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Cat Behaviors

What Your Cat Is Trying to Tell You

By Mary Kearl. April 24, 2013 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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Cat Behaviors

Cats can be hard to read, and on top of that, sometimes their behavior can seem downright strange. Learn about what different cat behaviors mean and why cats do certain things.

Cats have a reputation for being curious. But what about their curious cat behaviors? Do you feel like your cat is trying communicate but you can’t read their body language or cat-tidue? Has your cat developed some troubling quirks and you can’t figure out how to intervene?

The development of new or troubling behaviors could be a sign of aging or boredom, or the result of a stressful life change, such as a change in the daily routine, moving, or having a new being (be it a human or of the four-legged variety) join the home. Sometimes such a change may indicate illness or discomfort; if you suspect that is the case, seek a vet’s help right away.

Take a look at these common questions and answers about cat behavior.

When Cats Have Accidents

Is your pet inconsistent with going to the bathroom in the proper spot? According to the ASPCA, at least 10 percent of cats have troubles with eliminating. The causes could be a number of things:

  • conflicts with other cats in the family
  • particular preferences for litter boxes, litter type or the position of the box
  • past history of medical issues, such as a UTI or feline interstitial cystitis

The above bladder troubles can result in frequent urges to urinate and straining while urinating, and after your cat associates negative memories and painful symptoms related to elimination, this can lead to chronic litter box problems.

Current health problems, such as a UTI, diabetes, or kidney stones may also result in symptoms such as incontinence which may mean more accidents around the house.

The best way to prevent or address such issues? Discuss any underlying cause with you vet and then make sure your litter box setup is as specific to your cat’s wants and needs as possible--make it a place in which your cat is comfortable doing their business!

Why Cats Meow

Kittens will vocalize hunger or discomfort to their mama cats by meowing. Cats of all ages will communicate with humans about hunger, pain, loneliness, illness, playfulness, and greetings with their vocalizations. Nocturnal noises may signal stress or aging-related issues. Discover what your cat’s purring, hissing, growling and other vocalizations mean.

Why Cats Eat Grass

The desire to gnaw on greenery may stem from innate self-care. Cats sometimes eat grass to treat an upset stomach. Learn more about why cats self-medicate in this way and make sure you know which plants are poisonous for pets.

Is Your Cat a Picky Eater?

Our beloved pets can be particular about the taste, temperature, texture, consistency (wet or dry), and freshness of their meals; the type and location of their dish; or their feeding times. That said, any sudden refusal to eat food may be tied to physical discomfort, an illness, or a stressful change to the home dynamics. If you're concerned your pet is being fussy about food, get more information about how to feed a finicky cat.

Reading Cat Body Language

Each movement cats make--with the tail, ears, eyes, head, and body--is a way of communicating their wants, needs, and emotions to you and to other cats. Get insights in how to spot aggression and other moods in cats through reading cat body language.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

A natural, innate behavior, cats scratch for several reasons: to help shed a dull surface layer on their claws, as a form of marking which communicates messages to other cats, to stretch, to play, to fight stress, to greet you and, occasionally, out of frustration for not being able to do something they want to do. Read more about cat scratching and get tips for how to prevent it from being a destructive activity.

Separation Anxiety in Cats

Concerned that your cat may be feeling stressed or anxious when left alone? If your cat meows more than usual or acts up as you’re leaving, or, while you’re away, has accidents inside the home, eats a lot more or a lot less than the routine, destroys household items, or self-grooms in excess, your cat is likely struggling with separation anxiety. Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for separation anxiety in cats.

More on Cat Care

When to Take a Cat to the Vet
Introducing Cats to New Cats or Dogs
How to Train a Cat

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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