You may notice that your cat is behaving differently but don’t know why. It’s essential to watch out for changes in behaviour no matter how subtle, because there may be underlying health issues. So I’m taking a look at cat behaviour and some common problems.
Urine spraying is quite common; especially outdoors scats use it as a method of controlling their territory. It’s effortless to spot the difference between a cat urinating normally and one who is spraying. A spraying cat will stand as (opposed to stooping as it would typically to urinate) with its tail standing right up and will spry just a tiny amount up against bushes, fences or gateposts etc.
The problem is when a cat starts spraying indoors. This isn’t normal behaviour and can often be a sign that your cat feels insecure or stressed.
Both female and male cats can be spraying, but it is more common in males. If you have your cat neutered this will decrease the likelihood of spraying by a massive 90% in males and 95% in females. The other major factor of urine spraying is the number of cats in your house. The more cats the likelihood increases. With 6 or 7 cats in your home, the chance of urine spraying increases for 5-10% (with one cat) to a staggering 80-90%.
What can you do to stop urine spraying?
In the case of a young cat and normal urine spraying the solution is straight forward. Neutering will decrease the amount of spraying, as stated above. With an older cat spraying about the house may be stress-related or possibly illness related. Do not confuse spraying with inappropriate urination, which could be a symptom Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) which is very common, and can be severe.
Cats will often drag their claws down objects such as trees or wooden posts to maintain their feet. The act of scratching removes the old worn outer shell and reveals a nice new sharp claw.
It can also be used in a territorial way, the pads on their paws leave behind a scent, in the same way, spraying urine does.
An indoor cat will still want to carry out maintenance on its claws, so tables, wallpaper, carpet and chairs may all be targets. Generally, this is normal behaviour. However, if the scrathing is widespread throughout the house, there may be an underlying issue. It may be your cat feels insecure or that something is causing stress. (More about stress below).
Cats behaviour during pregnancy?
When your cats are pregnant, they may act maternal, means that increase in purring and also seeking extra fuss and want your attention. Some vet practices can diagnose cat pregnancy using ultrasound, sometimes as early as 15 days into her term.
What can I do to stop my cat scratching?
There are many different products you can but from straight forward scratching poles to a whole mini playground for your cat. Try placing scratch poles in the same location as where the cat usually scratches.
Aggression Towards a Human
It’s quite familiar for cats to play fight with each other and with their owners.
One of my cats aged 5 loves to lie on his back looking all cute, and then when my hand touches his chest, he bites the loose skin between my thumb and first finger whilst raking my arm with his back claws. He’s just playing and never draws blood, although I think he enjoys the experience more than me.
This raises an interesting point, though. If you play fight like that with a kitten, using your bare hand, you may find you end up training your kitten to attack and the naked body part it sees. In later life, it may end up pouncing on bare feet for the fun of it, which may seem funny but can be a real problem. It’s better to use toys are things on the end of sticks that you can buy.
There is a vast difference between play fighting and real aggression towards a human. There are many possible reasons a cat would be aggressive.
- Stress or anxiety
- Pain or illnesses
You need to ask yourself ‘what’s changed’ is there anything in your house that’s different. Are there any new additions, people or other animals? Or consider that your cat might be in pain through an illness, even something as simple as earache or toothache.
I was stroking my cat, and it bit me, why?
A cat is naturally always very aware of its surroundings, always alert for any possible danger. Therefore your cat will generally speak not allow itself to become too relaxed. Cats like to be stroked, it similar to their mother licking them as a kitten, but there comes the point when the cat decides that it’s had enough. There are usually warning signs. The cat will stop purring, its tail may flick from side to side, and its body may stiffen, miss these signs and you may well get bitten.
Stress is often found to be the root cause of many behavioural problems and can be an underlying problem related to some diseases. The only problem is that cats don’t show their emotions outwardly as a dog does. It is the subtle changes in their behaviour that you need to look out for.
Cats are like humans in as much as their ability to deal with stress differs from one individual to the other. How they cope and how susceptible they are to stress is influenced by factors like their upbringing and their surroundings.
One thing is for sure though; cats are not good at dealing with prolonged periods of stress, so spotting that fact your cat may be stressed and finding out why quickly is essential.
There are two types of stress.
Acute – This type of stress is brought on suddenly by things such as a loud noise or the imminent threat of a fight with another cat. This type is regular and short in duration. It’s relatively easy to spot this type by your cat’s posture.
- Crouched ready for action, be that to escape or fight.
- Ears folded back flat against the head
- Eyes wide open
Chronic – This type is much harder to spot and is a build-up of stress over time. The signs are usually quite subtle, but lookout for any change in behaviour or routine, however small.
- Changing in eating habits, eating more or eating less.
- Urinating in places other than the litter tray/box.
- Not interested in playing or lack of energy.
- Keeping out of the way, hiding under the bed.
- Unusual aggression.
What causes this kind of stress?
In truth, many things can cause and contribute to your cat’s stress if the cat population where you live is exceptionally high than other cats can be the cause. Factors inside your home can also contribute, like not having enough privacy or boredom. Remember also that cats are very picky about the amount of contact they want from us humans, they need their space.
Cats like routine, the time they are fed, the time you go and return from work, the number of people and animals in the house. Factors like toys, scratching posts, and the number of water bowls about the home can also affect.
Your relationship with your cat:
Getting the relationship right isn’t always easy. Like it or not, the amount of contact you have with your cat is really up to your cat. As a common rule of thumb, always try and let your cat initiate contact rather than the other way around. Some cats are just more attractive than others.