How to Solve Cat Behavior Problems

By: Dr. H. Ellen Whiteley
Gray Cat Being Kissed by Male Owner
Though cats are very stubborn but they can be trained. Carlos G. Lopez / Getty Images

Is your cat turning your couch into confetti? Or your best carpet into a litter box? Maybe she's up on the table at mealtimes or dashing through doors and into trouble.

Next to allergies, behavior problems are probably the most common reason cats lose their homes. But there's no need to toss Fluffy out into the street. This article will give you the answers to your behavior questions, including:


  • Understanding Cat BehaviorCat behavior problems can be quite frustrating, but the first step to correcting them is actually understanding where your cat is coming from. First, we will show you how to read your cat's body language. Whether your cat is crouched or her ears are pulled back, we will tell you what that body language means. We will also tell you how to read your cat's various meows. We will also analyze your cat's play and what it could mean about her behavior. Finally, we will show you how to encourage good behavior in your cat.
  • Cat-Training BasicsNow that you understand cat behavior, we will show you how you can mold and change it. In this section, we will show the basics of training a cat. We will show you how to reinforce good behaviors in your cat and how to discourage negative habits. We will also point out that there are some behaviors that you will not be able stop, and how you will be able to curb them.
  • Dealing With Cats That Bite and ScratchIf you are petting your cat and are constantly worried that she will turn around and scratch you, you have a behavior problem. Many people just accept that their cat is "unpredictable" or "temperamental," but you do not have to live with this behavior. We will show you how to break your cat of this habit as well as offer some reasons why your cat might scratch. Though it can be painful and upsetting, your cat may think she is just playing with you.
  • Dealing With Cats That Are Finicky EatersFinickiness is a trait that is often associated with cats. Though some owners may prefer cats for the detached aloofness, some pet owners might run out of patience with their picky-eating cat. In this section, we will offer some suggestions to make your cat a more accepting eater. The first rule of advice is not foster this behavior in your cat. You should not offer your cat endless alternatives if she turns up her nose at the meal you prepared.
  • Dealing With Cats That Knock Things DownCats instinctively like to explore and climb on high places. However, while your cat is investigating the top shelf of your bookcase, she might send your grandmother's vase crashing down to the floor. While it is impossible to keep track of cat's whereabouts all the time, you can discourage your cat from knocking over you belongings.
  • Dealing With Cats That Have Litter Box AccidentsCats that have difficulty using her litter box can be create a mess and damage to your home. In this section, we will offer some tips to help you get your cat to use the litter box properly. First, more litter boxes might be the solution to your problem, especially if you have more than one cat. Also, using simple, basic litter might suit your cat more than the fancy deodorizing litters. Finally, we will show you how to teach a cat to stick to her litter box instead of that plant in the corner.
  • Dealing With Cats That Eat NonfoodsMuch like dogs, cats will probably try to eat any piece of litter they find lying on the floor of your home. Not only is eating off the floor unsanitary, foreign objects could get stuck in your cat's throat and present a choking hazard. In this section, we will offer some reasons why your cat might engage in this activity. We will also show you some tips to get your cat to stop eating the various bits of junk she finds on her travels throughout your home.
  • Dealing With Cats That Scratch FurnitureCats may have an instinctive need to scratch and exercise their claws, but that doesn't mean you should allow you cat to trash your new favorite couch. While you can always declaw your cat, surgically removing the claws, this may not be an option if you have an outdoor cat. A scratching post or a cat toy might focus your cat's need to scratch on to an acceptable alternative. Finally, if your cat refuses to stop scratching, we will show you some disciplinary actions you can take.
  • Dealing With Skittish CatsIf you have ever visited a friend with a skittish or shy cat, you might not even be able to tell they have a cat aside from the litter box. On some level, cats are just naturally reclusive animals that do most of their roaming at night. However, to get your cat out from under the bed, you might only need to show your cat a little more love and tenderness. In this section, we will explore this method and other strategies for dealing with skittish cats.
  • Dealing With Cats That SprayCats usually begin spraying when they are kittens, but, if you don't break them of this habit, they can continue the behavior for the rest of their lives. Of course, a failsafe strategy for this problem is to get your cat neutered, but this might not be the most desirable option for some pet owners. We will show you some easier strategies for getting your cat to stick to the litter box.
  • Dealing With Cats That Suck WoolA cat that sucks wool might sound like a bizarre problem, but it is actually quite common. Any cat owner who has had a sweater destroyed by their cat would mostly likely want to know how to stop this behavior. In this section, we will describe some simple home remedies to break your cat of this habit.