Solving Problem Behavior in Cats

One of the many things cat lovers admire about our feline friends is their fierce independence. Yet, ironically, that same independence is also one of the most common complaints people have about their cats! When it comes to sharing your home with a cat, a lack of understanding can easily translate into behavior problems.

If you have a cat who is spraying, fighting with other pets, or climbing on counters, take heart – there are plenty of solutions available to help you resolve the problem.

Most cat behavior can be boiled down to “eating, sleeping and playing”. A bored cat is a problem cat. If your cat suddenly starts acting out inappropriately by clawing, growling, biting or engaging in any unusual behavior, the first step is to get him or her to a veterinarian. Once a physical cause has been eliminated, it’s time to discuss how to resolve problem behavior.

Solving Problem Behaviors by Eliminating Stress

If your cat is acting out, chances are good she’s under some stress and this is her way of letting you know about it. The reason for this stress is up to you to determine. It could be due to another animal, a new addition to the home, a dirty litter box, or even something as simple as a weather change!

One way you can reduce the amount of stress in your home is to introduce natural pheromones. Cats are very sensitive to pheromones and adding a diffuser into your house may go a long way toward calming your cat.

Calming collars are another way to reduce stress. These collars rely on natural remedies, like lavender or pheromones, to help relax your cat. Keep in mind, a collar in and of itself may be enough to stress out a cat, so make sure your cat is accustomed to wearing one before investing in a calming collar. If your cat has any unusual itching, irritation, or pain, remove the collar immediately and go to the vet.

Solving Problem Behaviors by Playing

Our feline friends’ most basic instincts include hunting. And, as the human parent of a predator, it’s important that you encourage this behavior! While your cat doesn’t need to actually hunt and kill its prey, playing (and mimicking the act of hunting) is so important to prevent boredom and the negative and destructive behaviors that come with it.

One way that you can replicate the hunting experience is to play with your cats prior to feeding them. Use a wand toy or interactive toy to help your cat “hunt” as he would in the wild. This will help them keep weight down and more easily digest their meal, not to mention the satisfying feeling they receive from hunting and then eating. Or, try letting your cat “hunt” for his meal, by using Doc and Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder.

Solving Problem Behaviors by Sleeping

The typical cat will sleep, on average, about sixteen hours per day. Sleep is an important part of your cat’s lifestyle. Rob your cat of the chance to sleep and he will take out his frustration on you or another member of the household.

Cats need a place to feel safe when they’re sleeping. Make sure you’ve provided a quiet, remote area where your cat can stretch out and enjoy a deep sleep throughout the day. This is where cat trees and specialty cat beds come in handy. Providing an area that is just for your cat and making sure he receives the privacy he needs is a simple (but very effective) way of resolving many behavior problems.

By understanding the emotional needs of your furriest family member, you can prevent many behavior problems before they begin!

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