How to correct a cat behavior problem
It happens to many cat owners: their once-sweet kitten begins urinating outside the litter box or becomes aggressive, biting and scratching anyone that comes near. While cat behavior seems complex, there are common reasons behind most bad cat behaviors that can be alleviated or corrected by understanding the root cause of the problem.
Common Cat Behavior Problems
The most common problem is aggressive cat behavior. A new family member or pet, a recent move or stress in the home – these can all potentially be the root of the problem. Working to make the cat comfortable with the change and not condoning aggressive behavior can help eliminate it. If these conditions are ruled out, then illness or pain could be causing the aggression. A visit to the vet can help diagnose the problem. Playful nipping in kittens can lead to more dangerous, aggressive playing once the cat is older. This can be avoided by not encouraging a kitten when it begins biting, even playfully.
The second most common cat behavior problem is urinating inappropriately. There are two kinds – spraying and litter box avoidance. Male cats are more prone to spraying than females. By getting a cat spayed or neutered before the onset of puberty, this problem can be avoided. Anxiety drugs may also help curtail spraying.
Other litter box problems may be because of the location of the box or the box itself. Try changing litter, moving the box to a more private area or purchasing a covered box. Clean the box and replace the litter frequently. If the behavior continues, visit your vet to rule out any medical problems.
Natural Behavior Changes
As a cat gets older, there are natural behavior changes that will occur. Senior cat behavior problems, such as aggression, can be caused by hearing or vision loss. Pain from arthritis or another medical problem is also a common cause. Your vet can help you find the proper way to alleviate aggression.
Senior cats are also prone to elimination problems. Make sure their litter box is easily accessible, and have more than box available, as they may not be able to get across the house quickly anymore. Disease, such as feline diabetes, can also lead to improper elimination. Rule out any underlying medical cause first.
With love, attention and patience, most cat behavior problems can be solved. Understanding the reasons behind the behavior is the first step to correcting them in the cat.