This guide explores some common cat behaviours and what you can do to reduce any unwanted behaviours.
Some of the typical cat behaviours that we don't like are actually perfectly normal, while others indicate that your cat is stressed, scared, sick or in pain.
Punishing your cat will only make these problems worse.
If your cat starts doing something new, different or out of character, this could be their way of telling you that something is wrong. Medical disorders often cause behavioural changes. You should take your cat to the vet as soon as they exhibit different behaviours and discuss your cat's behaviour and your concerns with the vet.
Cats are good at hiding their pain, so it can be hard to tell if they're suffering.
Instead of limping, for example, they might show slight changes in their behaviour or mood. There are many different medical problems that cause discomfort and varying intensities of pain.
If you notice any change in your cat's behaviour, lifestyle or interactions, take them to the vet for a health check. By treating pain you can greatly improve their quality of life.
Signs of pain include:
It's not always easy to tell if your cat is stressed, because signs of stress can be subtle and cats can be good at hiding their feelings. By understanding the causes of stress, you may be able to reduce the stress your cat feels, which can in turn reduce unwanted behaviours.
Cats can get stressed for a variety of reasons, including:
Signs of stress include:
The advice on these pages is intended to help you encourage positive behaviours and help you deal with some behavioural issues. However, every cat is unique and the causes of some behaviours can be difficult to identify.
If your cat has a behavioural problem, we recommend you discuss the problem with your vet who can refer you to a qualified behaviourist, such as a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors or a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist that can be found through the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Seek help sooner rather than later because it can be more difficult to resolve long-standing issues.
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