Monday, December 2, 2013

A Review: The Cat Whisperer

We've been out of internet at home for almost a full week now. I spend all day at work in front of a computer and have full internet access for over 8 hours a day; which is what I suspect, explains why I'm not clawing at the walls yet. I spent the weekend finishing my unexpected read: The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider.

You may or may not remember that I have a new fur baby and I'm relearning how to effectively care for your cat. Some of this new found knowledge is attributed to the fact that I volunteer with The Annex Cat Rescue for the past 2 or 3 years. And, it's very true that you can take the wildcat out of the jungle but you can't take the jungle out of the domestic cat. Buckingham is a well-mannered gentlecat just like his tuxedo outfit would suggest. But, he's still got those feline urges that make him unruly and silly, every now and again. I've picked-up a lot of practical knowledge about cats, but have yet to master some of the finer nuances of feline behaviour.

If you have a cat (or want to get one) and are keen to better understand the way they think, and make your life a feline heaven, you'll want to pick up this book to read. I remember when I was that kid when I could do nothing more than beg ask for that family pet and Mieshelle recounts her own experiences with cats (and other animals) to help others who are having trouble in their feline paradise. Mieshelle is a thorough writer about her subject of expertise; she has a life-time of experiences with cats and the way they are and her knowledge is based on experience and intense observation. The thing that many city humans miss out on (and modern humans in general) is that we have lost touch with working with animals. I see dogs dragging their humans down the street choking on their collar or humans who inhumanely declaw their cats, thinking only about what suits them or people who think their meat didn't deserve to be treated well before ending up on their dinner tables. But all the while, these people think this is normal or that this is the way it should be. Like the horse that has helped humans build history, cats and dogs played a significiant role to getting us where we are. But now, we're generally so far removed from them that we've all but forgotten how to listen to them and read them and build a real relationship with them.

The book is broken into sections that a reader who is desperate for relief from their inappropriate urinating/defecating cat or the multicat household which has become a battle zone, can immediately zip directly to that section and read the subject in its entirety. She addresses common problems that cat owners have dealt with or are dealing with. And, if you decide to read the book from cover to cover, the flow in which she's laid out is logical and builds on the previous one and is appropriately chapter referenced where applicable. The writing style is casual and easy to follow. She uses plenty of examples yet inserts many detailed scenarios that might come to mind while the reader is reading. She also has plenty of papers and references footnoted throughout the book for those who wish to do further reading/research. Her primary objective is to help us humans better understand our feline friends and adjust the environment appropriately so that our cat can do what we want in a humane and practical manner without resorting to drugs. Many of the procedures are lengthy, repetitive and require a great deal of patience but that's exactly what modern humans are missing... real patience and let's face it: animals are great teachers for this.

But, there are few things that are perfect in this world and I found that as detailed as she often is, it felt like sometimes I was being told that I wasn't doing things the way they should be done. Things that in my personal practice, have not caused me any problems currently or in the past. I felt invisibly attacked--yes, a little sensitive on my part. She also had a lot of shameless self promotions peppered throughout the book about checking out her product page or her personal consultation page, to which I've just added to... hahaha. But, upon reviewing these sites, I think they are worth looking into because she has some very solid products which I'd seriously consider purchasing and her consultation practice is one which I'd also seriously consider if I was having unresolvable issues of my own. Most pet stores don't come close to providing any real substantial items like these and products are often cheaply made or poorly designed. Perhaps I'll do another review in the future when I purchase something (like that timed feeder!).

My opinion? The book is written simply and substantially complete with relevant content that the average cat owner could easily put into practice. Any new-to-cat-ownership humans should definitely pick it up for a read so that they can better understand their new feline friends. Simply put, get her book as a reference piece in your home if you have a cat because she's quite thorough and basic cat behaviour will probably not be changing significantly in this lifetime so unlikely any need for an updated edition. Otherwise, check it out at your local library and take it for a reading test-drive before you make a conclusive decision to purchase it.

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