoding Your Cat will hopefully continue to spread that message to the masses.

Pet Trivia

Here’s a trivia question: What do more dogs or cats die of? Believe it or not, cancers, kidney or heart disease don’t appear to top the list….the answer is behavior. Once the human animal bond fractures because the dog is jumping and knocking over people who come into the house; cat is just scratching too often in all the wrong places, or now that the boyfriend has moved in kitty is peeing on the bed – that dog or cat lands at a shelter or worse the cat is simply booted outdoors.

Decoding Your Cat is mostly about prevention. If you can prevent behavior problems by minimizing fear, anxiety and stress, then why not? That’s what, in part, Dr. Marty Becker has based his incredible Fear Free initiative on, and he openly says how the veterinary behaviorists are the bedrock of Fear Free. I have no doubt that even the most experience cat owners will appreciate this book, as there is always something to learn or ways which cat fanciers may better communicate with those buying their pedigreed cats.

I am always honored to be involved in any project the veterinary behaviorists are working on, and honored to have my name appear on the cover of the book with co-editors Dr. Meghan Herron, Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Carlo Siracusa (who has so many letters have his name, they could barely fit it all on the book jacket). These people care about communicating with you, and ultimately that was the motivation for the books in the first place.

Pre-order Decoding Your Cat HERE.