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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
It’s amazing the way cat behavior problems seem to come out of nowhere. A once-agreeable tabby is now hissing and slashing at a littermate. The senior kitty you adopted two years ago has suddenly taken to using your laundry basket as their litter box. What to do? In addition to getting guidance from your vet and other experts, we’ve put together a list of sanity-saving cat behavior books that cover just about every issue to help restore harmony to your household.
The list includes several easy-to-use reference books and some in-depth guides to cat training (including training them to safely accompany you on outdoor adventures). Catify to Satisfy goes into detail on how reorganizing your cat’s spaces (litter box, eating area, sleeping area, and more) prevent or address behavioral problems. Two of the books on our list are written for kids to help them understand cats and become responsible caregivers.
Don’t give up on your misbehaving cat! Read a few of these fascinating books and—as all of them will advise—talk with your vet to rule out medical issues that could be causing your cat’s behavior problems.
The Best Cat Behavior Books
Best for Behavior Basics: “Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat—Not a Sour Puss”
This is an expanded edition of the original by Pam Johnson-Bennett, considered the “cat bible” by many. While it covers choosing a cat and dealing with kittens, much of it is about behavior problems you may be encountering with your cat (or a new cat) and how to nip those in the bud. In the “Sour Puss” chapter, Johnson-Bennett offers solutions for “common behavior problems, serious problems, and the ones you’re too embarrassed to tell anyone about.”Shop on Chewy
Best for Quick Answers: “Cat Wise”
Pam Johnson-Bennett is back, this time with answers to the 150 cat behavior questions puzzled cat owners ask most frequently at her Nashville-based cat-consulting practice. Chances are, your questions are in there!Shop on Chewy
Best for Problem-Solving: “The Cat Behavior Answer Book”
This book, by animal behavior consultant Arden Moore, is an approachable and easy-to-understand guide that explains a wide range of quirky cat behaviors and what to do about them. Moore is the author of numerous books on cats and dogs and a master pet first aid/CPR instructor.Shop on Chewy
Best for Families: “A Kid’s Guide to Cats: How to Train, Care for, and Play and Communicate with Your Amazing Pet!”
Written to be easily read by kids age 8 and older, this book is designed to prepare children for the experience of helping the family take care of a cat. It includes lots of suggestions for activities that both children and cats will enjoy.Shop on Amazon
Best for Determined Trainers: “The Trainable Cat”
If you’re planning on investing time in training your cat, this book by anthrozoologist John Bradshaw and cat expert Sarah Ellis will teach you strategic approaches based on cat psychology. For example, you’ll find out why punishing a cat with a spray bottle is a trick that may backfire and why giving in to your cat’s nagging and meowing encourages them to keep nagging and meowing.Shop on Amazon
Best for Background Info: “The Lion in the Living Room”
This New York Times bestseller delves into the mysteries of cat behavior, many of which are explained by the cat’s fairly recent evolution from wild animal to domestic pet.Shop on Amazon
Best for the Research-Based Perspective: “Decoding Your Cat”
This in-depth book American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (the board which certifies practitioners in the animal behavior field) covers a wide range of cat behaviors. It focuses on helping you understand your cat’s physical and psychological needs and shows you how to use that information to prevent—and deal with—behavior problems.Shop on Chewy
Best for Choosing a New Cat: “The Complete Cat Breed Book”
This book covers a lot more than behavior, but because so much of cat temperament and activity levels are linked to breed, this book is extremely useful. It can help you choose a cat, or better understand the kitty or kitties already in your household, such as your curious Abyssinian or that couch potato Ragdoll.Shop on Chewy
Best for Gifting to Families: “What Cats Want: An Illustrated Guide for Truly Understanding Your Cat”
This delightful book by Japanese pet expert Dr. Yuki Hattori is a great way to get children and their parents on the same page about the family cat. It includes beautiful illustrations of cat behavior, including charts for interpreting meows, whisker positions, and tail motions.Shop on Amazon
Best for Training: “Understanding Cat Behavior: A Compassionate Guide to Training and Communication”
Beth Pasek, the owner of Finicky Cat Sitting and Behavior, takes you beyond the basics of caring for your cat into the realm of developing a relationship that will result in a happier cat and a happier pet parent.Shop on Amazon
Best for Multi-Cat Households: “ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household”
This book really caught my attention, given my own multi-cat household. Animal behaviorist Amy Shojai looks into the puzzling and often highly alarming problems that can occur when you have more than one cat. She even looks at the difficult issue of re-introducing two cats that have not been getting along.Shop on Amazon
Best for Homeowners: “Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-Friendly Home”
It’s amazing what a little rearranging and a few purchases can do to create a home that reduces stress on your cats (so they will reduce stress on you). Giving cats the privacy, security, and recreation they need makes all the behavioral difference. To that end, cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy and design expert Kate Benjamin bring us this book chock-full of DIY projects, including ones from cat parents from around the world, to keep your cat busy and happy.Shop on Chewy
Best for Harness-Wearing Cats: “Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest”
Some cats love to get outdoors, and this cat behavior book is all about helping them do it safely, starting with leash training and moving on to dealing with encounters with other animals. The guide is filled with inspiring photos of cats camping, kayaking, and even surfing. Author Laura J. Moss is the founder of the Adventure Cats website.Shop on Chewy
- An Insider’s Guide to Cat Behavior
- 8 Surprising Ways Your Cat Says “I Love You”
- How to Deal with Destructive Cat Scratching
Featured image via Paul Hanaoka/Unsplash