Cat behavioural problems? How to decipher the issue

7 Apr, 2021

Cat behavioural problems? How to decipher the issue

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Pet owners and especially cat owner often struggle to distinguish between a cat’s demeanour and behavioural issues. If you detect cat behavioural problems how do you deal with them? And more importantly how do you find out what is causing the issue?

In this article on ‘cat behaviour explained’ we offer the most common challenges a cat owner is likely to experience collected from our experienced cat sitters and cat owners.

Learning about cat behavioural problems

cat behavioural problems
Sometimes cat behaviour can be deceptive

Have you ever wondered what causes certain natural cat behaviours? A cat’s demeanour is perceived as rather illusive for most people, because cats are so mysterious in many ways, but also beautiful and magical creatures. Deciphering a particular behaviour in a cat can be very challenging.

And as with human behaviour, sometimes cat behaviors and what they mean describes poor behaviour because of problems that are solvable.

Cats experience and express a wide range of emotions and feelings such as, for example, fear, pleasure, joy, hunger, frustration and other various emotions that affect the cat and how he/she behaves. 

Keeping cats is a responsibility

Some behaviours, even the most common ones, are not very understood by many people and this unclear communication can impair the cat’s quality of life and the development of behavioural problems.

Fortunately, most of the problems can be solved and it all starts with clearer communication from both sides. When a cat is suffering with a certain issue, it may start to play up, a little like a baby would. For example they could have a health trouble or even something such as fleas; and in this case, you may want to look at a flea collar.

Cats should get their regular check ups and you should ensure that they look happy and healthy.

Cat behaviour explained: Detecting the main cat problems

Let’s say you’ve got your first kitten, let’s call him Felix! Felix will need to learn about his territory and play and develop just like any other pet would. They need a safe and comfortable environment. Although sometimes, their development may be problematic. So let’s take each problem step by step so that you can learn to understand what it all means – here are some cat behaviors explained.  

calm cat behaviour
Kioko was lively and quite frisky


There are several reasons why cats rub their nails and scratch things. It is a way for them to mark their territory and strengthen their nails. If you want your cat to stop scratching on furniture, you should first provide him with a very attractive alternative to furniture and then teach him only positive methods to use the new nail sanding device you have purchased.

It is very important that the cat be able to use its claws because it is part of their DNA and therefore it’s quite an important habit. So utilise the things available from pet stores and online.


Cats that chew objects and other belongings at home, may do it out of boredom and frustration. It is important to understand that cats, by virtue of being hunters, must use their teeth and nails often. Kittens that bite a lot, do this as part of their natural developmental stages as puppies.

At the same time, if we do not provide the cat that lives in the house with options for hunting through games, food, he will try to find solutions for himself. Chewing is a genetic need and not a treat. Don’t see this as a negative, so provide them with something that will assist. 

If your cat chews objects at home, look for the cause first as we have just mentioned. Make sure their diet is high quality and varied, make sure he likes his food. Enrich this further with more activity and games, because most of this behaviour is due to boredom and frustration. 

cat behavioural problems
Cat behaviour can be enigmatic

Cat behaviour and their out-of-the-box needs

Cats can develop various problems with their basic bodily functions. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, even tumours are all classic examples. Other factors can also cause your cat to defecate outside their crate. Problems between cats at home and quarrels can also cause problems with the litter box also.

The are just some of the likely cat behavioural problems that are caused by bodily functions.

What to do in this case

In order to take care of the matter and get the cat to use the designated litter box again, you must first diagnose the situation and understand exactly what is causing this behaviour. Once we understand what is causing the behaviour, it will be possible to solve the problem.

Some cats may have complex needs, especially if you have adopted them and they have been part of another family, or even found abused.

You can look at some help articles to ensure that you are tackling the problem effectively. 

Change the litter box – It might improve cat behavior

A very common mistake that people tend to make is related to the issue of the cats’ litter box – and cleaning it too infrequently. This may cause the cat to have to look elsewhere and you will actually find yourself cleaning needs from the rug or blanket through no fault of the cat.

After all. Cats are very clean animals, with a very developed sense of smell, which means that even in nature, the cat will not defecate in the exact same place it did in the morning and yesterday and two days ago… but will look for a clean place that will not smell and endanger itself.

At home, the cat is 100% dependent on us, so it is our job to allow him to defecate in a crate that is clean of residue, free of unpleasant odours and is not dirty.

cat walking on dining room cabinet
Some cats have very predictable routines and behaviours that are understandable.

Cat behaviour and Aggression

Cats can react aggressively towards another cat in the home or towards a family member and this is a difficult problem. The cause of aggression can be stress, or a health problem that causes pain. There is a long list of reasons for aggressive behaviour, so even in this case, we will first make a classification, we will understand what exactly the reason is. How to treat behavioural problems in cats?

The first step on the way to solving behavioural problems is to go to the vet and rule out a medical problem.

If you think your cat is feeling a little unwell or you see that his behaviour is different than before, see a veterinarian. Once you have done that you can start examining the behavioural aspect with the same thoroughness and devoting the proper attention to it with a cat behaviour consultant to solve the problem correctly and professionally. 

Find a cat sitter

Find the best cat sitter – One knowledgeable about cats

An experienced cat sitter should know how cats are different from other animals and can recognize when things with cats are okay and when something might be wrong. But before advertising for a cat sitter near me consider your cat personalities and their needs. This knowledge usually comes from working with and watching cats for a long time.

A person who knows much about cats can pick up on things like this. You don’t want to take a risk because it might result in nothing.  If I had to pick between two friends to care for my cats, I would choose the one who knows and cares the most about cats.

They have a good reputation and reviews

Review their references when you can hire a good expert cat sitter. Find out what professional groups they belong to. Are they part of an organization? Are they friends? Insured? Are their clients happy with them? See what you might find out! If the cat sitter talks of cat behaviour that they are familiar with they will likely have good cat minding experience.

find the best cat sitter
Join a housesitting and petsitting platform to find the best cat sitter for you and your pets
A final word on how to find the best cat sitter

Lastly, if you ask a friend for help, think about what you can do for them in return! Offer to view their pets when they leave or bring them a gift from your travels. Finding a good catsitter is worth a lot. Check out for a great selection of cat sitters who will catsit for free, and will understand cat behaviour.

Cat behavioural problems in summary

Having a cat is a lovely thing and can be great for the entire family. They take care of themselves more often than not and can be a good companion. But once you can break down their patterns and behaviours, you will find things run very smoothly!

Need to find Cat sitters?

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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