7 Common Cat Behavior Problems And How To Fix Them
Cats are a wonderful addition to our lives. But sometimes our feline companions need an attitude readjustment and could benefit from training to correct their cat behavior problems.
While we don’t want to change our cats’ personalities – after all, their endearing independent ways are one of the reasons we love them – behavioral guidance can be helpful.
The good news is that cats can be trained. As we know, our feline friends are very smart. Cats are aware when they are doing something annoying or naughty, but with time and patience, we can fix cat behavior problems.
There are a number of devices and aids to assist with this. Take the time to check some out. Training your cat can be fun for both of you.
So what are the most common cat behavior problems, and how do we train our cat to stop doing them?
1. Scratching Household Furniture
Probably one of the most annoying cat behavior problems, and also one of the most destructive, is scratching furniture. We may love our new and expensive sofa, but unfortunately, the cat may see it as a convenient scratching post.
How can we avoid kitty’s sharp claws ruining our furniture?
The sensation is pleasurable to her and is an imitation of wild cats scratching tree trunks to sharpen their claws. In her mind, you have conveniently placed a scratching post in the middle of the house.
A quick and easy tip is to smear a little VapoRub on the places your cat likes to scratch. Their sensitive noses do not like the smell, and she will avoid going near it.
2. Scratching the Bed
If your cat’s favorite place to scratch is your bed, you can easily fix this problem.
She may enjoy sinking her claws into the soft material to reach the mattress or box base underneath. To prevent or discourage her, cover the bed with a silky satin or sateen sheet. Her claws will not grip and the activity will lose its appeal.
3. Using Houseplants as a Litter Box
We have to admit, this cat behavior problem is a little on the nose. There’s nothing worse than seeing that telltale sprinkle of dirt across the carpet beside your houseplant and catching that unwanted scent.
But how can we firmly show kitty that these types of cat behavior problems will not be tolerated? How can your cat be prevented from using the dirt in your houseplant as a toilet?
The answer is only as far away as your coffee machine. Simply collect used coffee grounds and sprinkle them over the soil. Your cat will soon discover that she prefers to use her litter box as the smell of the coffee grounds is quite repellent to them.
4. Using the Children’s Sandbox As a Toilet
Uh-oh. There’s nothing quite so awful as finding that the cats (perhaps not even your own) have been using the kid’s sandbox as a giant litter box. It can also be dangerous as cat feces can carry disease too.
To correct cat behavior problems such as this, once again we need to cunningly use something which cats hate the scent of and will avoid. Toss a few packets of ground cinnamon through the sand and the cats will stay away from the children’s sandbox.
It is also a good idea to cover the sandbox when not in use. If the opportunity to use the sandbox is never presented to our cats, they will find other places to do their business.
5. No Longer Using the Litter Box
Has your cat stopped using her litter box for some reason known only to herself? The first thing to check is that the litter box is clean.
Cats are very clean creatures, and it is easy to train them to use a litter box. But they do like their toilet spot to be clean and smell-free. So change the soiled litter regularly.
If kitty still refuses to use her litter box, you need to be a little tricky. Try placing her food dish in the places she has started using for her toilet activity. Cats do not like to go to the bathroom where they eat.
If accidents become too regular, you may want to check with the vet just to be sure that your cat is not suffering from any medical condition.
6. Common Cat Behavior Problems: Spraying
The smell of tomcat urine is very distinctive and unpleasant to the human nose. Is your boy cat marking areas of the house with his scent? This is often territorial or communicative behavior.
An unneutered cat may be more prone to spraying than a neutered cat. Neutering also prevents unwanted cat pregnancies, and it is a simple operation.
Cat behavior problems such as spraying, especially if it seems to have just started, can be traced back to stress. Has something happened recently to cause your cat anxiety? Something as simple as changing furniture may have moved your cat out of their comfort zone.
You may want to increase the number of litter boxes, especially in a multi-pet home. Some cats just like more privacy than others!
7. Refusing Food
If your cat has suddenly begun to refuse to eat, you should, of course, check with your veterinarian to ensure they are not ill. However, there are a number of other reasons why a cat may refuse to eat.
Do you have more than one cat? Some cats find eating with others to be very stressful. Perhaps you can move their food bowls well apart to allow more solitary eating.
Cats can be a lot like us. Sometimes they just lose interest in a particular type of food. Try a different brand, or switch from wet to dry food to try and pique their interest.
And there are of course the instances where your cat has become very good friends with a neighbor and they are now dining elsewhere. Check with your neighbors to make sure your kitty is not a dinner guest at another house.
If your cat refuses to eat for any length of time, despite all your efforts, do take her to the vet.
Enjoy Your Cat
Most behavioral problems can be corrected with a little time and effort. And you and your pet can share the process as you get to know each other a little better. Once your cat has learned the house rules, you can get on with enjoying each other’s company.
However, do remember that cats like to surprise us! It is not uncommon for a cat to revert to old behavior every now and again just to keep you on your toes.