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Cat Behavior - Understanding and Managing Cat Behaviors

What is the most important thing to know about cat behavior?

The most important thing to understand is that cats are amoral and opportunistic. When they perform certain behaviors, it's not because they're mad at you or doing things out of spite. These actions might be simply to fulfill a need or a desire such as food.

David Steele
Advanced Animal Care of Mt. Pleasant

Is it possible to fix behavior issues in a cat?

While we cannot completely fix behaviors, we're not doomed. By carefully understanding the motivation behind our cats' behavior, we can provide many tools to help manage and improve these behaviors, returning life to a harmonious state.

What are some signs and symptoms of cat behavior problems?

Often, problem behaviors are actually normal cat behaviors expressed in ways that humans find undesirable. Excessive self-scratching, biting, or changes in regular activities such as where they eliminate can indicate a problem. Excessive self-care can be a sign of anxiety and stress.

When should I bring my cat in to see a veterinarian to discuss behavior?

Early intervention is best for addressing problem behaviors. The longer these behaviors persist, the more challenging it becomes to intervene and change that behavior. Therefore, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian as soon as a problem behavior is discovered.

How would a veterinarian diagnose behavior problems in my cat?

Many times, behaviors perceived as problems are normal for cats, just expressed in ways we may find undesirable, such as scratching your couch. Often, problem behaviors are normal activities expressed in inappropriate contexts, like attacking your leg when you're just walking by. The diagnosis largely depends on the situation in which the behavior occurs.

What are some possible health concerns that can arise from cat behavior problems?

Behavior and physical health are interconnected. Excessive grooming, for example, could mean that they're neglecting other health needs. Sometimes, their behaviors can affect their ability to obtain food and nutrition or engage in healthy social activities.

Why is early detection and diagnosis so important for cats with behavior issues?

Early detection is crucial because if we allow the behavior to continue, it may become permanent. An accurate early diagnosis can save us a lot of grief. Ineffective therapies based on guesses only delay the appropriate treatment and worsen the chances that the problem might become permanent. Therefore, early detection and an accurate diagnosis to apply the right type of therapy initially is very important.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (843) 483-5838 , or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Cat Behavior - FAQs

David Steele
Advanced Animal Care of Mt. Pleasant

What should I do if I notice a sudden change in my cat's behavior?

A sudden change, any change, whether behavior or some physical attribute, are the things that are really important to us as doctors in knowing when there's a problem and how we should approach it. So the first moment you notice a change in their behavior, that would be the time really to start asking the question and maybe seek out your veterinarian to help you with that.

What does my veterinarian need to know about my cat's behavior?

When we're evaluating the behavior, we want to know what frequency of that behavior is occurring, what situation or context that behavior is occurring in, the time of day that it may occur, because your schedule and all may influence those things, and many other factors. So it's really important for us when we see the problem behavior to really investigate things such as where they're expressing this behavior, how often they're expressing the behavior, what the situation that is occurring during that time, and also if you have tried to change the behavior, what kind of responses have you seen? Those will all be very helpful in evaluating your cat's behavior.

How do I know if a sudden change in my cat's behavior is a problem?

A change is probably the most important thing to me. That is when I would be first investigating the situation. The rest of it may be simply a conversation that you have with your veterinarian to really determine if this is a behavior that is occurring out of context, considered abnormal, or is it just a normal feline typical behavior?

How do I know if things like kneading and hunting are normal behaviors in my cat?

Behaviors are always judged within context. For instance, we do many self-care behaviors, but most of those behaviors would be very inappropriate to do in a public setting. So, same thing with cats. Cats need to scratch on surfaces to take care of their claws and they need to eliminate, and the areas of where they choose to do those behaviors, really what would be defining if that's abnormal or normal.

How do I assess whether a change in my cat's behavior means they're sick?

That's really good, and I'm not even sure I could give a ready-pet answer for that. If you notice a change, and you know your kitty better than anybody else does, that's the important thing. If you notice a change that has you concerned, you asking the question is concerning enough. I would recommend you seek out your veterinarian to get further advice and investigation.

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