As we know, each cat has its own personality and temperament. However, it is important to know how to recognize which cat behavior is considered normal and which feline behavior can be perceived as abnormal. In this article, we discuss some common behavioral disorders in cats and give you some tips on how to deal with them or at least mitigate them.
Help! I have an aggressive cat or a cat that bites.
If you have an aggressive cat or a cat that bites, scratches or hisses a lot, this is cause for concern. Indeed, in addition to scaring you, it is above all a sign that your cat is doing badly. Aggressive cat behavior can have several reasons, which can be remedied, at least in part.
Aggressive cat: causes
- imperfect education: normally, a cat teaches her cub not to bite or hurt. In case of premature weaning, the kitten does not have the opportunity to learn these basic rules. This can lead to aggressive behavior that is difficult to channel.
- traumatic experiences: if the cat has had to deal with violence, for example, if he has been beaten, it will be difficult for him to recognize in the human being a being on whom he can rely and in whom he can place his trust. It is therefore not surprising, in this context, that he is aggressive towards you.
- anxiety-provoking circumstances: if your cat is sick or injured, he will often have the reflex to defend himself, because of the pain.
Aggressive cat: tips
- Set the Limits: If you are dealing with a kitten that has been weaned too early and is exhibiting aggressive behavior, it is important to know how to show the limits. For example, if your kitten attacks you during a play session, you should stop him immediately and firmly and wait for the cat to calm down.
- Leave more room for play: by playing and allowing your cat to play, you allow him to vent his frustration and thus limit aggressive behavior. It is therefore important to leave toys available and to set up a corner of the house that will be used for play.
Consult a veterinarian: in case of a very aggressive cat against which you do not seem able to do anything, it is advisable to take him to the veterinarian to check if this aggressiveness is caused by pathology. If this cause is excluded, then you may consider contacting a cat behavior specialist.
My cat is anxious
Do you have the feeling that your cat is showing symptoms of anxiety? Watch it closely. Are his eyes wide open? Does he pinch his tail between his legs or whip it side to side? Does the bristle his hair and make a bump with his back? Does he tilt his head down and lookup? Or does he run away even when he sees you or other people?
If your cat is doing any of these things, it is very likely that they are anxious or even very frightened. Often it’s the loud noises or strangers that scare them off. In fact, perfectly normal behavior, after all, fear in nature is for survival. But if your cat is constantly scared, and he’s also scared of you, you should find out why. In the majority of cases, it is not even you who are the direct cause.
Anxious cat: causes
- moving or new furniture: If you’ve recently moved, this may explain your cat’s anxiety, but even the simple act of moving furniture can make them feel insecure
- Your cat is overrun by animals or unfamiliar people: Especially if your guests are loud and intrusive, your cat will feel uncomfortable. Often these are barking dogs and small children
- raised without human contact: Did your cat live alone on the street before being adopted? He might then not be used to human contact. It’s also possible that her feline mother was very suspicious of humans. If so, your kitten has most likely copied this behavior during her growing years.
- bad experiences in the past: Maybe you adopted a cute cat from the shelter. We do not always know what fate the animals must have suffered. Unfortunately, cats are still victims of torture by humans on a regular basis.
- a new pet: If you are adopting a new pet, you should be careful to slowly get them used to each other.
Anxious cat: solutions
- Try not to move furniture around too often. If you do: Make sure your kitten’s favorite place to sleep isn’t affected. If it turns out to be unavoidable, offer him an alternative. Most cats love to lie high up. Simply attach a plank to the wall and place a cozy pillow on it.
- If very young children come to visit you, ask the parents. They can explain to their children before the visit how they should behave towards a cat. If this is no longer possible if the children are still behaving noisily, if it is a dog that barks a lot, or if you just see that your cat is afraid, separate him from him. them for the duration of the visit.
- Be patient with your sweetheart. You can make him forget his fear with a lot of love and patience. As you approach, do it as slowly as possible. Give him enough time to look at you and understand that there is nothing dangerous coming from you.
- If your cat is new to the house, let him explore the rooms on his own to give him an idea of the unfamiliar territory: Your cat must first familiarize himself with the place and look around quietly. He must be able to explore this new territory to feel safe. It is only when he sees that there is no danger that he will trust you and allow you to be (closer) to him.
- When talking to your cat, do it as calmly as possible, in a low voice.
- Be careful never to look your cat straight in the eye. In the feline world, this is understood as an expression of dominance and threat, rather gently blink your eyes while looking at it. It’s a friendly smile in feline language.
- Let your cat come to you: Let him sniff you first; you can also slowly reach out to him – but always very carefully and preferably in slow motion.
- Strengthen the bond between the two of you by playing with your cat once she has gained enough confidence in you.
