“Psycho Kitty? Understanding Your Cat’s Crazy Behavior” (Crossing Press,1998) is one of several books by noted (a-hem) cat behaviorist (a-hem), Pam Johnson-Bennet. “Psycho Kitty?” an apt title, because Johnson-Bennet writes in a schizophrenic style. She can’t make up her mind whether she’s James Herriot or a Cesar Milan for cat-owners.
Herein lays the book’s major flaw: although touted as an “advice lady” book for helping to solve common cat behavior problems, it winds up reading like a 156 page advertisement for her feline behavior consultant business. Also, there are only three cats in the dozens of case studies presented that do anything remotely like psychotic behavior.
“Psycho Kitty” is a quick, lively book from a reader’s point of view. It has large print on small pages and several illustrations, so the book can be completed in an evening.
Who Would Benefit From This Book?
People who know absolutely nothing about cats would benefit from reading this book. And I mean NOTHING about cats. This book is geared for people who can identify a cat from a line-up of other pets nine times out of ten. There is very, very little new information for long-time owners of cats or for workers in cat rescue.
It’s pretty frightening that such a book as “Psycho Kitty” exists – because if it’s published, the publisher must have known that there was a market for it. And that means that there are a lot of really dumb people out there deciding to get cats as pets when they really what they need is swift kick in the head.
What Crazy Behaviors Are Covered?
There’s a whole chapter spent on cats that won’t use the litter box. This chapter can be skimmed for anyone who’s lived with more than two cats in their lives. Johnson-Bennett goes on in minute detail about people who do not clean the litter or own a dog that blocks the way to the litter box and then wonder why their cat never uses it.
Other behaviors include sudden attacking of owners, sudden attacking of other people that enter the home, wool sucking and scratching the furniture and carpets. The only truly bizarre behavior is a cat that liked to sneak into the shower while a person was using it. Only that cat could truly be called a “Psycho Kitty”, because a memorable shower scene is involved.
The book winds up with a long, teary chapter about a rich old man trying to find a home for his cat before he died. Why that was included, I have no idea. It was a waste of pages for people who are frantically looking for information about what they think is their cat’s strange or mean habits.