Feline Behavior

From starting your new kitten off on the right paw to dealing with one of the most unsettling of cat behaviors, we’re here to help. You’d be surprised how often what you think is a behavior issue with your cat or kitten is in reality rooted in a medical problem. Check out this important information about how to introduce your new kitten to your household or how to deal with your cat’s inappropriate urination.

For more information or to make an appointment for your feline friend, give us a call at 301-733-7579.

Cat's Inappropriate Urination Behavior

There are two main reasons for inappropriate urination habits in cats. The first and usually the easiest to resolve is a urinary tract infection or some other form of medical condition. Before trying anything else contact your veterinarian to eliminate any medical problems that may lead to inappropriate urinating. If there is no medical reason then it is most likely behavioral.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Clean all affected area with a non-ammonia based odor eliminator.
  • Cover the affected area with a plastic bag.  It will change the physical sensation for the cats, and also prevent any further soiling of the area. You may also want to use a scent deterrent such as mint, scented soaps, citric scents, dryer sheets, and moth balls or any scent your cats dislikes.
  • Use multiple litter boxes. There should be one more litter box in your house than there are cats. Place them in different locations and use various styles (open, covered deep, shallow, big, small). Take note to which style of litter box they frequent most.
  • A variety of litters should also be offered. If your cat is urinating on soft surfaces consider a softer litter (sand, shredded newspaper, shredded towels).
    DO NOT USE CEDAR CHIPS. Some cats even prefer different amounts of litter. Try varying levels of litter from a large amount to very little or even none at all.
  • Litter of any kind should be scooped DAILY and litter replaced every other day to once a week depending upon the type of litter. Before replacing litter, boxes should be washed with a mild bleach solution to be sure any and all bacteria are killed. Old litter boxes can be permeated with scent and should be discarded and replaced.
  • Take your cats to the litter box frequently and praise it when it uses an appropriate box.
  • If you see your cat squatting outside the box, Water pistols, whistles, and tins of pennies all work as form of punishments with some cats. However, punishment will ONLY work if your pet is startled while doing the act.
  • Punishment even 5 second after the act will not correct the problem. Physical punishment such as rubbing your cat's nose in the soiled area is useless and potentially dangerous for you and your cat.
  • Do not give your cat free access to the entire house. Start with a limited space and then increase as the behavior is controlled.
  • If you have multiple cats in your household there may be a territorial issue or competing for use of the litter box.  Try separating all your pets into rooms with their own litter box and see if the problem continues.

Introducing A New Kitten

It is always an exciting time when a new addition is made to your family. Whether it be a puppy or kitten, or any other sort of pet, there are a few things that are important to do before their arrival.  The most important thing to remember is to have your pet seen by a veterinarian before introducing them to your household.  Cats and kittens can have upper respiratory infections that are very contagious to other cats.  It is also important to have any  new cat or kittens tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline FIV.  They are both extremely contagious diseases that are eventually fatal.  Dogs can also have diseases such as kennel Cough and Parvo that can be contagious to other dogs.

Both cats and dogs can be infected with parasites therefore it is recommended that you bring a fresh stool sample with you to your first vet appointment.  Most puppies and kittens are born with worms, however most over-the-counter dewormers only work for certain types of round worms.  Your veterinarian can test a sample of stool from your new pet and prescribe the most effective dewormer.

Now that the health of your pet has been checked, you are almost ready to bring them home.  For Younger animals the next step is to puppy or kitten proof your home.  Puppy's and kitten are very curious creatures much like babies.  Make sure that all cleaning supplies and harmful plants are safely and securely stored away, or removed from harms way. It is also important to hide any electrical cords that your pet may have a desire to chew on and to cover electrical outlets with plug covers. Chewing live wires could lead to severe mouth burns or worse, electrocution. Small items such as buttons, needles, beads, nails, thumbtacks, paper clips, yarn and thread should all be kept in well sealed containers. If swallowed, such items could be harmful to your pet.

Adult dogs or cats need slightly different preparations.  Be sure to have a small room or kennel area set up for your new pet.  Coming into a new household can be frightening, but having an area of their own that is quiet and secure can help them to adjust to their new environment.  Make sure they have their own food and water bowel that can easily be found.

Now you are ready to bring home your new pet. Once home, socialization is needed to introduce your puppy or kitten to your family and also to other pets. In introducing the pet to children it is good to remember a few simple tips. First is a slow introduction starting with several short periods of time. Teach the child the proper way to hold your pet, and the proper way to pick him up. They also need to learn that grabbing an animal by his tail or ears is wrong. If frightened a puppy or kitten may try to protect himself by scratching or biting.

In introducing them to other pets the same rules of thumb apply as with children. Most pets, cats, dogs or both, if introduced slowly will accept a new pet into the household. However, it is wise not to leave them alone until you are sure that they will get along. Start with supervised socialization, with both pets either on leashes or separated by some sort of barrier, (carriers, fence, baby gates etc) so that they may get acquainted without any worry of injury.