Oi Vietnam

TAIL TELL SIGNS

Common feline behavioral problems and how to solve them

- Dr. Anna is one of the Veterinary Surgeons at Animal Doctors Internatio­nal. Anna’s special interest is neurology in which she gained experience in referral hospitals in Germany and Switzerlan­d. Anna has moved to Vietnam following a successful stint as se

Common feline behavioral problems and how to solve them

Urinating And Defecating Outside The Litter Box

It’s the one of the most common behavioral issues reported by cat owners. The following problems might cause the cat to eliminate outside the box:

- Litter box is not clean enough. Cat toilet should be checked daily. Cats are very sensitive to dirt and odor.

- Not enough litter boxes in a multicat household. For each cat there should be at least one litter box. If there is one more extra – it’s even better.

- Litter box is too small, too hard to access or is placed in the area that is not comfortabl­e for the cat – where it can be easily disturbed during toilet time.

-Not enough litter, strong smell of litter or new litter, which cats don’t like. Cats can be quite picky with their litter.

If all the causes mentioned above are eliminated and your cat is still defecating and urinating outside the litter box you should see the vet, as it might be connected with stress-related issues or various diseases, for example cystitis.

Never punish your cat for urinating or defecating outside the litter box. It’s never just being naughty, by doing this the cat has a message to tell you.

Urine Marking

It’s one of the ways for them to communicat­e with each other, so this is not an abnormal behavior, but it can cause a lot of inconvenie­nce for the owner. The important thing is to differenti­ate urine marking from urinating outside of litter box. In instances of urine marking you will observe the following:

- It usually occurs on vertical surfaces, for example sofa or wall. The cat usually backs up to a vertical object and sprays the urine while the tail and body is twitching.

- Amount of urine sprayed is way smaller than its regular urination and the smell is stronger.

- The issue occurs usually in intact males and in multiple-cat households.

The easiest way to solve this problem is castration. It’s better to perform it at a young age, however, if the cat has already started spraying it can become a habit and castration might not resolve it.

Scratching

It’s another physiologi­cal behavior of cats. They sharpen their claws, play and mark their territory by scratching. How to redirect this behavior to avoid damages to your furniture?

- Provide scratch posts with various surfaces to check which surface is your cat’s favorite. The scratching post needs to be stable, if it moves or falls down then the cat will pick the sofa or the wall, as it’s just more comfortabl­e.

- Clip their nails regularly.

- If the cat is intensivel­y scratching the furniture you can cover it with foil, which will discourage the cat from scratching. You can also use repellent sprays.

Surgical removal of the nails is not a solution for scratching, if you cannot discourage your cat from destructiv­e scratching contact your vet for advice.

Aggression

There are many causes that make cats display aggressive behavior:

- Defensive: When the cat feels threatened and there is no way to escape the only remaining option is attack. In that case, understand­ing the cat’s body language is very beneficial and will let you avoid these kind of situations.

- Petting-induced: Some cats like to be pet in certain ways, some don’t. Listening to the cat’s body language also helps to avoid this kind of aggression.

- Territoria­l: Usually occurs when the cat is at the age he/she is reaching sexual maturity, when a new animal or person is introduced to the household, or when there is a major change in the cat’s environmen­t.

- Maternal: Can occur when the queen and kittens are approached by a person the cat can’t fully trust.

- Redirected: When the cat cannot approach the cause of its agitation

(for example, stray cats or birds seen through the window) it can redirect it to the person or other animal in the close environmen­t.

- Pain-related: When your cat feels pain caused by an injury or a disease he/she can turn out to be aggressive towards the owner or other pets in the household.

If you cannot determine the obvious cause of the aggression in your cat, visit your vet to seek medical advice. It’s likely that the kitty is behaving oddly due to some medical condition.

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