Cats have some pretty peculiar behaviors. While some things are normal and even downright adorable, others are problematic and could indicate serious underlying health problems. If you have turned to the Internet to learn how to fix your cat’s behavior problems, you are not alone. Unfortunately, not everything you read online is accurate, and not all resources contain suggestions your veterinarian would recommend.
At Brookside Veterinary Hospital, we understand that you need factual information you can trust. That’s why we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about cat behavior below.
If you are searching for a skilled veterinarian in Gig Harbor,WA, we’d be happy to help. For help with your cat’s behavior problems, contact us right away at (253) 857-7302.
What is the most important thing to know about cat behavior?
Cats are creatures of habit, but each one is different. You know your cat better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to watch for any behavior changes. Cats hide illnesses for as long as possible, so even a seemingly insignificant change could indicate a severe underlying problem. If you notice any changes in your feline family member’s behavior, we encourage you to address them immediately.
Is it possible to fix behavior issues in a cat?
Yes, it is possible to solve behavior issues in cats. However, the nature of the problem and your commitment to your cat will ultimately determine your success. If, for example, a behavioral issue is linked to an underlying medical problem, you will need to treat your cat’s health problem.
Other changes you might need to make to solve behavior issues in cats include:
- Adding more litter boxes
- Enriching your cat’s environment
- De-stressing your home
- Giving your cat medicine
As veterinarians, we are here to help you solve your cat’s behavioral and health problems. But it’s up to you to follow our advice.
What are some signs and symptoms of cat behavior problems?
Cat behavior problems present in several ways. Every cat has a unique personality, so normal behaviors for other cats could be a sign of trouble in your furry friend. Pay close attention to any changes in your cat’s behavior, as change itself is the most common sign of problems.
Common signs of cat behavior problems include:
- Changes in vocalization (More frequently meowing, different sounds, etc.)
- Litter box problems
- Changes in scratching behavior
- Decreased or increased appetite or thirst
- Sleeping more than usual
- Restlessness or anxiousness
- Unexplained aggression
When should I bring my cat in to see a veterinarian to discuss their behavior?
If your cat exhibits a behavior change that lasts longer than a day or two, bring them in as soon as possible. This is especially important for issues involving changes in appetite or urination. The sooner you bring your cat in, the sooner we can establish what’s going on and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. Problems can escalate and become life-threatening quickly, so early diagnosis and treatment is always the best option. Give us a call at (253) 857-7302 at the first sign of trouble.
How would a veterinarian diagnose behavior problems in my cat?
To diagnose behavior problems in your cat, we will start by performing a physical exam and asking you for their medical history. We also commonly recommend blood work. If the exam results and blood work are normal, we’ll ask you about any recent changes in your home.
Questions we ask when diagnosing behavior problems in cats include:
- Are there any new animals or people in the house?
- Have you recently moved the litter box?
- Are you using a new brand or scent of litter?
- Have you changed your cat’s diet?
From there, we may recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as urinalysis or x-ray.
What other possible health concerns can arise from cat behavior problems?
Behavior problems are often attributed to stress, affecting your cat’s overall well-being. It could also affect how your cat interacts with the other household members — both human and animal.
Stress can lead to several problems, including:
- Inappropriate urination
- Bladder inflammation
- Refusal to eat, which can cause liver problems
Why is early detection and diagnosis so crucial for cats with behavior issues?
Cats are masters of hiding signs of illness. By the time behavior changes become apparent, they are often much sicker than they appear. For this reason, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with us as soon as you notice changes. Without early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, health problems become much more challenging to treat and often lead to chronic issues.
Problems that aren’t related to underlying health issues are easier to solve when addressed quickly. We don’t want anyone to feel like they have to re-home their cat due to litter box avoidance or other behavioral problems.
Is there anything else important to know for cats with behavior issues?
The most important thing to remember is that every cat is different. In general, though, cats do not like change. Cats enjoy familiarity, and changes in their environment are stressful — even when those changes seem positive to us. For example, if you take a cat from a poor environment and place them in a better one, they will still likely become stressed.
Keep in mind that you are also part of your cat’s environment. Changes in your schedule or routine can trigger stress and behavioral issues in your feline friend. Having work done on your home or bringing home a new pet can cause problems, too.
In terms of cat behavior, stress is a critical element. Paying close attention to your cat’s personality and minimizing stressful situations is best for their overall health and well-being.
If you still have questions about cat behavior, the Cornell Feline Health Center is an excellent source of trusted information. We are also here to help. If you live in or near Gig Harbor, WA, we would love to have your cat as a patient. Give us a call at (253) 857-7302 or send an email to [email protected] today.