Cat Behavior: Funny or Downright Frustrating?

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Cat Behavior
is the number one talked about and written about topic related to cats. It is a subject that is at the same time fascinating and frustrating. Inappropriate elimination, the most common behavioral problem of cats, is extremely frustrating. On the other hand, maternal instinctive behavior of the female cat is a captivating subject.

The term Cat Behavior can be defined as everything a cat does in relationship to the people and other pets in the household and the way the cat relates to the surroundings, the home itself. The behavior can be "good" behavior or "bad" behavior.

I've never been a fan of the terms "good" and "bad" when they apply to the behavior of kids or cats. Too often, the behavior part of the phrase is left out and the child or the cat is simply referred to as good or bad. Labels such as these are not only inaccurate, but they are damaging.

Instead, I prefer the term "undesirable" when it comes to behaviors we would like to change about our cats. The way they are acting may be just fine if they were living in the wild. However, we have certain expectations of them when it comes to living in our homes. These expectations are our "desired" behaviors. Our cats are not bad just because they are acting the way cats were made to act.

However, we do love them and we do want to share our homes with them and, as with any house guest, there are certain "rules" we want them to follow. But please remember that cats have many instinctual behaviors and when we ask them to live with us, we are asking them to forego many of their instincts.

Fortunately, cats are far more trainable than most people realize. We often hear that dogs can be trained and cats cannot. This is far from the truth. But you will never accomplish anything positive by considering what your cat does as bad and by punishing.

Cats respond quite negatively to negative punishment, but they respond well to positive reinforcement. If you don't learn anything else from reading this page, please remember that. If a person is aggressive toward a cat, they will create an aggressive cat. You will only make progress toward achieving the cat behavior you desire if you reward the desired behavior and ignore the undesirable.

I know how tough that can be. If your cat urinates on the rug right in front of you, you may feel like wringing something and it may not be the rug! It's hard to control those emotions and just smile and ignore what your cat when that happens. But that is what you MUST do if you are to make progress in training or retraining your cat.

So ...what are the feline behaviors that are most commonly discussed or that are the subject of most of the questions I receive? Well, certainly the most common, by far, is inappropriate urination, more commonly called "peeing outside the box". There are many others, however, some desirable and some not so desirable and they include:

cat-biting-leg

- cat fights
- "talking" cats
- cats mating
- cat kneading behavior
- cat fighting behavior
- cat aggression
- male cat behavior
- house cat behavior
- feline behavior change
- kitten behavior heat
- strange cat behavior
- feline behavior
- cat tail behavior
- dying cat behavior
- cat biting
- cat scratching
- cat grooming
- cat spraying
- cat urinating
- kittens biting
- kitten behavior

...and much more!!

There's a wealth of information about the above topics on my website. You can check the Table of Contents or use the Search Box to find what you are looking for. And at the bottom of this page, you will find more than 100 questions and answers, all about various aspects of cat behavior.

If you'd like, you can start by reading about one cat lover's experience with litter box problems.

A similar story about another reader's problem with her kitty defecating outside the litter box may also interest you.

two cats




An entirely different kind of problem is illustrated by a letter describing the change in relationship between two cats. They had lived in harmony with each other for quite some time and then suddenly developed a confrontational relationship.

If you would like to read another example of cat housemates that don't see eye to eye,

Read About FIGHTING CATS.

If you have a problem with your kitty that is about to drive you mad, please remember that there's been so much research done about feline behavior that there's even a special branch of veterinary medicine that deals with such problems. Sometimes, the answer is simple. Sometimes, it's not. Almost always, however, there IS an answer, although it may take a little extra work on your part. However, your relationship with your cat is certainly worth it, right?

Above all else, remember that Rewarding your cat for good behavior works! Punishment does not!



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ADDITIONAL RELATED PAGES:

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LITTER

CAT URINARY HEALTH

CAT ELIMINATION PROBLEMS

LITTER BOX PROBLEMS

LITTER TRAINING


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What Other Cat Lovers Have Said About Cat Behavior

Click below to see comments from other visitors to this page...

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Weird Cat Panting and Biting Game 
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Relocating my 18 Year Old Cat  
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Soni 
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why Male Cats kills kitten ? 
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Cat behavior - aggressive when giving treats 
Click Here To Go To Your Question and Answer Page body { background-color:navy; }a:link { color: navy; text-decoration: underline } a:visited { …

Weird Cat 
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Newborn Baby and Birman Cat 
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Cat scratching around food 
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Cat BOO'S OK; BOO'S NOT OK????? 
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Cat Scratching 
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Cat Clawing Furniture 
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Cat Behavior after Holiday 
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Cat Hissing At Smells 
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Cat Does Not Chew 
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Cat Fights 
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MY CAT IS DESTRUCTIVE 
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Paw Flexing of Cats 
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My Cat Can Be Very Destructive. 
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Cat Leg Twitches 
QUESTION My cat is a 1 1/2 year old neutered male long haired tabby and when he sleeps his legs twitch all the time more so when he is on his back …

Moved Recently: Cat Behavior 
I recently moved with two 4 year old female cats. Within 1 week, one of the cats has started meowing loudly for no apparent reason, especially once it …

My Cat Has Developed Nervous Cat Behaviour 
My cat is 5 years old. She has suddenly developed nervous cat behavior, a fear of items that are made of fabric, such as clothing, mittens, slippers, …

Territorial Cat Problem 
I have a cat that has been in multiple homes. A friend of my Girlfriend's housemate adopted her as a kitten from a shelter. When the friend could no …

Sniffing Game with My Feline 
Sometimes I play with my 5 year old black cat and I start sniffing him....the same way he sniffs me and other objects. When I start sniffing him (acting …

Cat Introduction To New Kitten 
What is the best way to introduce a new kitten(4months old) to two older cats(3 1/2yrs old and 8yrs old)? Hi, Tiffany, Congratulations on the …

Unusual Cat Behavior 
My 8-year-old female cat has started something disturbing just in the last 2 weeks. For no apparent reason, she will jump up, as if someone shot her, and …

Scared Cats: Cat Back Home After 4 Months On The Street 
QUESTION: Our 2 year old cat ran out the front door 4 months ago and we found him yesterday! Absolutely unbelievable! He has been on his own in the …

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