Cats And Their Odd Behaviours

Dogs have masters, cats have slaves as the old saying goes, but various behaviours from your purring, furry friend will drive you to distraction. From soiling around the house to hairballs and scratching furniture to causing allergies, are just some things that will need attention.

cat - Benoit Dupont - Flickr cat - pmarkham - Flickr cat and flower - arquera - Flickr

Cats Having Trouble With Their Litter Tray

Many people who keep a cat indoors will provide their pet with a litter tray; however, some pets will refuse to use them or find alternative places around the home to do their business. Soiling in the house away from a litter tray can be a major problem. For some cats, it may be a sign that they have a health issue or that they have become sensitive to changes in the home environment. As with all changes in behaviour, it is worth paying attention to your pet’s behaviour to see if there are any clues to why it has changed. You may have noticed that there is some pattern to where you cat is defecating or urinating away from the litter tray. Sometimes cats will spray urine on new items of furniture to mark scents of territory. You may notice that your cat is taking a long time to complete its business or cries or vocalises while doing so, which could indicate pain or discomfort in passing urine or faeces. Common health issues include diseases of the urinary tract and Diabetes. If you have multiple pets at home, try to provide each with a litter tray as cats may not use the same tray as another. Try to place your litter tray in a quiet place and keep them clean. If you have recently acquired a new cat, you may find that the social makeup will change in the household that will change your existing pet’s behaviour.

Cats and Hairballs

If you are new to keeping cats or you have come across something that looks like a matt of hair, you may have wondered where it has come from. You may have seen your cat cough up fur and wondered if this was natural. Over a third of cat owners have come across hairballs or fur balls from their cat. Fortunately, they are natural. They are a product of your cat’s meticulous grooming and ingestion of follicles, which accumulate and are then expelled from your pet’s throat or stomach after triggering a vomiting reflex. It is important that your pet expels the fur because it can become lodged in the gut and harden. This can require surgical removal in some severe cases. You will likely see your cat gag or vomit; you may also see large amounts of fur in your pet’s faeces. While many cats will manage their hairballs themselves, you can help by ensuring that you provide them with the proper nutrition, which can help prevent hairballs from forming or blocking the cat’s digestive tract.

Cats and Scratching Furniture

So you have just bought a new sofa and come home to find your cat has sunk her claws into it numerous times. Cats will scratch to sharpen their claws. They will also continue to use the same scratching locations to leave visual markings to dissuade other cats. Some owners consider surgically removing the sharp claws, but many believe this practice to be cruel and unnecessary. Often providing a suitable alternative or providing some protection to furnishings can help. Cats want to scratch and stretch, so alternative locations need to satisfy these needs. You can purchase posts that have rope or carpet material affixed to it. You should place these near where your cat sleeps to encourage her to use it. Reward your feline pal for using the correct cat scratching post and move them from areas where they are inappropriately using. Cats also like to have vantage points, so you should provide suitable areas where they can sit higher up without being disturbed.

cat sleeping - David McKelvey - Flickr cat in drawer - -miguelito - Flickr cat in a box - Roanish - Flickr

Cats and Allergies

You may have a cat or are looking for a cat only to find that you have an allergic reaction. Allergies can be problematic. You can do things to make allergies less of an issue and keep your cat. Allergies are created by our reaction to proteins found in the cat’s saliva and skin secretions. When your cat grooms itself, these proteins are mobilised into the air that we breathe in.

Some people may become immune to the allergy over time as they become more accustomed to it. It is also possible that the allergic reaction becomes more sensitive and worse with time.

There are some breeds of cat that can reduce the allergic reaction. Consider a short-haired breed because it has less fur than a long-haired breed. Some pedigree breeds such as a Cornish Rex or Devon lack the hair layers found on other breeds that may reduce the allergic reaction. Some cat owners prefer the hairless breeds such as the Sphinx. However, none of these options will remove the potential for an allergic reaction entirely because the protein is also found in cat saliva and all breeds will groom themselves and transfer saliva onto their body that can later become air borne.

You can reduce the impact of exposure to allergens by ensuring that you keep your home clean and tidy. Vacuum carpets and soft furnishings and wipe hard surfaces to remove hairs. Wash areas that your cat lies on regularly to remove hair and residues. Never let your cat sleep on your bed and therefore restrict access to some areas of your home. Limit access to rooms with hard floors as these surfaces harbour less allergen than carpets and soft furnishings. You can also reduce some of the shedding of hair by brushing your cat regularly by trapping loose hair in the brush rather than allowing it into the air. Do this outside to prevent loose hair from entering the house. Remember that cats shed more in the spring to rid themselves of their winter fur. Remove and clean the litter tray regularly.

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