You fell in love with your feline fur baby at first sight. The sweet face sold you from the second you laid eyes on them. You are taking them home, creating a warm, loving, and cozy environment for them to grow in. As time passes, though, you notice a few odd behaviors that defy logic. These cute, furry companions can’t tell you exactly what their behaviors are trying to communicate, so we decided to create a little cheat sheet to help solve the mystery. Here are five of the most common negative behaviors your cat might be exhibiting. Additionally, a few tips and tricks to rectify the behavior or at the very least understand what your fur baby is telling you.
Not Using the Litter Box
Your previously litter box-trained feline suddenly starts to pee around the house. This truly is a common issue for many feline owners. First, and foremost we should note that changes in litter box styles, the litter you are using, and such can cause stress in your feline driving them from the box. Additionally, adding cats to the household and expecting them to share the litter box can cause friction. When deciding to change up the litter box to a new style or allowing additional animals to use it, keep a keen eye on your cat. If this change immediately predicates changes in behavior, you might need to add a litter box, wait them out to accept it, or go back to the litter or style of the box they are comfortable with.
It should also be noted that cats are fastidious creatures, and changes in how often you clean the box can also make them change up their habits. For instance, you decide to start using a scented litter that does not sit well with them. Sure, it makes your house smell great, but Fluffy finds the smell surprisingly offputting. If nothing has changed in this regard, this behavior can be a sign of a health concern. There are a number of infections in the bladder, urinary tract, and intestines prevalent in cats that can cause them to relieve themselves outside the litter box. An urgency due to infection often causes this, and having them seen by a veterinarian is crucial to diagnosing the concern and getting them back onto the road of health and litter box protocols again.
A Little Side Salad
Cat’s love salad – well, actually, they enjoy nibbling, hiding behind, and playing with plants and greenery. This is a natural function of the cat’s behavior and not a negative behavior done to indicate an issue or annoy you. Knowing this, you should do a quick check of any plants your cat may come in contact with to ensure that the greenery and plants about your house are cat safe. Options like growing catnip and other plants for your feline will ensure that as they eat and play with their side salad, they do so safely in a manner that won’t lead to other health issues.
Aggression Around Food
This again is a common but negative behavior that can occur in cats. If a cat is primarily outdoors, where they have been honed to hunt for food or fight other predators for their meals, even when adopted into a home, this can cause food aggression to rear up. Additionally, very young, prematurely weaned, or abandoned cats can have aggression and protective instincts toward food. Multiple cats in your home can cause instincts of protecting toys, food, and such from being stolen to cause felines to get aggressive toward each other.
The first step in fixing this behavior is simply acknowledging the underlying reasons it has become a problem. Patience, perseverance, and understanding with adopted cats from outdoor or bad situations may be called for as the only recourse. Also, try not to feed cats in one big group if you have multiple felines in the house. Allow cats to graze throughout the day, as is their nature, and provide separate spaces for them from other pets to lessen their food insecurities. This will allow them not to feel that they must get all food in one big sitting and become aggressive and territorial. Also, realize that some health issues can cause this type of aggression. If it suddenly appears or is more severe, you might want to consult a veterinarian to ensure no underlying health issues.
Cats have claws, and in the wild, they would use trees or other hard surfaces to groom said claws and hunt for prey. Thus indoor, domesticated felines will use whatever is at their disposal to play, groom, and maintenance their claws. That means your nice new expensive couch could be a victim. The best advice here is to get your kitten from an early age on a grooming routine to maintenance their claws. It should be noted that getting scratching posts and other toys that they can swat and play with is imperative. They can maintain their own claws even when domesticated, especially if you allow them outdoors regularly. They will find trees and other items to use in place of your furniture. Redirection to safer options for their claws is going to save your sanity and furniture.
Gifts of Dead Things
There are two prevailing theories on why cats will bring their human companions dead gifts. This behavior is more noted in female cats, who are likely to feed you and teach Yep, your feline might appear tame, but they have a long history of being in the wild with behaviors that have survived generations. The other reason is that they truly are presenting gifts to you as someone they appreciate. The best advice to curb their need to hunt and bring you dead is to redirect the behavior again. Provide toys and engagement items around the house they can hunt, pounce on and kill. Cats kept indoors versus out will also have less of a tendency to have these behaviors. Also, putting noisy items like a bell on their neck can limit their stealth ability to kill critters when they are outside.
Whether your cat is bringing you dead critters, going to the bathroom in strange places, or simply destroying your furniture, you are now better equipped to interpret that behavior. Most of what your feline does will have some underlying health or long-bred behavioral roots. Many such inherent traits can be redirected by supplying appropriate cat-safe plants, scratching posts, and toys. These items feed their naturally curious nature, assuage their grooming needs, and most of all provide you peace of mind managing negative behaviors. With a bit of patience, finding the cause of behaviors, and a quick action plan to mitigate, you and your fur baby will be able to co-exist for years to come quite peacefully.