Six Basic Steps to Eliminate Cat Behavioral Problems
By Geri Stogsdill
Do you sometimes feel that your cat has become mean spirited and not the sweet loving kitten that he use to be? Sometimes when kittens get grown, they can be ill tempered and mean at their worst. But for even the most annoying cat behavioral problems, there is usually still a remedy for this behavior.
Below are six of the most common behavioral problems found in cats and some of the solutions that I would like to share with you that seem to work the best for my pets.
1. Clawing your furnishings and carpet. It is only natural that cats need to sharpen their claws. Their claws never stop growing, and what they’re actually doing when they sharpen their claws is removing the outer layer of the claw. In most cases, I have found that people will simply declaw a cat that is having this type problem. Personally, I do not advocate this at all. In my opinion, there is always that chance that even an indoor cat could someday wind up outside by accident. And in that case if you do remove your cat’s claws, then you are possibly taking away his or her primary form of defense.
Maybe before declawing your cat, why not try getting a scratching post instead. If you can’t get your cat to use the scratching post, then one solution that I have found is to try hanging a dirty sock on the post. Use a dirty sock that belongs to someone in the family that your cat is the fondest of so that it will smell familiar to your pet (you can take it off after about a day). You can also sprinkle catnip over the scratching post or â€“ this is weird but it works â€“ powdered chicken bouillon. The idea is to get the cat to feel friendly enough to the scratching post to attack it.
Then meanwhile, make your cat’s favorite scratching areas less attractive. For example, sprinkle fresh lemon juice over those areas. Or you could wrap them or cover them with aluminum foil (fingernails on the chalkboard, anyone?). Do anything that will clean that area as well as to eradicate any cat odor. If possible, another option would be to close the doors to that area so that those places are inaccessible to the cat.
2. Eliminating outside the litter box. Could this be your fault or the cat’s fault? I have found that many cats won’t use a litter box that is too dirty. If you think this could be the problem, then start changing out the litter box about twice as often as you currently do. You can also be prompt about cleaning any places the cat goes, spraying these areas down well with Lysol or a similar disinfectant with a nice strong smell. You can also try putting the litter box in a more attractive place to the cat; the bathroom, for instance. If it’s not in too obnoxious of a place, you can put the litter box on top of the place your cat has chosen to go, too, just to make the point. As last resorts, put down bleach, safely, in those spots, and cover the area with aluminum foil.
3. Clawing people. I have found that cats generally do this because for some reason they are afraid. If that is the case, then you should take in to consideration if this is the fault of the cat or of the people around him. For instances if you have a cat that is generically afraid of children, then maybe try exposing the cat to young children until he’s calmer about it. Don’t let the child loose around the cat. Either have the child sit down in your lap or next to you, while feeding Kitty treats.
Not all cats are afraid. In some cases, they are just plain mean to certain people. The only thing you can do about this is to remove the cat from the situation. When the cat starts clawing or growling, pick her up and take her to the bathroom until your guest is gone. In most cases, it is usually a guest that this happens to, often one who owns pets. If it’s a family member, try cat repellant or lemon juice to keep the cat away, then acclimatization to get them used to the other person. If all this fails, you may be forced with no other choice but to have the cat declawed.
4. Caterwauling. Siamese cats do this by nature, and you may not be able to get them to stop. But other cats do it because they are hungry, tired, sick, or to let you know she has done something good. There aren’t many things that you can do about this, unfortunately. If you think it’s a hunger thing, then feed her more promptly, and refuse to feed her when she caterwauls. Of course, your cat won’t understand what you’re doing, but she’ll almost certainly quit after she figures out it does her no good. If she caterwauls because she is in heat, you should get her fixed. For other caterwauling problems, try to ignore her, and keep her as far away from yourself as possible.
5. Spraying. Normally, male cats do this to mark a territory, and they usually do it when they feel threatened. In most cases, it is done whenever dogs or small children threaten them, or when other male cats are around. There is little you can do about this beyond having your cat neutered. Please don’t punish your cat for doing this because the cat will not understand at all.
6. Running outside. Indoor cats tend to get very curious about the outside world. The first thing you should do is to be more careful and not to have the door open allowing your cat to run out. But you can also try to get the cat accustomed to the outdoors by getting a cat leash and walking her, or by carrying her in your arms when you do go outside. Once your cat knows what is out there, then more than likely she will be less curious and not so anxious the next time to get outside. And this is particularly true if you should ever expose your cat sometime to snow or wet conditions.
Geri Stogsdill is a freelance writer specializing in healthy lifestyle information. For more cat health care advice and cat behavioral tips, visit us at http://www.catplaytime.com/cathealthblog/
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