Cats have been domesticated since the dawn of civilization. They’ve been worshipped, owned, traded, bred, and killed over the course of human existence. In short- they’ve always been a part of us, and they still very much are. Housecats are one of the most popular pets in the world. They’re easy to train, small enough to house, and independent enough to spare your attention.
They seem like the perfect pet, right? Maybe not. Tell that to the tattered corner or your couch, or your urine soaked mattress. There’s nothing more frustrating that doing everything right, and having everything go horribly and disgustingly wrong.
You’ve taken perfect care of your sweet fuzzy housecat. He’s had his shots, been fixed, is well-fed, and has a regular bevy of household admirers. In other words, he has no reason to be unhappy. One evening he hops up on your lap, purring like a revved up engine, and being as sweet as any cat can possibly be. You start to pet him, congratulating yourself on being such a fabulous pet owner- and that’s when you feel it. The warm spray hitting your chest and bouncing up to mist your hair. The feral fur-ball is spraying all over you and your thousand-dollar mattress. You can put up with a cat scratching the couch, but this- this is taking it too far!
No, your cat’s not possessed- he’s just trying to tell you something. Unfortunately, he’s using his pee to do it. Here’s a very basic guide to some very disruptive feline behaviors:
Those ragged corners of your couch, or that bare spot on your favorite carpet aren’t there because your cat is angry or trying to upset you. In fact, it’s not about you at all. Your cat’s claws are necessary to their survival (because Fluffy’s so fierce), and they need to keep them in shape. Just like you clip your nails, a cat needs to remove the dead skin from around their claws.
Scratching helps keep their claws sharp, and helps to establish their territory. Cats actually have scent glands in their paws, and they use these to take ownership of parts of your home. If this is a problem, try getting them a scratching post. You may have to get several different models before you find one that your kitty will choose over your couch.
Sharing their Kill
If you’ve ever woke up to find a mouse carcass sharing your pillow- don’t worry, it’s not the mafia. It’s just your cat’s way of telling you how much they love you. Cats associate food with survival. You feed them, and they may be trying to feed you in return. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I want you to live”. That’s about as sentimental as a cat can get. So, dispose of the “offering”, clean your pillow- and pet your feline companion a little bit more than usual.
Ignoring the Litter Box
It can be really distressing to discover that your cat’s been using your laundry pile as their personal bathroom. Cat urine is notoriously strong smelling, and difficult to get out of pretty much everything. Their feces isn’t much better, and can cause infection.
This can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, and can signal a need to get your cat to the vet. If a UTI isn’t the culprit, you may need to clean the litter box more frequently. Or, change the litter box altogether. Having options can help.
If a cat is fixed and still spraying, then it may be due to psychological issues. Try to identify any major changes, and try to make your cat feel more secure.