The furry feline friends are the cutest in the family, aren’t they? And who does not like when your pet kneads in the lap and when they look at us & purr!! When you ensure to offer the best care to your puffball, specific behavioral issues are prevalent among cats that become problematic for the owners. You may have to pull a string to find the solution when they streak through the house in the early morning or reject an immaculate litter box.
The most prevalent behavioral issues in cats are associated with elimination, social conflicts, anxiety, or aggression. You may witness subtle and passive aggression in your feline friend, but it should not be underestimated if it is frequent.
The treatment of behavior feline problems depends on the disorder’s severity and outlook. The pet behaviorist develops specific strategies for the cat’s behavior. Usually, the standard technique includes habituation, extinction, desensitization, counterconditioning, response substitution, and shaping. However, as a pet parent, you should remember that behavioral improvement is gradual, and the treatment takes time.
This article has discussed the knock and corners of cat behavioral issues. Let us read on to figure out how pet owners can recognize their unacceptable behavior and seek medical attention to get rid of such behaviors:
What Are The Key Factors Behind Behavioral Problems In Cats
The term “Behavioral problem” denotes the behavior exhibited by an animal that is unacceptable to the owner, irrespective of abnormality. Survey research has displayed that 75% of felines exhibit at least one behavioral problem. Fear is one of the most frequently reported behavioral problems. Age, sex, breed, number of other cats in the household, and type of residence are also certain factors associated with feline behavior.
Your cat should always be happy, playful, and active in ideal conditions. However, your pet may indicate some sudden behavioral changes in certain situations. Your cat may begin scratching, litter in an unacceptable manner, start urine marking, etc. You also may observe fear, disinterest in taking food, aggressive behaviors such as aggression toward owners, visitors, and other cats, losing interest in playing, or anxiety; apart from the common factors, specific underlying medical problems or pain cause these behaviors. For instance, neurological disorders are a major medical cause of mood and behavior changes in cats. If a pet suffers from cancer affecting the central nervous system, toxic exposure, seizures, these neurological conditions can also manifest as behavioral changes in the feline.
Furthermore, felines with endocrine disorders show behavioral changes. Besides, if your pet has Gastrointestinal and skin or ear issues, it may also lead to pain, which is another biggest trigger in this context. Pain is again caused by diverse underlying medical conditions, such as arthritis, resulting in feline behavioral disorder.
Your pet requires proper treatment and training to overcome behavioral issues. Taking your cat to a professional veterinarian should be your first step to resolving your cat’s behavioral problems. Seeking a vet’s advice is a wise choice to ensure that your pet gets the proper care to cure the behavioral difficulties.
What Are The Signs to Recognize Cat Behavior Problems?
Your cats have almost all kinds of emotions like humans, such as fear, aggression, anxiety, stress, and so on. These emotions influence their behavior. Now, the physical expression of these emotions may become significant as they indicate some behavioral issues.
Let us take a glance at some signs that help you recognize behavior problems among cats:
- Excessive Meowing
Cats are a predator breed (with many wild relatives). Thus, meowing at night is common among cats. Sometimes, your cats may vocalize frequently and excessively. Cats may indicate several things through their vocalizing, such as:
- A part of their play
- Older cats may indicate senility through howling
- Some cat breeds prefer vocalizing than others (like Siamese)
- Aggression toward other cats or dogs in your home or neighborhood
- Pain and more.
- Excessive Chewing
Usually, kittens chew almost everything that comes their way. Common reasons behind chewing in a kitten may be teething, curiosity toward any object, or play. At the same time, excessive chewing among your kittens also indicates problems like nutritional deficiency, aggression, or anxiety.
In some cases, cats may tend to excessively chew if they are weaned too early. A kitty should get sufficient access to its mother cat’s milk to avoid unnecessary chewing.
Your cats may turn aggressive toward other pets or people due to many reasons. (Your cats may bite someone as a result too). Aggression is a crucial behavior problem among pet cats.
Apparently, some cats may have underlying medical problems leading to aggression. In rare cases, any hormonal changes in a cat’s body may also cause this aggression. Sometimes, a fearful or nervous stimulant may trigger the feeling of aggression among cats.
