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Preventing Behavior Problems in Your Cat
By Sheila Segurson, DVM
A new kitten will provide you with hours of
entertainment and fun. But, your cute kitten will
soon turn into an adult cat. To ensure a long
and pleasurable relationship with your cat, you
should learn about typical feline behavior and how
to prevent behavior problems from happening.
Behavior problems are one of the most common
reasons that adult cats are relinquished to shelters
and, because they’re not as cute as kittens, they
are much less likely to fi nd new homes.
House soiling, aggression and scratching are the most common cat behavioral
problems. Most cat behavior problems are normal behavior – for a cat. Unfortunately,
they are unacceptable to many of us. Our cats, however, often do not know what we
have designated as unacceptable behavior.
There are several steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that your cute kitten will
turn into an adult cat with behavior problems:
Expose your kitten to a lot of different experiences. Kittens are better able than
adult cats to adapt to environmental changes. If you expose your kitten to anything and
everything she may come into contact with as an adult, you will have much less chance
of ending up with a fearful cat. Strive to make these exposures positive experiences;
teach your kitten that all these strange, new things are nothing to be afraid of. She
should be introduced to different ages, sizes and sexes of people; her cat carrier; other
animals; and different environments.
Associate these new experiences with things your kitty likes, such as playtime or food
treats. For example, place a special cat treat or a small bowl of moist cat food in her
carrier several times a week. This experience will increase the likelihood that she will
readily enter the carrier as an adult.
Teach your kitten to scratch in appropriate places. Cats scratch in order to refresh
and sharpen their claws. Teaching your kitten to scratch in appropriate places and