Paws for thought on International Cat Day


Felines around the world are centre stage on International Cat Day - celebrated every year on August 8th.

HONG KONG - Videos of frolicking felines and gifs of purring pussies will be how most animal enthusiasts mark International Cat Day on Saturday.

But for owners who believe their pets are scratchy, aggressive and mean, the problem is probably you, according to a Hong Kong-based cat consultant who has owned 50 in her lifetime.

Feline behaviourist Briganne Carter mostly helps cat owners deal with problems like their pets scratching furniture and urinating outside the litter box, and said "a lot of the time it has more to do with the pet owners than the cats".

"Most people are really resistant to change in their environment to accommodate the cats," Carter said. "And they just don't know a lot about it."

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That's where Carter comes in.

"I see often a very immaculate place with nice leather furniture, and the cat has nothing. So what's the cat going to do? The cat needs to scratch," she said.

Sometimes the solution to destructive behaviour can be as simple as buying a cat tree.

Other times, however, the problem is harder as it may stem from trauma in the animal's past.

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"Cats are super sensitive to emotion," she said.

What troubles Carter most is that some pet owners often give up on their cats because of "bad behaviour", instead of seeking behavioural solutions.

"There are thousands and thousands of cats that are needlessly abandoned, given to shelters," she lamented, "because people don't realise that the cat's troubled behaviour is actually very normal".

"Cats are just being cats," she says. "They're doing exactly what they're supposed to."