More and more, cat owners are understanding that there’s more to living with a cat than just caring for their physical needs. The word is out that cats love training and that their emotional needs are just as important. That means that we’re buying more “smart” toys, offering more enrichment and making sure that they’re being offered species specific activities and environments to live in.
This also means that we’re becoming more aware of behaviors and want to work with those behaviors instead of just chalking it up to “cattitude.” Here are some tips on where to look for help when you find yourself in need of some feline behavior help.
- Avoid any site or article that promotes using aversives or punishment to deal with a behavior. Not only will your cat not learn the behavior you’re looking for (an example of this is using a squirt bottle to keep your cat off of the counter… we can assure you that he’s having a grand old time up there when you and your squirt bottler are not home) but you very well may make your cat learn to fear you, as the bearer of the splash of water to the face. Look for tips that encourage rewarding appropriate behavior while also offering an acceptable alternative to the behavior that you’re looking to extinguish. For example, instead of squirting your cat when they jump on the counter, try offering them a vertical space or cat tree nearby and encourage them to use it with food or play, while also rewarding them when they do use it, again. For some tips that can help with simple issues, check out our website for more info here
- Remember that behaviors can also be a result of a medical issue. Dental pain, urinary issues, mobility issues, sudden aggression and so many other things can result in new or worsening behavior issues. A trip to the vet for a full checkup can shed light on many behaviors. Your cat is definitely not urinating on the carpet to get back at you, but they might be doing it because they don’t feel well, something your veterinarian can help out with.
- There are fantastic veterinary behaviorists right here in Michigan! These folks can help unravel behaviors that may seem to make no sense and can be instrumental in solving your behavior issue once and for all… they work with you to understand causes and triggers for the behavior and can offer a variety of solutions that will work for you and your cat. Try a Google search for “veterinary behaviorist near me”, you’ll find a list of folks trained to help with your behavior problem!