Contrary to popular belief, cats are not vindictive, evil, or mean by nature. Cats are simply cats. They do the things they do because just like humans each cat has a unique personality. Some are more social than others, and just like people each cat has specific needs. As a cat owner it is your job to make sure that these needs are met. Most often when these needs are not met, your cat will find a way to meet them on their own. However, unfortunately sometimes this will be accomplished in ways that are less acceptable to you.
If your cat is displaying negative behaviors there is a reason for it. For example. Let’s say your feline companion has started eliminating outside of the litter box. First and foremost, if your cat has suddenly started urinating or defecating outside of their litter box, there could be a medical reason behind it. A trip to your local veterinarian can quickly rule this out if it is not the case. Once medical issues are ruled out, you will have to look carefully at the litter box situation in your home. Do you have more than one cat in your home? If so, do you have enough litter boxes? The general rule for having multiple cats in a household is to have one litter box for each cat plus an additional litter box. In addition to having enough litter boxes it is important to consider the features of each box. Are they clean enough? Are they big enough for the cat? Is it in a quiet location where your cat will not feel uncomfortable or interrupted when using the bathroom? Is it easy for your cat to get in and out of the box without difficulty? Does your cat like the litter you are using? Your veterinarian can offer additional advice.
If you think that your cat is being “vindictive” because he or she is using the bathroom outside of the litter box, on your clothing, bedding, furniture, etc. it could be a medical reason or it is most likely do to a litter box issue. Either your cat is being territorial because of the other cats in your home, or they are unhappy with their litter box or the other things you have provided. Experiment with different litter box designs, litter types, etc. to find out what the problem is.
If you think that your cat is intentionally clawing your carpet and furniture up to be mean, think again. Your cat is not clawing anything to annoy you. Rather, he or she is performing a perfectly normal behavior. In the wild cats will sharpen his or her claws and will also stretch the muscles in their legs and mark their territory by clawing. This is a basic need for your feline friend and it helps keep your cat in good shape and proper health. If you want to deter your cat from clawing certain objects try giving him or her items that are okay for them to scratch and direct him or her to these items. Cat trees, cat scratching posts, emery boards, etc. are great for your clawing cat. Sprinkle a bit of catnip on them and show your kitty how to use them and you’re good to go.
Providing more than one type of surface for your cat to scratch is ideal as different cats prefer different textures. Just remember if you do not provide adequate surfaces for your cat to use, he or she will continue to use whatever is available. If you want to spare your favorite chair from being shredded up, invest in a cat scratching post or similar item. If your cat still seems stubborn after purchasing these types of items you may want to try sticky paws tape (a tape that your place on furniture to keep cats from scratching). Another option is claw caps. These caps can be purchased online or at your local pet store for about $20 and come with adhesive. You simply trim your cat’s nails and attach the caps to each nail with the adhesive that is provided. They eventually fall off and you will need to re-attach them, but these are a great alternative to de-clawing and will keep your cat from harming you or others with their claws and will save your furniture too. If you are having trouble getting the caps on your cat, try giving your local pet store a call, or contact a pet groomer, or your vet, sometimes they will attach these caps for you for a small fee or even for free.
If your cat is aggressive and attacks you, your pets, or others in your household, it is most likely do to the fact that cats get too worked up. Sometimes after petting a cat, he or she will become over stimulated and will strike out as a result. The key here is to learn your cat’s body language. Learn to recognize when your cat has had enough affection. If your cat’s ears are laid back, his or her tail is twitching, or their hair on their backbone is rising, stop petting them.
Last but not least, setting aside a few hours each day to play with your cat can help release their natural extinct to hunt and release all that pent up energy they have from being indoors. Toys with feathers, or on wands work great for this and your cats will most likely love chasing them around and stalking them as they would stalk and hunt prey in the wild.
By following all of the steps above you should start to see a huge difference in your cat’s behavior. As mentioned earlier, cats are not vindictive or evil by nature. If your cat is acting out there is always a reason for it and there are ways to get to the bottom of it. If these tips do not help you may want to consider talking to a veterinarian or cat behaviorist for additional tips and information.