View Full Version : Just reading a book of a cat counsellor, and now I feel bad!

12-04-2009, 01:07 PM
I'm currently reading a book ("Cat Confidential: The Book Your Cat Would Want You to Read", but a German copy) written by the British cat counsellor, Vicky Halls, and I have to admit it makes me feel a bit guilty, and bad.

The author is very much against keeping cats indoor. According to her, most behavioral problems are a result of indoor keeping, and after reading her book, it seems to me that it's impossible for an indoor cat to be happy. :o

Another thing that confuses me it that she's also very sceptical when it comes to multicat households. In her opinion, living with other kitties means a lot of stress for a cat, as it's an unnatural arrangement. She states that if cats get along fine with each other, it's just their great adaptability to unnatural environments.

Also, she seems to doubt that cats love us. She said at some point that this is just wishful thinking... :confused:

Anyway, I look at my Luna and I see very well how stressed she is when Lily is stalking her, and I know that her bladder problems could very well be stress related. I know that she has also stopped playing when Lily moved in. But there are also times when they are snuggling, or washing each other! So does Luna really hate having Lily around?! And speaking of Lily, maybe she's only stalking Luna because the life of an indoor cat is too boring and unstimulating for such a smart kitty? Reading this book really makes me feel like a bad, irresponsible cat mommy who did everything wrong!

However, I just read some of the reviews on Mrs. Halls' books on amazon.com, and obviously I'm not the only one who feels that way. Is there anyone here who has read one of her books, too?


12-04-2009, 01:17 PM
Remember, Kirsten - this writer has an opinion. Opinions are like noses (or a**holes, lol) - each person has one and they are all different.

Both my boys are indoors and very spoiled and happy. Oscar had been a feral boy...he adjusted well, but after Cole moved in a year later, he developed a cystitis that the vet said was caused by stress. Any change, even a GOOD change, can cause stress.

He wanted to put Oscar on meds...but thanks to PT I had heard of Feliway, and asked if I could use that. He said yes. I got Oscar a very stretchy collar that would come off easily if caught on something, and would squirt a little Feliway into the collar each morning. (after shaking the bottle).

The patent is off Feliway now, and it is half the price it used to be.

HUGS and don't worry about this. Everyone here knows how much your babies are loved and how you go to any lengths for them!

12-04-2009, 01:53 PM
My boys are indoor kitties and very happy to be so! You can leave the door wide open and they just look at it and don't step a foot outside. Ming is scared of the outdoors and Mac was abandoned on the streets for awhile by his former so-called owners, so he KNOWS how good inside is. If I could make them a special enclosure to play in outdoors I would, but I live in an apartment and that is not possible. They are very happy and healthy and that is what counts.

12-04-2009, 01:58 PM
:o Very True Candace.. I will bet this lady dont even have a cat & let alone not a indoor cat.. I want you to know my babies are very happy.. I would not let the book bother you.. Just lay the book down & forget about it..
Remember, Kirsten - this writer has an opinion. Opinions are like noses (or a**holes, lol) - each person has one and they are all different.

12-04-2009, 02:46 PM
If this is true then MOST of us PTers are bad cat purrents. I don't believe it. It might be true with some kitties. But then every cat is different and unique. That's why we love them.
I can tell you this. When Paizly got out and was stuck outside overnight she didn't seem happier. In fact I don't think she left the deck area which is right outside the door. Once back inside she was a happy camper. And she lived her first few weeks on the street (at least I think).

I wouldn't believe a word of this, to be honest. I would never have an outside cat again. It's WAY too dangerous out there with cars and other animals and PEOPLE!

12-04-2009, 03:20 PM
First of all Kirsten I certainly would dispute whether Cats should be outdoors.
Ebony Beau Tubster , Golden Rod , Ebonite , Orange Blossom and the Scratchys would all be alive had they been Indoor Cats , as well as the Many Cats we see who have been hit by Cars.:(
Indoor Cats are a lot safer and as a Multi Cat Giardian I would day that there can be personality clashes , but that they generally work themselves out .
And My Indoor Cats are happy , I try to leave toys about so thier minds stay active!
And the fcat that some of My Found Cats have had 15 hapy yeras with me disproves this authors point.
You are a very Good Guardian Kirsten , sometimes writers say something cotreversial as a selling point for thier books , whether they believe them or not.:eek:

12-04-2009, 04:13 PM
My boys have no interest in the great outdoors, either, and I'm glad they don't! I don't have to worry about them being cold, hot, rained on, stalked by other animals and/or humans, being run over by a car, getting infested with fleas and ticks, and getting lost.:(

