Common Behavior Problems of Dogs & Cats

Common Behavior Problems of Dogs & Cats | Solutions

The human-animal bond can be severely disrupted by the occurrence of behaviour problems in cats and dogs. Surveys of dog owners report that most dogs have one or more behaviour problems. In the USA, 87% of veterinary clients stated that their dog had a behaviour problem as did 65% of dog owners in Melbourne. Veterinarians are a major source of information for many dog owners and miss a business opportunity if they do not advise owners on their pet’s behaviour problems. In recent years veterinary medicine has become more holistic with veterinarians now giving advice not only on health issues but also nutrition, genetics and behaviour. Puppy schools are common and are used to give advice on puppy rearing, training, management and behaviour. They offer a conduit towards more direct involvement with behaviour problem prevention and treatment. There is a long history of veterinarians treating behaviour problems of cats, particularly anxiety based inappropriate marking but the same cannot be said of dog behaviour problems.It is not difficult to communicate with a cat or dog and to understand what their behaviour means.

Common Behavior Problems of Dogs & Cats
Common Behavior Problems of Dogs & Cats

When a cat or dog is showing you signs of stress, anxiety or fear, do not force it to interact with you. Shouting at or scolding the cat or dog for “bad behaviour” at this point will make things worse. Stay calm, back away and wait for the cat or dog to approach you if it wants.

Dogs are social, gregarious creatures and are most content in a pack situation. For pet dogs, the most important pack members are usually their owners and owners who provide proper leadership for their dogs are usually viewed as pack leaders. This is the reason why dogs left alone during their owners’ working hours commonly develop separation anxieties even to the extent that, when several dogs share the same household, one can still develop a severe separation anxiety in its owner’s absence that is not solved by the presence of its canine buddies.

Leadership is not the same as dominance. Leadership is a compassionate, progressive process based on reward-based training. Dominance infers aggressive encounters and is mostly based on punishment-based techniques.

Cats are not, generally, gregarious and do not develop strong pack structures where leadership is an important function. Wild or feral cats are mostly solitary creatures, hunting alone. While they will form groups, this is more a sharing of a common territory than the establishment of a cohesive pack.  Cats are extremely territorial and, when fights over territory occur, the result is that the loser learns to avoid that successor but not to leave the territory. Leaving the territory only occurs if aggressive encounters continue.
Do bear in mind that an animal’s emotional state can change depending on the situation. For example, a normally good-natured dog may become tense when its usual routine is disrupted. Similarly, a calm cat may become overly-excited during mealtimes, because it has learnt to expect food at a certain time, or express frustration when mealtime is delayed. Cats and dogs that are ill or experiencing discomfort or pain may act out as well. So if a friendly animal starts to react in ways that are not normal, it may signal an illness or injury. Do be patient when dealing with animals that are sick or in pain. Do not punish them for acting out in unusual ways. Instead, consider seeking veterinary treatment as behavioural changes may indicate health issues.

One of the most important things to bear in mind when it comes to dealing with a cat or dog is that every animal has preferences and may react to situations differently. For example, some cats and dogs love being picked up and cuddled while others may hate it. If a cat or dog struggles or shies away from being picked up, it is best to respect its wishes. Do bear in mind that in general, most cats and dogs do not like being confined in a hug or handled roughly.
Also, every cat and dog has different fears or triggers. Some are, for example, perfectly fine with a vacuum cleaner, but others may find it a terrifying experience. If your cat or dog shows you that it is afraid, you will need to take note of, and be sensitive to its fears.
Force-free and positive reinforcement-type training is highly recommended to help your pet overcome its fears. Scolding or punishing a dog when it is afraid will only make things worse.
When dealing with someone else’s pet or a stray cat or dog, it is still a good idea to be alert and sensitive to its behavioural cues. If it clearly wants to be left alone, do not approach or chase it. Always ask for permission before touching someone else’s pet.

Behaviour problems in dogs can be classified as normal or abnormal behaviour. The majority of problems are normal but undesirable behaviour. Abnormal behaviours include compulsive behaviours such as acral lick granuloma, excessive tail chasing and flank sucking. The behaviour may be a problem for the dog, the dog’s owner, their neighbours or society as a whole. Most small animal behaviour specialists categorise canine behaviour problems as aggression, elimination disorders, fear/anxieties/stereotypes, and miscellaneous (destructive, unruly, mounting, hyperactivity, barking, chasing etc).

