When we do not take heed of how our animals are showing up, they try to get through to us by changing how they act. Granted, this may not always be the reason for troubling behaviour, but if we don’t listen, they will persist, potentially causing major upsets in the family.
How we move, speak and interact has a powerful effect on our animal friends – so it’s no surprise that they are keen to let us know when we are having a negative impact on them, and on others around us.
What can I do to help my animal?
I believe that some animal behaviour should not be tolerated; such behaviour might include barking for no reason, mouthing, or even becoming unfriendly. However, things like plucking feathers, sulking, following you everywhere, staring at you all the time, not eating, or perhaps presenting with the same aches and pains you also experience, are all things we need to be extra diligent about.
The first step is to observe our animals more closely, rather than talking to them, punishing them or ignoring them. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
► What am I doing (or not doing) that might be causing this behaviour?
► What might be happening in our direct environment to create this behaviour?
► What can we do to change that?
Sometimes, problems like these push us to connect back to ourselves, tune in to our heart and do a stocktake of our life. The important thing here is to actually implement the changes required: only then will our pets adjust their behaviour.
Rami, the cat with the keyboard fetish
Rami was an eight-year-old cat who lived for cuddles and belly rubs. His normally docile behaviour changed over the course of a few weeks, when he began sitting on his guardian’s computer keyboard. If she moved him, he would either jump straight back up, or turn and bite her.
As she worked from home, it was important to Rami’s mum that this behaviour stopped. At her wits’ end, she called me for help.
Rami was finally able to explain that one of the three roles his guardian undertook as part of her work was actually not suited to her, and she was doing herself a disservice by continuing. Within a month, she had reduced her workload significantly, and Rami returned to his usual snuggly self.
This is one of many examples I’ve seen when our pets actually do know what’s best for us, and will try anything to get that message across!
Take a closer look
As animal lovers, we already know our pets very well. Deep down, we know what may have changed in their world. Even so, I invite you to observe your animal friend more closely for a few days, taking note of the following:
Are they asking for more attention?
Have their eating habits changed?
Are they more vocal?
How are their energy levels?
What are their sleeping patterns like?
Has anything else shifted in their behaviour, no matter how small this might be?
Once you have a clear view of what’s different, ask yourself the questions suggested earlier. Take a breath, connect with yourself and observe yourself: think about what might have changed about you that is related or similar to what your animal is experiencing. And then, decide what you are going to do to make a correction, or take a step in the direction you truly want.
Together, you and your pet can make a significant impact on each other’s lives, and your relationship and be much happier for it.
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