When you bring a dog into your home, you usually know what to expect—tail wags, belly rubs, and a personality that aims to please. Cat behavior, on the other hand, can be completely unpredictable!
We love our kitties dearly, but sometimes they can be downright frustrating, whether they are treating the expensive sofa like a cat scratching post or refusing to drink anything other than your glass of water.
Here are five common cat behavior problems and tips to thwart them:
1. Using furniture as a scratching post
This destructive behavior is perhaps one of the most common cat behavior complaints. There's nothing more aggravating than seeing everything from your footboard to your sofa scratched up by your cat.
You can do a lot to make kitty happy and save your furniture by providing her with her own scratching posts and pads. For a low-cost alternative, you can even attach a small piece of carpet to the wall. If nothing deters the behavior, talk to your vet about cat claw caps — these are little silicone covers that slip over your kitty's sharp claws.
2. Refusing to use the litter box
Felines have a good reputation for being easy to litter train — but sometimes, they will take it upon themselves to go in other places besides their designated box. Some cats are just extremely particular and don't want to get their paws dirty in a soiled box, so more frequent scooping may be in order.
If you only have one litter box for your cat, try getting a second one for another room. Certain cats may prefer one room over another, or just prefer to have options!
Other cats prefer their litter pan to be in a private spot, so try relocating it. Something as simple as the type of litter you're using could send a picky cat off in search of a new toilet space. If the problem persists, talk to your vet to ensure there's nothing going on health-wise that could be causing the issue.
3. Spraying around the house
Simply put, a spraying cat is usually just a feline trying to let others know where their turf is. Some cats spray because they're insecure, nervous or anxious as well.
If your cat is marking the corners of the windows, the opening to the litter pan, and everywhere else, you likely have a seriously territorial kitty. Spaying and neutering does tend to lower their drive to mark. A few other changes that may prevent cat spraying include:
- Giving each cat in your home their own litter box, plus one extra for the household
- Promptly cleaning sprayed areas with an odor remover (cats tend to respray the same areas)
- Separating your cat from other cats if possible
4. Eating your houseplants
Take a look at a cat in the wild and you’ll notice that they munch just about anything that offers some nutrition. Even big cats that prefer meaty main courses will occasionally nibble on some greens.
Keeping your houseplants out of the cat's view is best. If that's not a possibility, bring in some cat-friendly houseplants that are safe and fun for kitty to chew, such as wheatgrass or catnip plants. Make sure you avoid any toxic houseplants if your plant-curious kitty has issues. Incorporating nourishing cat food and healthy cat treats could better satisfy your little purr-factory and prevent them from making a meal out of your ferns.
5. Making yowling noises
Cat yowling is common when a kitty wants your attention, so this could be the cause. If the yowling and loud meowing has started out of nowhere, make sure your kitty is not in pain and pay a visit to the vet. Otherwise, set aside some time for play or petting at least a few times a day. It's possible that you landed yourself a needy feline that isn’t shy about demanding affection.
Maybe there's no such thing as a bad kitty in your book, but some cats do have behavior problems that call for extra support, care and attention. Hopefully these tips can improve some of those pesky behaviors that drive cat parents across the globe crazy!