Top TV dog whisperer Cesar Millan yesterday admitted to animal rights campaigners that he stalked and chased cats throughout California for many years before being forced to seek help from human psychologists.
The tight-shirted Cesar Millan who has a goatee beard claims to train humans to be pack leaders. But he once had a huge behavioural problem of his own that he was far too embarrassed to even talk about.
"For many years I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bark at any cat that came within two hundred yards of my ranch," he admitted through a muzzle. "I would stand at the window yelping like an insane puppy. Sometimes while driving, the sight of a cat would make me veer towards trees, gate posts and high walls where I would take great pleasure in besieging the unfortunate animals."
Human psychologist Hans Thiadormis who didn't treat Cesar Millan but knows a thing or two claimed that Cesar Millan is not alone in suffering the disorder known as PLD, or Pack Leader Disorientation.
"It is a more common problem than people will acknowledge," said Thiadormis. "I've seen grown men who have to peewee every hundred yards, and the women who have to sniff sniff sniff. It is crazy."
Residents of Cesar Millan's home town of San Demento became suspicious when Millan was seen leading packs of human PLD sufferers on night time forays. Sometimes they would corner cats, but mostly they were just out to bury bones.
"He was as strange as a Mongoose up a gum tree," said San Demento resident Jose Sombrero. "I saw him scrapping over fluffy toys and sticking his head down rabbit holes and the like. I thought, this guy is as cracked as a gourd on a sidewalk. All that on-screen impersonation of insecure dogs. That wasn't the dog. That was the real Cesar Millan."
Cesar Millan's road to recovery came when his antics finally involved the Cat Protection League of America.
"We had Cesar Millan on the end of one of those long poles," said Eli Cordelius of the CPL of America. "And he was a-whimpering and a-hollering, and I said you ain't right in the head boy."
Cesar Millan realised that was the moment he had to seek professional help.
"I came to realise that life on all fours was not all it was cracked up to be," he said. "I couldn't reach counters in banks, driving became impossible, postal services refused to deliver the mail."
It is thought that up to 2% of American dog owners suffer from PLD, and yet it's barely recognised by the Association of Animal Disorders in Americans. Here in the UK, the disorder was recognised a decade ago and self-help classes were set up all around the country.
Wendy Wolfenstone, of the UK PLD Self Help Group, LEAD, explained after removing a stick from her mouth:
"Barbara Woodhouse became a household name and we saw a huge rise in the number of cases of PLD. People must remember that there are boundaries they must not cross when learning about the behaviour of their canine family members. It's all very well being pack leader, but there are limits."
Once the problem has been identified, a long and arduous process called decaninisation starts where the sufferer is slowly encouraged to use two feet again. A diet of cooked meat replaces the raw meat preferred by sufferers. Knives and forks, beakers and tables and chairs are slowly reintroduced, but it can be a painful road to recovery and sadly, one that not all sufferers can recover from.