Cats are primarily a source of joy, but they can sometimes be a source of frustration for their owners. Sometimes, our feline friends will display some behavioral issues, and while their behavior might be quite frustrating, it can also be quite concerning.
Whatever the problem might be, you should not just sit around and hope that it will go away on its own. You should do whatever you can to make sure that your cat overcomes that problem, and you should never underestimate the importance of taking her to the vet. There are numerous different illnesses that can affect your cat’s behavior, so it’s important that she’s regularly checked out.
Some of the most common behavioral issues in cats include urinating outside of the litter-box, scratching furniture, excessive meowing, and displaying aggression and anxiety. We’ll take a closer look at the underlying causes of these behaviors, as well as how to help your kitty overcome them.
Why is my cat urinating everywhere?
This is probably the most common problematic cat behavior there is. First of all, you need to figure out what type of urination your cat is performing. There is a difference between indiscriminate urination and spraying. These two behaviors are quite different, and they have different underlying reasons.
When cats spray-mark, they usually do it against vertical objects, even though some cats will spray-mark any surface they find. Cats spray because they are trying to communicate, in their own way. This behavior is more common with male cats, but that does not at all mean that female cats don’t spray.
Even though spraying is very annoying for us owners, cats don’t do it because they mean something bad. In fact, if your cat spray-marks your pillow, or a piece of your clothing, that might be just because she’s trying to bond with you. If, however, you have more than one cat in your household, chances are that a cat is spraying to send a message to her feline friend. This might be to create a challenge for the other cat, or simply to mark her territory.
Indiscriminate urination is different from spray-marking because it usually involves horizontal surfaces. If your cat is indiscriminately urinating, there is a possibility that the underlying cause of her behavior is a medical problem, such as stress, anxiety, or even a urinary tract issue.
Another reason might be that there is something appalling about the litter-box, so make sure to check that as well. In any case, if you find that your cat is indiscriminately urinating, be sure to take her to the veterinarian; it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Dealing with a spraying cat is a bit more difficult than dealing with a cat that is indiscriminately urinating. Here’s what you can do:
Step 1: If there are several cats in your home, identify which one (or more) of them is doing the spraying. You can either follow them around and wait for them to spray something, or you can set up some form of video surveillance, and catch the culprit on camera.
Step 2: Clean the sprayed area with a product designed to neutralize cat urine. The UV Stain Detective will make sure that you don’t miss a single spot of urine, and the Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator will help you clean it up in just a couple of minutes!
Step 3: You need to change your cat’s association with the areas she sprays. Engage her cat in play in those spots, so that they become more positive places. Another option is that you reward your cat whenever they pass those areas and they don’t spray them.
Step 4: Try the Comfort Zone Feliway Spray for Cat Calming. It is a pheromone spray that you use on the areas the cats sprays the most. The pheromone spray should definitely change your cat’s association with those areas, and it can also help reduce her anxiety.
Step 5: You can cover the area with some foil, or a shower curtain. This solution, however, is only temporary
Step 6: Worst case scenario – putting litter-boxes in the areas where the cat sprays the most might just do the trick. Litter boxes with high sides are great for this, such as the CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box.
Step 7: If you’ve put litter boxes everywhere, and your precious feline still decides to urinate on the carpet, then it’s time to limit their access to that area. Your best course of action is to completely close off the area – if they cannot access something, they can’t pee on it.
Step 8: Take your cat to the vet. There are a number of things that can affect your cat’s urinary tract health, so it’s important to have her checked out.
Why is my cat scratching everything?
Scratching is very important for your kitty. You might think that cats scratch just to sharpen their claws, but that’s not true. Scratching helps kitties get rid of the dead sheath of the nail, and expose the healthy growth beneath. Look at your cat’s preferred scratching location, you will probably notice some nail sheaths in the shape of a half-moon.
Scratching is one way your cat can release tension and built-up emotions. It is also a great way for your cat to properly stretch the muscles in their shoulders and backs. This is why the height of their scratching post is also quite important, but we’ll talk about that later.
When a cat scratches an object, she will leave vertical lines on it; these marks represent a sign for others who might pass by. There are also scent glands in your cat’s paw pads, and when a cat scratches, these glands release pheromones. This is one way for outdoor felines to mark their territory, and warn other animals that they are entering another cat’s place of habitation.
The most likely reasons that your cat decided to scratch on the furniture instead of on the scratching post is that the post does not fulfill all her needs – tension release, stretching and claw sharpening.
