You'll find below advice on dealing with
Confinement stress ~ House soiling ~ Urine spraying
Furniture scratching ~ Excessive grooming ~ Over or Under eating
If you feel you need more support with any of these topics, or have other behavioural concerns do contact Martina
There are various reasons why many cat owners prefer to keep their cats indoors.
Risks associated with the big outdoors include the dangers posed by traffic, disease or from simply getting lost or locked in somewhere.
However, cats are extremely territorial and the stress created by home confinement can be a major cause for behavioural problems in indoor cats.
Caring owners must thus balance the relative risks of letting the cat outdoors in their particular location with the potential stress related to confinement.
A great stress reducer for the indoor cat is to provide plenty of climbing opportunities as well as toys that provide mental stimulation.
Cats are often referred to as naturally clean animals.
Reasons for an indoor/outdoor cat to suddenly start house soiling include:
The problem may not be helped by poorly located litter trays. Trays should be placed in areas where the cat feels safe and away from food and water bowls.
Owners should ideally provide a few litter trays, located in different locations around the house. The choice of litter can also be critical for many cats. This can only be determined on a 'test and learn' basis.
Urine spraying mustn’t be confused with inappropriate urination.
Spraying is usually carried out against a vertical surface. It's a from of scent marking on a territorial basis.
Ordinarily there should be no need for a cat to spray urine indoors, provided it perceives it's home as it's secure 'core den'.
Indoor spraying is usually a sign of stress or insecurity in a cat.
Therefore, the owner should first pay attention to any changes in or around the home that may have caused elevated stress levels in the cat. A new neighbour cat, a 'cat flap invader' or building work in the home are typical examples. If no immediate cause is identified and resolved then medical causes for the change in behaviour must be quickly investigated.
Lastly, seeking behavioural advice might be appropriate.
Scratching potentially performs two important functions for a cat
Some cats prefer scratching vertical surfaces and others prefer horizontal surfaces.
If your cat scratches inappropriately in a number of different locations in the home, the first step is to rule out territorial marking as a motivation. Otherwise, scratching can be anxiety-related and a sign that your cat feels insecure.
The first step to tackle a scratching problem is to identify the underlying cause. A treatment programme, potentially including changes to your cat’s environment can then be identified that will relieve the factors driving the scratching.
However, as ever prevention is better than cure and the provision of one or more robust tall scratching posts may be a straightforward solution to keeping furniture and carpets safe.
Over grooming occurs more commonly in cats that are kept indoors on it's own.
Signs of over grooming are typically seen on the lower back, abdomen and inner thighs. Due to the constant licking and grooming the cat can create near baldness in the affected area.
Over grooming can be caused by different factors such as:
Over grooming usually stops once the trigger for the behaviour is removed.
Obesity in cats is becoming an increasing problem.
Of course a common reason for a cat becoming obese is being presented with over-large portions of food by their owner. This can especially be true for indoor cats who are not burning off the same calories as an outdoor cat and may be suffering from higher levels of boredom.
The problem is exasperated by cat-food manufacturers producing highly palatable foods. These just encourage cats to over-eat even more.
Solutions against obesity in cats include:
In multicat households there is always this one cat that speed-eats the own portion and then moves swiftly to the other cats’ bowls - feed your cats in different rooms and stop your gorger from steeling the others’ food!
Under eating / weight loss
If your cat suddenly loses weight, consult your vet immediately as there might be a serious medical problem.
If your cat is a fussy eater, try the following:
In multi-cat households there can often be one cat that 'speed-eats' their own portion and then moves swiftly on to eat the other cats’ bowls as well. If this happens feed your cats in different rooms and stop your 'gorger' from steeling the others’ food!