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Solving Your Cat has Behavior Problem

Behavioral problems

Unacceptable behavior such as inappropriate scratching or soiling, or displays of aggression needs investigating. It may be a sign that a cat has problems affecting his welfare and possibly his physical health.
Solving Your Cat have Behavior Problem
Solving Your Cat have Behavior Problem

Scratching:

Cats scratch objects for two reasons:
* to maintain good claw condition and for communication. They prefer tall, sturdy objects with a vertical texture and, unfortunately, your sofa may meet these criteria.
* Cats can also learn that scratching furniture attracts more attention from an owner than using a scratching post does. If your cat scratches in areas of potential conflict with other cats, such as doorways and windows, it is likely that he is leaving marks for communicative reasons, because he feels insecure there. When he is scratching furniture, you must try to identify what is worrying him and find a remedy.
 To discourage a cat from scratching, cover the damaged surface with thick plastic sheeting and place a scratching post beside it. Put tasty treats on the post and make a fuss over your cat when he uses it. Once he is consistently using the post, gradually move it to a more convenient location.

Inappropriate soiling:

Cats prefer to urinate and defecate in quiet, secluded locations and usually return to the same site unless it becomes unacceptable or inaccessible. For example, your cat may stop using his litter tray if it is in a noisy environment, can be disturbed by children or other pets, is too close to feeding or resting areas, is blocked by another cat, or if the type of litter has been changed. He may also be deterred by strong smells of urine if the tray has a cover or is not cleaned regularly. A change in litter tray habits can sometimes be a sign of a medical problem.
 You must also determine whether your cat is relieving himself or urine-marking. Cats urine mark in areas of conflict; therefore, any social or environmental issues must be addressed. Ensure that there is one tray per cat, plus one extra tray. Clean soiled areas thoroughly using a safe biological agent, avoiding ammonia or other strong smelling chemicals.

Aggression:

Signals of aggression include staring, hissing, spitting, scratching, and biting. In most cases the cat has learned that aggression is necessary or effective. It is "normal" for cats to show an aggressive response, for example, if they feel threatened and are unable to escape. Aggression can also be a sign of health issues, so have your cat checked by a vet if he shows uncharacteristic behavior.
 The two main reasons for a cat's aggression toward people are fear and uninhibited play. Aggression used as a defense strategy by a frightened cat usually develops through poor socialization or a negative experience. If your cat shows signs of fear, do not try to interact with him or approach him directly. Instead, wait until he approaches you and gradually build up his confidence by using food or a toy as a reward for learning to trust you.
 Aggressive play can include attacking people by grabbing them with claws and biting. High-pitched sounds or sudden movement, such as passing feet, may trigger this reaction, which generally develops through inappropriate play behavior being permitted in kittens. Don't encourage kittens to pounce on your hands and feet. Aggressive play may also be reinforced by the “victim’s” reaction movement and noise are an invitation to further attacks and stimulate predatory instincts. Instead of responding to ambushes, ignore your cat; stay still and do not
talk to or even look at him. Use your attention as a reward when he joins in a game without making you the target of his teeth and claws. Aggression toward other cats is related to stress caused by a perceived, or real, threat to security. Because of their limited social communication skills, cats find it difficult to resolve conflict. Consequently, where cats cannot easily avoid other cats for example, when they have to share a cat flap they may fight.
 Squabbles in the house can be avoided by providing each cat, or social group of cats, with necessary resources in separate areas where they will not meet. If your cat is fighting with neighboring cats, speak to the other owners about time-sharing, so that your cats go outside at different times and never meet. Also, provide plenty of cover in your garden so that your cat can hide and feel more secure.

What to do if your cat has a behavior problem:

* Have your cat's health checked by a vet to rule out underlying medical problems.
* Try to find out what first initiated the behavior, and identify factors that trigger it now.
* If possible, protect your cat from the triggering factors.
* Never punish your cat for inappropriate behavior or give him attention for it.
* Redirect normal cat behavior, such as scratching, onto more appropriate targets.
* Ask your vet to refer you to a qualified and experienced feline behavior expert.

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