In Beaver’s (1994) review of canine behavioural cases the major problem was aggression (dominance and fear-biting) followed by house soiling, chewing, fear/phobias, hyper-excitability, separation anxiety, submissive behaviour, excess barking, abnormal eating and medical problems.

The veterinary role in preventing and treating behaviour problems can be divided into four activities:

Prevention–advice to new puppy/kitten owners

Prevention–puppy/ kitten school

Prevention–advice at annual health and behaviour checks

Diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems

Advice to New Puppy or Kitten Owners

Many common behavioural problems can be prevented by simple advice at vaccination. A basic recommendation for all puppy owners is that they buy a crate for indoor dogs or a kennel and attached run. The other advice is to take the puppy to puppy school in order to learn how to rear and train it. If the practice does not run puppy school then the advice discussed below can be given to the new owner plus simple handouts about puppy training and advice about local dog training clubs.

Having a crate makes house training easier and allows owners to control chewing, digging, running away, destructive behaviour and eating faeces. Using a crate also teaches the puppy that the owner is in control of their activity and this can reduce the problems of aggression and anxiety later in life.

Puppy or Kitten Classes

At puppy school or individual training sessions owners are taught basic dog training. Emphasis should be on training the puppy to come when called and to sit and stay. This basic dog management allows the owner to have some control. Puppy school also allows the practice to teach the client about inappropriate or inadvertent reinforcement of unwanted behaviours. Many dog owners reinforce behaviour problems such as jumping up on people and furniture, barking, food begging and submissive behaviour.Kitten classes usually cover getting the kitten used to being handled, discussing feline social behaviour and discussing some possible behavioural issues which may be encountered and their solutions.

Annual Behaviour Checks

A behaviour check should be part of the annual health check. These are particularly important at 12 and 24 months and when the pet becomes elderly. Many pets are euthanased between 12 and 24 months of age for behaviour reasons. Identifying the problems and treating them is important. Many of these problems will be management/training problems but cats or dogs may be becoming more aggressive at this stage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Behaviour problems are usually not emergencies. People often live with cats or dogs having unacceptable behaviour for years and it is only when children or strangers are bitten or the pet’s destructive or objectionable behaviours become so great as to make life unbearable that they will present the pet for treatment.

Management and training problems can be diagnosed easily and treatment involves the owner changing how the animal is managed and some basic training. As most dogs are not formally trained it is worthwhile always recommending that dogs be taken to obedience classes for basic training or to reintroduce dogs to some basic commands. Basic commands like ‘sit’ can be used to treat jumping up on people if combined with ignoring the behaviour. A head halter left on at all times may be used to get the dog off furniture, or go into the crate if it refuses to do so on command. Many cats can be taught basic commands also such as ‘sit’ and can be taught to walk on a harness.

A kennel and run allows the owner to control where the dog is. It can then be prevented from digging the garden or pulling down the washing. Retraining then can be carried out using by a simple punishment and reinforcement. Consistent retraining may work but the garden can be protected anyway. Dogs need attention and to be brought for walks whether in kennels or crates or loose. Dogs ‘running’ loose in a garden do surprisingly little anyway.

The motivation for aggression must be determined. Identifying the victim (family, stranger) and the situation in which the aggression occurs is important. For example, in dogs, status (‘dominance’) aggression would be higher on the list of differential diagnoses if the victim is a family member whereas territorial aggression would be more likely if the victim is a stranger entering the dog’s enclosure. With all forms of aggression risk is a real issue. If a dog or cat has bitten people then the veterinarian has to decide whether to treat the pet him or herself, or whether to recommend referral to a behaviour specialist. Safety is a very important issue. Any treatment plan needs to make the situation as safe as possible for everyone involved. Aids such as head collars and muzzle can be useful adjuncts to treatment. Due to the potential danger euthanasia may be warranted in certain cases.

Status aggression in dogs can be treated by ignoring the dog’s demand for attention, retraining basic commands, use of head halter, no attention to dog without work, restrict dog’s access to furniture/bedroom, use a crate, don’t stare at the dog or use punishment, training dog to go outside/get off furniture/come when called. Some dogs are much more dangerous than others and owners may vary in their level of ability–these factors should influence what the veterinary response is.

Territorial aggression in dogs can be treated by placing the dog where it does not see the stimulus as this often reduces the dog’s arousal levels. A crate, kennel and run or the garage may be used or the fence or windows may be screened. Dogs are not allowed to greet people. When the door bell rings, put the dog in the crate and allow it to meet visitors while safely restrained later on. Territorial dogs should not be able to have access to unfamiliar people or animals when they are guarding their territory. Over time the dog can be desensitised and counter conditioned to the stimuli which arouse their aggression.

