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Is Your Cat Misbehaving? 4 Tips To Understanding Your Cat

Mar 9, 2008
Despite their status as the most popular pet in America, cats can still be difficult. With their sometimes aloof attitudes and unwillingness to tell us what they want, figuring out your cat can be tough.

When your cat, whether it's an Abyssinian or a Turkish Van, starts misbehaving, it can cause serious damage. From ripped curtains to urine-stained bed sheets, a cat on the rampage is hard to handle. Unfortunately, many owners give up on cats with behavior problems, but there are steps you can take to help your cat grow through or out of them.

To learn how to stop your cat from misbehaving, keep reading for 4 key tips on how to understand your cat.

1. Take your cat to the vet for a complete physical.

Sometimes a behavior problem can actually be a physical problem. For example, a cat that's urinating in strange places may be suffering from an illness or an infection.

Your vet can also offer suggestions and advice for problems that are behavioral.

2. Check the house for environmental factors.

Sometimes the solution is simpler than you think so check around the house for environmental factors that could be wreaking havoc on your cat's disposition.

For example, litter box problems are typically the source of rampant or improper urination. First, check where you're keeping the litter box - is it next to a loud appliance or in a heavily trafficked area of the house? Just like you, your cat wants a private and quiet place to do its business. You can also try a covered litter box, which most cats, particularly longhaired cat breeds, tend to prefer.

Next, try switching out the litter that you're using. If you're using scented, try unscented and if you're using non-clumping, try clumping. Some cats are just picky about their litter.

Finally, make sure the litter box is being cleaned frequently enough. Just as you wouldn't want to use a dirty toilet, your cat also wants a clean litter box. Also, make sure there is at least one litter box per cat as cats prefer to have their own.

3. Look to your other pets.

Sometimes problems with other animals in the house, like an aggressive older cat or a constantly chasing dog can lead to behavioral problems. Much like the child who acts out after being bullied, your cat may be dealing with those issues in the same way.

Always introduce new animals into the house slowly, keeping them separated from one another, but still able to smell and hear each other. Once they've gotten acquainted, let them co-mingle. If you're trying to deal with an existing problem, try using baby gates to keep your cats or pets separate from one another for a few days. This separation can help reduce anxiety.

4. Consult a professional.

Expensive and sometimes a last resort for many pet-owners, a pet behavior specialist may be able to help you and your cat work through your problems. According to the listings provided by the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors (ACABC), a private behavior 1-hour consultation can cost anywhere from about $50 to $500, but most hover around the $70-$100 range.
About the Author
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065 For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at http://www.findapetonline.com. Research over 45 cat breed profiles at http://www.findapetonline.com/cat_breeds_a_z.html
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