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​7 Common Feral Cat Behavior Problems (and How to Solve Them)

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While cats are great and sweet companions to have around, some of their actions can be annoying. In this article, we've compiled some information about the common feline behavioral problems, how you can identify them and resolve them.

1. Aggressive Behavior

Aggression often spotted in play-induced biting and scratching is a tricky and challenging behavior to address in cats. Mood disorders, illness, trauma, anxiety, impulsiveness, or frustration are all leading causes of aggression in cats. If your cat suddenly picks up an aggressive behavior, here are ways to solve it;

  • Talk to your veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They will help you identify what might be causing aggression and recommend ways to treat or address it.
  • Spay or neuter your cats. Unaltered cats are more prone to aggression and may influence poor behavior in other cats.
  • Ensure that your cat is comfortable has enough of the essentials. Place litter boxes, food, and water bowls, toys, beds, and perches all around their living environment.
  • Never hit/punish an aggressive cat. However, make a statement that you have zero tolerance for aggression, especially when breaking up fights in multi-cat households.

2. Excessive Meowing

When your cat occasionally meows, it may seem attention-seeking and adorable. But when it becomes constant and loud, your cat might be trying to tell you something. So, what do you do? The first step to try and control irregular meowing is to try to figure out the root cause.

Cats' meows may either translate to attention, food, or dirty litter boxes. Alternatively, your cat may be in heat — a typical behavior in cats that are not spayed/neutered or suffering from an ailment, injury, or parasites. Don't ignore your cat's meow or punish them! Instead, get to the bottom of the constant meows and address them. If necessary, seek professional assistance from your vet.

3. Destructive Scratching

Scratching is second nature to cats. It allows them to remove worn-out claws, mark their territory while keeping them energetic and healthy. However, if your cat starts tearing up and destroying items, you should be worried.

To prevent destructive scratching, invest in several scratching posts. Apply catnip or other cat-friendly plants to the scratching posts to lure your cat into using them.

4.Chewing/Destroying Plants

Cats are curious creatures, and it's not surprising to catch them probing or feasting on some of your beautiful houseplants. If your cat is fond of chewing and destroying your plants, try spraying them with safe cat repellents.

Alternatively, you may grow some cat-friendly plants like catnip, cat grass, which will shift the attention from other plants. Avoid toxic plants that can be hazardous to your cat.

5.Over-Sleeping and Staying Indoors

Your once energetic kitty doesn't seem interested in doing anything at all. Be it playing, eating, or even going outdoors, they seem uninterested. If you notice such lethargic behavior in your cat, it is a cause for concern. Book an urgent appointment with your vet and notify them of any other confirmed symptoms.

6. Over-Grooming

Unless it's a medical issue, certain over grooming practices like excessive scratching, licking, hair loss, or skin sores may indicate that your cat is infested with parasites. Fortunately, parasites can be quickly dealt with. Talk to your vet about parasite control options suitable for your cat.

7. Sneaking Out at Night

Cats are nocturnal creatures and often have the urge to explore at night. Unfortunately, being out in the dark could put your cat in danger. Here's how to deal with such behavior;

  • Ensure your cat has no underlying medical issues that may trigger such actions.
  • Identify and make the escape route unfriendly and ensure your cat wears outdoor safety gear.
  • Enrich your cat's immediate environment so they're active during the day and motivated to sleep at night.
  • Invest in a cat enclosure and fill it with cat essentials.
  • Feed your cat their main meal at night. Alternatively, invest in a timed feeder — one that dispenses food at preset times and keeps your cat entertained.

Your cat's behavioral issues are best addressed with a consistently disciplined approach. However, should they become unmanageable, it is time to visit your vet. There could be a deeper reason behind your cat's abrupt change in behavior. Your vet will assess your cat's physical and mental health before recommending medication, therapy, or other appropriate actions.

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