They love being spoiled, being able to nap on the beds, getting good meals and clean fresh water. I should have such a soft life!:D:rolleyes:

12-04-2009, 04:35 PM
Nah, I'm not buying it. Perfect world: cats could be indoor/outdoor w/no problems but it's a dangerous world out there, especially for cats. If she thinks that they're stressed being around other cats, then perhaps she could explain why Pidge cries when she can't find her man Boo or why Specs cries when he can't find Boo. Several years ago I rescued a male and his two sisters, had them altered and found a home for one of the females. While the other female was in hospital recuperating, the male, Chessie, wouldn't eat or even drink water. When I brought his sister home and reunited them, he ran over to her and actually put his "arm" around her and meowed like crazy as though he were saying "Where were you? I missed you so much!" Then he went straight to the food and water dishes and chowed down. Appetite suddenly mysteriously returned!

As for cats not loving us, she should see my deaf little CH baby Creamsicle when I come home. She could be in a room full of people and, believe me, she loves attention, but she'll run straight to me and cry until I pick her up.

As Candace said, it's just this woman's opinion. You're doing wonderfully by your cats; we all are here on PT (except when a certain one of us, me, makes a stupid mistake but we all make 'em, as someone told me). So put your worry hat away, Kirsten. Lily and Luna love you and each other and their happy home and they wouldn't have it any other way. :love:

12-04-2009, 05:26 PM
Thanks for your replies and opinions! You're probably right... Maybe this woman's opinion comes from the fact that in her job, she's usually seeing kitties with issues, and not those who live a happy life.

What really confused me is that she often seems to advice to seperate kitties and find another home for them when they don't get along. A couple of weeks ago, I read a book by another cat therapist, and she said that this was the last thing she would try, and that in most cases, this can be avoided. So there seem to be different opinions on this matter, even among kitty therapists.


12-04-2009, 05:50 PM
Well, I don't think ALL cats can get along and live happy lives. I mean, look at Moesha and the Schroeder incident. And me with my friends cat I'm watching. When you are in fear of a cat getting hurt by another then you can't have those cats together. My temporary cat is going home this month so Paizly will have peace for a while until I decide if I can get another cat. Now I'm just so afraid she won't accept a cat at all. But my plan is to either get a kitten (which I don't really want to do) or find one that is known to be fine with other cats.
Even though after the encounters Paizly has had with G she bounces back and doesn't seem traumatized at all, it stresses ME out too much. The last one I seriously thought he could have injured her had I not been there to break it up. So, unfortunately, G doesn't come out of his room very often. :(

12-04-2009, 06:00 PM
Yes, not all cats get along. My RB Peeka hated Pidge, hated her! She attacked her every chance she got, stalked her, waited for her to come out of the litter box, etc. Pidge spent a lot of time under my bed until Peeka finally let up but still, every once in a while, she'd strike. Cats are individuals just as people are. Not all people get along so why should we think that all cats will? And what is a cat therapist anyhow? :confused:

12-04-2009, 07:53 PM
I remember reading a British article years ago about indoor only cats attempt to commit suicide whenever possible... this came right after Pouncer took his famous plunge off the balcony and broke his foot. Do I think he was trying to commit suicide? Heck no! He was chasing a bird that flew away and he didn't have the advantage of wings.

I can say with perfect confidence that your girls are happy and return the love you give them.

12-05-2009, 12:32 AM
Kirsten, You are a Meowmie with absolutely nothing to feel bad about. I've never had the honor and privelige of meeting Luna and Lily in person but I have had the pleasure of seeing their pictures and reading about them in your posts. The unconditional love and care you give them has always come shining through! And it's clear to see how much they love you in return!!!

Just who does this person think she is? Where does she get off saying such unfounded things? Of course our kitties love us! Groucho is always waiting for me at the door when I get in from work and the excited greeting I get from him is the best part of my day. Over the last months before my Mom passed away, he was my greatest comfort. Their snuggles, their kisses, the devoted look in their eyes when they see us, if that's not love what is?

There's nothing wrong with keeping them as indoor only. Our indoor kitties are safe and all of their needs are met as they want them. I remember our vet saying indoor kitties don't miss going outside once they get used to staying in. On this, I'll go with our vet.

I can't and won't accept this theory that multi-cat homes cause stress and problems. Even human siblings get on each other's nerves from time to time. Granted, there are situations where two or more kitties in the same home doesn't work out. But like us, each kitty has their own unique personality and at times they clash.

