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Cat behavior problems

Cat Behavior Problems

The notions of what constitute cat behavior problems may vary widely among different people.

Natural cat behavior in itself can be problematic and annoying at times, but if you wish to have a pet you should accept it as it is rather than expect a reversal of its natural instincts. Some areas of cat behavior may be addressed through training, but a cat crying in heat for example is not something that it can help. This would not be a cat behavioral problem.

Some of the wide ranging notions of cat behavior problems include the following:

  • Ignoring and refusing to use the litter box while instead messing your bed, the floor or anywhere else it shouldn’t be.
  • Biting or scratching you and your children or guests unexpectedly and without any provocation.
  • Scratching at your expensive furniture.
  • Digging in houseplants.
  • Displaying aggressive and violent behavior towards other cats in your household.
  • Creating a disturbance and waking you up at night.
While these are definitely problematic, they’re not necessarily behavioral problems. A cat intentionally littering on the bed and elsewhere would however constitute a behavioral problem.

If it does it out of desperation, then it means that it does not like the cat litter it’s been provided or the litter bowl simply isn’t clean enough. Cats are extremely finicky and they can be sticklers for hygiene. Biting or scratching is a natural response and you cannot and should not attempt to train an animal against its natural instincts. Cats only bite and scratch out of fear, if they’re being harassed, or threatened. They can even construe being held or handled as harassment. Cat behavior training can come in handy here however to the extent that the cat can be made to understand that such behavior is undesirable. Very often a cat may tend to get boisterous and scratch or bite excessively whilst playing. In such circumstances simply make an expression or exclamation of pain, and desist with the play activity. When your cat does play and interact without scratching or biting make it a point to reward it. Cat behavior training works a lot better with positive reinforcement, and they don’t take kindly to discipline!

Scratching at furniture and other surfaces is another natural instinct that would be cruel to suppress if they are not provided alternatives. Make sure your cat is provided with a scratching post after which you can attempt to dissuade it from scratching other surfaces. The best deterrent for a cat can be a spray can of water. Send a fine spray its way each time it indulges in such behavior. This would be painless and effective. Similar cat behavior training methods can also be used to discourage or encourage certain behavior.
  Submitted on June 10, 2010  

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