Laura Cassiday, CCBC, ABCCT, FFCP, is a successful cat behaviorist and author from the Baltimore area. Her ultimate goal, according to her website, is to “help cat parents understand their cats better and improve their relationship through positive reinforcement training.”
Tell us a bit about your writing, Laura.
I do cat behavior consulting as my full time job, with writing projects on the side! I write regularly for Hartz and contribute to their website’s Learning Library with topics about cats. I also published my first book in 2021, The Complete Guide to Adopting a Cat. I originally went to school for writing and graduated with a Master’s in Professional Writing in 2017, but life seemed to steer me in the direction of animal behavior after. So I still like to put my degree to good use in my free time!
How do cats inspire your creativity?
Cats are basically my whole life. I have 8 of my own at home, and then I work with them for my job, so I’m always around them. If art imitates life, then it makes sense that I would write about cats.
What do you enjoy about of belonging to CWA?
I love that there is a community of cat nerds out there making a living or a hobby out of writing about cats and telling each other about it. If you had told me that CWA would be a thing back when I was in elementary school, I would have tried to join back then, too.
Please answer any 3 (or more if you’re inspired) of the following questions. You may be as brief, wordy, serious, humorous, or creative as you wish.
- What is your favorite cat movie and why?
Does The Lion King count as a cat movie? If not, then Aristocats. I’m a huge Disney fan. The old woman in Aristocats is my role model – rich and single, alone with her cats.
- Did you grow up with cats?
I BEGGED for a cat from the time I could talk. Around the time I was 4 or 5, my parents got me a cat named Bo. I would push him around in my baby stroller and try to teach him tricks like jumping from chair to chair. He was so tolerant. He died when I was about 20.
- What is your earliest memory of being around cats?
My parents telling me at dinner that we were going to pick up our new cat, Bo. We were at Red Lobster.
- What crosses your mind when someone tells you they don’t like cats?
They probably don’t understand them. So many times, cats are misinterpreted as aloof, independent, or spiteful when they may just be stressed, bored, or frustrated. If we can teach people to better understand cat behavior, they probably would like them a lot more!
- What does your cat think of you? (If you live with more than one cat, you can answer for one or all)
I’ll answer for one of my cats, Sunny. He is almost 18 years old and is in my lap or touching me pretty much 100% of the time I am home. I brought him home from the shelter when he was 15 and we’ve been inseparable ever since. I have no doubt that he loves me with all of his heart. He’ll even meow at me if he wants to cuddle and I’m busy.
- Tell us a true cat story.
I once rescued a 26-year-old cat from a shelter, named Thomas. He had been in the shelter for over a month by the time I found out about him. We made the local and national news and he gained quite a fanbase. He was the best cat ever. We had a 27th birthday party with cake for cats and humans and cookies in the shape of his face. He lived to be about 27.5 years old.
What cat-themed item is sitting on your desk right now?
I have a desk lamp with cats on it!
- What famous cat or cat person have you met?
I have met Jackson Galaxy and Hannah Shaw the Kitten Lady!
- What’s the craziest thing your cat’s ever done?
The funniest thing that comes to mind is when we were sitting on the couch downstairs watching TV and we heard Dragon start to meow from upstairs, but it was a little muffled. We watched as he came downstairs, meowing the whole time, carrying a tube of toothpaste in his mouth. He put it down at my husband’s feet and walked away. I guess he was trying to tell him that his breath stank.
- How would you identify your cat in a lineup?
I wouldn’t bother. I’d just take them all home.
Please give us the names and short descriptions of your cats.
Sunny – 17 yo buff tabby male, adopted at age 15, super snuggly and my BFF, loves to wrestle and play with foster kittens. No teeth!
Juniper – 6 yo Nebelung F, rescued after being found hit by a car, is now a tripod. She’s the type of cat that makes people hate cats.
Dragon – 5 yo gray and white male, found abandoned in a feral cat colony at about 5 months old, ran right up to the feeder and told her he didn’t belong there! My first ever foster fail. He has his novice trick cat title and can play piano, jump through a hoop, and give high fives
Ripley – 1 yo gray Bambino (cross between a sphynx and a munchkin). My one fancy cat. He looks like a little goblin and is constantly dirty. Very few brain cells but we love him anyway
Now we’re getting into the Brown Tabby Crew (none are related, I just somehow happened to get all 4 of them around the same time):
Bean – 1 year old brown tabby female, tripod, missing half a tail and what’s left of it is broken into a “C” shape. She was the cutest kitten ever of all time. Now that she’s grown up, her body is weirdly proportioned and she has a huge butt and a tiny head. She bamboozled us. I still keep looking at her kitten pictures and wondering what happened.
Kiki – 1 yo brown tabby female, has hydrocephalus (Water on the Brain), weighs 4 pounds and still looks like a kitten. She wasn’t expected to live past 1 year old but is still kicking and doing great. We treasure every day with her.
Puff – 1 yo brown tabby male, found outside with eyes infected beyond repair. Trapper had him neutered and eartipped and thought she was going to put some drops in his eyes and release him back out (even though he was a friendly 8 week old kitten at the time). I stepped in, we had his eyes removed, and now he’s the baddest little kitten I’ve ever had. He gets into soooo much trouble
Lennox – 1 yo brown tabby male, named because he was found trapped behind a Lennox brand air conditioning unit. I got him at about 3 months old and he was still pretty feral. Ended up keeping him because he failed multiple meet and greets miserably and had basically no chance of being adopted. He surprised everyone and decided to turn friendly once I officially adopted him and now will come up to me for pets and even sit in my lap. He just really wanted to stay with me.
About Laura Cassiday, CCBC, ABCCT, FFCP
Laura got her start working as the Cat Behavior Coordinator at the Maryland SPCA in Baltimore from 2018 to 2021. In 2020, she served as Team Leader for the Jackson Galaxy Project Cat Pawsitive Pro program and completed the Litter Box Issues Master Class with Dusty Rainbolt, ACCBC. She is cat first aid and CPR certified through Pet First Aid 4U and is a recent 2021 graduate of the IAABC Cat Behavior Consulting mentorship with Katenna Jones of Jones Animal Behavior. In 2021, Laura achieved the prestigious title of Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and is currently one of only three total in the state of Maryland.
Laura’s mission as an active member of the animal welfare community in Baltimore is to improve the lives of cats and their people with the ultimate goal of keeping cats in their homes and out of shelters. Working in a shelter, she has seen the results of the lack of support that exists in the community for cat owners. Litter box issues, aggression, and destruction are common reasons that cats are relinquished. Many of these problems are easily fixable with a little bit of hard work and willingness to make changes. Pawsitive Vibes Cat Behavior and Training LLC was founded in 2021 as a resource to cat owners who have reached their limit and don’t know where else to turn.
Find more about Laura on her website and on Facebook: