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Common cat behaviour issues (and tips on how to prevent them)

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ll understand that they can be temperamental creatures, with their own unique quirks and personality traits. This is why we love them! Some cats, however, may display behaviour which is difficult for us humans to figure out, let alone try and prevent. Here we share some tips for common cat behaviours.

Toileting & Litter Box Problems

  • Dr. Emily Chan - Head Veterinarian

    Dr Hay Chung BVSc

    "Some toileting issues are related to medical conditions and require veterinary attention" says Dr Hay. "If this is a new problem it is best to seek advice from your Vet"

Another common reason for inappropriate toileting is stress.
This can be as simple as visitors in your home, strange or different odours around the house or even another cat hanging around outside. By eliminating these stress factors or desensitising your cat to them you can prevent undesirable toileting issues.

Cat not using litter box? Try:

Changing your cat’s litter more regularly, and give them more than one litter tray
Most cats hate going to the toilet in litter that is already soiled. Changing the litter regularly – daily is best – may help solve this issue. Providing multiple litter trays may also be a solution.

Moving your cat’s litter to a place that is a little more private
Like humans, cats prefer a little privacy when it’s time or do their business. Moving your cat’s litter tray to a more secluded area may help, or try an enclosed litter tray – also great for containing mess and odours.

Changing the type of litter you use
Some cats prefer certain litters over others. If your cat simply refuses to set foot in the litter you’re already providing them, trial a few others until you find one that suits you both. There is a huge variety to choose from!

Cat peeing on bed? Try:

Assessing the situation
"First and foremost, ask yourself if this behaviour is new and could possibly be stress-related" says Dr Hay. 

Has your cat’s environment changed in any way? Has your household been unusually busy lately? If not, the reason could be medical – consult your vet for advice.

Finding out if your cat is peeing anywhere else in the house
If the issue appears to be purely behavioural, close the area off so your cat no longer has access to your bed.

Providing your cat with multiple litter trays
Providing your cat with multiple litter trays, cleaned daily, will encourage them to use their own toilet. There is a huge amount of trays and litter to choose from; you may need to trial a few to see what your cat prefers best.

Consult your vet
If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still peeing on your bed, consult your vet to rule out any medical reasons for their behaviour.

Aggressive Cat Behaviour & Attacks

Cats can become scratchers, not only of your furniture and expensive new rug but toward you and other animals. Cats need to be able to express aggression in an acceptable way and taught to be gentle to people. Encourage your cat to play for at least 15 minutes each day with plenty of stimulating toys, feathers and scratching posts.

How do I stop my cat from being aggressive toward other cats?
Some cats may show aggressive or territorial behaviour if they’ve not been de-sexed. While de-sexing will not change the personality of your cat, it can help to prevent some undesirable behaviours such as fighting and aggression.

The best method to prevent your cat from becoming the neighbourhood bully is to keep them indoors, or providing them with their very own outdoor cat enclosure.

How do I stop my cat from attacking me?
If your cat is attacking people, first assess how you and other people are interacting with your cat. Is the nature of play time encouraging the cat to play ‘rough’ or in a manner that may be interpreted as acceptable to attack its owners?

Providing your cat with enriching and interactive toys is a great way to teach them to redirect their aggression to their toys instead of humans. Promote gentle play with your cat, and never use your hands as toys!

Hunting behaviour & Bringing Home Dead Animals

Cats are natural hunters but it is often not as pleasing for us as your cat may think, arriving home to find lizards and birds presented to us on our doorsteps.

Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to prevent them from hunting wildlife and fighting with other cats. Providing your cat with a range of stimulating, indoor hunting games will decrease their desire to get out and hunt wildlife.

Why do cats bring home dead animals?
To your cat, bringing a dead animal home is their way of saying ‘hey, this is how much I love you! Aren’t I brilliant!?’ We humans don’t quite see it the same way though and it can be viewed as problem behaviour, not only for owners but local wildlife.

Cats are natural hunters and require mental and physical stimulation. Providing plenty of enriching toys will help entertain them, and keeping your cat indoors at night is the best way to keep not only wildlife, but your cat safe.

Read more about anxiety in cats

 

 

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