Battling Bad Cat Behaviour

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cat toy

Don’t you find it a bit weird when you go into someones house and they don’t have a pet?

I always wonder how people cope. I mean, I’ve always been around dogs and cats and can’t imagine not…knowing any?!

Or maybe that just sounds weird for people who have never owned a pet?

Who knows.

Anyway, there are pros and cons to owning your own fluffy friend. I’m not gonna lie to you – Sometimes it feels like the cons outweigh the pros at times. Especially when it comes to cat behaviour.

As you may know, I own two fluffy feline friends.

We have Kitty – the original cat who I took in when I had my first flat 10 years ago! I always knew that once I had a place to live that I could class as mine (we’re talking fresh out of student digs kind of mine here), that I wanted to have my own cat.

We then have Stevie – second to the fold. He was taken in when my friends cat got a bit frisky with a local alley cat (or Maine Coon as the case may be looking at his size and shape). His mother is called Cher so we always knew he had some diva inside him.

Finally, we have Dot – third and final addition to the household. She was found wandering the streets at a kitten with an injury on her back. Being a soft touch I took her in and make sure she doesn’t find herself in mischief again.

monthly cat subscription box

Of course, having three cats does come with challenges.

Especially when those cats all have distinctly different personalities.

Kitty is a typical mard-arse. Squawking (not meowing) whenever she doesn’t get attention for three seconds and generally being super mean to the other two as she’s the queen of the castle.

Stevie is a typical boisterous male cat but often plays like a kitten. Which is not a favourable trait when it comes to the other two. I mean, Dot is called Dot due to how small she is!

And speaking of Dot, she is the most ‘typical’ cat in terms of nature. Cute little classic meows, little ninja when it comes to catching birds and extremely agile when it comes to avoiding the other two.

And with such different personalities we have the additional behavioural issues.

At first all the cats were indoor cats. But with a two bedroom house and only one reception room, this causes issues in a few ways. The first is the litter trays – our bathroom isn’t big enough to put them in so they are under the stairs in the living room. Which isn’t the most pleasant experience when you’re watching Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown on a cosy Sunday night.

monthly cat subscription box

Another issue is space. Three cats all wanting to be in the same room with their owner at the same time causes for some aggravation.

Kitty is by far the worst. She will hiss, growl, scratch and pee in places you didn’t even know existed as soon as the other cats come close.

Needless to say we now let them outside, which has been a breath of fresh air (I’m not even lying with those litter trays haha) during the lockdown period. Kitty is a lot more relaxed and the other two love the freedom.

We still have some cat behaviour issues though, and here’s how I’ve been tackling them…

Peeing in secret corners

As mentioned, Kitty is the worst for this. We have found two key spots she keeps going to though – one in the bathroom and one in the corner of the living room.

I’ve tried so many magic potions to try and stop her but the only thing that seems to work at the moment is white vinegar. The smell both covers up the pee scent and deters them in future. Whenever I remember I just spritz a very light spray in the corners in question. Luckily the house doesn’t smell of vinegar all the time! Which was a concern, but a little squirt here and there is doing the trick. To further help (and to freshen furniture, carpets and rugs) I’ve also started using Fabulousa Foam Freshener which makes my whole house smell delightful!

Scratching carpets

When I moved into this house the carpets were pretty much like new. Three cats and three years later and they definitely need some attention.

It’s really hard to stop this. Especially if the cats need to walk over the stairs to get about the house, as you can’t put deterrents down that will get on their paws for them to lick off and you know, poison themselves. You also need something that looks relatively nice because you want nice things in your house.

cat scratcher

I was gifted a cat scratcher from Catipilla which I can recommend for some cat owners, but can’t endorse fully. The cats, as of yet, still prefer the stairs to the scratching post! Adding a discrete option to the wall like this can work very well for some and they do like to use the one I have upstairs – which is more of a flat design. I’m hoping as this starts to smell more like the house they will begin to use it more. I’ve been trying a few methods such as spraying with catnip spray and popping treats on top, but unfortunately, only Dot (the youngest) has had a go! This would, however, be great for kittens as those little buggers LOVE climbing UP things with their tiny little claws. I mean, have you ever worn jeans around a kitten? Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Cat fights!

I could not have chosen three cats with more distinct personalities. Which inevitably comes with conflict. Kitty is the dominant one in the trio and won’t even entertain the other two coming up to her. Stevie still acts quite playful but due to his size it turns out to be anything put a play fight! And Dot just enjoys watching the drama and occasionally getting involved.

Unfortunately, plug in diffusers don’t seem to help. So the only solution is separation. Dot naturally loves the outdoors so she can make herself busy playing amongst the flowers. Kitty literally won’t leave the house though (well, apart from when she fell out of the window the other day, whoops). Stevie can be the loveliest cat in the world and even lets Dot lick his head at times, but others he’s a nasty little nutter and goes for her, even though she’s tiny!

Their peak for battling is around meal times.

How cats can tell the time I will never know!

But as soon as they start causing a ruckus I look at the time and weeeeeyow it’s time for food.

cat behaviour

Apart from keeping them out of each others way as much as I can, without shutting doors and locking them away from each other, I have found distraction works to split up the fights.

Stamping my foot, clapping loudly, any sudden sharp noise to distract them.

They still try a few times afterwards, but it’s much better than letting them just fight until death, which I’m certain Kitty would do.

Of course, these are only the cat behaviours I experience and my own solutions to TRY and solve them…

When taking on a pet, whether it’s a cat, dog, lizard or giraffe, you need to consider that they are more than just a cute fluffy friend.

You have to consider SO many variables and costs over the time. Food, vet bills, insurance, litter, treats… The list can be endless.

Before investing make sure you consider some of the following:

  • Can you afford the animal? Not just the purchase but the £100’s it can cost a year to keep them over up to 20 years. The first neutering/spaying which EVERY animal (unless specific pedigree) should have for health reasons and to prevent more unwanted animals in shelters.
  • Do you have the patience to manage any behavioural issues and not treat the animal as disposable just because you find some elements difficult within the first months?
  • Is there anything which may change in future which will force you to treat that animal as disposable, such as having a baby. Can you manage an animal and a child?
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