Your cat’s behavior is sometimes a mystery, and you are upset by their recent refusal to follow house rules. Since cats can be a conundrum, the team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital thought getting a veteran house cat’s view on the situation would be helpful. We enlisted Tammy the Tabby to provide insight on issues cat owners commonly face. Tammy has been a house cat for 10 years and has developed many household preferences, so is well qualified to offer advice.

Tammy’s tip #1: Ensure your cat is healthy

Cats may behave inappropriately when we do not feel well. Many health issues, such as kidney problems, urinary tract infections, and diabetes can cause us to eliminate outside our litter box. If your cat is displaying unusual behavior, have the trained team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital evaluate them to see if a medical problem could be the culprit.

Tammy’s tip #2: Do not make your cats share

Cats can be quite territorial, and we do not appreciate having to share scratching posts, litter boxes, cat beds, or toys. The other cat’s scent in our litter box can make us search for another location to powder our nose, and if our favorite scratching post is in use, we may have to resort to scratching your new couch to show we are not happy about the situation. The general rule is one litter box per cat, plus one extra, to ensure all cats in the home are appeased. Each cat should also have their own scratching post, cat bed, and toys to avoid aggression between cats.

Tammy’s tip #3: Clean your cat’s litter boxes frequently

Cats are fastidious creatures, and we appreciate cleanliness, especially where our bathroom is concerned. You should scoop the litter at least once a day, and thoroughly clean the entire box weekly. 

Tammy’s tip #4: Put your cat’s litter boxes in quiet, secluded areas

Cats like to handle our business in private, and we do not want to be disturbed by sudden noises. My owners tried to put my litter box in the laundry room, but I quickly let them know this was not acceptable, because the spin cycle always startled me at the most inopportune moments.

Tammy’s tip #5: Use unscented clumping litter in your cat’s litter box

My owners liked the scented litters, but the strong scent was too powerful for my sensitive nose. Cats also do not appreciate too much litter. One to two inches is the preferred litter level, according to numerous feline surveys. 

Tammy’s tip #6: Ensure the litter box meets your cat’s specifications

Cats need litter boxes large enough to allow us to move around sufficiently. The box should be as long as your cat from their nose to their outstretched tail, and as wide as your cat’s length without their tail outstretched. Older cats may find navigating the box difficult and need a box with lower sides. Many cats also do not appreciate covered litter boxes or litter box liners. My owner thought clean-up was easier, but I hated feeling claustrophobic in my own powder room.

Tammy’s tip #7: Ensure your cat is not under stress

Any situation that causes your cat anxiety, such as workers fixing your air conditioner, a visiting guest, or your daughter’s tambourine lessons, can cause them to express their agitation by eliminating inappropriately. I had to demonstrate my vexation when my owner adopted an untrained puppy. I trained him quickly, and we are now best buddies.

Tammy’s tip #8: Provide your cat numerous scratching post surfaces in several locations

Scratching post surfaces are made of cardboard, carpeting, wood, sisal, and upholstery. Cats can be particular about the material they prefer to sink their claws into, so provide them with numerous surface options, as well as horizontal and vertical posts. I prefer to stretch myself as I sharpen my claws on my vertical scratching post in the morning, and I use my horizontal post later in the day. Place scratching posts in several locations, especially close to any inappropriate scratching targets. 

Tammy’s tip #9: Make your cat’s scratching posts desirable

Sprinkle catnip over the scratching post and place your cat’s favorite toys on the post. I confess I have a small catnip habit, but I allow myself only one roll in catnip a day. A kitty cannot afford to get lazy and start drooling all over the place. You can also cover inappropriate scratching targets, or place double-sided tape or sandpaper on the floor where your cat would stand to scratch the furniture. 

Tammy’s tip #10: Trim your cat’s nails every 10 days to two weeks

When a cat’s claws get too long, they become bothersome, and we may scratch more often to try to remove the annoying excess nail. I love a good cat manicure, and feel fancy after my owner trims my nails. However, some cats do not appreciate the process like I do, and may need a few sessions before they accept the procedure. 

Hopefully, Tammy’s tips will help you discover the cause behind your cat’s naughtiness. If you would like to discuss your cat’s inappropriate behavior, contact the team at Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital and schedule an appointment.