My cat is a hunter
When cats are hunting, the usual sequence is: prowl, catch, kill and eat. This only happens when the cat is really hungry. Otherwise, it too often happens that the hunter’s master ends up with a half-dead mouse on the mat. As predators, cats have a natural hunting instinct. And this, even if you feed your baby regularly.
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So, your cat doesn’t just hunt because it is hungry, but because it follows its natural instincts. Hunting in itself is therefore natural, but it can still cause problems: Depending on where you live, birds may nest nearby. Young birds, in particular, are at the mercy of cats, almost unprotected. If they are protected or threatened species, this is particularly painful for nature. This is also due to the fact that cats have become very popular pets and therefore are numerous, whereas in the past only feral cats naturally regulated the bird population.
Cat hunter: causes
- By hunger: In general, a regularly fed domestic cat does not hunt by hunger
- The natural hunting instinct: Your cat follows its natural hunting instinct
- To give us a gift: Has your cat left a bird or a mouse right outside your door? Chances are, this is his way of giving you a gift.
Cat hunter: solutions
- Make nests inaccessible to cats: You can prepare trees that birds nest on with special defense belts. These have a martial appearance but are completely harmless if you follow the assembly instructions. Your little rascal will then no longer be able to climb as easily and the young birds will be safe. If you hang nesting boxes, hang them at least 2m high and choose houses with smooth roofs, so your cat cannot hang on to them.
- Sterilization or castration: Oftentimes, the hunting instinct is greatly reduced by castration.
- Play with your cat: Playing together is not only good for your relationship but also stimulates the little gray cells in your furball. When it is exhausted, the desire to hunt will diminish. But be careful not to overdo it!
- Watch the brooding period: If you want to protect primarily nesting birds and their nests, you can use the nesting periods as a guide and leave your cat out at least some time (May to June) only under supervision or less in total. It is not easy for your cat, but it protects young birds. During this time, you should make your pet’s life indoors all the more fun by playing with them a lot.
- If your cat drops a mouse outside your door as a gift, don’t punish him, he wouldn’t understand why
One tip often mentioned, is to hang a collar with a small bell around the cat’s neck. The sound of the little bell warns every bird from a distance. This has bad consequences for your cat, however, who can go mad with the constant ringing in his sensitive ears.
My cat meows at night
Your cat meows. He meows a lot. And above all, it meows at night! This is a problem because it prevents you and your family from sleeping peacefully. You’ve tried everything, taken your softest voice to invite him to calm down, or you scolded him very loudly, nothing helps: your tomcat continues to meow.
The cat is a nocturnal animal: it is during the night that it is most active. It is important to understand this point, as it may explain why your cat seems to not want to respect your sleep.
There are many reasons why a cat meows at night. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit this behavior – and keep your nerves safe at the same time.
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Cat meowing at night: causes
The causes of nocturnal meows are numerous, however, we can cite the most common:
- Boredom or loneliness: when everyone goes to bed, your cat is left alone. He walks through an empty house and is bored, which he manifests meowing.
- Hunger: if your cat is hungry during the night, he will not hesitate to let you know by any means possible, including loud and repeated meows.
- Stress or fear: a stressed or frightened cat tends to vocalize his emotions. If he is uncomfortable or suffering from a stressful situation, for example, if he has just moved, he will eventually express it through meows at night.
- illness or pain: it is never pleasant to be sick or injured, but it is at night that the pain is most severe.
- hormonal changes: cats in heat can be spotted from a distance for cats in the neighborhood. The cats, excited, will then meow at night to attract the beauty in order to mate.
- Habit: Cats are very intelligent, and some cats have found that by meowing at night, they will grab your attention and make you get up to cuddle or feed them. By meowing at night, they’re just repeating a pattern that has worked so far.
Cat meowing at night: tips
There are as many ways to try and calm your cat’s nocturnal meowing as there are reasons for them, including:
- Make time to play with your cat: by playing with your cat, you will make him spend his energy and show him that you take care of him. This should tire him out enough that he too will want to sleep at night and it will reassure him on an emotional level.
- Adopt a second cat: When several cats are under the same roof, they take care of each other and keep each other company, especially at night.
- Leave food available before going to bed: if your cat meows at night to express his hunger, leave him kibble available so that he can eat during the night.
- Use pheromone diffusers: There are pheromone diffusers that are designed to help your cat relax and feel safe.
- Monitor the cat’s health: if the meowing is due to pain or a health problem, you’d better find out as soon as possible.
- Spay your cat: If your cat meows incessantly during the heat period, it may be wise to have him spayed.
- Do not give in too quickly: except in an emergency, it is advisable not to respond immediately to your cat’s nocturnal meows. The message he would get there was that this way of doing things works, and he would risk falling deeper into bad habits.