Do you need help with cat behaviour?
Our beautiful girl, Karma
Psychology is the study of mental processes and behaviour. By observing cats and their behaviour, we can discover a lot about our feline friends.
It may not seem like it at times, but cats that have behavioural issues are not acting out of spite - there is usually a valid reason for their behaviour. Like humans, cats may face different challenges and needs at different times of their lives and when they do, they need your understanding, and possibly your assistance. Luckily, in some instances, the cause of the issue may be obvious and a solution easily found. At other times, it may take a bit more work to uncover the main issue and try to manage the behaviour, which will need your love, time and patience. In my experience, the best way to help your cat(s) is by using positive association and reinforcement techniques and strategies (force-free). Using punishment, fear or intimidation methods will only increase any anxiety your cat(s) might be experiencing and can make the issue worse - it can also have a negative impact on your relationship with your cat, which I'm sure is the last thing you want!
Cats are very complex creatures. For example - did you know that a purring cat is not always a happy cat? When cats are in pain, it is thought that they purr to signal that they are friendly and willing to accept help. Purring is also believed to promote healing and release pain-relieving endorphins. Just one of the many interesting behaviours of cats!
Some of the most common behavioural issues in cats are:
* Relationship issues between cats and / or introducing a new cat to your resident cat
* Litter tray / toileting issues
* Aggression (towards other cats, humans or other animals)
* Night-time activity and waking up early
* Inappropriate scratching of furniture / carpet and alike
* Anxiety / fearful behaviours
It is best to address an issue as soon as possible, so that it doesn't become a habit. The earlier you try to rectify the issue, the greater chance of success.
The good news is that with the appropriate techniques, there is usually improvement with your cat's behavioural issue. Or better still, the issue may be resolved if it is not too severe and is addressed as soon as possible.
Indoor vs outdoor
Did you know the average age for an indoor cat is 15 years, while the average age for an outdoor cat is only 3 - 5 years? Not only is it safer for your cat to stay indoors, it also benefits our wildlife and helps stop the spread of infectious diseases between cats.
Many people think that in order to be happy, cats need to be outside to satisfy their natural instincts. This is not the case if you ensure that their indoor environment is cat friendly and you keep them mentally and physically stimulated so they are happy and well - this usually helps stop the start of any destructive behaviour too. Depending on your cat, you could also explore the option of a secure outdoor cat run / enclosure or to secure your backyard / verandah and create a safe cat haven.
There are many toys and cat friendly pieces of furniture you can buy, make, or that you might just have lying around, that cats find extremely interesting and fun!
Whether your cat is indoors only, or able to go outdoors, it is always best for your cat to be desexed, microchipped and registered. There are many benefits to desexing your cat - medical, behavioural and environmental. It also means fewer cats need to find their forever homes!
Our gorgeous girls, Karma and Star enjoying a snuggle