A playful kitty is a healthy, happy kitty. That’s why so many of us hate complaining whenever our angels accidentally knock over ceramic knick-knacks or dishes, or nick our legs or arms in a fierce game of “Capture his/her shadow.” But, what happens when it’s not-so-accidentally, or when it becomes an all-day, every day festival of destruction? What causes those tantrums, during which our sweet little kitties become willful terrors worthy of a best-selling horror novel?
Most of us know the typical causes of feline misbehavior, such as boredom, anxiety, sudden changes in routine, or feeding off of tension or chaos around them. However, many times, your cat’s issue is much simpler than that… and the solutions are much easier grasp!
Catch That Mouse!
Our cat’s hearing is much better than our own… and that’s a first-class understatement. Even if you can hear a pin drop two rooms away, your feline probably heard it on its way to the ground. And one thing that drives kitties insane is hearing a sound to which they have little or no access. They will try to climb walls, tear through the house like their tails are on fire, and stalk or stake out areas at which they’ve isolated inaccessible sounds whenever they can’t reach the source itself.
We know, this is terrible for any of us to consider, but it is entirely possible that your cat has pinpointed the location of a large bug, or (brace yourself) a mouse, and is desperately trying to hunt the nuisance, like his or her instincts are screaming for him or her to do. This is the time of year that all kinds of yucky and scary things try to sneak in houses for food and warmth, and your cat will be the first to realize it.
If you’re brave enough to try to find the booger yourself, by all means! Use whatever removal means you have at your disposal, or call an exterminator, if you like. If, however, you trust your feline to hunt that prey and protect you, leave any cabinet doors open that you can (within reason, without compromising anyone’s safety), crack closet doors, move furniture or clutter away from spots where your cat seems to go crazy for no reason… you get the idea. Give them access to the hard-to-reach places they seem so desperate to monitor, as much as possible. Trust us; if there’s something there, they’ll find it!
Calls of the Wild… Strays
Even if you don’t live near a forest or stretch of woods, an occasional stray is very common, especially at night. The difference is that your midnight visitors probably won’t be feral or dangerous. While this may put your mind at ease, it certainly won’t do the same for your cat. Once your feline hears that animal rooting around near or under his or her territory, the chaos will likely be relentless-especially if the stray happens to be another cat. Even spayed and neutered cats go crazy when they hear a stray outside, simply because it’s in their DNA.
Ask your neighbors if they have a night roamer (or an animal that might wander at whatever time of day your cat starts acting nutty). If so, see if you can put up some sort of barrier that would deter any uninvited visitors from getting close enough to your house to disturb your cat. If not, notify your local animal adoption agency about a stray in your neighborhood. Or, try going outside and scaring off the animal yourself, by clapping and speaking loudly. If you live in a more rural area, don’t leave your front door, if you’re alone but try throwing homemade rattles (aluminum cans with beads or beans inside) into your yard. Once the stray stops visiting, your cat should gradually begin behaving normally again.
Not That Bowl!
Cat lovers know that felines are extra-sensitive to just about everything. However, some cats are even more hypersensitive than others, especially in their sense of taste. We don’t mean the classic food pickiness. Some cats are so sensitive to certain tastes that they absolutely will NOT eat or drink from dishes made from certain materials. The taboo materials vary from cat to cat, but some of the most common offenders are brand new plastic, metals, any painted glass or ceramic, and wood. We know, that pretty much covers them all, right?
If you’re using metallic dishes, try switching to plain Tupperware that you’ve had for a million years. If you just bought brand new plastic bowls and saucers, try clear, sturdy glass ones for a bit. Keep testing different types of food and water dishes, until your kitty finds one that he or she seems to accept.
My Watch Post!
Are you noticing scratch marks on all your tall or highly stacked furniture and shelves? Have you witnessed your cat futilely jumping and scrambling to scale large or tall objects in your house like mad kitties? That’s because most felines prefer observation “perches” that are as high off the ground as they can possibly get. Literally. If there are none within easy climbing range of your cat, or if someone accidentally blocked his or her old perch while cleaning or rearranging the house, he or she will start scouting for the next best thing, even if it’s also next to impossible (and they destroy generations old furnishings in the process)!
Take a look around your home. Did you or a family member recently move something out of the way and put it up high for safe keeping? If so, you might have accidentally placed it in your cat’s favorite spot. Remove anything that was moved to the top of your tall furnishings within the last few weeks (IF it can be safely stored elsewhere). If it was your cat’s perch, he or she will almost immediately realize the obstruction is gone, and begin napping there again (and stop scratching up your house)!
If there are no reasonably comfortable and easy-to-access high perches for your cat, try installing a special shelf just for him or her, as high above everything else in the house (or in a particular room) as possible. Be sure to place a multi-level cat tree, another shelf, or something sturdy and damage proof that will serve as steps, so your kitty can move to and from the new perch with ease.