Talk on Decoding Your Cat


Decoding Your Cat, now available on Amazon, was co-edited by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Meghan Herron, who Dr. Liz Bales and myself interview.

In Decoding Your Cat, members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (also co-edited by Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Carlo Sracusa) reveal why cats do what they do, and often what they’re trying to tell us which we commonly misunderstand. Seventeen additional behaviorists contribute to chapters on a wide range of topics, which include how to welcome a new cat into your home to how to cats think to cats having accidents outside the box to cats growing old with grace. Included in the book is a list of medical genetic predispositions associated with specific breeds.

In our discussion we talk about how cats were domesticated in the first place. We also discuss how to deal with cats who don’t want to be petted, or petted very much. Also, how when – for example – cats hiss at us we get angry. Well, hissing is a sign of fear. So, that anger usually just makes the cat more fearful.

If cats are so social, why is it so difficult to add another cat into the home? Dr. Herron answers, and how to make this introduction most likely successful. And offers a guide to introducing a dog to a cat.

We discuss how ALL cats are hunters, but we don’t allow that to happen among indoor cats. That is why Dr. Bales says she created the Indoor Hunting Feeder. This allows for portion control, and encourages hunting indoors – which can be done. Discussed is how important it is to enrich cats’ lives and create a feline dream home, setting it all up from the cats’ perspectives. And without an enriched environment, cats can even suffer medical issues. Our cats’ brains also require stimulation.