A first-ever study to train cats and their people for better health

“Let’s debunk a myth,” Udell says. “The key for training any animal to be successful in any working role is to have a strong understanding of what their strengths are and what advantages that particular species might have over another. For some circumstances, cats are an obvious choice.”

“Unfortunately, too many cats get abandoned or dumped in shelters by disillusioned owners who failed to develop a bond or understand cat social behavior,” Shreve says. If people knew that certain behaviors, like scratching, are normal and can be redirected using the training techniques she teaches, they’d be less likely to abandon their pets.

Back in the classroom, Shreve mills among the cavorting kittens. As a teacher, researcher, and animal lover, she translates for the other humans the kittens’ purrs and trills, their head bumps and nose-to-nose hellos. Class begins.

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