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Seven Common Cat Behaviours and How to Solve Them
Thursday March 16th 2017
You may think your cat’s “quirky” behavior is something individual to you. The likelihood is the opposite. Here’s a round-up of some of the most common kitty behaviours and some tips on how to overcome them…
1. Going outside of the litterbox
Cats are famously clean so if your kitty starts urinating or defecating outside of their litter box then they are probably trying to tell you something.
Is the litter frequently changed?
Cats do not like going to the toilet in a dirty litter box. You may even find them waiting to go in the second you put fresh litter in their tray.
Make sure you scoop the litter every day and change it completely every other day.
Is the box difficult to reach?
Most pet owners do not want their litter box to be in pride of place in the middle of the room but hiding it in a hard to reach area or with obstacles to get to it could also mean your kitty is more likely to go inside the house rather than the box.
Older cats may have difficulty negotiating steps so make sure the litter box is easy to reach and on ground level.
Could it be a problem with the type of litter?
There are seemingly-endless options when it comes to cat litter. Silica gel crystals, clumping clay, even walnut shells.
Just because the litter you choose is the right option for you, it may not be your kitty’s preferred choice. Try alternating to different kinds and see if they problem alleviates or disappears altogether.
Sometimes, the issue can be territorial if you get a new pet
2. Being a fussy eater
If you have a pernickety puss that’s choosy about its food then you are not alone. This is a common problem that many cat owners face.
Tackle it by
• Moving their bowl to a secluded spot – your kitty may like to eat in private.
• Standing with them while they eat – maybe your puss is a social eater?
• Having a feeding schedule – rather than having an always-full dry food bowl, why not introduce fasting periods and let your cat’s natural hunger set in.
• Putting bowls of dry food around the home – be sure to keep an eye on them so that you don’t end up over-feeding your cat
• Vary the food options – nobody likes eating the same meal all day every day, especially your fussy feline.
3. Coming into season
The noise and behaviour associated with your kitty coming into season, or “on heat” can be distressing to observe.
Your pet may seem uncomfortable, yowl excessively or stop eating.
Cats should be neutered from four to six-months-old and this is an important way of reducing feline aggressive and preventing unwanted pregnancies. It also has many health benefits, preventing feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and testicular cancer.
4. Clawing furniture and carpets
Cats like to keep their claws sharp and they do this by sharpening them on your home furnishings. Scratching can also be used by way of marking their territory.
Introduce cardboard scratching mats, scratching posts and other interesting units they can get their claws into.
You may also want to consider a hormonal spray. These specialised atomizers can be used to spray pheromones on chronic clawing areas that you want to be left alone.
5. Yowling, meowing and crying
First of all, you should be trying to find out why your kitty is making so much noise. Is your cat in pain? Or are they just trying to communicate with you?
If there are no obvious signs of pain then there are a few reasons they could be making these sounds…
If your kitty hasn’t been neutered or spayed, then caterwauling and yowling are a good indication that your female is in season and putting out a “mating call”.
Having your Kitty spayed or neutered will stop this.
A typical meow can simply be your cat’s way of communicating with you.
Are they telling you they’re hungry? Or are they asking you to stroke them? Try responding to the meow with what you think they’re asking for and see if it stops the meowing.
If your cat is chasing a fly around the house or stalking a bird at the window, then it’s common for you to hear chatter, chirping and squeaking as they become excited with not being able to catch their “prey”.
Distracting your kitty when a new toy or a tummy rub is likely to stop the noise associated with predatory chatter.
Aggressive cats can be dangerous, especially if you have children. This problem behaviour can be a result of a variety of issues and so it’s important to consider all of them when finding an appropriate solution.
If you have more than one kitty in your home, or lots of visitors coming and doing, it’s possible that your cat’s aggression can be down to fear or anxiety.
Stop your cat feeling territorially threatened by making sure they have their own litter box, food bowls and toys to play with.
And, if you have guests, try and put your kitty in a bedroom or safe space where they don’t feel the threat of strangers coming into their territory.
Feline boredom is a common problem and can be solved by having playtime with your puss.
If you’re out at work during the day put out toys, treat dispensers and puzzles to keep your cat entertained.
Pain of illness
Cats that are suffering are likely to show symptoms of aggressions. If this comes over all of a sudden, or if there are other obvious symptoms that could be an indication of illness, then a trip to the vets should be a consideration.
7. Eating plastic and other non-foods
Cats famously chew things that are not edible; wool, plastic bags, plants. No, it’s not healthy and it’s important to tackle these problems to prevent digestion problems, intestinal blockages or toxic poisoning.
Pica is the official term for your cat eating non-nutritional substances.
Treat Pica by
• Keeping their favourite inedible items out of reach
• Re-enforcing positive behaviours by giving praise if they stop chewing a woollen jumper or carrier bag
• Giving your cat an alternative – occasional food treats, toys etc.
• Use a deterrent – foil and olbas oil is a good way to deter your cat from seeking out non-food items to chew