For example, block your cat's view of the stray with frosted window covers or put in motion sensor sprinklers to scare the stray cat away. Separate new pets and introduce them slowly. Make diet changes gradually. Try to spend more time interacting with your cat. Provide multiple feeding, perching and sleeping sites. Third, give your cat more appropriate ways to mark his territory: add scratching posts or use Feliway products, which encourage facial rubbing instead of spraying, as a cat's method of territorial marking.
Litter Box Aversion — Cats with a litter box aversion urinate on horizontal surfaces, often close to their box.
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They may be upset about the actual box, its location, or the litter in it. Some cats may have difficulty physically getting in the box or may feel threatened by another pet hanging out close to it. Suggested Treatment — Determine what type of box your cat prefers by temporarily giving him several different litter box options and seeing which he chooses. In general, cats prefer a clean, uncovered box with a fine textured, unscented, clumping litter. Most cats do not like their box in a busy, noisy, dark or smelly area.
If you have multiple cats you should have a box for each cat plus one more, in different areas of the house. Try putting the box in the location where your cat is eliminating inappropriately and then when he or she begins using it, gradually move it to the area you want him to go. Litter box hygiene is important for any elimination problem but is especially critical for cats with litter box aversion.
Scoop the box twice a day, change litter weekly and wash the box monthly with mild dish soap. Carefully rinse away all traces of the detergent as cats find the smell of cleaning products offensive.
Pet Behavior Problems
Inappropriate Site Preference — Some cats would rather urinate or defecate in places other than their litter box. The most popular sites for cats are soft fabric bedding, laundry, couch or a smooth cool surface such as a tile floor or a sink. Suggested Treatment — For cats with an inappropriate site preference, the goal is to make that site less attractive and their litter box more attractive. First, try changing the texture of the site. For example, you can place a vinyl carpet runner nub side up on your bed. Or put a sheet of foil, plastic, sandpaper or double sided tape on your couch.
Second, change the purpose of that site: place your cat's food or water where he is eliminating. Third, block access to the elimination site by closing doors, keeping laundry off the floor or putting a potted plant in the selected area. Fourth, put the box as close as possible to the inappropriate location your cat has chosen, then gradually move it to where you want to keep it. You don't have to try these ideas in the above order -- use whichever order you think best for your cat.
Finally, do everything you can to make the litter box more appealing; see the solutions for litter box aversion above for options. For some cats, these environmental strategies are not fully effective and we also treat them with Prozac or other behavior modifying medications. These are just some of the common causes and solutions.
In all cases, I recommend you discuss your cat's specific issues with your veterinarian to come up with a specific treatment to get your cat using his or her box consistently. A hairball is a small collection of hair or fur that forms in the stomach of a cat. Cats ingest the hair while grooming themselves. Hairballs are expelled from the stomach by means of vomiting. They are often cylindrical in shape and can include bits of food and other debris along with the densely packed fur. Grooming is very important to cats — they spend a large portion of the day cleaning themselves.
While some hair passes through the digestive tract without incidence, some hair may stay and collect in the stomach or small intestine. As the hair collects it forms a hairball. Usually this is the point your cat will begin to gag and retch in order to expel the buildup. It is a common site and sound to most cat lovers — their cat hunched over, head down, while making an awful sounding hacking, gagging, retching sound. This usually precedes the vomiting up of a hairball. Cats can sometimes vomit food or bile before eventually vomiting up the hairball. Other symptoms that can sometimes accompany hairballs are a decreased appetite and constipation.
While it is rare, hairballs can sometimes cause life-threatening blockages or be indicators of an underlying illness such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Signs and symptoms to watch for include:. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat or you are concerned about the frequency of hairballs occurring schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
There are several ways to help reduce the formation and frequency of hairballs:.
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Destructive Scratching. Some cats use their claws destructively indoors by clawing the furniture or carpet. For those cats, there are solutions to help curtail this habit. Scratching is a completely natural and normal behavior for your cat. Scratching is important to cats and feels good, however it can be destructive to a household and hard to control. By providing your cat with alternatives to your furniture, you can help discourage destructive scratching.
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The first step is to provide some acceptable scratching material for your cat. Cat trees are ideal because not only can your cat scratch it, but it also gives them something to climb and perch on. Cats love high places from which to view their surroundings. Make sure the cat tree is stable enough for your cat to run, jump, and climb on and has suitable material for their claws to dig into.
There are also horizontal posts available that can be placed on the ground for scratching, as well as vertical posts that hang from the door. These come in many different materials such as carpet, sisal rope, and corrugated cardboard. You may need to experiment to see which kind your cat likes best but a variety of options is ideal to prevent boredom. If your cat has already started scratching furniture and carpet in your house, you may want to choose a cat tree or scratching post that is covered in a different material to avoid confusion.
Sisal rope is usually very popular with cats. You will want to have scratching options placed throughout your home and especially near or in front of spots your cat has already decided to claw at. You can slowly move the tree or post a little bit each day to where you would eventually like it to be located.
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To help entice your cat to use their new post, try rubbing some catnip on it. When you see them scratching a post or playing on their tree, make sure to reward the good behavior with treats. This will help encourage appropriate scratching.
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It is usually not helpful to force a cat's paws onto a tree or scratching post. There are a variety of ways to help make areas you do not want your cat to scratch less appealing.
Animals and child safety
While you are training your cat to use their new scratching materials you can place foil, plastic sheeting, or double sided tape on or around furniture. Cats dislike sticky surfaces so double sided tape is an excellent deterrent. If you do not want to place double sided tape directly on your furniture, you can place carpet runners with the pointy side facing up in front of anything you want to mark as off limits. Use a water bottle to squirt your cat if you catch them scratching somewhere off limits.
While these measures do not look attractive, it is hopefully temporary as your cat establishes appropriate clawing behavior. Patience and persistence are required in order to train your cat to create new scratching patterns. There are other options besides scratching posts and cat trees. First, there is a non-surgical alternative using Soft Paws. These are hollow "false nails" that fit like a cup over the claw and are glued in place. They stay on the nail for 4 to 6 weeks, and fall off as the nail grows.
Replacement for most cat owners is a simple procedure. You can purchase a set of Soft Paws over the counter.