The owners need to analyze the cause of the aggression, the fear causing it and try to eliminate them through proper veterinary treatment. To know more about aggression among cats, go through this detailed article.
- Destructive Scratching
Scratching may be one of the ordinary and acceptable behaviors among cats unless it harms anything in your house. Your kittens may scratch various things out of curiosity. However, if you notice excessive scratching, it may be a sign of some underlying problems.
Usually, cats scratch for various reasons, like marking their territory, stretching and relaxation, and also as a part of their play. Scratching may become a feline behavior issue if it destroys your belongings. For a detailed analysis of this behavior issue, go through this article.
- Behavior Problems In Senior Cats
As your cats grow older, there may be some behavior problems as they experience a lack of cognitive functioning. Some pet parents may connect these issues with lethargy. Yet, these behavior problems can be beyond that.
What Are Behavioral Issues in Cats Related to the Use of Litter Box?
Proper training to use a litter box is expected at an early age for all pet cats. If your cats litter unacceptably, it indicates various behavior problems. Let us take you through some significant behavior problems concerning the way they litter:
- Urine Marking
This is not exactly among the typical behavior problems, as it is a common phenomenon among adult male cats to indicate various things:
- Your cat may be marking its territory.
- It may spray urine to attract other cats. It may be an indication of an urge for mating.
- Your cat may be feeling threatened. It may indicate other animals and sometimes people to back off to avoid any conflict.
- Improper Or No Use of Litter Box
Improper elimination may indicate various behavior problems or, in some cases, medical conditions needing veterinary advice and treatment. If your cats do not defecate in the litter boxes, it may be due to various possibilities, such as:
- Litter box management issues
- Your cat may prefer a different surface or location to litter
- They may dislike the litter boxes
- Your cat may be under stress
- There may be one litter box among several cats
Again, this issue is also associated with medical problems, such as:
- Feline Interstitial Cystitis
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Kidney Stone or Blockages
Better to consult a veterinarian to diagnose and treat these behavior issues. The first step should be to notice or identify unacceptable behaviors and seek appropriate veterinary treatment to rectify those issues in time.
How Do Cat Behaviorists Diagnose and Treat Behavioral Problems Among Cats?
As you contact and fix up an appointment with a pet behaviorist and take your cat to his or her office, the vet and the staff would follow a procedure:
As the first step, the staff would hand over a questionnaire to you, as discussed earlier. You are supposed to answer all the questions in that. Apart from your contact details, you should answer many questions related to your cat’s routine of play, the toys you provide, its overall life, how often it gets socialization opportunities, and the details of the problem it is undergoing.
Apart from this, the vet would glance at videos showing the behavioral problems and observe the cat during counseling. Later, the vet also conducts some tests to rule out any possibilities of medical conditions causing behavior problems.
The vet would also ask about the cat’s food, its response to other pets in the house, any sign of fear or aggression toward other pets and people, any pain it experiences, and the possible causes of fear and pain.
After analyzing the cat’s condition and your answers, the vet designs a line of treatment and shares it with you to take you into confidence. The vet focuses on the physical outcome of the behavior problems. The possibilities include the tendency of the cat to bite, aggression toward the owner, other pets, and people.
The treatment involves a comprehensive training program for the cat. Most behavioral problems, like aggression, anxiety, and fear, are minimized through proper training. Even the inappropriate elimination issues would need training.
The first step would be to isolate aggressive or angry cats to avoid further physical injuries to people and other cats. The pro vet implements behavior modification training techniques gradually. Then, the cat can be reintroduced to play with other cats and your family.
The treatment for inappropriate elimination issues involves training the owner for proper management and cleaning of litter boxes. Again, the vet also tries to address and control aggression, fear, and anxiety in the cats. The vet also tries to recognize and rectify fearful or nervous stimulants in the surroundings of your cat.
You may be asked to contact the vet periodically for training and health checkups. The vet may also suggest changes in the food and the overall lifestyle of your cat. The vet encourages the owner to play with the cat regularly using some toys. The method keeps you stress-free and helps to reduce various behavior issues in your cat for sure.
What Are The Medications Used To Cure Cat Behavioral Issues?
