|In the last tip I discussed habituation. Counter-conditioning often goes hand in hand with habituation because you can teach the cat to do something “counter-intuitive” to what he would normally do in a certain situation. For example, if you’re trying to introduce a new cat to a resident cat, you desensitize or habituate them to the presence of each other through gradual exposure, but you also use counter-conditioning by
offering food while they’re in each other’s presence. By eating a meal or treat, they
are doing something they normally wouldn’t do under those circumstances but the technique helps them begin to associate each other with positive experiences.
Pam Johnson-Bennett, CABC, is a certified cat behavior consultant and author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior. Her website is www.catbehaviorassociates.com.
November 10th, 2010