Fixing Cat Behavior Problems: Just Go In The Box!!!

By Dr. Meegan Weiler, Veterinarian

I got your attention, right? Sorry to disappoint you but “fix, cat, and behavior problems” should not be in the same sentence as it is a misnomer. I will however give you some tips to try to coexist peacefully with your feline friend(s). As long as you do what they want.

This is how I picture the domestication of cats. Cat decides, sure, I’ll come in and take a look around, grab a bite to eat. Wait. Did you just close the door to outside? I have to use a tiny box with little lavender scented rocks in it as a toilet? Nooooo!!!!!

Most issues we have with cats are problem behaviors and not actually behavior problems. For instance, cat urine marking in the house is a problem behavior for us (what? you don’t like a little urine on your fresh laundry?) but is a very normal behavior in nature for cats. It’s how they mark an important spot.

The trick to making cats happy (like I really know) is to figure out what they want. And they tend to need/want a lot. Perfectly done and perfectly on time. Do not vary. Ever.

Let’s talk litter boxes. If you have 2 cats then you need at least 3 litter boxes. Likely meaning one somewhere you don’t want it, like the kitchen. Because, to cats, 2 boxes close together count only as one. Behaviorists state that conventional boxes are too small and covered boxes are an invitation for an ambush upon exiting. No one enjoys that. I have used rubber maid sweater plastic storage boxes for years with my cats and they work great.

If you have a cat marking a specific area try putting a scratching post at that place. They may be content to leave their scent via scratching versus urinating. Win/win.

It’s always prudent to rule out any medical issues first before we decide your cat not only needs a bigger box, but 2 more, all the other cats gone from the household, and maybe some Prozac thrown in for good measure. It’s important to act immediately once you start seeing inappropriate urination. Don’t wait until they pee on your bed!

Feel free to contact Rocky Gorge with any questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior.

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