cat biteYour cat’s behaviour is closely related to the natural behaviour of the species and is a normal part of predation, play and social conflict.  However, if a cat starts to show aggression towards humans it’s important to establish what the cat’s motivation for the behaviour is and whether, in context, it is normal or abnormal.

Aggression is a consequence of an emotional state and could be related to social pressures, fear, anxiety or frustration.  It could be inappropriate play or as a result of pain or an illness.  In any event, it’s important to take your cat to the vet to investigate the cause so either an appropriate treatment can be provided or behavioural advice and guidance can be offered.

Take a look at the ICC website for more information on your cat’s behaviour HERE and if you would like some help and guidance on your cat’s behaviour, request a questionnaire and book in for a behaviour consultation.

Generally cats will avoid conflict as this presents a threat to their survival but there are a number of reasons why there might be aggression between cats.  Most cats will attempt to defend their home range or the area they consider most significant to them.  Assertive cats in the neighbourhood may deliberately seek out opportunities to extend their territory and may target less confident cats as they represent an easy target.

A cat who is unable to or is unsuccessful in defending their home range may become housebound as they feel it has become too dangerous for them to venture outside.  Cat flaps or even a window Cat fightpresents an opportunity for a strange cat to invade the home and this can lead to aggressive behaviour from both parties.  A resident cat may even surprisingly not seem to respond to or seem to oppose to an invader from a human’s perspective but this is more likely to be due to fear rather than an act of acceptance of the encounter.

This territorial behaviour may also be apparent in multi-cat households.  As the home becomes subdivided by the more confident cats, a less confident cat may be reluctant to venture out of one room, except at very specific times, due to fear and to avoid conflict and the risk of harm.

Aggression is usually a consequence to an emotional state rather than to a cat’s temperament but certainly some cats may be more likely to be aggressive under challenging circumstances than others.

Cats urinating in the home is a behaviour owners ask advice about regularly.  It’s a distressing situation for both cat and owner and depending on the type of urination, can require a different approach to resolve.

Silver Tabby B&WThe cause could be due to a urinary infection or other medical condition and may need a medical approach to resolve.  However, if  your cat is “spraying”, this could be due to a socially stressful situation.  Spraying is a coping mechanism used by your cat  for stress, and the approach to resolving the issue will be very different to that related to a medical one.

So what’s the difference between urinating and spraying?  The classic presentation for spraying involves the cat backing up to a vertical surface, often after intense sniffing of the area, and what appears to be a “grimacing” look on their face.  They will stand with an erect tail which will “quiver” whilst they urinate.    The amount of urine is usually quite small and can be quite hard to find.  You may only be aware of the smell or of a small trickle of a brown, sticky substance on a skirting board, radiator or door.  Other favourite targets include electrical equipment, full-length curtains, plastic bags or clothing.

Outside, spraying is a normal behaviour for a cat.  You will often see other cats spraying urine against bushes, fences and other objects.  However, it isn’t normal behaviour to spray inside the home and finding the cause of the stress that has triggered this behaviour can be difficult.  With patience and some adjustments within the home, it is possible to resolve the issue.

Both male and female cats are capable of spraying although it does occur more in male cats.  It is also more common in cats that haven’t been neutered and in multi-cat households where stress levels may be higher.

Take a look at this short film HERE for some general advice and if you have an issue with your cat spraying in the home, contact us to book in for a behaviour consultation where, after the completion of a questionnaire, a programme to help with the issue can be developed and support provided by the team.

For more information, visit the ICC website HERE

White cat on bedThis month we’re taking a look at the behaviour of cats; what they do and why.  Do you want to know why you cat does the things it does?  Would you like to learn more about how to care and provide for your cat’s specific needs?

We’ve found this great online  training course which is great for owners AND for those who are thinking of getting a cat.  You can work your way through the sections to learn more about our domestic cat’s common ancestry, the African Wildcat which is a species still found today, and how we look to this cat to understand more about the needs of our domestic pet cats.  Go the link below HERE for more information

If you do go ahead and follow the course, do let us know what you thought.  It would be great to know what you learned and if you changed any aspects of the care you gave to your cat as a result of this learning.  You can also download a guide which you can refer to as and when you need to HERE

Bonfire & Fireworks

1 Nov 2019

Fireworks-poster_001It’s likely that there will be firework displays and celebrations over the weekend so please make sure your pets are kept safe and do all you can to help them cope with any noise phobia they may have.

Get some hints and tips HERE and don’t forget your outdoor pets, with some hints and tips available HERE

 

Autumn Poisons

28 Oct 2019

Halloween is a great time of year for adults and children alike.  However, it’s a scary and potentially dangerous time for our pets who may have increased access to sweets and treats that can cause Halloween Treatsthem harm.

Download our information leaflet HERE on steps to take to prevent your pet ingesting something they shouldn’t but if you are at all concerned about something your pet has ingested, call and ask for advice.

You can also contact the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) on 01202 509000.  The cost is £30 and you can find out more information from their website HERE

 

The Dogs Trust have some great information, resources and advice on how to help your pet with a noise phobia.  They even have a selection of recordings of common noises that you can use to help desensitize or help to calm your pet.  Please do read the advice on the implementation of any desensitization programme as it is VERY important that you take things slowly and at a pace that your pet is comfortable with.  You can download a booklet Zylkene-Social-Media-Kit-Firework-10HERE  for a step by step guide.

Access to both soothing and therapy sounds that can be used as part of a programme are at the links below:

Recording 1

Recording 2

Recording 3

Book in for a complimentary consultation for further advice and guidance on how you can help your pet cope.

 

Cats and dogs react differently to loud noises and fireworks.  Cats are masters of disguise and can hide their fear of fireworks.  Look out for your cat hiding away or any changes to their normal behaviour.

fireworks_001Over 50% of dogs have a noise sensitivity.  Generally, it will be quite obvious if your dog is scared, unlike a cat.  They may shake, pant, cling to you or hide away so it’s important that you take steps to help them cope.

Don’t forget your outdoor pets too as they may need help with coping.

Download a checklist HERE and get prepared and take advantage of our complimentary consultations so we can help you, help your pet.

Autumn Hazards

22 Oct 2019

The nights are getting darker and Autumn is creeping in.  This season brings its own hazards for our pets so we thought we’d share some common, if not well known hazards with our owners.

ConkersDownload our information leaflet HERE and if you are ever concerned that your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t, you can contact the VPIS animal owner  line on 01202 509000 or visit their website HERE.  There is a charge of £30 which is required to be paid at the time.  Alternatively you can contact the practice on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 for advice.  There is 24/7 access to veterinary services, even out of normal office hours.

 

Cats and Fireworks

17 Oct 2019

Zylkene-Social-Media-Kit-Firework-20Cats can be as scared of fireworks as dogs but their needs are a little different when it comes to helping them cope.  We have a great leaflet of hints and tips to help prepare your cat which you can download HERE

Take advantage of a complimentary consultation where you can discuss your cat’s specific needs and find out more about the products that can help.