One of the things that makes cats the pet of choice for busy people is that they’re
pretty low maintenance, especially
when compared to dogs and other
pets. They’re not “no maintenance,”
though. Keeping a cat is a lifetime
commitment and many felines live
well into their 20s. Chances are
you will face one or more of these
common problems at some point
during your cat’s lifetime.
1My cat potties outside the litter box.
By far, this is the most common
problem and, sadly, one that causes many people to relinquish their
cats. Because health problems and
physical pain can disrupt proper
litter box usage, first take your cat
to the vet to rule out a medical
cause. Once you’re sure your cat
has no health issues, look at the
litter box itself. (See “The Litter
If your litter box passes the test,
look at changes in the environment
that might cause your cat stress.
A new person or pet, the loss of a
favorite companion or an outdoor
neighborhood cat can stress out
your kitty, according to certified
cat behavior consultant, Marilyn
Krieger, who owns the Cat Coach
in Redwood City, California. “Make
sure your cat is neutered, and keep
the outside cats away.” Many devices at hardware stores or online will
make your yard uninviting for outdoor cats without harming them.
Ultrasonic devises that are motion
sensitive make a high-pitched noise.
If you use these, make them face
away from your home, she said.
Lemon and other citrus scents also
repel cats without hurting them.
If your cat urine-marked an area
in your home, clean it up thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to
remove odors and prevent further
soiling, Krieger recommended.
2My cat picks on my other cat.
With any form of aggression,
always rule out medical causes first.
Atlanta-based veterinary technician
and certified cat behavior consultant Ingrid Johnson said her clinic
offers an aggression exam, in which
the clinicians check for urinary
tract infections, crystals in urine,
embedded toenails, painful teeth,
impacted anal glands, and parasites.
Untreated hyperthyroidism can also
cause aggression in cats.
Once a medical cause has been
ruled out, make sure the cats have
enough resources. “We set cats
up to fail by making them have to
share,” Johnson said. “Create an
environment of plenty.” Provide
plenty of feeding stations and
water bowls throughout the house
so they don’t have to compete for
Krieger added that it could be
a matter of too many cats in too
small an area. “Provide plenty of
vertical territory, so the cats can
show their hierarchy.” Vertical territory includes tall cat trees, window
perches, and bookshelves.
Sometimes the neighborhood
cat’s visitation can cause one cat
to redirect his aggression toward
your other cat. All the more reason to deter outdoor cats from
your yard. You always want to
separate your cats, she advised,
placing the aggressive cat in a
darkened room with the blinds
closed for a few hours to calm
him down. “Sometimes you have
inter-cat aggression because the
cats weren’t introduced properly,”
Krieger said. Separate the cats and
gradually reintroduce them from
scratch, she recommended.
3My cat hates the new kitty I brought home.
Be patient. Introductions must be
gradual. Krieger said to make sure
Easy solutions to meet your cat’s needs so
that everyone in the household is happy.
10top Cat Parent Problems solved
BY SUSAN LOGAN-MCCRACKEN