Helping cat guardians since 2008
We Can Help You Have A Better Relationship With Your Cat.
Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado
Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. She has a PhD in Psychology from UC Berkeley, where she studied animal behavior, and human-pet relationships. After her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Mikel is co-author with Jackson Galaxy of the 2017 book, “Total Cat Mojo” and the author of the forthcoming book “Play with Your Cat!” (Tarcher/Perigee). She is the resident cat behavior expert for Rover.com, and has been interviewed for Science Friday, All Things Considered, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and National Geographic. Mikel lives in Sacramento with her boyfriend and their three cats: Ruby, Coriander and Professor Scribbles.
Dilara Goksel Parry
Dilara Goksel Parry grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and holds degrees in Psychology and in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College. She has worked with animals since 1991, and was the Cat Behavior Program Coordinator at the San Francisco SPCA for over 12 years. Dilara is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, and has been interviewed by msnbc.com, Animal Sheltering magazine, catchannel.com, KittensUSA, The Daily Cat, served on the Best Friends/No More Homeless Pets Forums, and written for Maddie’s Fund. She has also been called on as an expert witness for legal cases. She shares her life in Richmond, CA with her family of humans, dogs, and cats and chickens.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a cat behavior consultation?
We assist people facing all kinds of challenges with their cats! People may be planning ahead because they are expecting a baby or want to add to their feline family. Other folks reach out because of an ongoing behavior problem with their cat. For one reason or another, they are finally ready to get help.
We are here to help if:
- you have questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior
- need help with a serious cat behavior problem
- want a second opinion about your cat’s behavior
- want to prepare for some household changes (e.g., moving, new baby)
Why don’t you offer in-person visits?
We have offered remote consultations since 2008. We used to do phone consultations but during the pandemic we realized the power of video calls! When we offered in-home visits, many cats would be nervous with strangers and hide. Now we can see you and your cats! Video calls still allow us to observe your cat’s environment. We can also demonstrate techniques like training.
Video consultations have worked well for us and our clients. They also allow us to service cat guardians anywhere in the world without a travel fee. And frankly, we don’t miss the commute!
What can I expect during our session?
Once we have your intake form, we will take a look and then email you to ask for additional materials (e.g., videos, photos, veterinary records). We review these materials carefully before we meet so we are prepared with questions and a plan.
We typically start our video session by asking more questions about your cat(s). We’ll discuss the home environment and routine, and the cat behavior problem itself.
Next we give you our thoughts on the reasons for the behavior problem, and discuss approaches for solving it. This includes but isn’t limited to:
- environmental changes
- human behavior modification
- training for your cat
We’ll wrap up by giving you time for questions, and review next steps. Each initial consultation comes with limited follow-up support via email (for one month).
What happens after our session?
We will provide you with a brief written summary of our recommendations. This may include video and product links, as well as supportive handouts.
You’ll receive an email one week after we meet asking for a short update. We’ll also send you a “close out” email after about a month to see how things are going. You are welcome to email us questions for one month following our session. We do our best to get back to your emails within one business day.
If you have A LOT of questions after we meet, or you’re still having issues at the end of the month, we probably need a follow up session!
Will I need multiple sessions?
For more complex problems, we recommend more than one session. It is challenging to cover everything we would like to in one hour — especially when there’s a lot going on!
What kind of guarantees do you provide?
We cannot make guarantees about any specific outcome. We can promise you that we will help you better understand your cats’ behavior. We will give you advice based on a humane approach, and a deep understanding of cat behavior. We’ll take into consideration your individual cats, environment, and situation.
We have been working with cats and their humans for decades. We also stay up to date on current techniques through ongoing professional education and networking. Learn more about our education and backgrounds here.
What is your approach to solving cat behavior problems?
Our approach is based on a philosophy called LIMA. LIMA stands for “Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive.” We focus on using methods that are gentle and respectful to your cat, minimizing any potential fear or discomfort. We prioritize positive reinforcement techniques. This means rewarding good behaviors, rather than using punishment or aversives. We want you and your cat to have a positive and trusting relationship!
Can you recommend medication?
We are not veterinarians and cannot recommend or prescribe specific medications. We are happy to work with your veterinarian. We can also connect your veterinarian with a veterinary behaviorist who can assist with choosing the right medication for your cat.
Why do I have to take my cat to the veterinarian before we meet?
We require a clean bill of health from a veterinarian before consultations for
- litter box avoidance
- sudden onset aggression
We may require a veterinary check for other behavior issues.
Behavior changes in cats are often linked to underlying health problems. A veterinarian can rule out any physical causes for your cat’s behavior before we focus on behavior modification. If your cat does have a health issue, all of the behavior modification in the world may not help!
Sometimes, behaviors that seem behavioral are caused by pain or discomfort. Pain can make your cat more likely to show behaviors like biting or scratching. Behavioral health depends on physical health! We recommend routine physical examinations for your cats.
Why can’t I find an appointment on your scheduler?
Unfortunately, we can only take on a limited number of new clients. To keep our appointments manageable, we opt to only post appointments for 2 to 4 weeks out. Our appointments do fill quickly. If there are no appointments on the scheduler for the next month, that means we are fully booked. We recommend you check back at a later time. We are also happy to refer you to another qualified behavior consultant if you get in touch.
What if I don’t want to do what you recommend?
We give you our best advice, based on your cat and your situation. We always try to be flexible and offer options. The advice we give is based on years of experience and from helping thousands of other cat guardians! That said, you are free to choose how you use the advice we give you!