Ask the Cat Behaviorist: Solutions for Common Cat Issues

Introduction: Dr. Marci Koski, a certified Feline Behavior and Training Professional, offers expert advice on various cat behavior concerns. From litter box issues to grooming habits, Dr. Marci provides insightful solutions to help both cats and their guardians lead harmonious lives. Read on for her expert guidance on common cat dilemmas.

Issue 1: Cat Not Covering Litter Box Deposits

Dear Dr. Marci, My cat Lily is 10 months old and she doesn’t cover her pee or poop. She will make a hole and do her business, but afterwards, she’ll “scratch” the side of the litterbox very briefly. Today, for example, she also scratched the leg of a table next to the litter box. She’s not declawed, she’s neutered and healthy. I checked her paws and joints and everything is fine! We use normal, clumping litter. Any advice? – Lucia

Dr. Marci’s Response: Lily’s behavior indicates she may not have fully learned the instinct to cover waste. Consider using a larger litter box and ensure the litter is fine-grained and unscented. This can encourage her to scratch and cover. Also, refrain from punishing or forcing her, as this might exacerbate her discomfort. Gradual adjustments can make a difference.

Issue 2: Cat Pulling Out Fur by the Tail

Dear Dr. Marci, My 17-year-old cat has been pulling out her fur by her tail. She has done this occasionally on her legs over the years, but never in large sections. The affected area is about 3×4 inches. Any ideas? – Susanne Dennis

Dr. Marci’s Response: Over-grooming can be a response to stress or medical issues. First, consult your vet to rule out any underlying health concerns. If medical reasons are ruled out, consider environmental stressors. Create a routine, ensure positive relationships with other pets, and provide mental and physical stimulation. Anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications may be considered in severe cases.

Issue 3: Cat Urine Marking on Sofa

Hi Dr. Marci, We adopted a 2-month-old female kitten into our multi-cat household. While two of our male cats adjusted well, our youngest, Shiva, is urine marking our sofa. We’re considering replacing it. Should we use Feliway on the new sofa to help Shiva adjust? – Tom Randall

Dr. Marci’s Response: Urine marking is likely due to Shiva’s stress. Changing the sofa might increase his anxiety. Instead, focus on creating positive scent associations. Offer alternatives like scratching posts, cat beds, or blankets with his scent. Using Feliway spray and allowing Shiva to mark the new sofa with his scent via a sock may be beneficial. Additionally, prioritize stress-reduction activities and maintain a harmonious environment.

Conclusion: Dr. Marci Koski’s expert advice provides valuable insights into addressing common cat behavior issues. By understanding the root causes and implementing appropriate strategies, cat owners can foster a more peaceful and contented environment for their feline companions. Remember, patience and consistency are key in addressing any cat behavior concern.

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