Sometimes our pets act out, and cats are no exception to this. Cats can pick up new bad behaviors seemingly out of nowhere. This leaves many cat lovers wondering why they’re behaving so badly.
Your cat is behaving badly because it’s unhappy or unsatisfied in some way. Cats tend to use bad behavior to let their owner know that they’re not pleased with something. This can be a change in the house or schedule, a new pet, or even just having too much energy.
Let’s take a closer look at bad behaviors in cats and figure out what we can do to get them to stop.
Why Is My Cat Refusing To Use the Litter Box?
Cats refuse to use the litter box when it’s dirty if there aren’t enough litter boxes, or when they have underlying health problems. Determining which of these issues is the cause behind their reluctance to use their litter box will help fix the problem.
If your cat refuses to use their litter box, it’s important to make sure it’s clean. Cats need a clean place to go, and they’ll often seek out other places if their litter box is dirty.
If you’re not able to clean out the litter box regularly throughout the day, it may be best to consider litter boxes that automatically clean themselves after each use. This will help guarantee that your feline has a clean place to go every time.
In multi-cat homes, there’s also a chance that your cat may be going outside the litter box because there aren’t enough boxes to go around.
A good rule to follow is one litter box per cat plus one extra.
So, if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes. This ensures that there’s no competition for using litter boxes, and your cats never have to worry about using boxes that have already been used.
If you have enough litter boxes and they are clean, and your cat is still refusing to use their litter box, then you may want to get them to the veterinarian. There can be underlying health issues causing them to avoid the box, such as a UTI or other health problems.
Your Cat Could Be Spraying
One thing that often gets confused with refusing to use the litter box is spraying. Spraying is completely different from going outside the box. It is not full urination and has nothing to do with your cat not using their litter box.
In fact, your cat will still use the litter box like normal but will spray as well.
Spraying, like bad behavior, is a cat’s way of being territorial and showing its displeasure with something. Sometimes it can be caused by a new pet, a schedule change, or even an unwanted guest.
The best way to fix spraying is to figure out what they’re unhappy with and make sure they’re getting adequate love and affection.
Why Is My Cat Biting Other Cats or Me?
Your cat might be biting other cats or you due to aggression issues and spacing issues, a disagreement with another pet, or it just has too much energy. If your cat is the only pet, you’ll want to focus on ensuring they can work out their energy effectively.
Cats can have disagreements with each other just like humans. Sometimes this means that your cats may fight, so if this happens, it’s a good idea to give them each some time alone.
Make sure that your cats have plenty of space available to hide from each other if needed. If your cats are having issues with getting along, you can try a diffuser for cats. These diffusers emit a pheromone that helps calm your cats down, which can also help reduce fighting and aggression.
Sometimes this tension can also be helped by making sure your cats get equal attention. Try spending time alone with each cat to help them feel included.
This is especially important when a new cat comes into the picture. You don’t want the older cat to get jealous of the attention the new kitten is getting. So, make sure you are giving equal attention to each of them.
Finally, this behavior can be caused by your cat having too much energy.
There are many ways that having too much bottled-up energy can present itself, but biting is the most common. To combat this, make sure you’re playing with your cat daily and getting them engaging toys.
If you want to learn more about aggressive behavior in cats, here’s a helpful YouTube video from Jackson Galaxy. He goes into a lot of helpful detail about why cats can act aggressive and what you can do to help.
Why Is My Cat Scratching the Furniture?
Cats commonly scratch furniture in order to sharpen their claws. If you have a scratching post that your cat can use instead, there’s a chance they may not understand the purpose of the post. So, it’s important to show them what they should be scratching on instead.
If you don’t have a scratching post, consider investing in one for your pet.
It’s hard to blame our cats for scratching on furniture if they don’t know any better yet. This is very common with kittens who are still learning the rules. They don’t understand how expensive that couch was and why we’re telling them no.
But over time, we can help teach them where it’s appropriate to sharpen their claws.
Even cats who use a scratching post may try scratching other surfaces. It can be confusing for them to distinguish posts from furniture as posts are often lined with carpet or a similar fabric. So, they may think it’s okay to sharpen their claws on these fabrics in other places in your home.
The easiest way to keep them from doing this is to cover the area of the furniture they like to scratch with plastic or aluminum foil. This will keep them from scratching that area.
Additionally, don’t forget to encourage them when they use their scratching post instead of another surface.
Do this with affection and even treats. Don’t be afraid to give your kitty a firm “NO” when they’re scratching on something besides their scratching post, but always follow it up with encouragement when they do the right thing.
Am I Misinterpreting My Cat’s Behavior As Bad?
Because cats can’t talk to us, humans can often misinterpret feline behavior as being bad. This is especially common when a cat seems to be acting out. It’s essential to keep in mind that what we consider as bad behavior may simply be your cat being curious or having too much energy to burn.
Every behavior that your cat exhibits serve a purpose. They aren’t going to do something for no reason.
This is why it doesn’t make much sense when people brush off their cats as mean or hateful because it just means that they don’t understand their motives.
For example, scratching on the furniture can be indicative of too much bottled-up energy, but if someone doesn’t try to understand this fact, they may brush it off as their cat is bad.
Similarly, it can be easy to assume that urinating outside of their litter box is a direct message to us. Often, we can take it as payback for something we did wrong, and sometimes, the reason may actually be something that we can fix, like a dirty litter box.
However, there are other possibilities like health issues that can cause this behavior. It’s important to take the time to find out what is going on rather than brushing off behavior as bad.
The best way to prevent unwanted behavior in cats is to understand why they’re doing it in the first place. Find the source of the behavior and fix that first. Once you do this, the resulting behavior should dissipate over time.
If it doesn’t, then maybe there are other issues that you are missing and those need to be explored further.
Since our cats can’t speak to us, they tell us when something is wrong in other ways. Sometimes that is done through bad behavior. It’s essential to be aware that any bad behavior from your cat is indicative of another bigger issue. So, try and find the root cause of the bad behavior so you can stop it from happening again.
- Purina: Why Is My Cat Behaving Badly?
- Purina: How Many Litter Boxes Per Cat Do You Need?
- Pam Johnson-Bennett: Are You Misunderstanding Your Cat’s Behavior?
- YouTube: 8 Types of Cat Aggression Explained
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.