The best solution to this problem is to get an adequate scratching post, so here’s how to find the perfect scratching post for your cat:
Step 1: Make sure that the scratching post fits your cat; if the post is not tall enough, your cat won’t be able to fully stretch. On the other hand, if the post is quite tall, then you need to make sure that it is completely stable – you do not want it to fall over on your kitty! The Pioneer Pet SmartCat The Ultimate Scratching Post is a great option for an average-sized adult cat. You can also try the Catit Style Scratcher with Catnip if your cat prefers scratching on horizontal surfaces.
Step 2: Once you’ve found the perfect post for your kitty, place it an area where she spends most of her time.
Step 3: Make sure that the post is visible enough; location is very important. If your cat feels the need to scratch, the first appealing object will become as good as a scratching post.
Step 4: If your kitty still doesn’t find the post appealing enough, then try getting her an entire cat condo. Cat condos usually have multiple scratching posts and pads built into them, such as the SONGMICS Cat Tree Condo with Scratching Post Pad Cat Tower Furniture House. It will take your kitty a lot of time to try out all of the scratching surfaces, and she’ll forget about your new sofa!
Step 5: Get yourself some Sticky Paws Furniture Strips. You can put these on furniture, drapes, tables and basically anywhere where you don’t want your cat to be. Kitties hate the sticky feeling of these tapes, and they will, therefore, avoid touching them.
Step 6: If your cat is so stubborn that none of the previous steps worked, then it’s time for something drastic. Take a plastic furniture cover and cover up the entire sofa; this will without a doubt stop your cat from scratching it – she can’t scratch something she doesn’t have access to!
Why is my cat meowing a lot?
Did you know that grown-up cats don’t meow when they’re communicating with other cats? They hiss, yowl and growl when they are trying to talk to their other feline friends, but when they meow, they are definitely trying to communicate with people.
Even though most people have a preconceived notion that cats are loners, that is not quite true. They don’t like to be completely alone, and they will often meow in order to get their owner’s attention. This can happen when they want you to pet them, or they just want to play with you.
You should never punish your cat for meowing. Spraying her with water or shouting at her might stop the meowing for a minute or two, but it will not help in the long run, and it can permanently damage your relationship.
While some cats, for example, the oriental breeds, meow more than others, there can be a lot of causes of excessive meowing. These range from plain attention-seeking, up to a serious illness.
In any case, you shouldn’t ignore your cat’s meowing without making sure that there is no problem. This is what you should do to break your kitty’s habit of excessive meowing:
Step 1: In most cases, if your cat is louder than usual, she is probably just hungry or bored. Whenever she starts meowing, check if she has have enough food and water.
Step 2: Make sure to also check that the kitty didn’t trap herself somewhere. If she stops meowing immediately after you appear, that means that she was just seeking attention and that you can safely ignore her.
Step 3: Talk back to her. When your cat is meowing, she’s trying to communicate something to you. Talking back to her will make her stop meowing long enough for you to figure out what the underlying cause is.
Step 4: If your cat starts meowing a lot when it’s her usual feeding time, don’t give in immediately. Wait until she quiets down, and then put out the food.
Step 5: You can always try getting an automatic feeder, so your cat can meow at it, and not at you! Petnet SmartFeeder is an excellent high-tech option, and you can control it with your phone. If you prefer something more low-tech, the Qpets Automatic Pet Feeder is a great choice. You can program it to feed your cat up to 6 times in 24 hours, and you can even record a personal message for her.
Step 6: Ignore them when they’re meowing for no apparent reason, and pet them and give them attention when they are behaving well. This does not, in any case, mean that you should disregard your cat, especially if she spends most of her time alone in the home!
Step 7: Make sure you spend enough time with the kitty, so she’ll have no reason to meow.
Step8: If you’ve made sure that your kitty isn’t hungry, thirsty, bored or lonely, but she keeps meowing, then it’s time to take her to the veterinarian. Kidney disease and overactive thyroid can make your cat more vocal than she normally is, and a number of other diseases can cause her to feel thirst, hunger, or pain – all of which can also cause excessive meowing.
Why is my cat so aggressive?
There are several types of aggression that your kitty might be displaying. If you want to solve this behavioral issue you will need to try and identify which kind of aggression is consistent with your cat’s behavior.
If you have an indoor cat, she will often become aggressive when she sees or comes into contact with another cat. If you have multiple kitties in your household, or you just brought in a new one, chances are that your cat is displaying intercat aggression. This means that the two felines have a hostile relationship and that the aggressive cat feels that her territory is threatened.
