Psycho Kitty-Another Bad Book Title

I’m going to moan again about the language of expert, renown cat behaviourists. I am not a politically correct sort of person but I do believe that the language we use can change the way we think about things.

psycho kitty book

Behaviourists have an obligation to change the perceptions of people who have incorrect perceptions about the domestic cat.

What I’m saying is that cat behaviourists not only should be resolving individual cat behaviour problems but they also have a wider responsibility especially if they are well known to ensure that the domestic cat is portrayed in a proper light.

The reason why I say this is because almost all cat behaviour problems are in truth human behaviour problems and in turn those human behaviour problems often arise out of misconceptions and false expectations.

If the cat behaviourists can chip away at some of those misconceptions about cat behaviour amongst a large segment of society in the West then there will be less cat behaviour problems.

This is why the title to Pam Johnson-Bennett’s book is thoughtless and over commercialised. The title has been decided purely from the point of view of sales, which I understand completely but it does not justify the choice. The title is eye-catching but misleading and I would argue that it quite possibly has a detrimental impact upon the image of the domestic cat in the eyes of the public.

You could argue the title is irresponsible and what is amazing is nobody’s ever address this sort of matter before. No doubt, the title was dreamt up by the author’s publishers but the author should have resisted.

As mentioned, I don’t want to be over politically correct but in my opinion the author gets off to a very bad start with the book title like this.

The domestic cat can never be a “Psycho”. The domestic cat can, in the eyes of some, behave badly but nearly always the cat is behaving normally and the cat is certainly behaving naturally under the circumstances in which he finds himself.

I have a similar issue with Jackson Galaxy’s television show on Animal Planet which is called “My Cat From Hell”.

Here we have two high profile cat behaviourists getting it wrong with respect to a major part of their marketing. One of them is implying that a cat can be psychotic or in other words mad and the other is implying that a cat can be evil. Together they portray the possibility that a cat can be a mad, evil monster.

Anyone who knows cats well, will understand that this is incorrect and disrespectful. The starting point for excellent cat guardianship is to respect the cat.

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Psycho Kitty-Another Bad Book Title — 10 Comments

  1. Merely attention getting maneuvers that translate into profit. Borderline unethical for sure.
    How many humans would have confidence in a therapist/human behavioralist who called them “psycho” or “person from hell”?

    • Exactly Dee it’s all about making money as always, the ‘celeb’ worshippers say oh what a shocking title I MUST have that book… sales sky high, therapist rich! huh!

  2. I agree with you Michael! Psycho Cat is a terrible title for a book.
    There is no psycho animal, but plenty of psycho people!
    It’s like the pro declaws saying cats tear the house up and scratch babies eyes out and such rubbish, it makes them sound like wild beasts.
    I am not much of an admirer of cat behavioural therapists at all, although some like Jackson Galaxy do good work at times, but I think ordinary cat caretakers like you Michael and your PoC visitors are more attuned to cats than the people saying they are cat experts.

  3. While I agree with you in principle, Michael, at the same time these are “catchy” title. Most of the folks who will be looking for books like this will be attracted to it since they THINK their cat is from hell, or is psycho.

    It’s what is inside the book that straightens them out. The same thing with Jackson’s show title. I am sure that Animal Planet more than likely chose that title.

    But if I didn’t know anything about cats and thought my cat was a nut job I would turn to these books and the show first.

    I do prefer the book title “The Cat Who Cried for Help”- forget the author- it may be Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM. But I think that one has to be a bit more cat savvy to choose that title rather than the more “shocking” one.

    Thankfully both authors- Bennett and Galaxy at least are turning people around to think differently about their cats. I am beginning to notice this while monitoring the message boards in a cat community for which I volunteer.

    • these are “catchy” title.

      I agree that there has to be a commercial element to a book otherwise it won’t sell and no one will read it and therefore no one would write it. I accept that but I am asking the question really whether one can dream up a catchy title to a book that has a commercial element to it while at the same time respecting the cat. I would have thought that was possible on a book about cat behaviour while focusing on the postive: affection, love, companionship etc.. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps it is too difficult to do that.

      • I think that you could come up with a multitude of more “catchy” titles just by pulling up some of your articles, Michael. And, they wouldn’t be cat negative.

        • I’ll try and think of one but it should at least be positive. Both Galaxy and Pam chose negative connotations when the whole point of the domestic cat is a positive experience and benefit to both parties or that is the goal.

  4. ‘Certified animal behaviour consultant’ she may be, but she wasn’t certified by animals.
    ‘Your Misunderstood Cat’ would be a better title!
    Maybe we at PoC should write a book.

    • yea we should ruth. Often there is a reason why cats do what they do. Often its the human. Or bought up in wrong environment when they were kitties, brought up right they can be taught the right things.

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