Just like dogs and other pets, cats also exhibit some behavioural problems that must be attended to , and early in the time they are bonding with their owners.
From avoiding the litter box, to scratching furnitures and beddings, cats can develop behavioural problems based on several factors.
We all love our felines, especially when they rub their bodies against our legs, or knead on our laps or even purr when they look into our eyes, but when they indulge in activities such as reject a clean litter box, then we need to realize that it is time to train them to accept what we offer them.
Here are some of the most significant behavioural problems cats do exhibit;
#1: Liter box problems
This is the number one problem most cat owners report, and it can be very frustrating when your little kitten consider its litter box and an off limit.
There must be one particular reason a cat is avoiding its litter box, and there are lots of things you can do to correct the problem.
Health problems such as urinary tract diseases, kidney stones, and crystals in urine may force the animal to avoid its liter, in this case, the only option you have is to have the animal checked by your veterinary doctor.
Secondly, you need to make sure that you have a litter box per cat, if your little cat has to take a turn to share a litter box, then it may have to take a bathroom break elsewhere.
Sometimes, it may have to do with preference for some particular types of litter boxes- while some cats prefer the covered litter boxes, others prefer open litter boxes, hence you may want to try out different forms of litter boxes.
Make sure the litter boxes are always kept clean, and change the clumping litters frequently.
Try as much as possible to clean the litter box once a day (at least), or twice if you have more than one kitten using the same litter box.
#2: Scratching problems
Aside from avoiding liters, scratching is another behavioural problems common in cats.
You may think that a cat is scratching the curtain or couch in order to get your attention or annoy you, the animal is just seeing it as fun, or to get rid of an over-grown claw.
Scratching is one of the behavioural problem you can deal with easily, for instance, you may want to trim the claw of the animal or take it out occasionally for some outdoor fun.
In order to prevent your cat from scratching, you need to do the following;
Buy a scratching post for your cat, before dabbing some catnips on the posts in order to attract the cat to use them.
Trim the animal’s claws. Trimming the claws of the cat may seem difficult for some people but it can be one of the easiest things to do. Your veterinarian can provide you a quick 5-minute tip on how you can achieve this.
You may want to upgrade your cat by beautifying its claw caps ( these are also referred to as the nail caps), they are small vinyl fits that cover the cat’s claws and these beautiful claw caps prevent any damage caused during scratching.
#3: Aggression problems in cats
Oftentimes, cats can scratch your friends, or family members for no reason, especially when they want to play with the animal.
There are many reasons that can trigger a cat’s aggression, this may be; illnesses, lack of bonding or socialization, over-crowding, and maternal instinct (when a cat has just delivered a baby).
In order to deal with aggression in cats, you need to understand the main causes of the aggression first.
Pain and sicknesses must be discussed with the veterinarian. If there are no physical reasons for scratching, then a sickness may be the reason why your cat is constantly in a bad mood.
As a matter of fact, ruling out any physical causes is the first step you must take in dealing with aggressive behaviours in your cat.
An un-fixed cat can be the most aggressive cat to handle, because his behavior can affect all other cats in the family.
In this case, you need to spray or neuter feline friends. Sometimes, your cat may be aggressive because there are few items such as food, liter boxes, water bowls, bedding, toys and perches to go around.
You need to get sufficient items for all the cats in the household and then spread them around the house to avoid problems associated with congestion.
Do not hit an aggressive cat because it may lead to further aggression, rather, you should aim at stopping the aggressive behavior by squirting the cat with water or simply toss a soft toy at them.
Sometimes, taking your cat outdoor, for them to get some activities, is the best solution to their aggressive behavior. Simply make sure they expend their excess energy outdoor before returning home.
#4: Play-induced biting
Most cat owners will have to deal with some form of cat bites at one time or the other and most of these bites come from play time.
You don’t have to get stitches on you later when playing with cats, all you need to do is minimize the rough play.
Cats can also get frisky sometimes because they enjoy playing, swatting, pouncing and kicking, just to hone their social skills and improve on their physical coordination.
When cats leave behind scratches and bites, such can become infectious, but there are ways you can reduce the risks of rough play and scratches, these include the following;
Get your cats lots of items or enrichment, these include toys, perches and some outdoor enclosures. Paper bags and boxes should also be provided for the cats because they provide the opportunity for them to explore. You may also want to consider some moving toys for them to play with.
Make sure you play with your cat for at least 10 minutes a day, especially with some dangling toys, catnip toys, balls and wadded papers. This will help create a strong bond and there will be less risk of scratching.
Try as much as possible to discourage your cat from playing with your hands and feet, cats that grow up with nibbling on fingers and feet often become aggressive cats that play to bite, and often times, they may bite very hard.
Do not punish your cat for bites and scratches, a cat may interpret a hard slap for a hard play and may become even more aggressive.
#5: Excessive night time activity
Cats are known to be nocturnal in nature, until they become domesticated, for this reason, many cat owners do complain about excessive behavior problem in cats at night. As a cat owner, you need to train your cat to learn that night time is for resting.
Here are some of the tips you may want to try to deal with this behavioural problem;
Make sure the cat is not suffering from a medical complication that is making the animal restless. An agitated cat may be in pain, hence a regular checkup with a veterinarian is very important to keep the animal healthy.
A good play session may work like magic on your cat before the bed time. Make sure you stroke the cat to sleep or a relaxation mode before placing it inside the litter or bed.
Make sure the kitten’s environment has numerous play toys to ensure that there are plenty of activities for the animal to indulge in during the day. An active cat in the day should expend most of its energy before the evening time- this will increase the chances of getting the animal to sleep.
Try as much as possible to create an enclosure for your cat, you may want to mount a squirrel or bird feeder close to the window and near the cat’s litter, make sure you leave as much items as possible for your cat to explore during the day. You can include bags and packing papers as part of the package.
If your cat is the social type, you may want to let it out to play with other cats, especially during the day. Having a companion or pal during the day can help your cat remain calm during the evening, after play time.
Cats are known to sleep after a big meal, hence you may want to feed the animal with its favourite meal in the night. You may also want to give the cat a timed feeder especially the one that pops up and close after a specific time. Let the cat wait patiently for the feeding time.
It should be noted that cats also react to their environment, for instance, they may develop certain behavioural problems when they feel cold or walk on extremely heated or cold surfaces, hence a cat owner must be sensitive to the cat’s environment.