If, on the other hand, your kitty is just staring out the window and suddenly becomes aggressive; she is most likely reacting to another cat that she saw outside. This is redirected aggression; your cat became agitated at the sight of another feline, and she is lashing out at you.
Some kitties will display petting-induced aggression; when you’re petting your kitty, and she suddenly bites you, or scratches you. This can happen because you over-stimulated your cat, you pet her beyond her tolerance level, or you are stroking an area of her body that makes her feel uncomfortable.
If your cat just had babies and suddenly started being aggressive, then she is displaying maternal aggression. She fears for her kittens’ safety, and she will be aggressive towards any other animal or human in the environment.
Once you’ve identified what type of aggression your cat is displaying, this is what you should do to reduce it:
Step 1: If you have multiple kitties in your household, make sure that the areas where they spend most of their time are far apart.
Step 2: Next time when you’re petting your kitty, read her body language; if she is purring and then she suddenly stops, you should stop petting her. Cats will give us many signs that they’ve had enough, and cessation of purring is one of them, as are meowing, tail lashing and body position shifting.
Step 3: In the case of maternal aggression, you should limit your interactions with the mommy cat, so that she can spend enough time with her babies. This type of aggression will pass with time, as the kittens become less dependent on their mother.
Step 4: Try to redirect her aggression. When she starts scratching or biting you, give her an interactive toy. This toy includes both a scratching pad, and a rotating track with a mouse, so it should be engaging enough to drive her attention away from you.
Step 5: Engage her with a laser toy. We all know how much cats love lasers, which is precisely why they make excellent training tools.
Step 6: Try an herbal remedy. PetAlive Aggression Formula will balance your kitty’s mood, and help her become less aggressive. The best part is that it’s made from completely natural herbal and homeopathic ingredients.
Step 7: If you’ve done everything on this list, and your cat is still scratching and biting you, then it’s time to take her to the vet. She might be overly aggressive because she is in pain, so make sure to have her checked out.
Why is my cat so anxious?
What to do when your once sociable and highly active kitty starts running away from you or spending all her time in hiding? She is displaying anxiety, which can be caused by a number of different reasons.
Cats are cautious animals, and they feel comfortable the most when they are in a familiar environment. It is normal for your kitty to display anxiety if she is taken to an unknown location. You should avoid taking your cat out of her comfort zone if you don’t absolutely have to. If you are, for example, moving, give your cat the time to adapt to the new environment, and explore it. She will become less anxious once she becomes familiar with the new environment.
One of the biggest causes of anxiety is stress. Cats usually become stressed because they are reacting to something in their surroundings. Stress-induced anxiety manifests itself in cats in many different ways, which include excessive grooming, hiding, loss of appetite, sudden aggressive behavior, and many others.
You should do your best to identify what is stressing your furry friend out – remember that your cat has a much sharper sense than you. Maybe there is a new smell that she is reacting to; or the music is too loud for her.
On the other hand, your cat might be anxious due to her fearful nature. Cats became fearful as a result of something traumatic, such as abuse by animals and humans, change in the family, or simply because they didn’t socialize enough while they were kittens. Some cats are much more fearful than others, and you need to be much more patient with them.
Here’s what you should do to help your kitty stay relaxed:
Step 1: Make sure that there are no problems with your kitty’s health. Cats can’t really tell us that they are in pain, so take her to the veterinarian, to check whether her anxiety is induced by a medical problem.
Step 2: Check her surroundings. A dirty litter box can be the sole reason why your cat is stressed out.
Step 3: If you are planning on making any big changes in your home, don’t make them immediately. A large, sudden change can stress out your cat a lot, so start slow, and give her time to adjust to the changes.
Step 4: More people in her surroundings than usual will also stress your cat out, so if you have any visitors coming, make sure to give your kitty enough space.
Step 5: Give your kitty some herbal drops. Stress Stop Pet Herbal Supplement is a great choice because it includes both valerian and chamomile extracts. The drops are completely natural, and they will calm your kitty down in a matter of minutes.
Step 6: If you are planning something that you know will be stressful for your cat, for example, a visit to the vet, give her some catnip beforehand. Yes, the catnip will make her go crazy for the first 20 minutes, but it will also help her stay relaxed during the stressful activity.
Step 7: If you know you have a fearful kitty, set up several hiding spots around the house. This way, she can retreat to her safe haven whenever she starts feeling too anxious.