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Analysis of Cat Behavior
The most important thing to remember in analyzing the behavior of your cat is that your pet is not a human. Cats are not rational beings and their actions are not based on emotion. Changes in his behavior are not stemmed from any repressed anger with you; your cat is not trying to get revenge on you for being away from home too much or bringing a new baby into the house.
Negative changes in cat behavior are typically cause by stress or anxiety for the cat. It is easy to see why pet owners tend to conclude that the cat's feelings toward them are causing the behavioral differences; it is human nature to correlate two unrelated events. In reality, there is a missing link: your behavior may cause the cat physical anxiety, thus the cat's behavior alteration is based on physiological changes in his body.
One common complaint among cat owners is that their cat has suddenly chosen a new favorite place to deposit wastes instead of his litter box. This could be a result of a few factors. First, it may be a medical problem. Cats are prone to urinary track infections that make it extremely painful to urinate. Cats then associate the pain of urination with the litter box, so they do not like to visit their designated urination station. If your cat has stopped using the litter box, your first step should be to take him to the vet and have a thorough check-up run on him. Cats also have natural preferences for certain textures and smells, so if you have recently changed the type of cat litter you use, the cat may be showing that he does not care for the new feeling or smell of his litter. In avoiding the litter box, the cat may have become attached to new textures and locations around your household, perhaps the soft living room rug or bedroom closet. The best strategy is not to punish the cat; he will not understand. Rather, have a medical check up, switch litters, and continuously reintroduce the cat to his litter box. Reward him for using it, just like he was a kitten again.
To relieve any anxiety your cat may be feeling, carefully analyze any changes that have occurred in his life as of late. If a new baby or roommate comes into the house, your cat may feel threatened, so be sure to give him extra attention. If you suddenly have to spend more time away from home than normal, consider getting a second cat so that your cat does not spend his days alone. Although the cat is not having emotional reactions, his body feels different due to changes around him.
Be in tune with what may be causing your cat to feel anxious, analyze the situation, and do the loyal owner duty of relieving his stress.
This article was posted on February 08, 2005