Why is you cat not using the litter box? Why is she scratching the couch, again? Why is he always jumping on the counters?
Most people do not think cats have behavioral problems. However as most cat owners know kittens need to be taught not to jump up on the counter, eat from the sink, use the litter box and more. Many owners run into problems both with kittens and older cats behavior.
Probably the most common problem is the litter box. While most kittens automatically use it, it seems later in your cat’s life they decide the whole house is a toilet. There are any number of reasons why a cat, of any age could stop using the litter box.
A major reason, believe it or not, is people simply forget to clean the litter box. If your cat starts going outside the box the first thing you need to try is cleaning the box, twice a day for a few weeks.
If the cat still does not go in the litter box, you need to see a vet. Your cat could have a bladder infection, that could be life threatening if nothing is done soon. This is especially a risk to kittens. If you do not take immediate action your cat will keep going outside the box, and even when cured of a bladder infection, they will still go outside the box due to habit and associating the litter box with pain.
If your cat is not sick, and your box is clean there still are other things to do. Many older cats do not want to walk down stairs to go to the bathroom, therefor, especially if your cat has arthritis put a litter box on every floor of the home. Try this step with multiple cats, of any age, because occasionally cats can get territorial over their litter box not allowing another cat to use it.
The next biggest problem with cat behavior problem is cats scratching the couch. The first thing you need to do is buy more scratching posts. Many cats do not use their scratching post because they do not like the carpet on it, or its location. Get a variety of scratching posts and move them around the house, and block areas of the couch and other areas your cat likes to scratch with the post.
For playful kittens try attaching one of their favorite toys on top of the scratching post, as the kitten trys to grab the toy they will realize the purpose of the scratching post.
If all else fails you can try sticky tape on the areas they like to scratch, although tape constantly on your couch can become annoying to everybody else in the house.
Jumping up on tables and counters is another common behavioral problem with cats. The main mistake people make here, is yelling at the cat. Although it gets them off the counter, you have just reinforced the idea that they only have to follow the rules when you are around. A better option is to discreetly use a squirt bottle and try to not have the cat see you. This way you are not connected as the person who enforces the rules, the counter, or area they jump on is.
A way to prevent problems early on, as far as personality, friendliness and how well your cat listens is to socialize with it, especially with kittens. Kittens need attention, and in order to grow up to be friendly cats they must be around humans as much as possible. Never get a kitten unless you can devote time with it all day, almost every day, until it is at least 9 months old. If you can not spend all of this time off work or school, get an adult cat, who was well socialized as a kitten.
There are endless possible behavior problems for any animal, and even covering all of them for cats could make a dictionary sized book. Check out my reference for more information on other problems.