You're one of the best Meowmies I know. Please don't take this nonsense to heart.

12-05-2009, 01:47 AM
I think that author is full of pee biscuits and tootsie rools! :o She clearly has never known the love of a cat!:rolleyes: There is no other way to describe what we have all experienced with our furkids. The way Calvin looks at me there is NO doubt it's love.
In regards to indoor/outdoor living, my boys were born city cats so they've never known different. They are perfectly happy as is. No one can or should generalize about kitties or people. Everyone is different. Every feline unique. How do you explain Christian the lion? Or the fact that my childhood cat Gigi, found me forty miles from where she was sent to live when my family moved from NY to CA, only having seen my friends house (where I spent the summer) from the car window once when I was dropped off?
Put down the book and go kiss a kitty!

12-05-2009, 08:02 AM
To me this women does not give cats their due. She is lumping cats in with the animals that work by instinct alone and does not consider that cats are individuals and can make choices.

And yes my cats love me and wnat my attention. Ask LJ if she wants to go outside. "No, it was a good day I landed on your porch."

12-05-2009, 08:26 AM
Thanks for your comments! :)

I'm glad that you're all sure that our kitties love us! :D The stories you have told are the best proof! :) Luna, however, always wants to be with me. She's always near me, we're very close.

And I know that Lily is very obsessed with Luna. I think she's the center of her world (which sometimes seems to be somewhat stressful for Luna, though)

As for some cats not getting along with others... Well, I'm sure there are cases like that (for example my mother's kitty Dino who choose the life of an outdoor cat the day Peggy moved in). According to the book of the other behavior counsellor that I read (Petra Twadokus, I don't think her books have been translated into English yet), it is in most cases possible to work with them and reach a state of co-existence. I found that very interesing. (That woman btw is running a school for cat behavior counsellors, and I think if I'd ever win the lottery, I will take some courses!)

Re. cats having access to the outdoors... Many people here in Germany do also believe that a cat needs to go out to be happy, but I, for my part, have made the decision that it's too dangerous. Some people would call me seflish because of that, but I hope I'm doing the best I can to give my girls the best life possible!


12-05-2009, 09:29 PM
I asked Smudge his opinion, whether he felt unjustly imprisoned or unhealthily confined. I might lose a lot in translation - my Feline is limited to "blink," "squint," and "headbump" - but he said "Purrrrrrrr Ikka Brrrrrrrrrrrip Purrrrrrr Squeek Drrrit Purrrrrrrrr," which I took to mean, "Would you like to play Cat Dancer now? Or maybe rub my ears? I like it when you rub my ears!"

Love, Columbine

12-05-2009, 09:59 PM
I have to say this about what this 'expert' wrote.

She may be full of poop.

Do not look at any animal as "Just like my XXXXXX"

Each animal has a different personality. We always measure our next pet against what our previous pet was like. So we get these expectations that sometimes aren't fair to the new one.

And just like people, animals can have problems with their surroundings, housemates, co-workers and ????? I admire all the people who choose to home multiple pets and have to put up with health, behavior, and personality isues.

I know Ed would freak out if I brought a new catr into the house.

There are times when he meets the outdoor cats at the door and doesn't care, but there have been times that I have carried him between houses and he's hissed and scratched me trying to jump out of my arms.

If that woman really knew about cats-I do not doubt her title or her experience, but short of talking to the cats and them answering her.....I have to doubt what she has to say?;)

Tora Oni
12-06-2009, 01:12 AM
You know I agree with the others on this one, I really prefer the Tribe of the Tiger compare to Cat Confidential since The Tribe of The Tiger covers the whole species of felines domestic and wild. Indoor cats have to be far less stressed then outdoor kitties that live on a farm and have to worry about wild animals and all that. Sure it is challenging but I think if we challenge our pets every day in smaller games to make them work for their food and stuff which when we didn't have a dog we could give Stormy a chance to hunt for his meal. I understand how much stimulation outdoors give to a kitty, I always thought about maybe doing a cat stroller thing or walking a cat or the easiest option and outdoor enclosure of some sort. It isn't necessary, I don't think cats have to go outside they just need to have something to do instead of that outlet. I know this cat counselor had like 7 plus cats so experience isn't really the issue as much view point I think she sees their affection differently.

The whole cats don't love us, maybe they don't love us they way normal love is considered, Love is an abstract idea and comes in many forms and there are tons of different Ideas on what love is. Though a Cat's Love is not that like a Human's love, its not like a dog's love, nor any other animal's. Cat's love is special. Stormy picked me, I was the only one who got away with holding him so much and giving him bathes. Sure Our relationship is he gets food, shelter, and companionship. I got the joy he brought by being himself no he wasn't too loving at first but with time it grew.

