Updated March 6, 2017.
Cats behavior is all about understanding how cats see the world from a cat's point of view and how cats communicate with their cat guardians.
While cats appreciate attention and affection, their main focus in life is all about clean and tidy, physical safety and territorial security, not necessarily in that order.
By nature, most felines are loners and fend for themselves. They track everything that goes on inside their territory. Protecting their food source is important. Humans are perceived as a food source, so are considered a territory by pet cats.
A cat’s territory is maintained by routinely patrolling its boundaries, freshening scent markings, routing out intruders and eradicating threats. Other felines and animals, whether they are part of the pet family inside the house or are strangers wandering around outside, are intruders and must be eradicated, because your special kitty perceives them as imposing threats to their personal physical safety and territorial security.
Cats have mastered the art of monitoring their territories by feigning relaxed repose, dozing and cat napping; all the while they are alert, watching for passing predators or waiting for prey.
Clean and tidy, that’s the way cat’s like things; predictable, everything in its place as it should be. They preen and groom every inch of their bodies regularly, just as they keep their territory . . . everything is by the book, in order and on schedule.
Safety, security and cleanliness are extremely sensitive emotional issues for cats and, except for physical or mental illness, are the primary causes of cat behavior problems . . .
. . . threats to your cat’s safety, security and cleanliness needs cause them great emotional distress, anxiety and insecurity.
“Honey! The cat pottied outside the cat litter box . . . AGAIN!” your spouse grinds out between clenched teeth.
Tensions rise in the home when this kind of thing happens and you can bet your cat knows it!
Unfortunately, negative human emotions have a bad effect on a cat that is already freaking out about something not right in its life and the behavior usually goes from bad to worse, and in a hurry.
The key is, cat guardians must take themselves out of the emotional realm of the circumstance. This situation is not about the human. Nor is the cat directing their problematic behavior at a specific person, such hate, dislike or disdain.
It’s about what is troubling a feline furry loved one . . . something is seriously wrong in their world!
Instead of reacting emotionally and taking things personally, reach for higher ground and respond with genuine concern and kindness. Your cat needs love and reassurance during its time of distress and insecurity. It will go a long way to helping your cat overcome its challenges.
I love the following catitude regarding troubled kitty behavior:
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