Fear aggressive dogs or cats can be desensitized and counter conditioned to the inciting stimuli in many ways. If the pet is afraid of men (or uniformed people, children) then it can be initially taught to relax and then the stimuli can be reintroduced at a distance where the pet does not show fear. Progressively the person is presented closer to the pet with the pet being relaxed.

Dogs with separation anxiety are ‘glue dogs’ i.e., glued to the preferred person when she/he is within their vicinity. Treatment is by initial basic training (stay) and desensitization and counter conditioning to the stimuli which trigger the dog’s anxiety. Anti-anxiety medications may be used as a component of treatment.

The treatment of behaviour problems can be at different levels. Some problems especially those involving serious aggression or anxiety need urgent attention, but others can be treated on a graduated basis over time using a range of tools and recommendations. Increasing owner control over the animal using tools and training may reduce the problem and is recommended in all cases. Also improving the pet’s lifestyle by walks for dogs, play sessions for cats and defined periods of attention are good general recommendations.

Treatment for many problems can be developed from simple to more complex recommendations. First aid for dogs to prevent problems may involve muzzles, crates and moving the dog to a training kennel. Basic management and training has been described above. More specific behaviour modification as described under the specific problems is then appropriate.

Diagnosis can be carried out by telephone consultation, in clinic or at the client’s home. Much advice can be given but a few instructions and follow up after a week or two is effective for many simple problems. Handouts are useful and these can be developed from any of the major textbooks. Sometimes it is appropriate to visit the property, especially if earlier recommendations have not been effective.

Many people are involved in retraining pets and veterinarians have to decide whether they wish themselves and/or their nurses involved in this work. At a basic level veterinary practices are well set up to become involved and most problems are easily solved. This makes development of clinical skills easy. Compliance is better if recommendations are few and simple and the availability of medications gives veterinarians an advantage over many others involved in treating behaviour problems in dogs and cats.

Common Pet Behavioral Problems

  • Aggression toward people or other animals
  • Separation anxiety from owners or other family pets
  • Thunderstorm phobia
  • Unruliness
  • Self-mutilation
  • Destruction
  • Compulsive disorders (repeatedly performing a behavior to the extent that it interferes with everyday life) like tail chasing, shadow chasing, licking, fly snapping, spinning, pacing, chewing, and toy fixation
  • Nuisance actions such as excessive barking, digging, biting, scratching, and jumping
  • Urine spraying/marking

Types of Treatment Plans

  • Behavior modification
  • Medication
  • Environmental changes
  • Medical recommendations

Dog behaviour

The way a dog behaves depends on the dog’s age, breed (or type), personality and past experiences. Make sure your dog is able to behave normally.

Understanding Behaviour

Most people are familiar with and recognise the common signs of anxiety and fear in cats and dogs. For example, when a cat is anxious/afraid, it will hiss, arch its back and thrash its tail. When a dog is anxious/afraid, it will cower, tuck its tail or even show its teeth and growl.

There are less commonly known behaviours that cats and dogs have to signal their feelings.

Behavior of dogs and cats
Behavior of dogs and cats

Top tips to help your dog behave normally


Choose a type and size of dog that is suited to you, your home and your lifestyle.

  • Train your dog from an early age to behave well using rewards. Training a dog using rewards will help them learn to behave appropriately and make them easier to control. Good training can enhance a dog’s quality of life and your relationship with them. Find out more about establishing a good relationship with your dog.
  • Teaching your dog where to toiletis really important.
  • If you’re concerned about your dog’s behaviour, speak to your vet first who may then refer you to an animal behaviourist.
  • Never shout at or punish your dog. Punishment and frightening experiences can lead to behaviour problems and suffering. Be consistent in the way you, your family and friends react to your dog.
  • Frightening experiences and punishment can lead to behaviour problems and suffering. Be consistent in the way you, your family and friends react to your dog.
  • A dog needs regular exercise and plenty of opportunities to walk and run. Exercise your dog regularly to keep them fit, active and stimulated. Give your dog the opportunity to run every day, unless your vet recommends otherwise.
  • Dogs are playful, sociable animals. Give your dog safe toys and regular opportunities to play with people or other friendly dogs. Make sure they have enough to do so that they don’t become distressed or bored.
  • A dog must be able to avoid things that scare them. Give your dog constant access to a safe hiding place where they can escape when they feel afraid.
  • Be observant. If your dog’s behaviour changes or they show regular signs of stress or fear (such as excessive panting, licking lips, hiding, cowering, aggression), seek advice from a vet or clinical animal behaviourist. They could be distressed, bored, ill or injured.

