When Turtle Creek neighborhood residents Stacey and Don Kivowitz had a cat problem interfering with their sleep, they turned to the Catsultant.
After an environmental analysis of the home, Lana Fraley Rich knew what to do about the intercat aggression and midnight yowling.
“Lana is the cat whisperer,” Stacey Kivowitz said. “She made immediate changes to our cats’ diet, organized our home for perches, and got their teeth checked due to their middle of the night vocalization which made enormous changes in getting a full night’s sleep.”
On catsultant.com, Rich boasts 20-plus years of professional experience in the dental/medical field, feline care, and behavior improvement services for cat owners, veterinarians, and animal shelters; and an 80 percent success rate, with more than 1,500 cat owners served.
Her cat care career began after a successful run in dental hygiene, when Rich saw a need and felt an urge to change her path.
“I always found plenty of toys and care for my dog, but nothing when it came to my longhaired cat,” Rich said. “It became clear that cats were the underdogs, and that they needed an advocate to fight for them and the care they deserve.”
Growing up as one of four children, Rich could relate. She never felt like she had a voice or advocacy in her family, so as an adult, she wanted to be an advocate for cats who couldn’t speak up for themselves.
Rich opened Cat Connection in 1985 in Plano to serve cat owners seeking help with their cat’s behavioral issues. Her business grew and Rich relocated to Dallas as the largest cat-only facility in the Southwest, garnering attention from Texas Monthly, Cat Fancy Magazine, and other publications, according to catsultant.com.
But in 2000, she sold Cat Connection to focus on her true calling: in-home behavior consultations.
Consultations are divided into three stages.
First, Rich ensures physical conditions aren’t affecting cat behavior.
Next, she tours the home to identify potential triggers as well as things that should or shouldn’t be in the home. Oftentimes such home items as candles or scent plugins as well as lack of traction or proper toys can negatively affect the cat.
She also does a full behavioral analysis by identifying what types of toys work with a cat’s personality. Afterwards, she sits down with the cat’s parents to discuss her findings and create a game plan going forward.
“I’ve worked with over 1,600 cats and no two are alike,” Rich said. “If I could do this for free I would because I absolutely love that I get to customize a plan for every family.”
Many issues she addresses revolve around litter boxes, aggression, and destructive behavior. Her appointments, which can last up to two and a half hours, also include follow ups for clients to check in with Rich if they have any questions or need alterations to their plan.
Her business has expanded well outside the Dallas city limits with clients all across the country and even on other continents online. While Skype sessions allow Rich to reach cat owners around the world, she believes her in-home consultations have proven to be the most effective.
Rich believes her biggest impact as a catsultant has been her ability to speak up for all cats and empower owners with the education needed to properly care for their furry family.
“Oftentimes I’m their last hope before they give their cat to a shelter,” Rich said. “Because I’m very empathetic to each situation, having dealt with my own cat issues, I am better able to successfully serve my clients.”