When it involves felines, Michelle Sharpee is the cat’s meow. The ABC Cat Training Program graduate has at all times had a keenness for the four-legged creatures and a pure curiosity about them. It was this curiosity that drove her to just accept a job working with unique and massive cats at Naples Zoo in Naples, Florida.
“I worked with tigers, lions, caracals and other exotic cats for many years,” she recalled. “I knew big cats and domestic cats exhibit similar behaviors, but seeing those behaviors and similarities first-hand was very exciting.”
It was whereas observing her favourite tiger, Topaz, Michelle observed the similarities between how she communicated and the way her home cats, Pebbles, and Eave, communicated. Both used quite a lot of indicators, physique postures, facial expressions and vocalizations to convey messages. For instance, when their eyes had been half closed and once they blinked slowly this gesture communicated belief. Michelle may additionally learn their moods by observing how their ears had been positioned. When their ears had been ahead this indicated the cats had been feeling content material and even playful.
Big cats and home cats like to play and rub towards issues marking their territories with pheromones. Both exhibit predatory habits and like to sit down in excessive locations, which give them a definite benefit to allow them to survey their realms for potential prey. They get pleasure from scratching issues, smelling issues with their mouths open and sleeping lots – an entire lot. In truth, home cats sleep anyplace from 12 to 16 hours a day and lions and tigers sleep as a lot as 18 to 20 hours a day.
“All cats regardless of their size stalk their prey which takes a lot of energy and they are crepuscular which means they are most active at dawn and dusk,” she defined. “This is why domestic cat owners should play interactive games with their cats so they can use their hunting instincts to release any pent-up frustrations that lead to unwanted behaviors.”
Michelle left the zoo and accepted a place as a technician assistant for a feline veterinary clinic. After studying in regards to the variety of home cats that wind up in shelters for treatable behaviors, she made it her mission to teach cat house owners and anybody enthusiastic about cats in regards to the significance of cat coaching to unravel habits issues. She knew it was essential to acquire knowledgeable certification to ascertain her credibility, so she enrolled in ABC’s Cat Trainer Program. She graduated final January and is an Animal Behavior College Certified Cat Trainer (ABCCT).
The distance studying course teaches quite a few subjects, together with studying theories, cat coaching instruments, stopping undesirable behaviors, and feline care and vitamin. The cat coach course additionally features a shelter practicum, pet first assist and CPR certification.
“I decided to become a professional cat trainer because many people don’t understand cats and when they get a cat they use dog training techniques to train them,” Michelle stated. “They soon discover that dog training techniques don’t work for cats. And many owners grow frustrated and surrender their cats to shelters for behaviors that are trainable and treatable. My goal is to educate and train cat owners so they, in turn, can train their cats and keep them at home.”
One of Michelle’s most memorable tales was a couple of cat named Bernie. Last fall, one of many veterinary technicians discovered him and introduced him into the clinic for care. The green-eyed gray, white and black kitty had sustained third-degree chemical burns on his again.
“When I first saw him, I wanted to turn away because it hurt my heart to see him this way,” she stated. “But I knew he needed help, and I wanted to be sure he knew and felt he was truly loved.”
Due to his accidents, it took a number of weeks for Bernie’s wounds to heal. During his therapeutic course of, he was positioned in a cage. Within days, Michelle observed a change in his habits. The as soon as calm and pleasant cat began biting and scratching her and different staff. She knew that this habits wanted to be corrected and began coaching Bernie.
“I knew that if I didn’t train him and correct these behaviors, he would not get adopted,” she stated. “I trained and worked with him several days a week for two months using much of what I learned from my CTP studies.”
When Bernie was able to be adopted, Michelle posted greater than 50 movies of him on Facebook and despatched them to folks she knew in hopes of getting the phrase out that he wanted a house. Two days earlier than Christmas , Bernie obtained a really particular current. He was adopted right into a without end residence.
In addition to coaching cat house owners and dealing on the clinic, Michelle owns two cats and likewise fosters and rescues homeless cats separately. She believes doing it like this enables her to spend extra time with every cat and use coaching methods that target every cat’s particular person wants.
“I would love to one-day rescue and train cats full-time so they can be adopted and live happy lives,” she stated. “There are so many cats out there that need help and my mission is to do my best to meet that need.”
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Helath - Care - Training
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