Behavioral problems in cats can be symptoms of illness. However, it can also be the case that something went wrong with the cat's upbringing, other cats in the household bully your cat or the apartment is not designed cat-friendly enough. So that you can recognize unusual cat behavior as such and properly deal with behavior problems, here is a checklist for orientation.
Common behavioral problems in cats
In principle, any unusual behavior of your cat can be seen as a behavioral problem. This means that you should pay attention and research the causes as soon as your cat shows strikingly changed behavior. If otherwise peaceful cuddly tigers become aggressive, trusting velvet paws shyly and fearfully or usually quiet meow lionesses, this is already behavioral problems.
The following undesirable behaviors are particularly common:
● Avoid the litter box
● Mark with urine
● Scratching furniture and carpets
● aggression towards people
● Aggression towards members of the same species in the multi-cat household
● Exaggerated fear and shyness
● Excessive meowing
● Reinforced cleaning, which leads to bald spots in the fur
Step 1: off to the vet
If your cat shows such unusual behavior, first go to the vet with her. Disease symptoms in cats are often very subtle, as the animals instinctively try to hide their weakness. Abnormal behavior in relation to the litter box - for example when the cat pees in bed - is a possible warning sign of a urinary tract disease. Aggressive behavior may indicate that your cat is in pain or sick, making it particularly vulnerable. If your cat behaves more anxiously than usual, it can have a physical cause: Maybe she will become blind or deaf and is therefore very unsettled.
Cats that meow a lot should also be checked thoroughly by the veterinarian. This can also indicate deafness, but it is definitely a sign that your fur nose has something important to tell you. This does not have to be an illness, but this possibility has to be ruled out with the help of a doctor. If your velvet paw cleans itself so much that it licks off the fur and possibly also affects the skin, it may have parasites such as fleas or worms.
Step 2: take a cat's perspective
If your veterinarian was unable to find a physical cause for your cat's behavior, there are various psychological factors that may affect the behavior. It is important that you do not try to interpret the behavior of your cat from a human perspective - misunderstandings are already inevitable. Instead, it makes sense to put yourself in your fur nose, understand your instincts and needs. There is always a reason why your cat does what it does. Feelings and motives such as being offended, resentment, vengefulness or contempt are completely alien to animals and only peculiar to humans.
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Step 3: go on a search for clues
It is best to systematically search for traces with your knowledge of instinctive cat behavior and natural cat needs. In a multi-cat household, behavioral problems can occur if the chemistry in the group is not right. Perhaps the animals were not brought together correctly and this leads to quarrels. Bullying is also a possible cause of conspicuous cat behavior. It is also possible that some incident frightened or unsettled one of your house tigers and it then shows redirected aggression. This in turn can disrupt the harmony of an entire group of cats or lead to aggressive behavior towards people. If a new animal member comes into the family, this changes the smell of the group - this can lead cats to mark with urine to mark out their territory. Marking is also normal behavior in uncastrated animals.
Fright or uncertainty are also common causes behind fearful, shy behavior. Maybe you yelled at your cat once or punished her too hard. If shelter cats are remarkably shy, their previous owner may have been too brutal to deal with. Fortunately, sometimes there are also quite simple solutions for behavioral problems in cats, for example if the apartment is not cat-friendly enough. For example, the salon lions have to sharpen their claws somewhere - if they don't have a nice scratching post available, they can use furniture and carpets in their need. A litter box that is not clean enough or whose litter smells unpleasant for cat noses is reluctant to use and the business ends up somewhere else, for example in a flowerpot.
Step 4: Improve the environment of the cat and strengthen the bond
If you have a guess as to what might be causing your cat's behavioral problems, you are well on the way to finding a solution. An attractive scratching post can solve the problem of scratching furniture. With enough cat toys and extensive hours of play, you can create a trusting bond with your cat so that it loses its shyness. Regularly clean the litter box and make sure you have enough litter boxes for all velvet paws in the household. Climbing walls, elevated places and hiding places give her additional security and retreat options.
Step 5: Consult a cat psychologist
If all of this does not help and you are finished with your Latin, contact a professional cat psychologist who is familiar with the behavioral psychology of fur noses. It is best to ask your veterinarian if he can recommend a good specialist to you.