Skip to content

    Healthy Pets

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    8 Common Cat Problems and How to Solve Them

    Keep the peace between you and your feline friend with these solutions to common cat problems.
    By
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S

    We love our feline friends when they rub against our legs, knead our laps, or look us in the eye and purr. Yet sometimes we may not like everything about our four-footed friends. Not when they streak through the house at 3 a.m. or reject a perfectly clean litter box.

    The good news is that just about every common cat problem can be managed with a little help. That's why WebMD turned to the pet pros to get their solutions for some of the most common kitty conundrums.

    Recommended Related to Pets

    Common Illnesses in Puppies and Kittens

    We'd had our new kittens for about two weeks when one of them developed diarrhea. It was a stinky mess in the litterbox -- and one that had me worried something was seriously wrong. A quick consultation with a veterinarian helped us figure out that the culprit was the leftover milk the kitten had lapped out of a cereal bowl one morning. Though I had shooed her away from it, she drank just enough to upset her tender tummy. Like human babies, animal babies are susceptible to all sorts of illnesses...

    Read the Common Illnesses in Puppies and Kittens article > >

    8 Common Cat Problems and Their Solutions

    Litter box issues. This is "numero uno by far" of problems people report with their cats, says Linda P. Case, MS, author of The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health. And no wonder. It can be extremely frustrating when your kitty decides that the litter box is off-limits. But there's usually a reason cats avoid their box, and fortunately there's a lot you can do to address the issue.

    • Talk to your vet first. Bladder stones, urinary tract diseases, and crystals in the urine are all reasons your cat might start avoiding the litter box. To rule these and other health issues out, be sure to have your cat checked by your veterinarian.
    • Have at least one litter box per cat. If your kitty has to stand in line before she can relieve herself, she may decide to take her bathroom break elsewhere. Try test-driving a few kinds of litter and litter boxes. Some cats prefer covered boxes, some don't, and some cats prefer one litter over another.
    • Always keep the litter box clean -- even clumping litter has to be changed regularly. A rule of thumb: Clean the box at least once daily, twice if there's more than one cat in the house.

    Scratching. It may seem like kitty is scratching your couch and curtains to annoy you, but she's really doing it to work off energy, to play, to mark her territory, even to get rid of frayed bits of claw. Good news: "Scratching is easy to prevent," Case tells WebMD. So you don't have to settle for raggedy furniture or stop kitty from expressing her natural behavior. To prevent scratching damage:

    • Buy one or more scratching posts for your cat, then dab a bit of catnip on the posts to entice your feline friend to use them.
    • Trim your kitty's claws. It may seem daunting, but trimming is easier than you think. Get a quick tutorial from your veterinarian, who can probably do the deed in 10 seconds -- a skill that can be learned.
    • Turn your cat into a fashion plate with colorful claw caps (also called nail caps). These small, vinyl sleeves fit over kitty's claws, preventing them from doing damage when they scratch.
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    Today on WebMD

    Puppy digging hole
    Are you putting your pet at risk?
    Cat looking at fish
    Things we can learn from our pets.
     
    dog and kitten
    27 ways pets help your health.
    tick
    Get the facts about prevention.
     
    Woman holding puppy
    Article
    Sad dog and guacamole
    Slideshow
     
    Siamese cat eating from bowl
    Slideshow
    cat on couch
    Evaluator
     
    Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
    Slideshow
    Kitten playing
    Quiz
     
    Orange cat nuzzling woman
    Slideshow
    German shephard reading a book
    Quiz