10 Common Dog Behavior Problems

Causes and Solutions When Your Pet Misbehaves


  • Most dogs vocalize in one way or another. They may bark, howl, whine and more. Excessive barking is considered a behavior problem.

Before you can correct excessive barking, determine why your dog is vocalizing in the first place. The most common types of barking are:

  • Warning or alert
  • Playfulness and excitement
  • Attention-seeking
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Responding to other dogs

Learn to control excessive barking. Consider teaching them bark/quiet commands. Be consistent and patient. Address any underlying causes of barking. Dedication and attention to detail can go a long way to stop a dog from barking.


Chewing is a natural action for all dogs. In fact, chewing is an important activity for most dogs; it’s just part of the way they are wired. However, excessive chewing can quickly become a behavior problem if your dog causes destruction. The most common reasons dogs chew include:1

  • Puppy teething
  • Boredom or excess energy
  • Anxiety
  • Curiosity (especially puppies)

Encourage your dog to chew on the right things by providing plenty of appropriate chew toys. Keep personal items away from your dog. When you are not home, keep your dog crated or confined to an area where less destruction can be caused.

If you catch your dog chewing the wrong thing, quickly distract your dog with a sharp noise. Then, replace the item with a chew toy. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so it can wear off energy and be stimulated in that way rather than turning to chewing.


If given the chance, most dogs will do some amount of digging; it’s a matter of instinct. Certain dog breeds, like terriers, are more prone to digging because of their hunting histories. In general, most dogs dig for these reasons:

  • Boredom or excess energy
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Hunting instinct
  • Comfort-seeking (such as nesting or cooling off)
  • Desire to hide possessions (like bones or toys)
  • To escape or gain access to an area

It can get rather frustrating if your dog likes to dig up your yard. Try and determine the cause of the digging, then work to eliminate that source. Give your dog more exercise, spend more quality time together, and work on extra training. If digging seems inevitable, set aside an area where your dog can freely dig, like a sandbox. Train your dog that it is acceptable to dig in this area only.

4.Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the most commonly discussed dog behavior problems. Manifestations include vocalization, chewing, inappropriate urination and defecation, and other forms of destruction that occur when a dog is separated from his owner.2 Not all of these actions are the result of separation anxiety. Signs of true separation anxiety include:

  • The dog becomes anxious when the owner prepares to leave.
  • Misbehavior occurs in the first 15 to 45 minutes after the owner leaves.
  • The dog wants to follow the owner around constantly.
  • The dog tries to be touching the owner whenever possible.

True separation anxiety requires dedicated training, behavior modification, and desensitization exercises. Medication may be recommended in extreme cases.

5.Inappropriate Elimination

Inappropriate urination and defecation are among the most frustrating dog behaviors. They can damage areas of your home and make your dog unwelcome in public places or at the homes of others. It is most important that you discuss this behavior with your veterinarian first to rule out health problems. If no medical cause is found, try to determine the reason for the behavior, which can come down to one of the following:

  • Submissive/excitement urination
  • Territorial marking
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of proper housebreaking

Inappropriate elimination is unavoidable in puppies, especially before 12 weeks of age. Older dogs are another story. Many dogs require serious behavior modification to rid them of the habit once it becomes ingrained.


Begging is a bad habit, but many dog owners actually encourage it. This can lead to digestive problems and obesity.3 Dogs beg because they love food. However, table scraps are not treats, and food is not love. Yes, it is hard to resist that longing look, but giving in “just this once” creates a problem in the long run. When you teach your dog that begging is permitted, you are sending the wrong message.

Before you sit down to eat, tell your dog to go to its place, preferably where it will not be able to stare at you. If necessary, confine your dog to another room. If it behaves, give it a special treat only after you and your family are completely finished eating.


A dog’s desire to chase moving things is simply a display of predatory instinct. Many dogs will chase other animals, people, and cars. All of these can lead to dangerous and devastating outcomes. While you may not be able to stop your dog from trying to chase, you can take steps to prevent disaster.

  • Keep your dog confined or on a leash at all times (unless directly supervised indoors).
  • Train your dog to come when called.
  • Have a dog whistle or noisemaker on hand to get your dog’s attention.
  • Stay aware and watch for potential triggers, like joggers.

