We've said it before and we'll say it again - cats are fascinating little creatures. They are fun to have around because, between their athleticism and affection, they make for exceptionally entertaining companions. That said, cats - just like dogs - can get themselves into trouble and often develop some pretty naughty habits. Today, we're discussing ways in which cats do the darndest things and how to manage them.
Cats Do the Darndest Things: Scratching
One of the most common complaints we hear from cat parents is that their cat is scratching the furniture. Unfortunately, scratching is a biologically appropriate behavior for cats.
Cats will scratch to maintain their claws. To prevent this, get into the habit of trimming your cat's nails weekly. Cats also scratch to mark their territory, especially if they are new to a home or if their family adds a new piece of furniture to the home. Cats also scratch when stretching their bodies, which is, again, a natural impulse. And, it's not uncommon for a cat to scratch to relieve stress, discomfort, or pent-up emotions - both positive and negative - by scratching things in their environment.
Because scratching is a natural feline expression, the best way to manage it is to prevent damage to your furniture by using scratch-deterrent strips like these. Scratch deterrents come in tapes, sheets, and you can also find furniture protectors that mimic a scratching post. These products can be used in a variety of different ways. A good thing about deterrents is that they aren't going to scare or hurt your cat, they will simply make the surface they are applied to undesirable scratching surfaces. Once you've got your furniture protected, don't forget to provide lots of scratch-safe options like scratching posts, mats, and loungers.
Cats Do the Darndest Things: Vocalization
Some cats rarely meow or hiss but others are extremely vocal. Cats that communicate excessively - to the point that it affects their family's quality of life - may be trying to tell you something. It's your job to figure out what it might be!
First, consider that cats may be excessively 'talkative" when they are seeking your attention. Could they be hungry? Check their food labels to make sure they are getting an adequate serving at each meal. Could they be in pain? If your cat is being fed enough and hasn't experienced any significant life changes, their vocalization may merit a visit to your veterinarian for a full check-up.
Once your cat is given a clean bill of health, consider if he or she might be stressed. If your cat has recently moved, joined the family, or experienced a significant change in routine, he or she could be vocalizing their stress, anxiety, and discomfort. Because they are creatures of habit, cats don't usually take well to strangers moving into their home, which includes a new partner, guests, a new baby, or a new pet. They may be vocalizing their discomfort and need time and support to accept these life changes.
In addition, cats may vocalize excessively when bored. They may simply be asking for you to play with them. Grab a wand toy or a simple feather and get to work. Letting your cat chase and catch their "prey" can really take the edge off.
To help your cat no matter what's causing the vocalization, be patient with them. Always reassure them using a calm, cool tone. And, consider investing in a pheromone plugin to help them relax. Finally, always know that behavior experts like Cat Behavior Alliance are just a consultation away for tricky, escalating vocalizations and more.
Cats Do the Darndest Things: Overgrooming
Last, but certainly not least, cats that are stressed, bored, or overwhelmed may engage in overgrooming. Overgrooming is when a cat will obsessively groom him or herself, sometimes to the point of injuring the skin and/or paws.
When a cat is overgrooming, think about what stressors may be to blame - the same way you would when a cat is vocalizing excessively. If you can't think of any significant changes or stressors, take inventory of any allergen or insect exposure that could be to blame for their skin sensitivity. Have you taken your cat out on a harness recently? Have you seen any spiders around? Do you have an ant problem? The sooner you figure out an external cause for overgrooming, the sooner your veterinary team can come up with a solution,
In some cases, overgrooming can be the result of muscle or organ pain and therefore should always be discussed with a veterinarian. The sooner you have your vet look into the issue, the sooner your cat will find relief.
The Best Cat Care in Yorktown, Virginia
At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we adore cats. Our feline friends keep us on our toes - in a good way - and make our days bright with their affection, purrs, and slow blinks. Because we so enjoy their company, it pains us to see them in distress or, worse, out of harmony with their families. For this reason, we ensure that we keep cats on their usual schedule, engaged, and content when their families are away.
We provide in-home cat sitting services in Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton, Virginia. If you are interested in registering with us, please complete a new client questionnaire here. Existing clients may request services here. Please visit our website or contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868 to learn more.