Cats are known for their quirky and independent personalities. While their individualism can be appealing, even relatively minor cat behaviour issues can get out of control and turn into a problem if left unchecked.
As a human it can be hard to figure out why your cat is acting a certain way, let alone stop them doing it.
We’ve put together three top tips for dealing with the three most common issues experienced by cat owners.
1. Not using their litter tray
Most cats will use their litter box with the minimum of fuss but if your cat is doing its business where it shouldn’t be (like on your bed!), there are a few possible explanations.
First of all, it could be a medical issue. If it’s a new problem, the first port of call should be your vet. Once your cat has the all clear, you can look at other possible explanations like stress, or pickiness if your cat’s litter tray isn’t as clean as they would like.
There are a few things you can do to try to stop the behaviour:
- Move the litter tray to a quieter location (cats are generally very privacy conscious)
- Give your cat more than one litter tray so there’s a spare to use when the first one is soiled.
- Clean out your cat’s litter tray more frequently.
- Try to eliminate or desensitise your cat to any environmental stress factors (visitors, strange smells in the house, other cats in close proximity)
- Change the brand of cat litter you use.
As long as you’ve ruled out a medical issue, trying a few of these strategies may help you get your cat’s toileting issue under control.
2. Aggression towards humans or other animals
While cats are instinctive predators, it’s important they express their natural aggression in an appropriate way and not towards you. It may help to give your cat access to scratching posts and toys that will allow them to channel their aggression without hurting you (or damaging your furniture!)
Cats need at least 15 minutes of play per day and it’s up to you to ensure your cat gets this time.
Avoid playing in a way that encourages your cat to attack humans (for example using your fingers as a toy) and teach your cat to be gentle with people.
Another reason your cat might be showing aggression is if they haven’t been de-sexed. De-sexing your cat can help reduce aggressive behaviour towards other animals.
If your cat is getting into fights with neighbourhood cats you may need to consider keeping them inside or building an outside cat enclosure.
3. Bringing you ‘gifts’
You may not be as pleased as your cat is with a gift of a dead lizard or bird, especially if it’s presented to you first thing in the morning!
Unappealing as this behaviour is to humans, it’s important to remember that it’s your cat’s way of showing their love for you and displaying their impressive hunting skills for your admiration.
While hunting is a natural instinct for cats, taking the time to play hunting games with toys can decrease the urge to go out and hunt real wildlife. Keeping your cat inside at night is also essential to protect the local wildlife and decrease your chances of a bedside surprise in the morning.
Cat ownership can be a wonderfully rewarding experience. Getting to grips with these common cat behaviour issues early on can help you and your cat enjoy a warm, loving relationship for many years to come.