There is no doubt that people all around the world consider cats to be members of their family and love them for their unique character and independent spirit. It is hard to resist their big eyes, various meows and comforting purrs. The bond between cats and their family run deep, as most cat people will attest, and they return love and kindness ten fold. People who love cats will often tolerate unwanted behaviours, sometimes for years, because they don’t want to break this special bond or they feel that it is just what cats do. It is true, the unwanted behaviours are natural behaviours in cats, however, when happening inappropriately they are the result of the environment either not meeting their needs and causing them distress, or they are unwell. Reaching out for support t to understand the cause of the behaviour and how to change it, is best done sooner rather than later. If the initial reason for the behaviour isn’t addressed for a long period of time then the behaviour can become a habit, which can be more difficult to resolve. Not finding a resolve can actually affect the relationship and bond Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to tolerate unwanted behaviours when they happen on a daily basis and for long periods of time, allowing frustration to build which the cat can sense and react to, possibly leading to more unwanted behaviours.
I have been helping clients find solutions to unwanted cat behavioural issues since 2008 and have a diploma in Feline Behaviour and Psychology. I ran a cat rescue for more than five years during which time I personally found homes for more than 1200 cats by looking at each cat’s unique personality and needs, matching those with the right family and supporting them following the adoption to help everyone with the adjustment, including other animal companions in the family. Understanding how to introduce a cat to a new family and taking time to go at their pace, or the pace of the animal companion in the household who is having the most difficult time with the adjustment, plays a huge part in it being a successful integration, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. Cats are very much attached to their environment and it is important to understand how they perceive their territory especially in relation to other cats. Understanding cat psychology, behaviour and how they communicate is the key to unlocking the reasons for inappropriate behaviours, allowing for prevention, elimination or modification of those behaviours.
Any sudden change in behaviour can be the result of illness or injury. A normally friendly cat, if in pain or discomfort, could lash out when touched. A cat who normally uses the litter box could start to pee inappropriately as a result of a urinary tract infection or other illness. Please have your cat seen by a veterinarian to rule out any medical reason for any change in behaviour, or onset of unwanted behaviours, before reaching out to a behaviourist.
I offer support and guidance for behavioural issues and new situations, including:
- peeing and pooping outside the litter box
- aggression – toward people and other animals
- separation anxiety
- scratching furniture
- building confidence in an anxious cat
- bringing home a new kitten/cat
- integration a new family member (cat, dog, baby) with an existing cat
Please remember, the sooner a behaviour is addressed the greater the chance of a successful resolution.
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