Is your cat exhibiting abnormal or unwanted behaviour? Just like you, your kitty experiences a wide range of instincts and emotions such as anxiety, fear, hunger, and frustration, which could be possible reasons for seemingly ‘bad’ behaviour.
As a pet owner, it is important to note that your cat is simply acting because of the way it feels (illnesses and old age can play a part too), and you should never punish your cat without understanding the cause behind its actions. While this list is not exhaustive, here are 5 common behavioural issues in cats and how to deal with them properly:
You might be dozing off only to hear your cat crying and howling loudly through the night. While this behaviour is somewhat normal for feline creatures, given that they are nocturnal, if this behaviour is not typical for your cat, it might be feeling bored, or trying to communicate that something is wrong.
Abnormal meows and howls from your cat could also be signs of pain or discomfort that could stem from problems in its urinary tract, injuries, or even pinched tails. It is, however, important to take note that some breeds, such as the Siamese Cat, are simply more vocal than others by nature.
If your cat vocalises excessively out of boredom, consider buying some new toys for them to have something to entertain them throughout the night. If you suspect that it could be due to pain or discomfort, then it may be time to plan a visit to the vet!
Have you noticed that your cat loves to scratch? Aside from marking its territory, scratching is a part of a healthy cat’s grooming ritual and helps to remove the dead outer husk of its claws. However, allowing your cat’s scratching to go unchecked may result in expensive furniture or precious keepsakes becoming damaged.
If your cat is scratching things that you prefer it not to, it is possible to redirect the scratching by providing toys or scratching posts that it can sink its claws into. Regular trimming of your cat’s nails can also minimise the damage that can be caused by its scratching, but do take note to do so with the right tools and plenty of care! If necessary, enlist the help of a professional groomer instead.
If your cat is behaving aggressively, it means that your cat is actively hostile towards other people and pets. Such aggressive behaviour could be an indication that your cat is suffering from stress, anxiety, or other medical problems.
In the event that your cat exhibits aggressive behaviour, you should identify and remove potential stressors that could be the cause of this behaviour. If the problem is not immediately identifiable, it is best to have your vet examine your feline friend.
Cats can suffer from various urinary issues like infections, bladder stones, and even tumours. All these can be reasons why your kitty is urinating outside its box, or is unable to urinate altogether. Litter box issues can also be caused by conflicts between your cat and other pets, the size of the box, the position of the box, stress due to changes in its environment, and more.
If you suspect that the issue is medical in nature, bring your cat to the vet immediately for a check-up. If the issue is environmental, try to remove stressors from around the house. Even in the event that you have to make permanent changes around the house, you should try to introduce these changes slowly and gradually so that your cats have time to be comfortable and adapt to their new living conditions.
Although cats might not be as active chewers as dogs are, they can still damage the things around your house with their sharp teeth, and possibly put themselves in harm’s way.
Chewing could be a sign that your cat is feeling bored, teething (if it is a kitten), or even suffering from a lack of nutrition. Alternatively, it could simply enjoy the texture of the item it is chewing.
To discourage your cat from chewing on things that it should not be chewing on, provide more mental stimulation for your cat and invest in more entertaining toys that are chew-safe. Always make sure to tie or wrap up anything that resembles a string as well, such as an electrical cord, or bring your cat to the vet to check if the problem is diet-related and find out how to supplement its nutritional needs better accordingly.
As a cat owner, it is important that you know your cat well and be on the alert for changes in its behaviour. Learning more about these common behavioural issues is a stepping stone for you to address any possible problems in your cat’s health and well-being, and will help you to care for them better!