I’m excited announce that Dr. Marci Koski will take over our “Ask the Cat Behaviorist” segment starting next month!

Dr. Marci Koski is a certified Feline Behavior and Training Professional who received specialized and advanced certificates in Feline Training and Behavior from the Animal Behavior Institute. She also holds a doctorate in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, and worked as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over ten years, where she focused her efforts on the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species.

While Marci has been passionate about all animals and their welfare, cats have always had a special place in her heart. In fact, Marci can’t remember a time when she’s been without at least one cat in her life. She currently relies on her five-member support staff  to maintain the feline duties of her household.

Marci works with two animal rescue organizations, including the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, where she assists with a program that connects cats needing to be socialized with inmates at a minimum-security prison. She also volunteers at Furry Friends, a no-kill cat rescue organization in Vancouver, WA, where she is a member of the Executive Committee and addresses behavior issues of concern both in the halfway house, and before and after cats are adopted to forever homes.

Marci’s own company, Feline Behavior Solutions, focuses on keeping cats in homes, and from being abandoned to streets or shelters as the result of treatable behavior issues. Marci believes that the number of cats who are abandoned and/or euthanized in shelters can be greatly reduced if guardians better understand what drives their cats to certain behaviors, and learn how to work with their cats to encourage appropriate behaviors instead of unwanted ones.

“Having cats (and other companion animals) in our lives is a wonderful thing,” says Marci. “Cats are capable of giving us great gifts of companionship, comfort, love, and even a good belly-laugh at times. And in return, giving our kitty friends happy and healthy lives and relationships with their guardians is what Feline Behavior Solutions is all about.”

Marci offers remote consultations for cat parents all over the world. For more information about Marci, please Feline Behavior Solutions.

Do you have a question for Marci?
Leave it in a comment, and she’ll answer
as many of your questions as she can next month!

21 Comments on Ask the Cat Behaviorist with Dr. Marci Koski

  1. My cat loves his wand toy but he has a favorite cat pillow, but it’s falling apart beyond repair. I’ve tried so many others and losing count. He will run after it briefly but not play fetch. I’ve had to hide it but he’s starting to get aggressive. He will play with a wand toy but then won’t leave you alone if you need to rest. Usually we play fetch for a bit and he tires out without getting overstimulated like he gets with wand toys. I’m at wits end. I took him in about 7 months ago when he was near one year old. I’ve had cats all my life but have never experienced this situation. He also started biting when Spring came along. I’ve done all the advice and he’s getting better but still breaks skin esp to my husband who I think is just a bleeder by nature. Please advise. I love this kitty to death but it’s causing friction. Thank you.

    • Dr. Koski no longer answers questions, but we have a new behaviorist for our column. Please post your comment/question here: and Laura will answer it next month.

      Alternately, you can work directly with Marci Koski by contacting her through her website.

  2. Hi, I have always had cats so when my precious 10 yr old passed I adopted two 3 year ok female sisters…. both doing extremely well . Both very different temperaments, but very happy cats . My concern is the smaller one she meows and cries at me for a good 5/10 mins every morning ( I then give her lots of attention )…then when she approaches me , maybe 6 times a day , she will ‘cry’ high pitched long wail…. as I talk back to her she replies, doing the same cry , it’s not really a meow … so I’m concerned, is this just a ‘copying’ response or is it normal for a cat to communicate with humans this way . I’ve never had a cat do this and I’ve had 15 throughout my live ! But I suppose we continually learn new things about these beautiful animals . Please can you advise me
    Ps her health and behaviour is fine , she plays and eats well …just talks and talks and talk !!!
    Thank you
    Kind regards Valerie

  3. Good morning Marci

    I have 2 cats one is 8 yrs old and the other is 3 yrs old who I received when he was 14 weeks old and feral. I raised Sir Tiger he is a good boy he is my shadow the problem is when I am playing with Ms Mida who is the 8 yr old I try to to do the play thing when Tiger is sleeping for I think he gets I think jealous when I play with Mida I do try to play with both at times to give Mida a one on one play time. I have cat trees throughout the house but Tiger always want what Mida has or doing. How do i go about too give some alone time with Ms Mida.

