TRAINING & BEHAVIOUR
Common Cat Behaviours
A deep stare accompanied by a purr, gentle kneading and rubs against our legs are all great. However, rejecting a clean litter box and streaking (leaving faeces stains) through the house, are far from OK.
HOW TO SOLVE COMMON CAT PROBLEMS
Don’t let common cat problems get in the way of your relationship with your cat. View our solutions to common problems below.
Play-induced Biting and Scratching
Playtime is beneficial; bites and scratches, not so much. Infections are not fun. Play it safe:
- Hands and feet are off limits.
- Never slap or hit your kitty.
- Plan two 10-minute playtime sessions a day.
- For entertainment and stimulation, leave things out for your cat to explore and interact with: toys, perches, boxes, outdoor enclosures… or perhaps you need another kitty friend.
Issues with the Litter Box
This common cat problem is frustrating but solvable.
- Ask your veterinarian to check for bladder stones, urinary tract diseases and crystals in the urine.
- Cats shouldn’t share litter boxes. Also experiment with litter boxes and litter.
- Make sure the litter box stays clean once a day (or twice with more than one cat).
Scratching helps burn excess energy, shows they want to play, is a form of marking territory or sorting out frayed claws. Save your kitty (and your furniture) by trying the following:
- Scratching post + catnip.
- Ask your veterinarian how to trim your cat’s claws. It’s not as difficult as you may think.
- Enquire about claw caps/nail caps.
Excessive Night-time Activity
It’s natural, but you want to keep your kitty safe… and also get some rest. Think about the following:
- Make sure your cat’s not sick or in pain.
- If it seems to be an energy thing, play with your kitty to tire and relax her before bedtime.
- Create a stimulating environment for your cat for an adventurous day.
- How about getting your kitty a friend?
Save the day’s big meal for the evening or install a timed feeder.
Cats can become aggressive for several reasons.
- Ask your veterinarian to check your cat for sickness and/or pain.
- Spay or neuter your cat as soon as possible. Unfixed male cats can be naturally aggressive.
- Make sure your cats have enough litter boxes, food, water, beds, perches and hiding spaces.
- Don’t use physical punishment to discipline your cat. If there’s a cat fight, intervene by (a) squirting the cats with water, (b) making noises and (c) tossing a soft toy or object at them. Avoid physical contact.
- No luck? Consult your veterinarian or a behaviourist.
Fleas can easily cause chaos in the world of a cat owner and his cat. Look out for chewing, scratching, frequent licking, hair loss and irritated skin. What you should know:
- One flea can start an infestation, but fleas can be stopped.
- Discuss the most suitable flea control option with your veterinarian.
- Don’t just treat the infected cat (or dog). Treat all your pets.
- Use flea treatment designed for cats and for your cat’s weight.
Take Care of Tapeworms
Tapeworms go hand in hand with fleas. If you see squirming white worms, or things that look like dried grains of rice, in your cat’s faeces or around the anus, your cat probably has tapeworms. What you should know:
- Tapeworms aren’t dangerous.
- If left untreated, tapeworms can lead to tummy pain, weight loss and other issues.
- Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible for the best treatment plan.
Cat in Heat: Yowling
Owners who have had to deal with a cat in heat will be familiar with the meowing and yowling intended to attract a mate. Male cats may seem ‘talkative’ in response. The best and most responsible way to deal with this behaviour is spaying a cat in heat and neutering male cats at a young age. At 16 weeks, if not spayed, female cats can become pregnant. Female cats can be spayed at 8 weeks old. Otherwise, mating behaviours can repeat every 18 to 24 weeks, throughout an eight month breeding season!
If nothing helps, seek help from your veterinarian and/or a veterinary behaviourist.
Final thought: Again, whatever you do, never punish your cat. Stay patient and get to the bottom of the problem.