Does Your Cat Need a New Home?
Try these solutions to 6 common problems before you make that decision.
6 Reasons Your Cat Doesn’t Need a New Home continued...
To help you get a handle on cat aggression:
• Talk with your vet
first. If one of your cats has recently become aggressive, the cause could
be a serious illness. Get your cat examined by the vet before taking any other
• Let cats get acquainted
slowly. When introducing established cats to a new cat or kitten, don’t
hurry. Let them meet by smell and sound first. After a week, they can be
visually introduced, and after that, let them spend time together. And
introduce the newbie to each established cat individually.
• Reduce resource
competition. Litter boxes, food bowls, water, kitty perches -- cats will
fight over all of these if there aren’t enough to go around. Reduce kitty
traffic jams at these hot spots by having several food and water bowls in
different locations, multiple perches, and at least two litter boxes -- or one
for each cat, if you can manage it.
• Consult a behavior
specialist. If illness and resources aren’t the issue, it’s time to call a
veterinary behaviorist or CAAB, who can help you get to the behavioral root of
your cat’s aggression.
• Don’t punish an
aggressive cat. Don’t fight aggression with aggression; the result is often
more aggression -- and fear. To stop a cat fight, squirt the cats with
water, clap your hands or make another loud noise, or throw something soft,
like a wadded up sock, at them. Never try to pull fighting cats apart.
Soiling outside the cat litter box. Along with aggression, this is
the main reason people relinquish their cats, according to experts. But it’s
also a problem that can be resolved. ”The majority of problems are precipitated
by bad litter box hygiene, or there aren’t enough boxes, or they’re just not in
the right place,” says Case.
To attack litter box issues:
• Get to the vet. If
your cat eliminates outside the box regularly, she may have a medical problem.
The vet can check her for medical conditions such as a urinary tract infection,
kidney stones, feline interstitial cystitis, or crystals in the urine.
• Give kitty a litter box
of her own. To avoid litter box bottlenecks, be sure you’ve got enough
boxes. Then it’s up to you to keep them clean. “One issue I hear about a
lot is that people think if they’re using clumping litter, they never have to
change it, but they do,” says Case. Let your nose be your guide when deciding
when to dump all the old litter and start fresh, or aim for once a month.
Scratching and other behavior issues. Cat’s naturally scratch. And
vocalize sometimes. And play a little rough. “People need to view their pets as
living, sentient creatures that have their own typical behaviors,” says
Moon-Fanelli. “They’re cats, not us.” That doesn’t mean that you need to stand
by and let them take these behaviors to extremes.