Cat Behavior – Bad Habits Not Bad Cats

Even the best-mannered cats will occasionally misbehave. Undesirable conduct can be transformed into the desirable through positive reinforcement, bribery and making the behavior itself unpleasant. Here are a few common problems and some possible solutions.

Biting and Scratching Hands:

First, always remember that it is important to be consistent with pets. As a kitten, do not play with your pet using your fingers. Instead use only toys. If you choose to engage a kitten with your hand, it will continue to play and scratch in this manner as an adult cat. Unfortunately, playful fun with a kitten can turn painful once the cat is full-grown. If your cat does bite and grab your fingers, shake an empty soda can with a few pennies in it and voice a stern “no.” This will startle the cat into letting go. Painting your fingers with a bitter liquid is another helpful method, which will make biting and scratching hands unpleasant.

Stalking and Attacking You or Another Pet:

For this problem, use either the startling effect of an empty soda can or try a water gun/ spray bottle. Mix a few drops of cider vinegar with water and whenever you can catch your feline in the act of misbehaving, squirt him in the face. Be sure to refrain from yelling out while shooting the water. This will assure that the cat associates the unpleasant squirt with his behavior, not you, and prevent him from committing the misconduct regardless of whether or not you are present.

Jumping on Counters and Tables:

Place double-stick tape or contact paper strips with the adhesive side up on the counter and tabletops. Attach the contact paper securely to the counter to prohibit your pet from eating it and becoming sick. Cats hate the sticky feeling of the glue on their paws and after several jumping attempts will stop.

Chewing or Digging in the Houseplants:

Cats chew on the leaves of houseplants for hairball relief and to help with their digestion. So, grow a special plant for them (like wheat grass) and spray the other houseplants with a mixture of gingerroot and water; to defend against future eating attempts. Your cat can easily be stopped from digging in the dirt around your plants by, covering the top of the pot with aluminum foil or covering the dirt surface with flat florist’s marbles.

For more information, contact Pam Shoff from For Cat’s Sake at (301)933-5489

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