Some common behavior problems in cats:
Inappropriate Urination Cats urinating outside of their litter trays can be extremely frustrating for owners, but it is often not the cat’s fault. Cats are very prone to urinary tract disease and urination outside of the litter tray is often the first symptom. If your cat begins urinating in strange places please bring him or her into the vet as soon as possible so we can rule out urinary tract disease. If everything is medically ok, then there could be other reasons for the inappropriate urination.
As a general rule you should have one litter tray for each cat in your home plus one extra. For example if you have two cats you should have three litter trays. Clean litter trays daily and try to find a litter that your cat likes. Many cats don’t like the feeling of certain litters on their paws or heavily scented litters and it may take some trial and error to find a litter that your cat likes. Make sure litter trays are easily accessible and not in places that the cat is frightened of (next to a loud washing machine for example). Try stress reduction techniques for your cats as well. Give your cat a quiet space where he or she can escape to, away from small children or other pets, when they are stressed. Calming pheromone sprays, such as Feliway, are a good option for stress reduction as well.
If you have multiple cats in your home make sure that one cat is not bullying the other one. Occasionally the bully cat will block the path to the litter tray and the bullied cat will start urinating outside of the tray. If this is happening you may need to move the trays to separate rooms to allow the cat being bullied a space to do his or her business in peace.
Overstimulation (also known as petting aggression) Petting aggression occurs when cats become overstimulated while being pat or scratched. Your cat will seem to be enjoying your love then all of a sudden will turn and bite or swipe at you. Injury can be avoided by reading the signals that your cat is giving you. Before a cat becomes aggressive they will often start shaking their tail or just the tip of the tail will flick. If your cat begins to do this while you are petting him or her it is best just to give them some space. It is often not possible to train a cat not to show petting aggression, it is better just to try to understand when it is going to happen.
Scratching Furniture Scratching furniture, curtains, or other household items is a natural behavior for cats. Providing your cat with appropriate items to scratch is the first step in curbing this unwanted behavior. Different cats like different scratching materials and it may take some trial and error to find something that your cat enjoys scratching more than furniture. Simple items like cardboard or carpet stapled to a post often work just as good as commercial cat scratchers. Try to entice your cat to scratch appropriate items by sprinkling them with catnip. If you catch your cat scratching furniture or other inappropriate items, try to move your cat to the place that you want him or her to scratch. If your cat is too fast for that you can try to spray them with a water bottle to deter them from that piece of furniture.
Trimming just the tips of your cat’s nails can also help, just make sure that you don’t trim the pink part as this will make the nail bleed and your cat will probably never let you trim their nails again. Alternatively there are rubber nail caps available that you can apply to your cats nails. If your cat will not allow you to apply these at home we would be happy to apply them for you at the vets.
If you have concerns about your cat’s behavior please call us to book an appointment to discuss options for your pet.