We love our pets unconditionally and sometimes this makes us ignore some of their annoying habits. This is especially true for cat owners. We’ve been told for years that cats are less trainable than dogs and you just need to accept what you get and learn to live with it. Although it is true that many cats come with an attitude, most of the unwanted cat behavior is a result of their predatory instinct and can be corrected by making small adjustments in the cat’s environment. Here are the 5 most common annoying cat behaviors and tips on how to stop them.
- Scratching furniture
Scratching furniture and carpets is one of the most common complains of cat owners. There are a few ways to stop this annoying cat behavior and all of them have to do with changing the environment rather than with punishment.
The first thing to do is to provide plenty of scratching posts for your cat. Some scratching pads have catnip, which worked out great for one of my cats!
I have also tried a few of the cat scratch deter sprays that claim to stop cats from clawing on furniture. These didn’t quite work for me – I had to constantly spray the couch and the cat kept scratching it even while it was still wet from the spray. The spray is definitely worth trying, but if it does not help, try finding more creative scratch deterrents. For example, I put a blanket over the headrest of my armchair to prevent the cat from scratching it.
Finally, I selected one cheap piece of furniture that the cat is allowed to scratch, while everything else is off limits. I had a cheap ottoman from Walmart that for some reason my cat loves scratching. The thing cost around $15 so I let her scratch it as much as she wants. Giving in on this one piece helped me save the couch and the armchair from her claws.
- Up all night
Being woken up by a sharp noise, a scratch, or loud meowing is definitely an annoying cat behavior that cat owners often complain about. To stop it, try keeping your cat busy during the day. The less energy she has to burn at night, the better your chances are of getting a good night sleep. Getting exercise before bedtime can definitely help calm things down. If you feel too tired to play with your cat at night, consider some of the motorized toys. There are so many options, like automatic lasers, motorized bugs, flying butterflies, etc. Although some of these toys can be pricy, they are totally worth it!
- Bites and scratches
Cats usually bite and scratch if they get over-excited. Suppress your initial instinct to jerk away when you get scratched or bitten. Any sharp movement mimics that of a prey and only encourages the unwanted behavior. The best way to respond is to stop moving and end the game. If the problem persists, use toys instead of your hands to when playing rough with your cat.
- Jumping on counters
Jumping on counters is another one of those annoying cat habits many of us are trying to curb. Your cat’s desire to jump on counters and furniture comes from her hunter-climber instinct. Invest in some window shelves or mounted wall shelves for cats. Tall cat castles will also work. Basically, you can try stopping this behavior by providing other high surfaces that are more appealing to your cat. This strategy worked with one of my cats. The other one, however, loves being around people and follows me around everywhere. With her, it is still a work in progress. Keep in mind that more social cats will have a harder time leaving you alone in the kitchen.
- Drinking from the sink
Some cats prefer drinking from the kitchen sink, licking the bathtub, or searching for unattended glasses as a way to hydrate. This can get quite annoying, especially if you want to keep your cat off the kitchen counters. You can stop this annoying cat behavior by providing more appealing water sources for your cat.
Try moving your cat’s water bowl away from his food. If the food and water bowl are placed next to each other, your cat may perceive the water as dirty. In the wild, an animal will not drink from still water with rotten carcasses, so your cat may be following the same instinct when avoiding a water bowl near his food.
In addition, replace the water bowl with a plastic cup. Both of my cats seem to prefer drinking from cups, so we swapped the bowls for cups with wide mouths.
Finally, consider getting a water fountain. Running water is instinctively perceived as cleaner than still water, so your cat is likely to opt for the water fountain and stay away from the sink.