Sometimes to cure the behavioral issues in cats, vets medication. Often pet parents are reluctant to follow behavioral medicine for their pets. But note that specific problems require medication to be added to the treatment plan to speed up the recovery process.
Behavior modification is the best practical method to cure feline behavioral issues; adopting behavior modification can prove difficult in some situations. For example, if you have multiple cats in your house, living together isn’t natural for them. To help them learn to accept each other. It can be achieved through a behavior modification procedure called desensitization and counterconditioning (DSCC). Sometimes DSCC isn’t possible; in such scenarios, behavioral medication can reduce the cats’ reactivity to each so that the DSCC can be carried out successfully.
Veterinarians primarily use four types of behavioral medicines such as benzodiazepines or BZs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRI, TCA, is used to cure general timidity or compulsive behavior in the pet, such as excessive grooming. BZ, TCA, SSRI are prescribed to cure litter box problems caused by anxiety, urine marking, or aggression. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are prescribed for treating the cognitive dysfunction in your cat.
How Can You Find The Best-Rated Cat Behaviorist Near You?
Whenever your pet faces any health or behavioral issue, you can simply log on to our platform to find the best-rated veterinarians, pet behaviorists, vet clinics, and veterinary hospitals in your area in the US. We are a preferred online vet database today.
You would search for a specialist veterinarian that treats behavior problems in cats using our specialty filters (feature coming soon). You can also search for veterinary practitioners in a specific city and metro region by clicking on the city and metro page links.
What Steps Should Owners To Offer The Felien A Happy and Healthy Life?
The behavior of a cat may be mysterious and complicated. The reason is, there may not be one specific reason behind any behavior issue, like aggression, fear, and anxiety, and so on. Apparently, every cat has a unique personality. You can make out any behavior issue only if you spend quality time with your cat for its play, feeding, and other routine activities.
In many cases, the behavioral issue is a result of some medical problem or pain. You cannot rule out a possibility of a health issue in a cat of any age group. Better you contact your vet immediately. Another possibility may be a stimulus, fearful object, sound, or incidents. Try to understand the body language of your cat to gauge any difficulties.
Never hesitate to discuss remedies such as engaging and entertaining toys for cats, diffusers for aromatherapy, supplements, special kinds of cat food, and medications with your vet. Later, you can start some activities to address individual behavior issue, such as:
- Use scratching posts sprinkling some catnip on them to ignite ‘happy receptors’ in your cat’s brain. Place these scratching posts against the surfaces that you don’t want your cat to scratch.
- Provide some engaging toys at night to keep your cats busy. This practice helps prevent excessive meowing or vocalization at night.
- To prevent excessive chewing in your cats, consult your vet to check if it has any dental issues. Secondly, provide safe toys to chew. Again, it is vital to understand if your cat chews out of boredom or aggression. Provide food with good nutritional value.
- First, consult your vet to see if your cat has some medical problem to overcome litter box issues. If it is purely a behavior problem, ensure the litter box is clean. Does your cat like the litter box you have bought? Try to have one separate litter box for every cat and an extra one if you have multiple cats. Also, keep it at an easy-to-access place all the time.
- Find out if there is any trigger causing aggression in your cat and remove it. Provide toys that encourage your cat to exercise during its play. This is a proven method to get rid of aggression among cats.
Try creating an environment that prevents behavior problems in your cat. Schedule a routine to make your cat feel happy and healthy in the long run.
The article covers significant behavior problems in cats and appropriate remedies you can implement. The role of the cat behaviorist is very crucial for treating unacceptable cat behavior. As a responsible pet parent, you need to consult a specialist pet behaviorist.
A well-designed treatment helps control and gradually eliminate behavioral issues among your cats. If your cat has one, make the most effective use of our platform to find the best-rated pet behaviorist near you, and book your appointment today!
Disclaimer: The content on the site is for educational purposes only, and it does not provide medical advice. The shared information must not be treated as a substitute for or alternative for medical practitioner advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Regarding any concerns about your pet’s health, seeking veterinary guidance is of utmost necessity. Each pet has specific health, fitness & nutrition needs. Do not disregard, avoid or delay pet health-related advice from veterinarians based on reading the information provided on this site.