The 4 Most Common Cat Behavior Problems

There are 4 most common cat behavior problems that a cat owner may encounter during the life of the cat. These problems can be best solved if they are first understood. This article will explore problems such as spraying, urine marking, masturbation and eliminating outside the box.

1. Spraying

Spraying is a common problem especially in households with multiple cats. Cat spray is different from urine. It's a foul-smelling clear or slightly white liquid that the cat will spray for several possible reasons. Spraying is a problem with male cats. Female cats mark with urine which is discussed below.

Neutering a male cat can decrease the likelihood of spray marking. Some cats still spray for the first time, however, after they have been neutered. Cats spray to claim territory or out of anxiety or anger. There are many ways to deal with a spraying problem including behavioral management. Addressing a cat's anxiety with acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, or medicine may also solve the problem.

2. Urine Marking

Urine marking is the way a non-spayed, female cat attracts a mate. It may also be a behavior that results from anxiety or a need to establish territory. If the cat is allowed outside, that is most likely where she'll mark. But a cat who is indoors most of the time may also leave a small amount of urine on a vertical object.

Both male and female cats may leave urine to mark their territory. In either case, it's a behavior that can be curbed with some consistent behavioral modification. It may also require changes in the household, i.e. neutering or spaying all the cats, adding a litter box, and keeping cat territories more delineated and clean. Urine marking as well as spraying may increase during times of transition.

3. Masturbation

This is mostly a male cat problem involving a compulsive sexual behavior that manifests in a variety of ways. The cat may make bizarre movements with his hind legs. He may rub his genital area against furniture or a human limb. He may also lick his genital area excessively or even paw at the area repeatedly. Sometimes the area becomes red and may even look injured with a scab. Some of these behaviors are an indication of urinary tract problems or other medical problems. Once a vet determines whether the cause is physical or behavioral, you can work with an animal behaviorist or use consistent behavioral techniques on your own.

4. Eliminating Outside the Box

There are several reasons why a cat may refuse to use the litter box. Cats are very particular about the litter box, so sometimes a cat will avoid it if it isn't clean or if too many other cats have used it. A cat with a urinary tract infection associates pain with the litter box and thus may choose to urinate elsewhere. Older cats sometimes become confused or unable to control their bladder and bowels which leads to eliminating outside the box.