Try Cat Psychology -
Before All Else Fails

Cat psychology should help us recognize that when a cat misbehaves she is often only trying to tell us something . . .

Cats, wonderful creatures that they are, can be infuriating at times. They rarely listen to reason.

You can lecture them on the wrongs of scratching your furniture till the cows come home; will they take it in?

Not a bit, unless of course kitty herself has come to realize that the scratching post that you provided for her has a much better surface to run her nails over.

You can try pulling out your hair. You can try becoming very frustrated at whatever your cat does that annoys you.

You can try asserting your authority by telling your cat that you are the human and she is merely the cat and what you say goes around here.

You could, if you want to try something that has no chance of working, punish your cat for her unwelcome behavior.

But before you attempt any of that stuff that is simply doomed to fail, why not try a little cat psychology?

Can cats be trained? Yes they can, or rather they can be persuaded to act in certain ways. Several breeds of cat, the Maine Coon for one, can be persuaded to walk on a leash. Other cats take delight in retrieving thrown balls or crumpled paper.

Domestic felines are not circus animals and are not predisposed to performing tricks but with a little psychology they can be persuaded away from bad cat behavior.

Cat Psychology or Medical Treatment?

Before you embark on your mission to use catology to persuade your cat to mend her ways it would be best to ensure there is no medical reason for your pet's behavior.

black and white cat's faceHumans and their cats should be able to live with each other without too many areas of discord.

If your cat normally has no problem with using the litter box and suddenly starts using your carpet as a toilet there could be a health issue, a urinary tract infection or cat diabetes, or feline kidney disease.

A cat that has always been confident with humans who suddenly refuses to let you pet her may be in pain from an injury, rather than just being awkward.

A visit to your veterinarian will help ascertain if the cause of your cat's unwanted behavior is a medical one, if your cat gets the all clear, you can start to work to modify her ways.

Cat Psychology and the Feline View

Cats do not see the world in the same way as humans or use the same thought processes as humans.

If a cat is shouted at or in some other way punished for swinging on your drapes for an example, she will not associate the punishment with swinging on the drapes but will associate the punishment with you.

A gently but firmly spoken command "stop", or a clap of your hands, may distract your cat from what she is doing but will not necessarily persuade her not to do it again.

You may have success with a squirt bottle filled with water. A fine mist sprayed on her coat each time she commits a naughty act may eventually give her unpleasant associations with that act.

The psychological trick here is to be sneaky and not let kitty know that the water came from your direction, don't let her see what you are doing. With luck she will relate getting wet with what she is doing and not with you.

Patience is a virtue here as it is anytime that you are trying to encourage your cat to change her ways.

Cats generally do not behave badly out of spite or vindictiveness towards you.

If your feline companion is refusing to use her litter box or scratch post, constantly meowing, behaving aggressively, or is excessively nervous, it is either because her view of what she is doing is different from yours or there is an underlying reason for her behavior.

Stress and the Psychology of Cats

Cats are very sensitive to stress. Even a small change to your pet's daily routine can be very stressful.

cat looking up

Your cat may find it psychologically difficult to accept the addition of another pet to her household, or another human being.

Even a change in her environment such as you rearranging the furniture or adding a scary (to her) new item of home furnishing could be the trigger of bad conduct from your cat.

If you feel that stress could be a factor in your cat's behavioral problems you may find a Feliway Diffuser to be of some help. 

Many find that it helps to treat the problem of aggression in stressed pets and allows the pet to relax around other people and animals.

If you have tried all that you can think of to find a solution to your cat's behavior, and whatever you try, remember that success does not usually come quickly.

You may wish to consider a session with a pet psychologist/behaviorist.

A behaviorist should be able to get to the underlying cause of your cat's conduct and suggest possible solutions.

Keep in mind though that it may take several visits and some cat psychologist/behaviorist are pretty pricey.

Before you take that course of action you may prefer to see what help you can obtain from a good cat psychology book. There are many such books available, this one gets good reviews:

Twisted Whiskers: Solving Your Cat's Behavior Problems

Cats and humans should be able to live together without too many areas of conflict. Often our feline pets try to communicate with us by using cat body language but frequently we fail to take notice or misread the signals.

Cat psychology should help us recognize that when a cat misbehaves she is often only trying to tell us something. . . perhaps we should listen.

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