Common Cat Behaviour Problems

Common Cat Behaviour Problems

Cats Scratching Furniture – cats scratch to mark territory, to stretch and maintain their claws. It’s also one of the most common cat behaviour problems! First of all, NEVER DECLAW YOUR CAT. This practice is illegal in many (not all!) places. It’s barbaric, cruel, and extremely painful for your animal.

the trick is to mimic it and provide more attractive scratching options.

Choose a couple of cat scratching posts that are tall enough and on a platform that prevents them from moving. Cats also like to scratch horizontally, so provide both horizontal and vertical opportunities and be sure they are tall and long enough for the cat to really stretch and scratch. Ensure your cat has access to several of the best cat scratching posts, and a mix of vertical and horizontal surfaces. Either way, your cat needs to be able to stretch properly whilst they’re scratching, so ensure your post is tall enough (at least 90cm)! The posts also need to be secure – attach them to a wall or ceiling for best results.

Place your scratching posts near where your cat currently feels the need to scratch. Remember, they’re using it as a territory marker, so there’s no point having it in the wrong room! 

Use a product on the post to encourage scratching such as Feliscratch by Feliway, which uses physical and pheromone signals to trick the cat into thinking they prefer to use the scratch post!

Toileting Outside of the Litter Box - Unlike puppies, kittens are easy to house train—show them the litter, and you’re pretty much done. That said, problems can arise down the line. Once you consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems, it’s time to take a good look at your litter. How clean is it? Clean enough to meet a cat’s exacting standards?

 Cats hate dirty toilets, just like we do. Keep it clean by scooping at least daily and follow the one-plus-one rule for litter boxes: one box per cat, plus one.”

 You also want to make sure the litter is in a nice, private place—again, human bathroom preferences apply here—and that the box is roomy enough. Shojai cautions that most commercial litter boxes are on the small side and suggests using larger plastic storage bins if kitty is going next to the box.

 Still not having any success? Try switching up the litter—your go-to brand could be irritating your cat, or simply not meeting his expectations.

Excessive Meowing - Cats are vocal creatures, and it’s common for cats to meow to let you know they’re hungry or want to play. It’s typically normal to hear your cat howling and crying at the top of their lungs outside your bedroom door at night, considering cats tend to be more active when their owners go to bed. They may be bored, hungry, or simply want your attention. 

Siamese cats are naturally more vocal than other cat breeds and may meow loudly to demand your attention. However, howling can be a sign of senility in older cats, and daytime meows could be a sign that your cat’s in pain. 

If your furry friend is howling or crying at the top of their lungs at night, try to provide them with more exercise during the day so they’re less active at night. They may be hungry, want to go outside, or be seeking attention, so be mindful of your response. If you jump to them each time they demand your attention, you will train your cat to continue to make these vocalizations to get what they want. 

Aggression - Cats may become aggressive towards other pets and people, or even their owners, for a number of reasons. This behaviour can be caused by stress and anxiety, or by a medical problem that causes pain or hormonal changes in your cat. If your cat is afraid, this type of aggression is usually accompanied by warning signs, such as hissing and crouching.

Sometimes your cat is simply playing and may attack if they’re overstimulated and fail to understand what behaviour is acceptable. Fixing this problem requires better understanding of what exactly is causing this behaviour and is best approached by a veterinarian and animal behaviourist. 

Don’t punish your cat, as you can make things worse. Don’t hiss at your cat, chase them, or tell them off – in fact, it’s usually best to ignore them entirely until the situation has been assessed by a behaviourist.

If your cat is hunting you, try not to cry out, run away, or react, as this can make the game more exciting. If necessary, wearing thick trousers and socks or even boots in the house can help you to ignore the cat until you can see a behaviourist.

Ensure your cat has plenty of the best cat toys and rotate them regularly so there’s always one that’s ‘new’. You can also give your cat more to do by using a puzzle feeder. The aim is to mentally stimulate them, so they don’t feel the need to attack.

Obsessive-Compulsive Licking - All cats lick themselves, but chronic licking typically stems from pain, stress, or anxiety. Excessive licking may be serious, and a sign that your cat is in pain. They may lick an area of their body until it’s hairless and raw, or obsessively groom other parts of their body. 

Excessive licking likely needs a vet or qualified behaviourist’s input, so a good first step is to speak with your veterinarian. In the meantime, you can work on making your cat’s environment feel more safe and secure to reduce their stress and anxiety. Try building them a safe space where they can go without being disturbed or adding pheromones to make them feel secure. 

Nov 25 2022
by Claire