Don Juan's mom
12-06-2009, 02:44 AM
i'm having to type this one handed bcause don juan is clinging to my shoulder and purring. sounds like luv to me.

12-06-2009, 03:17 AM
The book is bunk. No cat is the same.

Even if Erp doesnt love me, Im more then happy to give her good scratchins. She chose me, maybe Im the lucky one.

12-06-2009, 09:46 AM
I think the ONLY thing we are guilty of: is loving and cring for our cats!! We do the best we can do for them, and they know that!!!
If you want an interesting book about cats, try Conversations with Cats by Kate Solisti....

12-06-2009, 11:23 AM
You all made good points here!

I think the way cats love us will always remain a mystery to us, but I'm sure they ARE able to love in their own feline ways...:love:

If you want an interesting book about cats, try Conversations with Cats by Kate Solisti....

Thanks for the advice, Sandra! She's an animal communicator, isn't she? Sounds interesting to me, ordered it! :)


12-06-2009, 12:57 PM
I also believe that cats don't have to be outside to be happy. All of mine are very happy being indoor only. My cats are also happier when I'm at home with them. They love being in the same with me and it's not always about food. I do believe that my cats do love me as much as I love them.:)

Feral cats are in colonies so I don't get it when people say that you shouldn't have more than one cat at a time. When I had to take Storm to the ER vet, this vet was shocked that I had 3 other cats besides Storm. This was when I had Sunny, Sky, and Cirrus. She said that cats don't do well with other cats and it only creates stress. Storm was blocked and she was blaming this on stress and the fact that I had other cats. It turned out that his urethra had a very small opening so it was only a matter of time before he had problems. I didn't like her way of thinking at all.:mad:

12-06-2009, 01:22 PM
Please don't beat yourself up about "one person's opinion".

Each cat is unique and has different needs, just like people are all different and have their own preferences. And even to suggest that a cat does not feel "love" is absurd!

There have been so many stories about cats 'choosing' their people and for a reason. They are intelligent and sensitive souls who use their instincts well. I believe a cat will communicate brilliantly if anyone cares to listen to their body language. We could learn a lot from our little furry felines.

Eve was a wanderer and unhappy in her situation. She was elusive and refused to be picked up and cuddled by her previous owners. This was not due to neglect or abuse - it was just the wrong situation for her. When she chose to wait on our doorstep, it was because she was comfortable with us. Her outdoor habits have changed dramatically by her own choice. We helped to show her the way but ultimately let her choose. She no longer wanders and is content to go outside on a leash or just to play on her deck and watch the world go by. She is also the most affectionate kitty I have ever known. Loves to cuddle and be picked up and hugged or just lie on our lap and purr. She is now a happy cat and shares an abundance of love each and every day. When one of us is away she calls and looks for us and is not content until we're all together again. Her sensitivity always amazes me. The only time Eve gets stressed is when she is not with us.

Give your kitties a great big hug and tell them how special they are to you and please, put that book away. It has no relevance to your relationship with Luna and Lily. They are beautiful and well loved and they know it. That is all that is important.

Hugs, Betty

12-06-2009, 03:06 PM
This is just my opinion, cats are happy when they feel secure and in control of their environment. Long ago, an outdoor cat had his/her territory, were in control of it for the most part, they were happy. Now, the outdoors in most places would be very stressful for kitties. Now, I do have to interact a lot with my boys, but they seem happy and well adjusted. As long as they have sunbeams to lie in and window ledges to sit in and look out of, they seem happy.:love:

12-06-2009, 04:13 PM
Kirsten, about 35 years ago I met a university professor, a biologist who was a behavior specialist. I happened to sit at his table at a dinner and began to talk cats with him. He said that he had indoor kitties. I asked him then whether that was ok because I was not sure about it. He said definitely yes and he explained to me how the role of cats and their living together with humans has changed since they were living in the barn as farmhands taking care of the mice. He said he played with his kitties several hours per day and that if they were not bored he can see nothing that speaks against it.
So, for one expert opinion you will always find another.
And remember: the average age of outdoor kitties in Germany is 2 years- and now look at the age of your kitties.
It is true, sometimes they stress each other. But they will find plenty of stress in outdoor life to, because they will have to share the territory with plenty of other cats, some of them not neutered and therefore more territorial.
So you read some more books and be happy again:)