Your best chance at success is to keep the chase from getting out of control. Dedicated training over the course of your dog’s life will teach him to focus his attention on you first, before running off.

8. Jumping Up

Jumping up is a common and natural behavior in dogs. Puppies jump up to reach and greet their mothers. Later, they may jump up when greeting people. Dogs may also jump up when excited or seeking an item in the person’s hands. A jumping dog can be annoying and even dangerous.

There are many methods to stop a dog’s jumping, but not all will be successful. Lifting a knee, grabbing the paws, or pushing the dog away might work in some cases, but for most dogs, this sends the wrong message. Jumping up is often attention-seeking behavior, so any acknowledgment of your dog’s actions provide an instant reward, reinforcing the jumping.

The best method is to simply turn away and ignore your dog. Walk away if necessary. Do not make eye contact, speak, or touch your dog. Go about your business. When he relaxes and remains still, calmly reward him. It won’t take long before your dog gets the message.


Dogs bite and nip for several reasons, most of which are instinctive. Puppies bite and nip to explore the environment. Mother dogs teach their puppies not to bite too hard and discipline them when needed. This helps the puppies develop bite inhibition. Owners often need to show their puppies that mouthing and biting are not acceptable by continuing to teach bite inhibition.

Beyond puppy behavior, dogs may bite for several reasons. The motivation to bite or snap is not necessarily about aggression. A dog may snap, nip, or bite for a variety of reasons.

  • Fear
  • Defensiveness
  • Protection of property
  • Pain or sickness
  • Predatory instinct

Any dog may bite if the circumstances warrant it in the dog’s mind. Owners and breeders are the ones who can help decrease the tendency for any type of dog to bite through proper training, socialization, and breeding practices.


Dog aggression is exhibited by growling, snarling, showing teeth, lunging, and biting. It is important to know that any dog has the potential to show aggression, regardless of breed or history. However, dogs with violent or abusive histories and those bred from dogs with aggressive tendencies are much more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs.

Unfortunately, some breeds are labeled “dangerous” and banned in certain areas. However, it’s not usually about the breed so much as it’s about history. A dog’s environment has a major impact on behavior. Also, regardless of breed, a dog may inherit some aggressive traits.4 Fortunately, most experts agree that breed-specific legislation is not the answer.Reasons for aggression are basically the same as the reasons a dog will bite or snap, but overall canine aggression is a much more serious problem. If your dog has aggressive tendencies, consult your vet first as it may stem from a health problem. Then, seek the help of an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist. Serious measures should be taken to keep others safe from aggressive dogs.

Common Cat Behavior Problems

Cats can exhibit behavior problems for a variety of reasons. 

Some of the most common cat behavior problems we see  are:

  • Aggression
  • Destructive scratching
  • Litter box problems
  • Urine marking
  • Meowing

How to Solve Behavior Problems in Cats

Like humans, cats experience fear, pleasure, hunger, anxiety, frustration, and many other emotions that may affect their behavior. Several common kitty behaviors are seen as undesirable and can affect the quality of life for both owners and their pets. Fortunately, many of these behaviors can be corrected.

Cats tend to be mysterious, so discovering the cause of certain feline behaviors can be a challenge. To further complicate things, there’s not necessarily one single reason behind a particular behavior, and every cat has a distinct personality.


You’ve finally fallen asleep when suddenly you hear your cat howling and crying at the top of its lungs outside your bedroom door. This happens all the time with cats, and this behavior may be completely normal for your kitty. After all, cats are nocturnal, like their wild relatives, so they may be more active at night while you’re trying to sleep, though it may also be a sign that something’s wrong.

  • Howling can be a sign of senility in older cats.
  • A breed like the Siamese is naturally more vocal than others and will simply meow loudly for your attention at night.
  • Your cat may be bored in the middle of the night.
  • Daytime meows and howls could be a sign of pain. Cats that are crying while eliminating in the litter box are usually experiencing discomfort or pain while trying to urinate or defecate. Other obvious signs of pain, such as catfights or pinched tails indoors, are also reasons for these vocalizations.
  • Meowing, crying, or howling during the day could simply be attention-seeking behavior.


Cats scratch to mark their territory. If your cat is scratching objects that you prefer it wouldn’t, you can redirect the behavior by providing scratching posts and other toys your kitty can dig its claws into.


Cats are not known to be the voracious chewers that dogs can be. Yet some still manage to do quite a bit of damage with their teeth. Chewing behavior in your cat may be caused by boredom, aggression, a nutritional deficiency, teething in kittens, or having been weaned too young. It might also simply be because your cat is playing or likes the texture or taste of the item.

