Seacoast Area Feline Education & Rescue
Why does a cat
Stop using a litterbox
Cats won't use a box that is dirty, just like you don't like using a toilet with the previous person's deposits left behind. Scoop often! Most cats (and owners) prefer clumping litter. Place the box in an area that is easy for the cat to access but not close to a noisy water heater or washer/dryer, or in any area where the cat will be startled. Have 1 box per cat plus 1 extra box so that one cat cannot guard the box, trapping or preventing another cat from using it. If your cat is older (possibly with a touch of arthritis), a short-sided box will make it easier to enter and exit. Be sure the cat has enough room in the box to turn around comfortably. Some cats don't like scented litter (remember, their nose is Right Next to the litter as they dig a hole, so the scent can be overwhelming). Some cats prefer different textures of litter. You may need to try a few different types to find the purrfect one! (Get a few small "trial" size boxes to test until you find the one that your cat and you like the best.)
Do not use clumping litter for kittens. Ingestion of clumping clay-based litters can cause gastrointestinal upset or even an intestinal blockage in kittens. Instead, opt for a natural, pellet-based litter, like newspaper pellets, that is less likely to be inhaled or ingested by a young kitten. Wait until 3 months old before using a clumping litter for kittens.
Give Head Butts
Love - Love - Love! Cats have scent glands in their temples, near their mouths and at the base of their tails. When they head butt or rub against you, they are transferring a bit of their scent on to you, indicating You Belong to Them! That is how much they love you. So, ENJOY.
Kitty is bored and trying to play with you. Cats have an instinct to stalk and capture prey. Your ankle, as it is passing by, makes a perfect target to sneak attack and capture. Try getting a feather teaser, or other toy, that you can use to fulfill her drive to play. Move the toy as if it was a bird flying and landing on a chair or a mouse running to the corner of a couch leg and then scampering to the next hiding spot. Your cat will chase and try to catch its prey. (Don't forget to let kitty win, from time to time. It is no fun if you Always or Never catch what you are chasing.) Wear out your kitty, and she will no longer be bored or feel the need to ambush your ankles.
Put toys in the food/water bowl
Cats play with the toys we give them. In their mind, this toy is their prey. Once the prey is caught, cats will bring it to the place where they eat and drink. Behaviorists believe indoor cats are following this instinct. Please remember never to leave linear objects out for kitty to play with. Because of the backward facing barbs on their tongue (papillae), they cannot spit it out and will swallow it. This can result in emergency surgery or death. (see: A Cat's Tongue)
Eat House Plants
Although cats are primarily carnivores, in the wild they also nibble on plants for added nutrients or fiber, or perhaps just because they like the taste. In the home, cats sometimes eat houseplants out of boredom, or because they're attracted to the leaves fluttering in the air currents. Cats regurgitate when they eat grass because they lack the necessary enzymes to break down vegetable matter. This is important because cats eat their prey as is, including both the edible and inedible parts (fur, bones, feathers, etc.). Much like mother's milk, the juices in grass contain folic acid. How do you keep your cat from eating your plants? Cats don't like the taste or smell of citrus; so, mix together water with lemon, lime or orange juice, and then spritz this on your plants. Often, the smell of the citrus is enough to keep your cat away. If she does nibble, one taste of citrus should prevent further plant snacking. PLEASE REMEMBER that there are many plants that are toxic to cats! Here are some of the more common poisonous house plants: Autumn Crocus, Bleeding Heart, Castor Bean, Daffodil, Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane), Elephant Ear, Foxglove, Hyacinth, Iris, Larkspur, Lily-of-the-Valley, Monkshood, Narcissus, Oleander, Rosary Pea, and Star of Bethlehem. For more info, see: TOXIC to Cats
Excessive grooming in cats (psychogenic alopecia) occurs when normal licking activity becomes obsessive. Your cat may be itching due to allergies (caused by fleas, fungus or foods) or have anxiety. Overgrooming often begins as a displacement behavior, a coping mechanism for stress (licking releases endorphins which can help an anxious kitty self-soothe). A vet will determine the cause and can offer antihistamines to anti-anxiety medications. Once the grooming returns to normal, your kitty's fur should regrow.
Act like she's In Heat?
If your female cat meows strangely, paces, and sprays urine on objects around the house (to attract male cats), she is not restless, she may be "in heat" (sexually mature, fertile & receptive to mating). A piece of ovary may have been left behind when she was spayed (called Ovarian Remnant Syndrome) that contains enough tissue to produce hormones which bring on behavior associated with heat. This behavior can occur within months of surgery or not become apparent for years. Your vet can do a simple blood test to determine if this is the case. Another spay procedure to remove the tissue will correct the problem. Read more: 8 Signs that your Cat is in Heat.
Cats can get pregnant at the age of 4-5 Months! That is Just 16-20 Weeks Old!! Please Spay and Neuter your cats.