What is the effect of your cat’s behavior issue on you and your family?
I just read an interesting article by Kristin Buller called “3 Ways Owners are Impacted by Pets with Behavior Problems“. Kristin is a licensed clinical social worker and provides veterinary social services to people who care for pets with behavior problems. In a research project she’s conducting, preliminary results indicate that there are three areas of impact for people who are dealing with their pet’s behavior problems:
- Emotional Impact – while you love your pet to pieces, their behavior can cause frustration, anger, and feelings of hopelessness. The term “emotional roller-coaster” fits well to describe this!
- Day-to-Day Life – managing your pet’s behavior problem can cause big changes to your daily life. Whether it’s medicating your pet, or running around every day after you get home from work to make sure your cat hasn’t peed on anything/scratched anything/ingested anything dangerous that you’ve tried to secure prior to leaving home, management of behavior issues can create a tremendous burden on pets’ caretakers.
- Relationships – how you manage your pet’s behavior issue may cause friction between family members who disagree with your course of action, or it may be a source of judgement by friends and family. Pets are a part of the family, and people have different ways of addressing family problems. Human relationships are complex, and the relationships we have with our pets can be as well.
In addition to the three above ways the effect of your cat’s behavior issue can create stressors on you and your family, I’d like to add a fourth – and not insignificant – impact:
4. Financial – how much is your pet’s behavior issue costing you?
For people living with cat behavior problems, this is a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. A cat who doesn’t use her litterbox may be costing you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in cleaning supplies and services, new clothing or the cost of dry-cleaning, new furniture, new carpet and installation services…not to mention the hours of your time you spend trying to manage the problem and even just worrying about it. A cat who scratches inappropriate objects in your home causes physical damage to furniture, carpet, and I’ve even seen wooden doorways and banisters destroyed! Cats who fight with each other can result in expensive vet bills to take care of injuries. Cats with behavior problems can be pretty dang expensive!
What is your cat’s behavior problem costing you in terms of any of the four ways listed above? Let me know if I can help – the cost of a consultation with me or another cat behaviorist may be a fraction of what you’re currently paying in time, emotional stress, and physical costs. And the solution might be simpler than you think!
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