Cat Behavior Problems
Is your cat driving you nuts? Mine has been lately with her latest behavior, er philosophy. She believes dogs are bad, very bad. Particularly our dog. She will literally lay in wait for poor Essyx, hiding behind a curtain or around the corner of the couch. When Essie walks in the room, Toonces will barrel across the room, hissing and with both front paws in the air. Essyx doesn't need to do anything to provoke this. It just seems like Toonces gets some enjoyment from it. This has made our dog terrified of the cat. Of course, she's terrified of just about everything, but I digress.
Cat behavioral issues aren't all that uncommon. It's definitely easier to nip bad behavior in the bud immediately, or prevent it from happening in the first place, rather than try to fix a problem that has already become a bad habit. Changing a bad behavior in your cat can be done, but it will take a lot of patience and consistency on your part. A couple of cat problems that are common are urinating in the house and acting aggressively towards people or other animals - like my dear Toonces.
By correcting these problems, not only will you be happier and have a happier household, but your cat may be happier as well. Sometimes behavioral issues stem from underlying problems that you can help to eliminate.
Urinating and aggressive behavior can often be associated with your cat feeling insecure about himself and/or his surroundings. Are there other cats or pets that your cat is viewing as a threat? Is there a particular person that your cat feels threatened by? Try to see if you can eliminate, or lessen the perceived threat, if possible. Simply separating your pets, or allowing your cat a safe means of "escape" may be enough to curb or stop the problem. Often eliminating any threat towards your cat (real or imagined) will result in your pet being comfortable with his surroundings. His aggression or need to mark his territory may be abated.
Cats may also react out of jealousy in a home where there is more than one pet. They crave attention, just like dogs, and may feel as though they're not getting enough. Cats and dogs seem to be like children in a lot of ways. The more you ignore them, the more they will try to get your attention - and often in not so positive ways. Make sure to spend some time with your cat, letting him know that he's just as important as your other pets.
A change in location, or separation from an owner, can also cause your cat to be stressed and act out. Just like people feel stress when moving to a new home or changing jobs, cats are sensitive to changes in their environment and it can have a marked effect on how they act. Lots of love and attention is needed whenever there is a major change in your cat's environment. In time, he'll begin to feel more secure.
For more information on cat behavior problems, read my article: Understanding Your Cat's Behavior
The article takes a more in depth look at what causes cat behavior problems and a few simple things you can do to change unwanted behaviors.