cat behavior problems

Pet Owner’s Guide to Common Cat Behavior Problems

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Cats can be surprising: now they are playful, now they are lazy. But they generally have an even temperament – friendly or more aloof. When you notice a sudden change in the way your cat behaves towards you and people visiting you, then you need to act. These cat behavior problems stem from deeper issues, sometimes health related.

Since cats are very good at disguising their illness, pain and discomfort, these changes in behavior are your only outer signs that something may be wrong. Thus, you should never ignore any behavior problems in cats, but take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible.

What Are the Main Types of Cat Behavior Problems?

According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, cats change their behavior suddenly in three main ways:

  • They become overly aggressive
  • They start spraying or eliminating outside the litter box
  • They become overly sensitive to touch or frightened.

Aggression has many causes and it is one of the cat behavior problems that pose the most serious issues. Cats may become aggressive to a newborn, to an elderly relative coming to visit, or even to the owners themselves. However, with patience and specialized help, these issues can be solved and you can continue to live in harmony and keep your cat.

Without further introductions, we will look at the most common behavior problems in cats:

1. Not Using the Litter Box

According to WebMD, this is the number one problem reported by most cat owners. In many cases, the cat is experiencing urinary problems, such as bladder stones, urinary tract infections or crystals in the urine.

Also, geriatric (very old) cats may become incontinent. In most of the cases, your vet will either solve the health problems, or recommend ways to make life easier and more comfortable for both you and your cat, such as, putting diapers on your four legged friend.

2. Compulsive Furniture Scratching

You know the problem: your cat suddenly attacks the furniture viciously, scratching at it with all its might. This is not playful scratching, but one of the cat behavior problems you should look into.

This is a response to a perceived threat: a new, bigger cat in the house or in the neighborhood, a new adult family member living in the house. Basically, the cat is literally clinging to its territory by its claws. To solve this issue, as well as many other behavior problems related to aggression, you may install Feliway in your home. It is a cat calming diffuser, which contains the specific pheromone that makes cats feel safe and comfortable.

3. Aggressive Behavior

Has your cat started attacking you, various family members or visitors? If it displays aggression towards only one person and is friendly with others, that person may have hurt it (hit it, kicked it, etc.) The solution is to keep the respective person away from your cat.

However, if the aggressive behavior is directed at everyone, then you may deal with one of the following issues:

  • The cat was not raised with care by people as a kitten (if you adopted it as an adult cat)
  • The cat does not want to be petted or play with you and sets its boundaries
  • The cat is in significant pain
  • The cat acts out in fear.

No matter what you believe the cause to be, your first decision must be to take your cat to the vet.

4. Meowing

Did your cat start suddenly meowing incessantly? It may be trying to tell you that it is in pain. Once this issue is vetted out, then your cat probably wants more attention. Try to set aside more time for playing with your cat and engaging it in various activities involving you.

If your cat is not fixed and its sound are more like yowling, then most certainly it is in heat.

5. Hyperactivity during the Night

Does your cat keep you up half the night with its antics? This is the last on our list of common cat behavior problems and it has two potential issues: your cat is ill, so you should take it to the vet. If that is not the issue, then it is simply bursting with energy.

Of course, cats are nocturnal creatures. However, if it has a companion, they will keep each other busy and you will be able to sleep peacefully. If you have only one cat and do not plan on getting another, here is a simple solution: since cats tend to take a restful nap after each meal, give your cat a big dinner each night. That should solve the problem, until you reach your deep sleep and cannot be disturbed by the noises the cat makes.


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