The Real Reasons for your Cats Bad Behavior & How You Fix It

With their snuggles on cold days, head boop’s, wild flips through the air while playing, sleeping in impossible positions, and endearing ways, cats are some of the best people you’ll ever know… UNTIL THEY AREN’T.  All cat’s have that “Doctor Evil” side to them, even the best of them. They flip that hidden switch and, out of the blue, they are injected with early onset whackiness. A lot of times you can see the wheels of their diabolical minds turning well in advance of the bad actions, but you are powerless to stop it in the moment. When in a fit of craziness, it’s hard to stop your feline who has lost it’s mind. All you can do is shake your head and ask, “WHY?” Believe it or not, there are reasons behind their poor behavior, some of it stamped in their DNA, some of it situational, some of it learned, some of it out of love for their favorite people.

In today’s Dog Blog we’ll examine some of the most Common Cat Crazies, try to get a handle on why they happen, and provide some tips & tricks on how you can take back control of your life to get Bad Kitty back to lovable Mr. Whiskers. Our #FreddieSez team dug deep into the litter box, that is the internet, to find some foundational and universal Cat Quirks that we’ve all seen and tried to correct. With the help of PetMD, PetHelpful, and the ASPCA we think we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of actions and answers to the most annoying cat problems.

Dropping the Browns off in Front of the Box

Cat poop is gross, smelly, it can be sticky, and belongs in three places… Their Litter Box, a Disposal Bin, or the Great Outdoors. As a loving owner, there’s nothing more disappointing, AND SHOCKING, than finding a present of poop just outside the litter box, or in a corner, or in your shoe. WHY, WHY do they “drop trou” when a perfectly good kitty facility is available for them. After all, kittens are easy to litter train, it’s built into their DNA to go in the sand of the Middle Eastern deserts… so a jump to a small box filled with sand is natural and instinctual. If it’s not happening, it’s because something is different in their world.

If Snuggles is “dropping the kids off” anywhere but their litter box while indoors, look for the following issues with their enviornment;

  • Scoop Avoidance Syndrome – A dirty or unkempt litter box could be the issue. Punky Mewster is a clean animal. If you don’t scoop poop on a regular basis (regular being several times a day) then they aren’t going in there. Would you use a filthy bathroom? As nasty as being “Designated Scooper” is, remember that your cat can’t scoop it themselves (they don’t have thumbs) so make it a part of your daily, timed routine. A dirty litter box can cause health issues, so don’t be lax in your actions and change the litter often Jackson!

  • Too Many Cat’s on the Dance Floor – As Billy Joel sang, “Privacy is Such a Lovely Word” (or something close to that), and your cat if a firm believer in many stalls for many butts. The general rule is one litter box for every cat, and one extra to assure they can have some “MEow” time when nature calls. A cat going outside the box might need bigger facilities, so opt for a jumbo size litter box. Some people even use an appropriate sized storage bin.

  • Don’t By the Hype – If the issue with pooping outside the box is new to you, it could be the brand of litter you’re using. Cat’s are NOT brand loyal, and if the litter isn’t masking the smell or feels wrong to them, they will act out in protest. In other words, DON’T CHEAP OUT WHERE THEY POOP!

  • Stage Fright or a Pending Fight – A cat that feels trapped, cornered, or thinks they are being set up for a sneak attack from another animal is not going to put themselves in danger. They will find a spot to go where they have an escape route and can’t be jumped. If the “rouge pooping” is sudden and out of character, think about any cat conflicts happening. Do you have a bully or is there a personality clash going on. You may need to put Rocky Meowboa in time out for a bit so everyone else can get right with their bowels.

Scratch that Idea, REPEATEDLY!

We’ve all seen it or lived it, someones chair/couch/run/LEG ripped up from cats sharpening their claws.  That’s normally expensive furniture that is ruined because the cat just won’t stop, regardless how many times you correct them. But how do you stop the behavior and still give your cat an “all access” pass to their home? Start by gaining a good understanding why they scratch.

  • The obvious one is sharpening their claws. They use these built in knifes for protection, so they keep them in tip-top shape by using your belongings. The action of sinking in and pulling it out will loosen and remove the outer cover of the claw and reveal the sharp surface underneath.

  • The motions they use is great exercise for the front legs, spine and back muscles.

  • It’s a form of de-stress therapy for your kitty. It helps them shake off the anxiety and loosen up.

  • It’s a way to mark their territory. Cat’s have scent glands in their paws, so as they scratch they deposit their scent and claim the object.

