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How to Solve Your Cat’s Behavioral Issues

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Cats are often thought of as mysterious creatures. A cat’s temperament and personality are determined by several key factors in its early life and you may not always be able to tell why it behaves the way it does. Cats experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, hunger, playfulness, and fear. A kitty’s mood sometimes affects its behavior, sometimes in ways that we don’t easily understand. 

Here are a few of the most common behavioral issues in cats and how owners can solve them. If you need further assistance, call our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital for assistance. 

What Causes Behavioral Problems in Cats?

Cats can sometimes be hard to read, so understanding what causes specific feline behaviors can be challenging. What makes this even more complicated is that every cat has a unique personality, meaning there isn’t always a single reason behind certain behaviors. Instead, you’ll need to be familiar with your cat’s natural habits and tendencies to discern what’s normal from abnormal. 

Vocalization

It’s a familiar scene for many cat owners: you’ve just drifted off to sleep when you suddenly hear loud howling and crying from just beyond your bedroom door. Vocalization is a very common trait in cats, and in most cases, it’s normal behavior. Your cat is likely trying to tell you something, whether that’s a cry for attention, food, or boredom. Sometimes excessive vocalization is a sign that something is wrong or that your cat is in pain

You’ll need to keep your cat busy or distracted while avoiding providing positive reinforcement to solve this behavior. For instance, if your cat cries for food every hour of the day, do not reward the behavior by giving into its demands. Instead, you will need to ignore your cat, so it does not associate vocalizations with getting what it wants. Having a set of special toys and plenty of structures for your cat to play on can help keep them busy.

Scratching

Cats love to scratch. Scratching allows cats to mark their territory as well as shorten their claws. Unfortunately, this habit can become destructive when your kitty targets your furniture. Rest assured that scratching can be easily controlled by providing items for your cat to use, such as proper scratching posts and other toys. Scratching posts should be study, tall enough for your cat to fully stretch when scratching, placed either near the area of unwanted scratching or your cat’s sleeping area, and you should have one scratching post per cat. You can apply catnip spray to the item to attract your cat to it and/or use a pheromone diffuser, like Feliway Optimum. 

Chewing

While cats aren’t the voracious chewers that dogs often are, their teeth can still do some significant damage. Typically, chewing behaviors are related to teething in kittens, but your cat may also feel bored, aggressive, or have a nutritional deficiency. Some cats like to chew on things simply because they enjoy the item’s texture or taste. 

The solution for chewing often involves setting aside regular playtimes featuring soft, chewable toys. Rotating toys can also help prevent boredom. If your cat likes to chew items that could be hazardous to their health, please make sure your cat does not have access to them. Doing those things can help fulfill your cat’s desire to chew in a safe manner. 

Aggression

When a cat acts aggressively toward people and other pets, it may be stressed or in pain. Aggression is a major behavioral issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Observe your cat and see what triggers its aggression. Then, you can remove the triggers when possible or help your cat learn to live with it. Certain medications and pheromones can help reduce your cat’s anxiety. If your cat is acting aggressively due to pain, please carefully follow the treatment plan from your veterinarian since cats are very sensitive to certain pain medications. 

Visit a Veterinarian

If you are concerned about your cat’s behavioral issues or simply need expert advice, contact our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital.

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