Understanding your cat’s behaviour

Cats are mysterious creatures and understanding what’s going on in their cute little brains can be a brain teaser at times. There are, however, some typical cat behaviours that are a little easier to recognise.

The difference between fighting and wrestling

There can be several reasons why your cats may fight with each other although, sometimes it can be hard to tell whether it is play fighting or a claws-out real scuffle.

If your cats are just playing around with each other they still might leave some scratch and bite marks. Do not be alarmed, rough play is normal and these accidental war wounds come from bunny kicking and biting the scruff of their opponent’s necks etc.

When a fight has moved from playful to serious combat, there will be some noticeable signs; loud hissing, yowling, and screaming, their ears will likely be flattened back, and their hackles will be up leading down to puffed tails.

If/When you attempt to break up a cat fight, do not put your hands between them to separate them as you risk injuring yourself in the process. Try clapping or stomping loudly to break their attention and then separating them, throwing/spraying a splash of water might do the trick also. Once you have managed to separate them safely, continue to keep them apart for a while to keep an eye on them so they don’t head back into battle again.

Cats are territorial, just like dogs and it stems from the need to ‘secure their surroundings’ as such. Cats thrive off routine and so as soon as that is affected by any change, they can become unsettled and fearful, so if you bring a new cat home without introducing them properly, you may witness some of this behaviour.

Stress

If a cat is stressed, there are a few tell tale signs to tell us and these may include not using the litter tray, over grooming, barely eating or drinking, constantly hiding and other fearful behaviour.

Stress in cats can be caused by strangers in the home, stray cats around the home, a new environment, new pets in the house, young children, and other sudden changes in their environment (loud noises/crashes etc.)

If you’re concerned that your cat is stressed and is displaying any of the above behaviours, speak to the Pet Experts at your local Just For Pets store and have a chat with the knowledgeable staff about what the cause may be. There are some products that can assist in calming a stressed cat, these include; Vetsense calming paste, Sentry calming collars and an assortment of cat calming treats and food.

It should be noted that if you are worried that your cat may be significantly stressed and the above recommendations have not worked, then it is highly recommended that you visit your vet for possible treatment. An additional note is that constant weeing outside the litter tray or excessively around the house can also signal a UTI or other medical conditions, so if this is the case, be sure to seek veterinary advice. Other reasons your cat may be avoiding the litter box is because you may have recently changed the type of litter you use, or the type of litter box, it may be dirty and in need of being emptied/cleaned or if you’ve recently moved the litter box to a different spot in the house, they may not like the new placement.

Scratching

Is your cat prone to scratching everything it shouldn’t?

If you answered yes, then you’re in the purrfect place!

It’s important to know that cats scratch for a number of reasons which can range from grinding their nails, stretching their legs, boredom and even when they’re excited!

Cats have scent glands on their paws which secrete when they scratch, so scratching can also be a sign of marking their territory.

Whilst cats scratching your furniture is annoying, it is not completely abnormal…but never fear! There are some things you can do about it.

Firstly, trimming their claws can sometimes alleviate the need for a cat to scratch so if you’ve got cat nail clippers then you can ask your local Just For Pets store to give you a demonstration if you’ve never trimmed nails before, otherwise next time you’re at the Vet, ask them to trim them for you! Some groomers will also offer a nail trimming service, so be sure to speak to them before setting out on your own.

Another recommended piece of advice is cat scratch posts. Be sure to have a scratching post or two (or three or four!) around the house in the areas our cat spends the most time, this will give them an alternative to tearing up your carpet or couch as they will be able to enjoy their own little jungle gym that they can soothe their scratching paws on. Although, when choosing a scratch post, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ rule. Different textures and designs will please different cats and depending on your space will depend on the size you want also. If you’re unsure, your local Just For Pets store will be able to guide the way into choosing one that will best fit your house and cat!

If you’ve tried any or all of the above and are still having trouble getting your cat to use their scratching post, you may want to try catnip. Catnip is a herb that cats love, it may encourage them to sniff, chew, lick and rub and rub all over it. You can buy dried catnip and spray or even fresh which you can put on your cats scratcher which may attract them to use it.

Another handy tip to try and prevent your cats from your furniture is using double sided sticky tape on the area where your cat typically scratches. The stickiness from the tape is not fun for cats which will deter them from using it as a scratching post.

Night time ‘zoomies’

Isn’t it fun when you’re cosied up in bed about to fall asleep and all of a sudden you hear a loud noise that sounds like someone is playing bowls down your corridor, but turns out its just your cat/s running their night zooms around the house? No? I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, this is common and as cats are mostly nocturnal, the night is a prime time for them to run off some pent-up energy and ‘hunt’ around the house in inventively loud ways.

If you wish to prevent this behaviour with your kitty cat it’s a good idea to play with your cat and exercise them throughout the day in attempt to reduce the amount of energy built up in the evening. Providing some enrichment toys hidden with a few treats and food may also help keep your cat/s quiet as they will be busy foraging for snacks whilst you sleep in bed.

We recommend regularly exercising your cat during the day in order to avoid random sprints throughout the house in the middle of the night. You can also try feeding him right before you go to bed, and to curb the desire to hunt at night you may want to try providing her with food puzzles to keep her engaged while you snooze. Feeding your cat before you head to bed is also a good idea to curb their need for ‘hunting’ around the house. For more tips on how to prevent the night time ‘zoomies’ in your felines, speak to your local Just For Pets store for further advice and tips.

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