4.Urinary Problems

Cats can have a variety of urinary issues. Infections, inflammation, bladder stones, stress, tumors, and other factors can cause a cat to urinate outside its box, spray, or be unable to urinate. Conflicts between cats or other pets and changes in the house (e.g., construction, family members leaving, new family members arriving) can stress cats and lead to litter box issues as well.


Cats may become aggressive toward other pets and people, and it’s a major behavioral problem. The aggression can be caused by stress and anxiety or by a medical problem that causes pain or hormonal changes in a cat.

6.Obsessive-Compulsive Licking

Chronic licking in cats typically stems from pain or stress and anxiety. While all cats lick themselves, excessive licking may be serious and should be addressed without delay.

A cat that’s in pain may lick an area on its body until it’s hairless and raw—and it isn’t always in the area that’s causing pain. A stressed or anxious cat may lick its belly until it has no fur or obsessively overgroom other parts of its body.

How to Stop Behavior Problems

Some behavioral issues stem from a cat’s instincts, but it’s best to begin by ruling out medical problems with your vet. If you suspect your cat is ill or in pain, seek veterinary care. Discuss supplements, medications, pheromones, special diets, and other things that are designed to help older cats or curb excessive licking.

After that, you can start to address and discourage certain behaviors such as jumping on counters or help your cat overcome whatever issue is the cause.

Excessive Vocalizations

Providing your cat with something to keep it busy while you sleep may help prevent night howling. You could also provide more exercise during the day so it’s less active at night.

Your cat may howl when it wants food, to go outside, or to be petted. The response you give your cat (e.g., giving in to its demand for a treat) will train it to continue to make these vocalizations to get what it wants.

Unwanted Scratching

Entice your cat to use a scratching post by sprinkling catnip on it and placing it in front of the items you don’t want it to scratch. Some cats like certain fabrics and materials more than others, so you might need to try scratching posts that offer various textures. If your cat doesn’t like its current post, try one made with carpeting, rope, or corrugated cardboard.

Aside from scratching posts, you can use pheromones and nail caps on an ongoing basis. Nail caps are small plastic nail coverings that are glued over your cat’s nails to protect your furniture. Pheromones are available as sprays, wipes, and diffusers to help calm your cat and discourage any scratching behavior that’s due to stress or anxiety.

Declawing—which is actually an amputation—is a controversial subject but is also sometimes performed to prevent cats from scratching furniture. This nonreversible surgery should be researched thoroughly and discussed with your vet.

Problem Chewing

If your cat’s chewing is a concern, look to the cause for a solution:

  • Check with your vet to eliminate any dental concerns.
  • Explore the possibility that your cat is taking its aggression out on the object it’s chewing. Products geared toward decreasing stress and anxiety, such as pheromones and supplements, may help decrease aggressive behaviors.
  • If your cat is bored, provide it with safe toys to play with.
  • For persistent cats that try to chew on things they shouldn’t, you can try a bitter spray as a deterrent. You can also cover small and dangerous items, like electrical cords, with plastic housing.

Litter Box Issues

If you spot your cat straining or unable to urinate, it needs immediate veterinary care. Special litter, diets, pheromones, supplements, and medications can all help with urinary behavioral problems in your cat. When medical reasons have been ruled out, then it’s oftentimes a behavioral problem that needs to be addressed.

  • Ensure that the litter box is never dirty because cats are fastidious about their toilets.
  • Having too few litter boxes may also be an issue. The general rule is to have at least one litter box for each cat and at least one box on each floor. For example, a household with one cat should have two boxes, a two-cat house should have three, and so on.
  • Your cat may not like the type of litter you’re using or it may be too deep in the box. Try using less, switching to unscented litter or a different brand, or using an alternative to standard clay litters.
  • In a multi-cat household, make sure one cat cannot see another when they’re using different litter boxes at the same time.
  • Look for and try to eliminate potential stressors around the house. For instance, when an indoor cat becomes anxious upon seeing, hearing, or even sensing a cat outside, you can close the curtains.

Aggressive Behavior

Observe your cat for any triggers that cause it to be aggressive. If you can figure out what the trigger is and get rid of it, this is the easiest way to deal with aggressive behavior.

Quite often, your cat may have to learn to live with the trigger. Again, pheromones, supplements, medications, and special diets may help. You can also give your cat other things to focus its energy on, like exercise-inducing toys. Try other simple solutions, such as setting up dividers between food bowls and litter boxes.

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