Cats are fascinating creatures that can bring joy and companionship to our lives. However, they can also exhibit certain behaviors that can be frustrating or even destructive. Let’s look at some of the most common cat behavior problems and some insights into why cats behave the way they do.
When cats join your household, several behaviors might make you wonder why you got a cat in the first place. Many of the unpredictable behaviors that baffle new cat owners can be traced to one simple fact: Cats are not dogs!
Cats Are Kind of Like Night Owls
One of the first behaviors about cats that you might want to tuck away in your memory is that cats are inherently crepuscular animals and territorial. What this means is that your cat will not adopt your sleep schedule, and everything he sees belongs to him, including you.
Being crepuscular animals means that they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours. This is because their ancestors were desert-dwelling creatures who had to hunt during cooler times of the day to conserve energy. As a result, it’s not uncommon for your cat to be most active during these times.
Additionally, cats can be very territorial creatures. They have a strong sense of ownership over their surroundings and may view anything within their territory as belonging to them. This includes you, your furniture, and even other pets in the household.
Litter Box Problems
A cat’s litter box is always a concern for both the cat and the household’s residents. Your cat’s litter box behavior can be a signal to you that there is a problem with the litter box and not necessarily bad behavior. Life is usually serene when the cat uses the litter box the way it was meant to be used. But, if he starts exhibiting strange behavior outside, but next to the litter box, he is trying to tell you something.
Consider that there might be something wrong with the litter box, from your cat’s point of view. The litter could smell bad to him or not feel right. The box might be in an uncomfortable location, like where there’s a lot of traffic in hallways, for instance. Watch for erratic behavior like trying to bury something you cannot see outside the box. Your cat will try to tell you when all is not right with his surroundings.
Scratching in the Wrong Place
Indoor cats can start ripping up your carpet, which can rapidly become very expensive. Good sense would indicate that your cat needs scratching posts or other ways to spend that energy. Whatever you do, do not provide scratch items that are covered in carpet! Your cat will be confused. Most pet shops have several scratching alternatives that will save your carpets.
Shredding Toilet Paper
Another annoying, but fun cat activity is shredding rolls of toilet paper. Of course a simple solution is to keep your bathroom door shut, but other options can be helpful, too.
The simplest method to distract your cat is to turn your roll around so the loose end is hanging over the back of the roll against the wall.
You can also take advantage of how your cats hate loud noises and surprises by balancing an empty soda can with some pennies inside on the top of the roll.
Another annoying behavior a cat may display is biting. We’re not talking about the occasional love bite, but aggressive biting. This behavior can occur for a variety of reasons. It may be out of fear, frustration, territoriality or simply because your cat is trying to get your attention. If you are dealing with a cat that bites, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible.
Cat owners should make sure they are not encouraging this behavior by playing too roughly with their pet. Cats often associate rough play with pain and thus become more aggressive over time. To prevent biting, it’s important to provide cats with interactive toys that encourage healthy playtime activities.
Trouble in the Garden
If you are a gardener, your cat can become a real problem to your garden by digging up what you planted or chewing on your plants. You might plant catnip in pots away from your garden or in another garden patch to attract your cat and save your plants.
Whenever you think your cat has a behavioral problem, try looking at the world like a cat and see if you can fix what’s bothering him or offer a better alternative. Understanding your cat’s natural behaviors and tendencies can help you create a more harmonious living environment for both you and your feline friend.