Understanding cats has been an unsolved mystery, but now the cat’s out of the bag. All feline-fanatics know that cats have their unique quirks, however, there are also many undiagnosed behavioral problems in both kittens and adult cats, alike. So, is your cat simply expressing his or her personality, or are there behavioral problems? Find out with these 3 common cat problems and behavior management tips.
Behavioral Problems in Cats
Inappropriate Elimination: One of the most common kitty conundrums often lies outside of the litter box, sometimes far from the litter box. Tip: Since there could be a number of reasons your cat may be neglecting to use the litter box, the following assessment may help to explain this behavior type.
1. Is the litter clean? Your cat’s litter box should regularly be scooped, at least once a day.
2. Do you have more than one cat? There is a minimum of one box, per cat in the home plus one extra!
3. Have you tried a new brand of litter recently? An abrupt change in litter may cause litter box aversion.
4. Where is the litter box located? A quiet, safe area that can be reached easily and quickly is the best.
Litter scent, texture, cleanliness, and depth all play a role in litter box appeal. If the behavior persists, talk to your Longwood veterinarian about inappropriate elimination, as there could be an underlying medical condition causing this behavior, such as a urinary tract infection.
Aggression: Ranked as the second most common behavioral issue seen by animal behaviorists, aggression in cats can be dangerous to family and visitors, especially children who may not recognize the cues and body language. If your cat seems to be showing signs of aggression toward humans, other cats, or animals, it’s possible that your cat lacks play aggression outlets with which to exercise it. Tip: Take time out of each day to play with your cat. You may find that with an increase in activity, he or she is less aggressive or confrontational with others.
Destructive Clawing & Scratching: Most cat owners often ask, why do cats notoriously scratch carpets, fabrics, furniture, and other various household items? Cat scratching is an innate marking behavior, most often to mark their scent through glands found on their paws. It also removes the outer layer of the claws, to allow for nail growth. Tip: If your cat is clawing at the curtains, make sure they have an adequate amount of appropriate scratch surfaces, such as scratching posts. Make sure there are some that are horizontal and some that are vertical, cats can have a preference. Try a little catnip to entice them to appropriate scratching surfaces.
*Note: Declawing should never be considered a solution to destructive behavior issues, as Longwood does not condone the declawing of cats for non-emergent, non-medical reasons.
If your cat is expressing behavior problems, it may be time to make an appointment at Longwood Veterinary Center, as any of the above behavioral problems could also be linked to underlying medical issues. If these tips don’t help, contact our Kennett Square, PA veterinary clinic at (610) 388-3388 to schedule an appointment.