Ever wonder what your dog or cat is really thinking? Just ask pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick, author of the upcoming book There Are No Sad Dogs in Heaven. You may know Fitzpatrick from her former Animal Planet series, The Pet Psychic, or her Sirius-XM show, Animal Intuition. She’s helped countless clients and celebrities solve issues with their pets, so we consulted her to get some of her best tips. Read on for the secrets every pet owner should know.
You already communicate with your pet
We’re not just talking about telling them to sit, stay, or go outside. According to Fitzpatrick, animals are constantly picking up on our emotions, feelings, and energies. Her suggestion: Visualize what you want to communicate to your animal or how you wish they would behave, because they’re particularly sensitive to this kind of message. Another tactic, “When you say something verbally, always match your feeling with whatever you are telling them,” says Fitzpatrick. For instance, stay calm when telling a pet that you’ll be back from the store soon.
They react to your stress
Many times clients will come to Fitzpatrick when a pet starts acting strange, like when a cat decides to ditch the litter box. “I’ll ask the cat why, and it can often be an emotional problem,” say Fitzpatrick. “Something has happened or you’re not getting on well with your husband, and the only way they can tell you they’re disturbed is by peeing outside of the box.” So if your pet randomly starts misbehaving, it could just be their way of telling you that they know something is up. (That said, peeing outside the litter box can be a sign that your pet has bladder issues—it’s worth also taking the kitty to the vet to get checked out, just in case.)
DID YOU KNOW? Here’s how your body reacts when hanging with your pet.
They usually have a reason for acting out
In addition to stress, other changes and frustrations can cause your pet to misbehave—like if you swapped their bed for a new one or if you started using a harsh cleanser in the house. “People don’t realize they use these terrible chemical cleaners in the house, and the animals smell things we don’t even smell,” says Fitzpatrick. To avoid upsetting or even hurting your pet, she suggests switching to all natural cleaning products.
Other things that can set them off include bringing another pet into the house, not giving them enough exercise, or starting to work longer hours. Any of these changes can prompt your pet to respond—maybe even by wrecking your brand new heels. While they don’t do these things vindictively, it’s often the only way they can communicate that they’re frustrated, says Fitzpatrick.
They mourn the loss of a pet just like you do
In her new book, Fitzpatrick explains how she communicates with pets who have passed away in order to give their owners closure. But when it comes to the death of an animal, other pets in the household need to mourn too. According to Fitzpatrick, animals can still sense a departed pet after they’re gone. “They don’t understand and they get upset because they can feel and sense them but can’t see the physical body,” says Fitzpatrick. To help the household heal, leave the dog or cat’s bed in the house for a few weeks after they’ve passed, as the scent will help the other animals to grieve, says Fitzpatrick.
Next: Test Your Pet Knowledeg
They know when they’re in good hands
Wondering if your pet knows the extent of your obsession with them? Chances are that they do, says Fitzpatrick. “All animals know when they’re with people who love them,” she says. Yes, even an especially unaffectionate cat, says Fitzpatrick. Pets have distinct personalities and moods just like we do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you, says Fitzpatrick.