Common Cat Behavior Problems

When cats are not happy, they may display certain behaviors that you find less than desirable. Fortunately, they can be corrected

1. Vocal

Nighttime howling is quite common. Your cat is more of a nocturnal animal, so when you switch the lights off, he’s looking for something to do. If you’re not giving him attention and he has nothing to distract himself with, he’s going to let you know by ‘saying’ he’s unhappy. If you provide him with a toy, he will probably settle down and let you get a good night’s sleep.

Daytime howling may be a sign of pain. This is especially true if it happens during kitty’s litter box time. Consult your veterinarian. Before you go to that expense, make sure your cat is not engaging in attention-seeking behavior because he’s hungry, thirsty, wants to go outside or wants you all to himself.


2. Scratching

Scratching is how the cat marks its territory (in the same way that a dog urinates to mark its territory). That’s not to say you should let your cat scratch anything he wants to. You don’t have to sacrifice your expensive furniture for the privilege of cat ownership!

Redirect your cat’s scratching urges to more suitable items such as scratching posts or toys. You may have to try a few before you find one your cat likes. If the scratching does not stop, look at using pheromones to inhibit the cat’s desire to scratch or nail caps to minimize the damage done by scratching.


3. Chewing

More often associated with dogs, some cats also chew and can be very destructive. In adult cats, it is a common response to boredom and can be eliminated by the provision of adequate toys and distractions. It can also be a sign of aggression, which you might be able to treat with products that reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes, chewing is a symptom of a dental problem, so check your cat’s teeth for any damage.

4. Urinating

Urinary problems are common among cats. They can cause urinating outside the litter box, spraying or the inability to urinate. Your cat may have an inflammation, infection or kidney stones. If your cat is struggling to urinate, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Once medical issues are ruled out, look at behavioral issues. Your cat may be a little picky about his litter box. You may need to try different litter and having more than one box. Some cats don’t like scented litter. Others may react favorably if you just move the litter box to another location.


5. Aggression

Examine what triggers your cat’s aggressive behavior. It can be something like seeing other cats, possessiveness or stress. Try to eliminate the trigger altogether. Sometimes, this is not possible and you’ll have to set about training your cat to live with the trigger. Keep anxiety and stress to a minimum to avoid aggression and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as excessive licking.