Dog Cat Love

Chewing, Banging Doors, Cat bites other Kitties, and Dog Chases Cats

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Q: My 1 year old cat likes to chew. He chews cords, wood, plastic, anything! How can I get him to stop chewing?

A: This could be related to diet, boredom, and/or displacement behavior from stress. It could also be a sign of an underlying medical problem, depending on the severity and exactly what he chooses to digest. Depending on other behaviors, it could also be influenced by early weaning. More information would need to be known i.e., other pets in the family and what their relationships are, what you feed your cat and how often, your workday schedule (Is your cat home alone all day?), how often you or other family members engage or play with your kitty and how you play with your cat, as well as what other interactive toys, edible plants and so on, your cat has for enrichment. A poor diet i.e., low quality and corn based dry food and/or rationed feeding or meals, as opposed to free feeding, can also contribute to this behavior.

Q: I would like to understand why my cats keep banging on my bedroom door when my alarm goes off for me to wake up. If I choose not to open the door, the banging gets worse. Why is it so? – Jasmine

A: Are your cats allowed in the bedroom at night or is the banging coming from outside your bedroom door? They likely want your attention or to be fed, or may want access to the bedroom. Cats also do not like closed doors. They like the option of being able to enter or exit at their discretion. Your cats know you get up after the alarm to start the day and that’s when they also get affection and attention.

Q: We have a special needs cat (probably from lead paint) who was rescued from an abandoned building when he was about three months old. He’s three and still nurses on my collars and sleeves. Macky doesn’t know how to play without biting the other cats, so they run in fear of him and he is isolated. How can we break through this? – Gayl

A: Macky’s behavior with other kitties is best addressed with a behavior consult. A consult is a few hours and questionnaires on the cats are completed to get a history and background. The nursing is from early weaning. The interactions between cats could be overzealous play (by Macky) or it could be adversarial or anxiety based (so not play driven). If there is play aggression or if Macky is playing because he has pent up energy, and the other cats are lap kitties or older kitties who just want to chill, redirected play, appropriate play that funnels his prey drive (see How to Play with Your Kitty), and intervening by reorienting/repositioning him in a different direction/angle away from the other kitties can help. It is important to redirect him to another activity or behavior, or reposition him, when you see him staring at the other kitties or in stalk mode before a chase ensues. The ages of the other cats weren’t mentioned, but may be relevant. Older cats are often stalked and chased by younger ones due to the pent up energy younger cats have and their intense play drive, frequent boredom and need for entertainment. Younger kitties tend to be ‘busier’ than older ones, which can lead to chases and then to fights.

Q: I adopted a Boston Terrier earlier in the year, and then two sibling kittens just a couple months ago. I’ve been keeping them separated because the dog goes after the kittens, or the kittens run from the dog. It’s a case of chicken or the egg. I’m not sure which is causing which. How do you integrate cats and dog into the same home, so we can all be one happy family? – Deborah

A: Please read Introducing Dogs to Cats. It is vital that your dog doesn’t chase your kitties even if they run, and there are many ways you can do this in a humane way through positive training. Your kittens will stop running when your dog stops chasing. You can also order my book The Right Way the First Time (on positive dog training) or Training Your Dog the Humane Way to help you teach your new pup.

Copyright © Alana Stevenson 2012

Alana Stevenson can be contacted through her website AlanaStevenson.com. She provides consultations by phone and Skype.

About Alana Stevenson

Alana Stevenson can be contacted through her website www.AlanaStevenson.com. She has been professionally resolving feline behavioral problems for over ten years.

Alana has a Master of Science in Biology education, and holds professional memberships with the Animal Behavior Society, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the International Society for Applied Ethology, the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors, the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals, and the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork.

Comments

  1. carol kalpakoff says on  December 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    What would make a female spray all the time. I have had this female simese cat that was a rescue. She has now been spayed and socialized and lives indoors with 8 others cats.she sprays everything including me. She seems like she does it when she gets mad at me. She sprays right in front of me and its driving me crazy. Nothing is safe my counters fresh clean laundry what can I do to stop this ugly behavior.

    Reply
    • Alana Stevenson says on  December 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      The first step will be to have her checked medically to rule out a urinary tract infection etc. It will be important to have a urinalysis and most likely, urine culture performed, and possibly blood work. Please check with your veterinarian. Behaviorally, there can be issues with the litter boxes and/or dynamics of the cats in the home. There is a good chance you have all three (urinary issue, litter box issue, and antagonism or anxiety between cats).

      Reply
  2. Beth says on  January 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Can I train my kitten to use the litter box? I have a 4 month old kitten who won’t use the litter box, only wants to eliminate on a towel (will neither urinate nor defecate in litter box). Will go on carpet if towel isn’t available. His siblings and mom use the litter box fine. I think perhaps he associates the litter box with discomfort. He had early pica symptoms, eating non food items, and suffered pain when eliminating these non food materials (plastic, wiring, rubber, clumping litter, etc). Although he still bites things like all kittens do, the pica or swallowing items seems to be gone. I NEED HELP! I’m constantly laundering towels and he has ruined the carpet in the room where I now have him quarantined. Even with copious use of enzyme cleaners, the room still smells like urine and the carpet will have to be ripped out I fear. Also, the kitten won’t be adoptable unless I can train him to use the litter box. Otherwise, he is a beautiful, charming, playful, long haired male kitten with huge irresistible eyes. He’s had a blood test by a vet and there are no medical issues to cause any of this behavior. I assume the pica may have been caused by teething and the litter aversion therefore caused by discomfort during elimination (caused by the pica). Also, he seems to prefer corners or hidden areas.

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