  4. Hello!! And thank you for helping us all . My question is this…. I have an indoor/outdoor male neutered orange cat who used a litter box very often when in the house. We took him to the kennel while we were on vacation for a week, and since we returned home he has not used his box one time. He’ll go to the door and go outside, has never gone anywhere in the house. What could make him ignore his box since returning from the kennel?

  5. Hi Marci, I have an 8yr old Maine Coon who has recently (6mos) been pooping (not peeing) on our carpets and furniture. It’s out of character for him.

    We have 3 other cats (he’s the only male) and we have 4 3’x 2’ litter boxes we clean daily. We took him to the vet to make sure it wasn’t a health issue and they said he was fine, just fat and there were No serious changes when it started (we’re just now in the process of moving). I’m at a loss and would love to have answers or ideas before we move into our next house. My husband’s solution was to keep him in a kennel or isolate him in a room but that’s out of the question for me, I just feel like he’s trying to communicate something to me but I don’t know what. Thanks in advance.

  6. Marci, I have a spayed female cat about 2-3 years old. She hates everyone and all her brother and sister felines (8 total). How can I get her to not be so mean. I tried a plug in product, but it didn’t agree with her (made her vomit). What can I do.

  7. I have a 1 1/2 year old rescue (for 8 months.) She is very ‘mouthy’ – constantly chews. If it isn’t the corners of the baseboards, it’s anything else woody. (Chair legs, etc.) She is currently destroying a cardboard box. That part is OK, but if she doesn’t get what she wants – she’ll attack my leg; usually if she wants to chase, or if lunch is not quite ready. I don’t know how to change her mind besides showing her the water bottle.

  8. Hi Marci and welcome!

    I know Mikel answered many questions about what to do when cats aren’t getting along and introducing new cats to one another and this question runs along those lines. My question is about two male cats both are neutered males about 8 years old. They were adopted together when they were about a year old from a shelter – I believe the shelter thought them to be siblings and they were living indoor/outdoor in a bad situation.
    The intent was to have them be indoor cats in their new home but they didn’t seem to get along that well (tolerating one another) and they seemed restless wanting to get back outside.
    So once again in their new home they became indoor/outdoor cats. There are plenty of resources inside for both cats. There is also a dog in the home that the cats both get along with.
    over the years the aggression between them has escalated inside and outside. One cat does seem to be more the aggressor-walking over to swat and attack the other -even if he is sitting minding his own business in a chair. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to the aggression. It seems to occur at different times and in different places. They can eat near one another and sit on the couch or bed together and they are praised and given treats at these times when they are being good. They don’t have any issues with inappropriate peeing and don’t seem to do a lot of scratching or rubbing inside the home.
    Because both are indoor/outdoor, closing the cats inside to reintroduce them seems like it would be too stressful for everyone. And with all of the outdoor territory and stimulation you would think they wouldn’t need to fight outside as well.
    Do you think there is any way to save this relationship or would re-homing one of these cats be the best option at this point.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  9. MY spayed female Maine Coon mix cat has a behavior that my vet couldn’t explain to me. When Lucy urinates she raises her back end mid-stream and consequently voids onto the floor. She always goes in her box but she only does it facing a certain direction (toward the shower)! She is 7 years old and healthy although she is positive for herpes but it is well-controlled. I also have a 4 yr old neutered male who she growls & hisses at frequently although he’s got a lovely disposition and does not threaten her. Both cats were adopted as kittens from a local shelter. Any idea what would cause Lucy to do this?

