How to Become a Cat Behaviorist
Thanks to the popular television series, My Cat From Hell, and the founder Mr. Jackson Galaxy, becoming a cat behaviorist is becoming a career choice that many feline lovers may not have considered before. However, dealing with problem kitties and helping them through their issues, may not be as easy as it sounds. In this post, we will cover the facts on how to become a cat behaviorist.
What is a Cat Behaviorist?
For those of you who don't know exactly what a cat behaviorist is or does, it's defined as an individual who specializes in working with "problem" felines and their pet parents to modify an unacceptable behavior.
How to Become a Cat Behaviorist
This is a tricky career to get launched into as there really is no formal training to become a cat behaviorist. However, that doesn't mean you should get some business cards printed up and start handing them out. There are certain steps you will want to take to help you along this career path.
1. Know Yourself
To be a cat behaviorist it helps if you have a natural way about you that enables you to deal with the feline species. Remember, the cats you will be working with have issues, so there will be "drama" to deal with that requires a person to be calm and cool under pressure.
2. Be Prepared to Do a Lot of Self Study
Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of training courses or schools on the subject of feline behaviorist, so you should be prepared to do your own self-study sessions and a ton of research; the world wide web will come in handy for this. However, aside from the many articles on the web dealing with this topic, you can also;
- Tune into those YouTube Videos on cat behavior
- Learn from the expert, Jackson Galaxy, by catching up on his episodes of My Cat From Hell on the Animal Planet network
- Add to your recommended reading list a book written by Mieshelle Nagelschneider called the Cat Whisperer.
- Find a professional in your area that can help mentor you along the way (although, this may be a difficult task in most areas).
- Read up on Pam Johnson-Bennett's site for added advice
To Be or Not to Be Certified?
Since there doesn't seem to be any legalities when it comes to being a cat behaviorist, you could just hone your skills and launch yourself into the feline behaviorist field. But to boost your credibility there are organizations that, for a fee, will register you as a feline behaviorist.
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) is one of these organizations and is probably the most accredited of its kind. This organization offers a lot of information and upcoming courses you can take to help you with your career goals. They will also certify you; however, you will have to meet their requirements of practical experience, a score of 80% or higher on the application test and pay a nonrefundable fee, plus annual dues to the IAABC itself.
If you lack this criterion, you can still join the IAABC for a small fee and an annual membership fee. For this, they will allow you to use their logo and other marketing materials as long as you present yourself as a member of their organization and not a registered behaviorist.
Is Becoming a Cat Behaviorist Right For You?
Like any other successful career, you will get out of it what you put into it. Becoming a cat behaviorist will take plenty of self-study, dedication and work on your part.
In addition, and perhaps the most important part, is you will also want to be sure you can work with these troubled felines and their frustrated pet parents. Having a cool, calm demeanor will go a long way when working in difficult situations. Remember, these pet parents are most likely enlisting the help of a professional as a "last resort" so giving them the proper knowledge and help they need may mean the difference between Fluffy staying in the home or being relocated to a shelter.
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