Why is the cat doing that?
We ask this question all the time in my house. We have two cats. One is a calm, loving lap cat. The other is a manic, race-around-the-house blur of fur who swings from the drapes, knocks over lamps, and creates general havoc. The funny thing is, these cats, both female, are litter mates, adopted together at 5 weeks old.
We were stumped, so we hit the books at the library to discover how to deal with our Tasmanian devil of a cat.
We found Cats Behaving Badly by Celia Haddon and learned some good tricks for dealing with a crazy cat. Turns out, most cats are simply responding to their environment. Indoor cats, which our two are, need to be kept busy. They are dependent on their human pets… um, owners, for all their activities. Some cats respond to a lack of stimulation by eating and sleeping and, consequently, gaining too much weight. Others misbehave in an attempt to break the boredom void. We have one of each.
The solutions? Provide vertical spaces such as tall cat condos or shelves for your cat to climb and perch on. Hide catnip mice (or just a little catnip) around the house and let your cat discover it. Cats love to hunt and their sense of smell is very keen. And the best thing? A good, old fashioned cardboard box. Cats LOVE boxes. Change the location and size occasionally and your cat will play happily for days.
Above all else, play with your cat. Cats need a toy that moves to engage their hunting instinct and that involves you. Throw that toy mouse. Dangle that string. Shoot nerf discs down the hall. (Yes, we do this.)
Need some more keep-the-cat-happy ideas? Try these titles:
The Secret Life of Your Cat: Unlock the Mysteries of Your Pet’s Behavior by Vicky Halls
Starting from Scratch : How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett
Cat Sense : How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats : a Journey into the Feline Heart by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson