Cats. Do they even know they're naughty if they can't concern themselves with anyone but themselves? If you have a demon kitty with more "cattitude" than you want to tolerate, take heart. Humane means can correct a cat's bad behavior.
Disagreements About the Litter Box
You want Kitty to use the litter box for all her elimination needs. She says housekeeping is not her problem. This is common. Rule out a medical problem with a visit to the vet. She could have a urinary tract infection that causes pain upon urination. Since she pees in the litter box, she associates the litter box with pain, so she avoids it and this becomes habit. If illness is not at issue, a dirty potty might be. Cats are fastidious; they prefer not to use a dirty litter box. If you've kept the litter box clean and the cat still goes elsewhere, try moving the box to another location, experimenting with different textures, fragrances and depth of litter. Often location and litter content are at fault for a cat's exploratory eliminations. Consider using a lid over the litter box or removing it if you use one. Try using two litter boxes, side by side with different types of litter, or in separate locations.
Cats bite. You can expect them to when they're being actively agitated or threatened. But a cat that's purring one moment and biting the next is baffling. It's impossible to know what's going on in the feline brain, but your cat might be telling you in no uncertain fashion to stop petting, even if it's an abrupt change from the content of a moment before. Another reason for a sudden, inexplicable cat bite can be sickness. The vet visit will rule out medical causes. And don't forget a contented cat might bite if you accidentally poke or pinch the wrong place.
Like dogs, cats will signal they're about to bite, though cats' signs are more subtle. A cat may slowly lash her tail, flick her ears, change positions, growl, stop purring or lick her paw in an effort to redirect her aggression. When you ignore these signs, biting is next. The solution might not thrill you: Get to know your cat well. It might take a few bites, but you will come to recognize the signs of an impending bite. Watch her body language. Letting your awareness lapse might get you chomped..
Your naughty cat is bringing home dead birds, mice and lizards; you want to put an end to the carnage and the corpse gifts. Avid hunters, cats stalk critters and bring their quarry to you in the hopes of finding favor with a master he considers to be slow-moving and unskilled in the ways of hunting. Your cat is bringing you a prize and expects to be praised and rewarded, not greeted with an "Oh gross, get it outta here" reaction. Keeping Kitty indoors is your best solution; since stalking and killing are innate to even domesticated fluff balls. If keeping your cat inside is impossible, fit your cat with a break-away collar with a bell. This may give prey a chance to run, but it's not foolproof. Specially made "cat bibs" warn tiny prey and give them a chance to escape. They don't save reptiles, but birds and mammals may have a fighting chance.
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Your cat believes she owns the house regardless of whose name is on the deed, so it's tough to keep her from exploring wherever her heart leads. Employ a few tips to keep Kitty off the counter. Keep a spray bottle of water handy to shoot a stream of water from afar when Kitty jumps on the counter. Or spray the counter with a commercially available cat-deterrent spray that dries leaving a scent cats don't like. Try a plastic runner turned upside down so the hard tips are exposed, hurting her feet when she jumps on them. Set mouse traps upside down and placed under a heavy sheet so they trip when Kitty touches the sheet. Purchase an electronic mat that delivers a slight shock when touched. These solutions may work, or you just may have to get used to sanitizing the counter before you use it.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.