  10. We rescued a cat this summer from a local animal control. They estimated he’s a little over a year.
    Since he joined our home, he’s been eating any food he can get his hands on but mostly bread items and crackers. We were hiding bread in the toaster oven but he opens the door and removes the bread so we now hide everything in the microwave. This evening I did not secure (the newly added) pantry latch and Walter got in the pantry. He took out a 5 lb bag of flour and started eating it. It’s nuts! Is there anything we can do to help change this behavior?

  11. Very loud meowing in the middle of the night from one of our three 14-year-old cats. He’s being very closely monitored with a fairly new diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. He’s a very social cat and engages with ANY human who comes to our house. If we get up with him when he starts meowing, he usually settles back down within a short time. It’s almost like he just wants us to be with him 24/7.

  12. I have 2 15 yr old cats. Spayed females. All their lives they’ve gotten along. Supported each other through our many travels. We do NOT travel any more. Now that 1 of my cats is very ill, my other cat hisses & bites her when she comes near. I’ve read where keeping them separate is best for the I’ll cat. Any suggestions/help to improve my sick cat’s life?

  13. Hi, thanks for any help you can provide. We have two female cats who have been with us for 11 (Ham) and five (Marcey) years. About seven weeks ago, a local stray we feed (outside of our home) managed to sneak his way into the house under my feet as I was coming in the front door. He ran in and bolted right into Marcey, our youngest addition. That resulted in a violent altercation between the stray and our girl. All seemed well until a few days later when our oldest girl, Ham, got under my feet in the kitchen. When I stepped on her, she let out a Yelp. In comes Marcey who began a vicious attach on ham. Since then it has been attack after attack. They have lived in complete harmony for many years until that night. I have since resorted to keeping them separated. I have tried every suggestion the internet offers. They eat their meals on opposite sides of the door, they’re clicker trained to positive events, we have played with them until they’re exhausted and then tried reintroduction, I have even purchased feline pheromone diffusers. Nothing is working. They still randomly hiss and spit under the gap in the door. This isn’t sustainable for my family. My husband is active duty and has been deployed since June. I’m a full-time student with two kids. We are stationed in Oahu, thousands of miles from the nearest family, there are no feline behavior specialist here (or close). I am not sure what else to do. This isn’t a sustainable long-term solution. Please, if you’re able to help me. I need a solution. These cats are a part of our family and right now, our family is broken.

  14. Hi… we have a four year old female house cat that keeps wetting on our beds from time to time. We know she doesn’t like our newest female cat that we adopted a year ago. What can we do to stop this? Thanks.

  15. Will my tortoise shell ever runout of energy? I’ve had six cats who together could’t keep up with her.Bill Eckardt

  16. I would love to get in touch with Dr. Marci to discuss ways we could collaborate effforts. We have a new FDA approved product called Mirataz. It is for unintended weight loss in cats. I’m with the biotech pharmaceutical company Kindred Bio.

    • Hi Robin – thanks for your interest. I’m not a veterinarian, so I can’t recommend or prescribe medication. Best, marci

  17. We have two cats, both neutered males. The 12 year old (who we adopted just before he turned 8) began spraying vertical surfaces in the basement a year ago. He has sprayed the wall, the deep freezer, the washing machine, and many of my husband’s tool boxes.
    The other cat is a 4 year old and does not spray. We adopted him when he was 6 months old. This was 8 months after adopting the older cat. Over time they have learned to live together, but are not at all bonded.
    We have 3 litter boxes throughout the house that get cleaned twice daily. We have 4 large cat trees and 1 small cat perch in various window locations throughout the house. The cats are fed in the basement, but in different locations, about 8 feet apart.
    We are at a loss as to what is causing the 12 year old to spray.
    We sealed the basement floor in an attempt to get rid of any lingering smells (we clean up after each incident with Skout’s Honor Cat Urine product) but he is still spraying.
    Any ideas or tips would be appreciated.

    • Thank you, Janine! I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’m looking forward to answering peoples’ questions about their kitties! 🙂

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