Cat Behaviour: April 2009 Archives
Cat behavior is more difficult for most people to understand than dog behavior, because they communicate so much differently. If you experience behavior problems with your cat, like biting, scratching, excessive meowing or avoiding the litter box, eliminate any physical causes and then patiently retrain your cat, to try to eliminate the undesirable behaviors. Remember, there aren't bad cats, just uninformed cat owners.
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It's best to deal with problem cat behavior one step at a time, lest you frustrate your cat with too many do's and don'ts. That would make it difficult for her to learn just what you want from her. Start with the most serious problems first, like chewing electric cords. Take care of one problem before you start work on another.
If your cat behavior is problematic because she is seeking more attention, you probably are hearing excess vocalization from your feline. She has underlying causes for this behavior, and they may be emotional, physical or both. Make sure she doesn't have some pain issues before you punish her for excessive meowing. She might be in heat, or there might be another physical cause.
If your pet's cat behavior includes being aggressive towards people, this may have been caused by poor training when she was a kitten. Or it could be a fear response, and she may have been mistreated or neglected when she was young. You, as your cat's caregiver, will need to learn what you can do to prevent aggression, how to take care of it when it occurs, and how to slow this behavior down.
Cats are territorial animals, so expect some uproar if you introduce a new cat into your home. Sometimes they will settle down quickly, and sometimes you will need to separate them - as unpleasant as that idea might sound. Usually, after the first few cat-fights, your felines will fall into a pecking order, and the fights should be fewer then.
If you experience cat behavior in the areas of destructive chewing and scratching by kittens and cats, it is a dangerous habit for them and it causes damage to your belongings. Address the causes before you start flinging slippers at your cats - they may be expressing boredom, curiosity or even a deficiency in their nutrient levels. If your cat scratches you or your furniture, check out all your options before considering de-clawing. This is no more humane than removing your own fingernails would be. You can even buy thin plastic claw-covers in bright colors, to keep your cat's scratching from destroying anything else.
Many cat behavior problems are actually related to health issues, or caused by the inadvertent miscues of your cat caregivers. Make sure to give your feline the benefit of the doubt, and work patiently with her when correction needs to be administered.
Article by Jenny Styles
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