Cat Behavior Problems
If your cat displays problematic behavior, your instinctive reaction may be to increase your training efforts in hopes of changing it. Although cat training is an essential part of raising a well-behaved animal, many problems stem from causes that training will not resolve.
Cat owners should understand that behavior problems may have other root causes and that addressing those triggers can be the key to stemming the problem. Misbehavior is not always related to shortcomings in training.
Let us look at some common sources of cat behavior problems that might explain why your cat is having difficulties.
In many instances, behavior problems are a direct outgrowth of a medical condition. When a cat is ill, it may behave inappropriately. If your cat begins to display a new problem, a change in temperament or seems to be ?regressing? in terms of behavior, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order.
If a new behavior problem appears, be certain to rule out a medical cause. Your pet?s unusual behavior may be its way of ?telling you? it does not feel well.
Cats are social animals and changes in their social life can have an impact on behavior. The list of potential triggers for poor behavior in this category include introducing a new person or baby into the household, bringing a new pet into the home, or a change in an owner?s schedule or levels of interaction with the pet.
Cats are also sensitive to changes in others behaviors and those alterations may result in problem behavior. If an owner is ill or is acting differently, a cat may respond with inappropriate actions. This may also occur if another household pet develops a sickness or changes its behavior considerably.
Cats are particularly attuned to their surroundings. They appreciate consistency in their environment and will frequently react to changes with misbehavior. Anything that changes a cat?s surroundings may have an impact on how it behaves.
Obviously, a move to a new place can be stressful for a cat, but so can lesser environmental changes. Remodeling, new furniture, rearrangement of the home and other things we might see as unmitigated positives may distress your cat.
If your cat is engaging in problematic behavior, it may justify a greater concentration on your training strategy. However, the problem may be spurred by something other than a lack of appropriate positive reinforcement.
Many cat behavior problems can be directly linked to other internal and external factors that will need to be addressed in order for the behavior to subside. In some cases, intervention may be necessary (a veterinary examination, for instance). In other situations, the owner should positively encourage his or her pet while the animal grows accustomed to what it perceives as a bothersome change. After a period of adjustment, behavior may improve.