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Why Does My Cat Do That? 10 Behavior Issues

Why Does My Cat Do That? 10 Behavior Issues

Critter Culture Staff



Kitties are the cutest and add so much joy to our lives; however, behavioral issues are incredibly common.

Fortunately, most felines don't misbehave without a reason, and once you know the "why" behind their problem, you can do a lot to help them get back on track. We've got the full scoop on common cat behavior problems and how to fix them.


Peeing outside the litter box

Maine coon cat using the litter box. Lightspruch / Getty Images

Litter box issues are probably the top concerns of cat owners. After all, cat urine is potent stuff, and the scent can be seriously hard to eradicate.

The good news is that almost all litter box problems are solvable. First, make sure your cat doesn't have a medical concern, like a bladder infection or crystals in the urine. If there's no medical cause, try out different litter boxes and litter to see if the cat's preferences are the problem.


Scratching furniture

The cat is sitting in the left side of the picture and scratching the sofa to the right. In the background there is a dark green wall. The cat is sitting on its hind paws. Kira Kutscher / Getty Images

Scratching is natural and necessary for cats. In the outdoors, they claw on things like tree bark to claim territory. This behavior keeps their nails sharp by removing dull outer sheaths, and it's a great exercise for their upper body.

The primary way to stop your favorite feline from tearing up your home is to provide lots of approved places to scratch. Try out a range of cat furniture, like vertical posts and cardboard ramps. You can prevent your pet from ripping up your furniture by strategically covering it with double-sided tape.


Acting aggressively toward other pets

A young black cat looks scared as she arches her back before fleeing as a grumpy old dog looks over the side of the sofa and barks at the feline. Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

If your cat is suddenly mean as hell toward other pets — hissing, scratching, or attacking them — it could be a case of redirected aggression, assuming that the hostile kitty is not sick or otherwise unwell.

Confrontations happen when something scares your cat, and they lash out at the nearest animal. The way to handle this is to place your upset feline in a quiet room for a few hours to let them calm down.


Biting your ankles

Woman's feet with woolen socks, domestic cat, enjoying inside home on the radiator. m-gucci / Getty Images

Is your kitty cat an ankle-biter? If so, you're lucky since it's almost always a sign that your cat wants to play.

But if they get too carried away, it crosses the line into play aggression. The solution is to help your mini tiger burn off energy and satisfy their hunting instincts via twice-daily sessions with a few favorite toys.


Hiding from houseguests

British shorthair cat hiding under the table chendongshan/ Getty Images

Some cats are just a little bit shy, but others won't come out of hiding for hours after seeing a stranger in the house.

Try playing with your scaredy-cat or holding them on your lap and giving them treats just before a visitor walks into the house. Ask your guest not to talk to or even look at your kitty because felines interpret direct eye contact as a threat. Gradual exposure therapy like this will help your pet come out of its shell.


Meowing all the time

Lonely and scared kitten cries for food after being found in an abandoned car. Malcolm MacGregor/ Getty Images

Some breeds tend to be more mouthy than others; Siamese are known for their loud and frequent meows. Other cats simply learn it gets them what they want.

If your pet is getting carried away and meowing way too much, stop responding to them, as difficult as it might seem. Ignore them until they're quiet for a few seconds, and only then give them any attention. Eventually, your cat will learn that the quiet approach gets them the reward they're after.


Waking you up

sleepy women laying in bed with cat Elitsa Deykova/ Getty Images

We know you adore your little house tiger, but you might not feel so full of love when they wake you up well before your alarm. The primary way to stop this bad behavior is to refuse to respond.

Any reaction from you is likely to reinforce their routine. Most importantly, don't get up and give your pet food unless you want early wake-up calls to become an ingrained habit.


Refusing to get into a carrier

Close up of a little cat in a shelter. A frightened kitten with green eyes staring out from a cage.

Felines quickly make the connection between seeing their carrier and getting whisked off to a scary place where they get shots. If possible, keep their carrier out in the main area of the house 24/7, all year round. Put a cozy little blanket in there and throw in some treats now and then.

The goal is for your pet to see it as a non-threatening piece of kitty furniture. If you pull it off, the next time your tabby goes to the vet, there will be much less of a fight.


Biting your hands

A cat bitting hand and thinking about next attack. Lying on ground covered with snow VSFP/ Getty Images

Biting hands could be play aggression or a sign your cat is afraid of human hands. You can help them overcome fear by resting yours near them as often as you can, in a non-threatening way.

If kitty attempts to bite, take your hand away and say "no." Letting the cat eat food and treats from your palm can also help them make a positive association.


Performing compulsive behaviors

Small gray kitten licks ear of tabby kitten. Couple of kittens in love hugging, kissing. Sleepy kittens are gentle, take care of Cat family. Pets in cozy home on couch. Beton studio/ Getty Images

Just like people develop overwhelming habits, so do cats. You might notice your cat grooming itself way too much or getting obsessed with chewing on a wool blanket.

Some kitties behave compulsively as a response to anxiety or stress, and other cats are born with a genetic tendency to gnaw on certain materials. If you notice your cat is acting out of control with repetitive actions, get them checked by a vet. They can rule out medical culprits and help you manage troublesome behavior.


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