When Your Cat is Misbehaving

Cat rules over human, that’s the general consensus seem to agree. Cat’s IDGAF behavior has been fueling the meme world for years and is responsible for the overwhelming number of cat videos in Youtube. And while watching bundle of fluffy hairs acting like the world is made for them is fun at a screen away, it’s not so much when you’re the one who has to deal with their misbehavior.

Cat, like any other creature, behave in a certain way. They can be positive or negative. Negative behavior, like chewing cable, urinating indoor, and scratching furniture can be a source of headache for their owner. The good news is, there is a way to break the habit and form a new one. Owner can correct the cat when she is misbehaving and reward her when she is well-behaved.

It seems like there is no limit for cat’s potential misbehavior. The most common complaints are furniture scratching, fabric chewing, spraying or marking, and biting. Rarer complaints are about escaping and aggression. I’ve listed five misbehavior’s often found in cat, their causes, as well as their solutions.

1. General Misbehavior

Symptoms : over grooming, spraying, excessive meowing, aggressive behavior, destructiveness

Cause : separation anxiety

Solution : adopt another cat

Tanya caught her cat Shawn grooming more often than she thinks necessary. “Every time I looked at him, he is either cleaning his hair or licking his paw. He didn’t play or nap, he just kept licking.”

Along with this, Shawn also started to spray his urine onto the corner of the room again after a long period of not doing that. Every time Tanya left him alone in the house, the black cat would meow endlessly and even went as far as attacking Tanya when she was going to leave home.

If your cat shows the same behavior as Shawn does, there is a possibility that your cat is experiencing separation anxiety.

Contrary to popular believe, cat is not actually solitary creature – at least that what most of the veterinarian across USA believe. They just tend to do whatever they like, making people think they don’t need everybody else. The truth is cat is social creature and she craves the companion of her own species. Indoor cat without any other companion except her owner may experience this anxiety. The misbehavior she displays look a lot like anxiety and depression symptoms in human when they are lonely.

The solution for separation anxiety is simple enough: adopt multiple cats. Multiple cats can entertain each other when the owner is away from home. The cats won’t feel abandoned since they have each other’s company.

2. Scratching

Symptoms : nail marks on your furniture

Cause : instinct and habit

Solution : introduce her to scratch board or cover your furniture

Furniture in Carol’s house is mostly made of solid wood. For Tintin, her cat, the house was like a playground: scratch board everywhere! Now, Carol’s table leg, cupboard, and cabinet all has additional decoration of nail marks on the lower side. The problem doesn’t stop there. Tintin likes to scratch horizontal surfaces such as sofa as well. Oh, dear.

Scratching is caused by nothing particular except cat’s instinct to scratch. After all, a cat’s sharp nail aren’t exist only to be clipped. In their natural habitat, it is the key to their survival as they need them to catch food. To keep their nail sharp, they scratch. Indoor cats don’t catch their own food anymore, but the instinct remains.

Since you’ll never be able to get rid of cat’s scratching habit (and you shouldn’t!), the best way to deal with this is by buying a scratch board. If your cat still prefers your furniture than his board, you can lure her in by sprinkling catnip on the board at first until she gets interested at the board. Cheaper solution is by wrapping the leg of your furniture with thick rope. With this simple trick, your furniture will be protected and your cat gets to scratch wherever she likes.

To discourage her from scratching horizontal surface, cover it with something not scratch-able to make her lose interest. For example, stack pillows on it or cover it with furniture cover.

3. Unfriendly

Symptoms : hissing and acting threatening to strangers

Cause : feeling threatened, change of environment

Solution : make a space for their own

Harry was entertaining a group of his friend on his house when Tabby, his cat, walked over and hissed threateningly. While the hiss only provided entertainment for his friends, Harry was worried. It showed that Tabby was feeling threatened and uncomfortable.

Cat can be unfriendly because there is change of atmosphere. The coming of stranger to your house, especially a group of them, can make them feel threatened. The unfriendly behavior is their way to communicate that there is a line between them and the strangers.

To help them de-stress when you have guests coming over, create a space for your cat. This can be your bedroom, guest bedroom, or even closet. Put her bed inside and provide food, water, as well as toy to keep her entertained. The important thing to note is that you should not close the door. It isn’t a cage, but simply a space for your cat to retreat when she feels uncomfortable with other people’s presence.

4. Escaping

Symptoms : escaping, trying to get out of the house

Cause : habit of living outdoor

Solution : use toddler gate

Tina just saved a starving kitten from an empty house next door. She was happy for a few days since the kitten appeared to be healthy and had ravenous appetite. After a week, however, her worry began. The little kitten kept sneaking to get pass the door! Tina was worried the little creature would get lost.

What was happening to Tina’s little darling is a common problem for a tomcat owner. Escapist behavior is also normal for a cat used to live outdoor. It doesn’t mean that the cat doesn’t like it indoor. It was just more familiar for her to be outdoor.

However, outdoor could be pretty dangerous for a pet. Your cat can get lost or get chased by dog or get involved in an accident, especially if you live next to busy road. So, you could install toddler gate on the door to keep her from escaping. If you don’t have any problem with letting the door closed all the time, close it.

Put her food bowl and toys away from the door. Don’t give her food or pet her outdoor. She will then associate indoor with food and comfort and will prefer to stay indoor.

5. Hopping on the Table

Symptoms : hopping on table or kitchen counter

Cause : instinct and habit, looking for food

Solution : provide other entertainment for climbing, reprimand and reward

John loves his cat Messy very much. However, no matter how many times John had said no, Messy keep hopping on the table and kitchen counter and rummaging through whatever she can find there. His mother kept threatening to lock the cat out during family mealtime and it gives John headache.

Hopping on the table, just like scratching, is more of cat’s instinct rather than bad behavior. In their natural habitat, they need this skill to catch food and escape from their enemy – such as dog – by climbing trees. Another reason for table-hopping beside instinct is to look for food. So, you can observe which one of these causes is more apt as the cause for your cat’s table-hopping behavior.

If food is the problem, then makes her aware that her food is on its place on the floor by praising her every time she finds her food on the right place. If you think she is just hopping on the table to sit and observe, you may want to invest in a cat tree. Cat loves to sit on the high place and a cat tree will surely entertain her.

You can also train her to associate hopping on the counter with unpleasant experience by firmly and loudly say no whenever she jumps up and then remove her from there. If it didn’t work, use spray to communicate to her that counter was off-limit. Never give her food or pet her when she is on the counter.

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