Cat Behavior Problems
As bizarre as cat behavior problems may seem at times, rarely do cats do anything without a reason or at least some kind of incentive. While many of these problems may stem from health reasons, and these should be ruled out first by your veterinarian, there are also many other reasons for "bad" behavior, and believe it or not, some solutions to go with them!
First, how NOT to try and solve problems with your cat - Never punish your cat by yelling , scolding or violence. These methods do not work and only make things worse. These are cats we’re talking about, not dogs and they are extremely sensitive to their environment and the attitudes of their humans. A little understanding goes a long way.
Litter Box Issues
If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, don't think that he’s just being stubborn, or urinating elsewhere out of spite. Frequent urination in small amounts, avoiding the litter box, or straining, could indicate an urgent or even potentially fatal medical condition, so take your cat to the vet. Period. Once you’ve ruled out any physical causes then you can look into other areas, and if necessary, address the problem at that time. For more information, please see my page on Cat Litter Box Training.
Aggressive behavior is often the result of boredom or feeling neglected. Play with your cat every day. If he is aggressive about biting you, make sure you have not trained him to do so by using your hands as toys. Instead, use a fishing or wand toy, which he can bite without getting into trouble. If he goes for you or your hand, a firm “NO!” followed by a time out will help him learn what is and is not acceptable behavior. Be consistent in what you teach him. Many cat behavior problems may be solved by simply sticking to your guns and making sure everyone in the household is on the same page.
The Feral Factor
Be sure you are not bringing the scent of outside cats into the home on your shoes or clothing. If you have a lot of feral cats in your neighborhood, it is possible that they are spraying in your area and you may be coming into the house smelling like a threat. Keep an eye out for attacks right after you’ve been outside. If this is the case, either make sure the ferals stay out of your yard (good luck with that one!) or else change and wash immediately upon coming in.
Create a Happy Home Environment
Make sure he has some scratching posts or scratch toys that he can use. Let him sleep undisturbed in a comfy place. Don’t let kids drag him off to bed when he would prefer to be left alone. One sure way to have cat behavior problems is to not respect their rights and desires.
Give him plenty of entertainment such as cardboard boxes to explore, a cat tree (or something similar) to climb, and maybe some catnip mice scattered here and there for him to discover. Let him indulge his natural curiosity, but make sure he does it safely.
Home Sweet Home
Strive for a calm household. Tell your cat what a great friend he is, and give him affection each day - but be sure not to invade his space when he prefers to be left alone. While not solitary animals, cats do require some alone time and will appreciate having a quiet sanctuary (preferably somewhere up high) to retreat to.
Cats like a comfortable, predictable routine; they may develop these cat behavior problems when their routine is disturbed. if major changes such as a move, trip or a new house guest are inevitable, acclimate your kitty, as gently as possible and maintain his routine as much as you possibly can. It's a wonderful way to show your cat you love him, and to make his life with you happier for you both. And you can go down through the years, hand in paw.
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