Cat Care | Behavior

The Basics

Cats, the once thought to be asocial animals, are now the most popular pet in North America and Europe. Although their behavior is quite different from dogs, cats still crave attention and interaction. When you bring a new kitten into your home, you’ll have to decide whether your new pet will live strictly indoors or be allowed outside. There are pros and cons to both sides. Free-roaming cats are prone to more illness and have a shorter life expectancy, as they are exposed to outside dangers like cars, parasites and bacteria. On the other hand, indoor cats require more stimulation and attention, including exercise, scratching posts and toys to play with. Whichever you choose, following a few simple guidelines to direct your cats behavior will ensure harmony in your home.

Scratching Posts Are Essential

Scratching is one of cat’s favorite things to do. Scratching is an instinctive activity, it leaves chemical and visual signs that serve as “messages” to other cats and animals. But what’s entirely normal for your cat might become a big problem for your furniture. To avoid this, buy your kitty a scratching post. There are many different kinds to choose from, ranging in size and height to fit your home.

Not all commercially available scratching posts are equally attractive to cats, in fact, some cats might reject a scratching post based on their own tastes. The most popular kinds of scratching posts for cats are sisal, wood, cardboard or wood/ wood composites. Some pet owners even make their own scratching posts using soft logs, tree stumps, or a piece of 2×4. The important part of a scratching post is that it’s sturdy enough to handle the weight of the cat at all times.

Whatever you choose for a scratching post, never replace it. The more beat up and awful it looks, the more your cat will love scratching it.

Playtime is Important

Make sure you provide lots of opportunities for your kitty to engage in interesting and challenging play that will satisfy their natural instincts. Toys that bounce of flutter, or ones that they can chase, hunt or capture will be their favorite. Some cats adore chasing moving spots of light, or get creative! Tie a ball of aluminum foil to a string and attach it to your belt. Your cat will have a great time interacting with you as they chase the ball around. You should try to interact with your cat at least once a day for 15 minutes for playtime.

Clean Facilities

Cats, like us, prefer a clean bathroom. They usually prefer unscented, soft texture litter, and some cats prefer to use one box for urine and another for defecation. Therefore, if you have two cats in the house, they each get a box for urine and share a second litter box. Don’t put litter boxes next to noisy appliances or washing machines – cats like peace and quiet. Remove any waste or soiled litter daily. Wash the interior of litter boxes once a week with warm, soapy water.

What is Spraying?

Spraying, or urine marking, is normal behavior in cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered. Spraying is often associated with the presence of other cats, or being exposed to stress or anxiety. Treatment is available, just ask Dewinton Pet Hospital.