About 90 million pet cats live in homes nationwide. And despite their standoffish struts, they’re not as uninterested in their owners as we think.
“We have made cats dependent on us,” said cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell.” “They depend on us not just for food, for the affection, the love, and the energy that we give them. Cats need us terribly."
TODAY called in Galaxy to help out the owners of one particular feisty feline: Lucy, a 2-year-old Siberian mix who lives outside of Pittsburgh with her cat mom, Sadie, and dog sister, Summer, as well as her human owner, Lindsey Custozzo.
“I’d love to not see any more kitty paws on our table," Custozzo told Galaxy, explaining how Lucy loves to jump up on the table and cabinets once she and her husband leave the house.
Galaxy’s solution: Stop providing temptations. For Lucy’s owners, that means keeping table tops and cabinets clear.
“If there's nothing's for them to get up there and get, they'll stop getting up there,” Galaxy said.
He said all cat owners should “cat-ify” their homes, a process he said is similar to what parents with small children do.
“You have kids, you childproof. Whether it's change, earrings, hair ties — they go in something, and that something has a child lock on it,” he said.
Next problem? Climbing the blinds.
Easy fix, Galaxy said. Raise the blinds when leaving the house. “We have to allow her to see what you are doing,” he said.
Galaxy also suggested Custozzo and her husband make sure they provide ample playtime with Lucy when they’re home, as well as give her plenty of toys and climbing objects specifically made for cats.
“She's just in that world of being a teenager,” he said. “All we have to do is direct all those behaviors in a positive place.”