Solve Your Cat's Bad Behavior Problems

in Cat

 What is WRONG with this cat?  With all the enjoyment and entertainment they bring us, pet parents often find that their cats bring along a few other experiences that are much less endearing. Behaviors such as choosing your new $2500 sofa as the scratching post of choice.  Or, using the corner of your brand new (expensive!) wool rug as her litter box--it's enough to drive anyone mad, and often leads pet parents straight to the animal shelter to avoid further problems.

However, if you'll just take the time to learn WHY Kitty is behaving this way, you can learn the tricks and techniques to help her stop these behavior problems.  You'll soon remember why you were so excited to have her join your family.  With patience and a bit of perseverance, most issues can be resolved.

Your cat is going to scratch.  For cats, it is normal and necessary.  It stretches and flexes muscles, marks territory, uses excess energy and helps them remove the dead outer layer of their claws.  YOUR job is to provide an acceptable place to accomplish this!

First of all, you need to provide a surface that is taller than your cat when she stretches up to scratch, and it needs to be sturdy enough that it does not tip or topple as she exerts pressure on it.  Otherwise, she'll reject it! You wouldn't want to feel you were about to be clobbered by a scratching post, and neither will your cat.

Secondly, place it near her current favorite spot.  Likely, this will be right around where she wakes up or where she eats, or maybe where she first enters the room.  

And lastly, make her old "scratchin' post" a LOT less desirable.  You might place some double stick tape on the floor around the area, or even a wadded up sheet of aluminum foil (she will HATE the scrunching sound if she walks on it!).  Some aromas work, too.  One she will find absolutely repulsive that will not also repulse you is LEMON.  For some reason, cats find this smell very disagreeable.  Moisten some cotton balls and place them around.

A second very common problem behavior that can be difficult to deal with is avoidance of the litter box. This can occur for many reasons.  Usually, a cat learns to use the box without too much prompting from you. Any problems usually crop up sometime afterward.

Some of the more common issues are as follows:

The box is not clean enough.  The same smell aversion that might work for you in the living room can work against you in the litter box.  Clean the box often and use an odor eliminator after cleaning.  Cats can be notoriously picky!

She may dislike a new form of cat litter.  If a change is necessary, it might help to gradually transition to the new type so that she won't reject it.

She will prefer privacy, and won't want to feel "trapped" inside the litter box.

Too many cats, too few boxes.  The general rule of thumb is to have one box per cat, plus an extra.  My own cats do not require this, and that is happy news for me, because I have SIX.  However, I do have to remove waste more often than I would if more boxes were available.

Your cat is marking territory or looking for a mate.  Spayed or neutered cats are FAR less likely to engage in these behaviors.  Earlier is better, before bad habits become entrenched, so consult your vet for a recommendation.

Finally, medical issues can result in accidents.  If you suspect your cat may be ill, consult your vet right away, because urinary problems can prove fatal very quickly in cats.

Usually it's best to make the cat decide that it wants to take on the new behavior, by making it the most pleasant choice from her point of view.  Cats are intelligent, and can catch on quite quickly.  They also make wonderful companions, once any difficulties have been dealt with. With a bit of time and effort, you will find that you can solve your cat's behavior problems and live together quite happily!

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Susie Johnson has 1 articles online

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Solve Your Cat's Bad Behavior Problems

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This article was published on 2010/04/01