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Positive Cat Parenting™

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Invisible Cat


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 What is Positive Human Leadership?

What is it?


Dr. Rolan Tripp coined the phrase, "Positive Human Leadership" to mean providing pets an environment where nothing bad, scary, or painful happens. In this environment the pet clearly takes notice that something has changed at home and therefore begins to learn new house rules. The pet learns more easily from this structured approach which is typically presented in a custom behavior modification program, following a pet behavior history analysis by a Veterinary Behavior Consultant through the Animal Behavior Network.

What do people do?

1.  Pet Boot Camp - Think of the first two weeks of your behavioral treatment plan as Boot Camp so your pet notices a clear change. During these two weeks your goal is to withhold attention so that your attention becomes more valuable when you praise good behaviors.

2.  Invisible Pet --  During Boot Camp, you will need to pretend your cat is an invisible pet. This is the single most important step when starting your program and provides the foundation for all other lessons. Be prepared!  This "tough love" will be more difficult on you than it is on your pet  There is a test to use for your pet to "pass" out of boot camp.


When cats learn to trust that human hands are friendly and not threatening, cats become more relaxed around their people.

3.  Hand Feeding - The purpose of hand feeding is to make you more clearly the giver of all good things and to associate hands with positive outcomes such as food. It's important that your pet approach you to get the food.  It's best if you can be completely relaxed, hand out, even looking away at first.  When your pet approaches, praise softely.  If your pet does not take the food from the palm of your outstretched hand gently, then remove your hand and try again before presenting the next food puzzle meal, when your pet is the hungriest.

4.  Exercise
- Give your pet physical and mental exercise before breakfast and dinner - even if only for 5 minutes. Pets need both mental and physical exercise.  Cats need to express natural prey behavior in play. Purchase toys that encourage cats to chase and bite objects not humans!  Vary games within one play session. Make sure your cat "wins" these games by occasionally tossing in a treat when the toy bird, mouse, or laser light is pounced on.

What not to do?

Do not punish or scold the cat in any way.  Do not give the cat any reason to associate you with a negative experience. Do not give your cat what is wanted for "free," instead, ask your cat to "earn" what is wanted by being calm, friendly and following an instruction.


A common profile for an aggressive cat is one that is loved, pampered and in turn, "runs the house. A cat's personality develops based on confusion about social status. Think of it as a cat that thinks it is his or her prerogative to "punish" other members of the house for reasons that are unclear to the humans.

"Helping you raise a fabulous feline friend for life."

Improving Relationships between Pets and People!

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