Cat Treatment and Training for Feline Behavior Problems

Cat treatment and training can address behavior problems such as inappropriate urination and scratching, anxiety and aggression. Cat behavior problems often go untreated because owners don't have the resources dog owners have to solve them. However, treating these problems can improve the quality of life for both you and your cat.

Treating Improper Urination

If this is a new problem, first have your cat tested for a urinary tract infection or other illness. Then, examine the environment. Try changing the location of the box, putting a new box in that location or switching the litter so that it has a new smell or feel in case your cat developed a negative association with the current litter box. Some cats may find some smells aversive, so the litter may be a factor.

Make sure the litter box isn't near a loud appliance or something else that may be scaring the cat. You should have one litter box per cat in the household and clean it daily as well. Cats can be finicky and may not like to share.

Confine your cat to the room with the litter box for a few days and stay close by so you can reward him when he uses it or even shows interest in it.

Treating Inappropriate Scratching

Cats need to scratch. Not only is it instinctual but it's necessary for health and comfort. If your cat is inappropriately scratching, provide additional scratching posts and direct him to those spots. Reward him for showing interest. Temporarily block off his old favorite places or place scratching posts in front of those places. Your cat may simply like that location.

Use fabric on the scratching posts similar to fabric he seems to prefer. This will not teach him to target that fabric-he already has! This will give him an appropriate place to scratch the fabric he enjoys.

Treating Anxiety and Aggression

Treating anxiety and aggression often goes hand-in-hand because most aggression is caused by anxiety. First, identify your cat's triggers, which could be strangers, loud noises, other pets, etc.

Then, begin to expose your cat to those triggers at low levels. For example, if strange men are a trigger, expose him to a man outside the door and reward him for appropriate responses with his favorite treat. Gradually allow him to move closer while still rewarding your cat. Keep the sessions short and positive. If your cat starts to get too stressed, end the session.

Give your cat a safe area where he can retreat and be left alone. This should be a dark room with little stimulus. Get a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheromones, for the room and play calming music. You may even feed your cat in this room to create positive associations.

If the stress is being caused by aggression from another cat in the household, create a safe place for the cat who is being attacked. Teach the cats to tolerate one another by leashing them and using desensitization techniques at a comfortable distance and rewarding for appropriate responses.

Behavior problems in cats are quite common and can be solved with a little patience and creative thinking. Since many behavior problems are caused by environmental stress, solving these problems can create a better home for your cat.