Stopping the destruction is a chore of labor and monitoring. Firstly, provide them alternatives that they will enjoy. Cat scratching posts are great but they have to be of an appropriate size and height to meet the need. Think vertical AND horizontal, as different cats like different options (this is why they destroy carpet as well as chairs). Reward good behavior with treats and love. If all else fails, cover your furniture with heavy blankets to provide a layer of protection.

What we don’t do is yell, spank, or throw your cat. This will not break the cycle and may cause even more stress that will escalate the action. Making the “pssssstttt” noise during the action or clapping your hands, even calling their name in a stern tone, these can all help your cat identify their action as unwelcome. Only time will tell if they really care and change their behavior.

I Have CATS in High Places

Cats are curious by nature, so they will explore. Often they explore in places where you do not want them to hang out. Your kitty is a creature of habit, so once they claim an area, they will keep coming back. They like high spaces with good views of their lair, so counters and shelving make great observation points.

However, as an owner and parent, you may not want your cat on the table or in a food preparation area. As before with the scratching problem, providing the cat options that they can claim as their own is a great alternative. This could come in the form of a window shelf or  table with better view than they would ever get in the kitchen, or a kitty exclusive storage shelf, with bed and toys, that is away from areas where they are not welcome. Correcting the behavior and letting them know that certain areas in home are off limits is a rough task, after all, you’ve never limited Meowly Cyrus from going where she pleased before. Gently remove your cat and use the same “pssssst” or negative sound. Hopefully they will get with the program.

Yowl Come on Down!

How many times have you been watching TV, or cooking, or cleaning, or in the bathroom, and your cat starts with the excessive and non-stop YOWLING or MEOWING at the top of their lungs? Talk about annoying!! In some cases this is driven by a sudden issue with their health… but in most cases, they are just being cats. Your cat loves you, heck they OWN YOU, and they have a curiosity driven need to know what you’re doing and where you are. Of course, they desire and demand privacy when they want it but not for YOU. You’ll normally find that if you respond by calling their name, they will find you. Remember, this vocalization is not to purposely annoy you, it’s because they need to be with you OR you need to do something for them.

You’ll also hear cats “chitter”, “coo”, or softly vocalize with a sound that is almost a squeak. This is a cat who is hunting for prey. That prey could be a mouse, a toy, a bird outside the window, or a bug on the wall. The noise is either an attempt to mimic the sound of the animal they are pursuing, or to put their prey at ease with the soft, gentle tones.

Mama, Can you See Me?

Some cats suck on blankets, fingers, sweaters or towels. These babies, regardless of their age, were likely weaned from their mothers too early, so they have a constant call back to the safety and warmth of their cat mothers soft fur, infant feeding, and the comfort these actions brought to them as kittens. If they carry out the suckling action while you hold them, it’s because they feel safe and loved by you. Most cats will fall asleep during this time, as it is the ultimate gesture of trust that they are giving to you. It may be annoying and often ill timed, but it is just a cat telling you that you’re their parent.

You’ve got to Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them

Cat’s love warm and fresh laundry. If you’re folding, or there is a basket of clean laundry in sight… chances are there’s a cat in it. It’s the soft, warm, clean smelling, comfort of this pile of clothes that attracts them. They dig in, sometimes nap, sometimes play, but all the time take over and interrupt the folding process.

The only way to overcome this annoyance (if you see it as such) is to separate the cat from the laundry functions. This would be closing doors and keeping the laundry room off limits, only folding in a “no cats” area, and putting all laundry away the moment it’s folded. Look at it this way, it could be worse, DOGS love dirty and smelly clothes… cat’s at least appreciate the clean things.

This is a quick look at a short list of cat related oddities and behaviors. We know there are many, many… may we say MANY… more cat quirks that may drive parents crazy. In the end, the cause for their bad actions are normally environment, health related issues, boredom, or instinctual. By looking at the cause, you can always form a plan to overcome the action. Remember, some things are just what they are and can’t be avoided or changed. If you love your cat, you have to love their weirdness as well.

We hope you enjoyed today’s dive into the world of Cat Behavior. If you want to see more, remember that there is a HUGE library of other Dog Blogs available on the Freddie’s Place website. We cover a subject from the world of pets every week and would love for you to explore and enjoy those topics as well.

Till next week when the Bard of Barkdome unleashes another Dog Blog… we hope for happy times, friendly faces, wagging tails and above all that you remain Pet Friendly, #FreddieSez!