Is it possible to fix behavior issues in a cat?

Yes - cat training is possible! Maybe not in the same way that dogs can but it's still doable. This often comes down to focusing on encouraging the behavior you want to see and discouraging the unwanted behavior. The first step is to check with your vet to see whether they have recommendations or experience in certain cat behavior problems. If the doctor thinks further guidance is needed, you and your vet can discuss how to proceed.

What are some signs & symptoms of cat behavior problems?

- New or more frequent vocalizations

- Going to the bathroom outside of the litterbox or struggling to use the litterbox

- Scratching furniture, carpets, etc.

- Aggression toward humans or other animals

- Inappropriate urination/marking

- Cat bringing in prey

- Over sleeping or not sleeping enough

- Over eating, not eating enough, or eating non-food items

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

Our veterinarians always discuss any new behaviors at your cat's annual wellness exam, which is one of the reasons why bringing your cat in once a year is important. By seeing your cat yearly, we have a record of your cat's health and temperament, which will make it easier to determine the cause for new or unwanted behaviors. However, if your cat is up to date on their annual wellness exam with our office, you can give us a call to check-in with the doctor about any advice or recommendations they have. If appropriate, your doctor may schedule a physical exam with your cat for further assessment of the issue.

How would a veterinarian diagnose behavior problems in my cat?

Your vets diagnoses will primarily be determined by the info that you're able to provide. If your vet feels the change in behavior could be caused by a change in your cat's health, diagnostic testing may be recommended.

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

Certain cat behavioral changes can indicate specific health concerns. One example is if your cat is peeing outside of the litterbox, this could be indicative of a urinary tract infection. A male cat straining to urinate and/or yowling outside of the litterbox are often symptoms of a potential urinary blockage, which needs to be treated immediately, as this can be fatal. Cat aggression found in a cat that goes outside can lead to fights and injuries. As always, you should schedule your cat to be seen by their vet if new, significant changes in your cats behavior develop.

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

When it comes to cats, the longer that a behavior goes unchecked, it becomes harder and harder to correct. If the behavior is linked to a medical condition, time is of the essence, with earlier detection leading to the higher possibility of a cure.

Have any questions about cat behavior? Give us a call - we're here to help!

Photo by Steve Tsang