Years ago we had a dog who developed a very bad case of anxiety. I never could figure it out, as he had a loving home and all of the attention he needed. Someone mentioned that my fears about my life situation at the time were transferring through the leash to my dog.
Fear, stress and anxiety are at the root of many cat behavior problems and can often be the direct cause of a pet’s actions, according to vetstreet.com. Pet owners do not always understand this (case in point – me!) and resort to blaming the pet for his bad behavior.
If your are faced with cat behavior problems, take a look at your own actions. Here are three common mistakes pet guardians make that lead to cat behavior problems in their pets:
Mistake 1: Forcing Pet to Face Fears
This is often a mantra preached to adults as they begin new things in life, a la “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Continually exposing your cat to a situation that frightens him, without any gradual desensitization to lessen the stress can cause your pet’s fear and anxiety to increase.
Your cat may eventually tolerate what frightens him (loud noises or small kids, for example). More than likely he will never fully lose that associated feeling of fear or anxiety in the presence of those things.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Body Language of Cat
Do you know what your cat is really saying to you using his body language? If you ignore or misinterpret any of his signals to you, he may resort to other means – such as hissing – to get his message to you.
If you still don’t get the message, he may then translate his frustration into biting or scratching. Learn your cat’s stress signals and what triggers his anxieties and fears and respond accordingly.
Mistake 3: Making Cat Comply With Anything That Scares Him
Think about grooming your pet. Often, it’s an emotionally upsetting time for him. An upset cat may struggle as you try to handle him or he may even try to escape.
Your cat can injure you, or himself, when he’s afraid. Teach your cat calm cooperation, reinforced with ample rewards. Follow this strategy at home, the vet’s or groomer’s.
Consult your vet about your cat’s behavioral issues. This will rule out any medical issues tied your cat’s behavior.
Once you rule out a medical problem, then you can work with your vet to develop strategies to deal with the behavioral issues.