Every once in a while, your cat may tend to get nervous, aggressive or act in what we consider as an inappropriate actions (such as spraying indoors), and they do it for a reason. These “bad conducts” (according to your cat, at least) are, for the most part, signs that something is not right. Nothing good will come out if you punish your cat for it’s bad behavior and you will even make it worse. As a responsible owner, you have responsibility to address their needs, to understand your cat’s normal demeanor, and to know their interests and motivations.
As you may know now, cats are masters when it comes to hiding what they really feel, and also they are very subtle when showing signs of pain, for in the wild, showing such actions is a matter of life or death – any animal that shows signs of discomfort or pain can be an easy target for possible predators.
There are a lot of health issues that may cause their discomfort in varying intensities of pain. Always monitor your cat if you notice any difference in their normal behavior, if you are unsure what causes it, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible to determine what really is wrong and to provide immediate medical attention.
As being said before, cats are really good with hiding their feelings, that goes as well with stress, for they express signs of stress in a subtle way making it very difficult to tell when a cat is under physical or mental pressure.
There are many reasons why it can develop. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, such as an immediate response to a threat, which is actually normal for your cat as it enables the it’s ‘flight or fight’ response and allows them to get away quickly. However, prolonged instances of stress can be harmful for your cat’s welfare.
There are a few reasons why cats get stressed, that include moving house or a change in routine such as redecorating, getting new furniture or a new litter box or cat bed (which your cat doesn’t seem to like). It can also happen if the litter tray and food bowls are in inappropriate locations, or there aren’t enough food given at a certain time. Getting some ideas in redecorating your home like this book, Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) - Kindle Edition (Amazon) will help you decide what to do without you cat being stressed.
Other people (which your cat is not accustomed with) visiting the house or having a new pet (either another cat or a different pet) can be the cause. A cat may be bullied or intimidated by neighboring cats or even the other resident cats (that also includes the new pets, if you have any) they live with.
Stress on cats may show these signs:
Some of these signs listed for pain and stress could also be due o many other medical conditions or behavioral problems. Always see your vet if you notice any changes in your cat for immediate medical attention.
While there are cats who are very adaptable and can easily cope with when it comes to settling into a new house, some remain fearful despite a gentle welcome and time to settle in.
Don’t be too surprised if your shy or timid cat tries run away and hide from you. Showing patience and sensitivity will go a long way and will gradually change your cat, ensuring a happy and extremely rewarding relationship with your kitty.
Your cat’s timid behavior might be due to:
Since cats are difficult to read, it can be difficult to recognize that your cat wants you to move away. Signs of fear include running away and retreating to hiding places. Once frightened or scared, it will show dilated pupils and/or flattened ears and will cringe and cower from you. This fear can develop into aggressive behavior – where your cat will “fight” as a tactic instead of “flight” as a last resort.
These aggressive behaviors develop because the cat feels cornered or trapped, or because they have previously learned that avoiding these situations are unsuccessful. Avoid putting your cat into this situation and ensure they can always get away easily all the time. Overcoming a cat’s shyness through patient handling and care often leads to an extremely rewarding and close relationship between owner and cat and is well worth the extra time and effort.
It is rare for cats to be aggressive towards humans but like all of us, they do have their “boiling point”. There are many different reasons for their hostile behavior and sometimes it can be a combination of causes.
Here are just a few examples:
Cats may be more inclined to show aggressive behavior if they are kept indoors without stimulation most of the time, doesn’t have any access to essential resources or an outlet for their hunting instinct, if they are young and a bit jumpy on almost anything, if misunderstood by their owner, and if not neutered or spayed and is in heat.
You know when your cat has sprayed by the smell of cat pee for this odor is very distinctive. All cats - male or female, neutered or not - will mark out their territory with urine spraying.
Cat’s spray can be a reaction to a stressful situation. During these situations cats will spray urine to increase their self-assurance, to cope with emotional stress, or as a displacement strategy to soothe itself. While it is completely normal for cats to spray outdoors, when your cat sprays indoors it is a sign that they are feeling distressed. It has even been known for cats to spray their owner’s bed.
If your cat has suddenly started spraying indoors, you should take your cat to have a health check with your vet to ensure there is no underlying medical cause for the behavior. If the vet deems your cat is healthy, the next stage is to find out what the cat finds threatening and then take action to stop it. This process can be quite complicated, as there are often many factors involved. It is best to ask your vet to refer you to a suitably qualified animal behaviorist.
Inappropriate toileting is different to spraying behavior and can occur for completely different reasons. If your cat is toileting away from the litter box, there are many different reasons.
Always get your cat vet checked before considering any behavioral interventions, as it is very important to rule out medical reasons for the behavior. Even if your cat has outside access, always provide litter boxes inside, which are comfortable enough for your cat to use. Some cats can feel safer using a litter box in the house – there could be neighborhood cats or feral cats that intimidate them. Understandably, many cats don’t like to go out when it’s bad weather, or if the toileting site is frozen over in winter and muddy during rainy days where it’s difficult to dig.
There are many different types of litter trays and litter boxes available to suit your cat’s needs, you may find some of these on online shops like activefelinesolutions. Don’t expect that the box your cat uses when it was just a kitten is still god for her now. Nervous cats may prefer the privacy of hooded litter trays. Each cat is an individual and what might work for one cat, won’t necessarily work for another. Always remember, provide one litter tray per cat, plus an extra one. If you are experiencing litter tray problems, you may need to add a few extra trays to this rule. Place the trays in a variety of different locations around the home, both upstairs and downstairs, as opposed to placing them next to each other in a row. You may also like to visit: Choosing Your First Litter Box And How To Properly Maintain It.
Cats who spend most of their time indoors (whether it’s tour choice or theirs) needs to maintain good claw condition inside the house.
They will find one or two suitable scratching sites and continue to use them, whether this is a cat scratching post or the back of your couch. If the scratched areas are widespread throughout your home including busy areas like doorways and windows, it is likely that your cat is scratching to communicate and feels insecure in these areas.
Same as spraying, the most common reason for scratching indoors is the presence of another cat. The reason for cats to show this manner can change over time. If your cat loves attention, they might learn that whenever they scratch the furniture you interact with them and will carry on scratching, thinking that your scolding is a praise to their work.
You need to remember that cats do not scratch just to be naughty. It is a natural behavior they should be allowed to do. Shouting when your cat scratches your furniture can lead to an increase in frequency as they become more anxious, or learns that scratching can be used for attention seeking. Cats quickly learn that unwanted clawing gets a reaction, but clawing a scratching post doesn’t. Make sure you praise your cat when they claw the scratching post and try not to react if they scratch the furniture.
These behaviors should not be remedied by scolding them or inflicting pain to them. Always treat your cat with kindness and an understanding of its needs. To manage your cat accordingly please read more at Typical Cat Behavior. or you may have want to have a copy of this book: The Well Cat Book: The Classic Comprehensive Handbook of Cat Care - Hardcover. It will help you more with information on how to take care of your kitty.
What makes a cat unique is the very reason why they are so well loved. With a little understanding of your cat’s background, behaviors and needs, you can prevent any problems that may arise and enjoy sharing your life a happy cat.