Cat behavior can often be quite perplexing. Felines are usually very stoic; a change in your cat’s behavior is a sign that should not be ignored. For cats, behavior changes can often be interpreted by your veterinarian.
What Changes Indicate My Cat Needs To See The Vet?
Many behavioral changes your cat may display will warrant a trip to the veterinarian. We are able to provide you with the most common behavioral reasons to come see us, but please note this is not a comprehensive list.
Common Behavioral Changes Include:
- Hair loss
- Hiding more than usual
- Not eating or drinking
- Over grooming
- Persistent vomiting
- Unable to urinate**
**Please note, this is an emergency situation in cats and needs veterinary attention ASAP
- Unexplained changes in aggression
- Urinating outside the litterbox
If you have questions about a change in your cat, please call our client care team for advice on next steps.
General Behavior Tips
Beyond knowing when to bring your cat to the vet, we can offer low-stress tips for bringing to see us as well as tips for having a happy cat at home. We have compiled some of our key tips to assist you with your sweet bundle of fur.
- Crate Tips: For many owners, just getting their cat into their crate can be a battle, but it does not have to be that way! There are several actions you can take to help your cat feel safe and comfortable in their crate. Start by leaving the crate out somewhere at home at all times; this will help to desensitize your cat to the crate so they will not associate it only with the vet’s office. Place comfortable bedding with a familiar smell in the crate to create an environment that feels like home. You may also use a calming pheromone spray called Feliway to help your cat be at ease in or around their crate. As for the actual crate itself, we recommend purchasing one where your cat can easily turn around. If you choose a hard crate, we recommend crates where the top can be easily opened or removed; this will help us to get your cat out at their appointment. When coming to the veterinarian, we strongly recommend that all cats are brought in a crate for their safety during travel and while around other animals.
- At the Vet: The vet’s office is full of unfamiliar smells and sounds; while this can be fun for dogs, cats aren't as appreciative. When you bring your cat in for their appointment, keep them in their crate. We recommend covering your cat’s crate with a blanket or towel as well; this will help your cat to feel safe. Remember, cats like to hide when they feel insecure! Cats also feel safest when up high, so avoid setting your cat’s crate on the ground whenever possible.
If your cat is not our biggest fan, please let our staff know ahead of time. We are a Feline Friendly practice, and everyone on our staff is trained on low-stress handling tips specifically for cats. While your cat may be the sweetest pea in the pod at home, they may not act the same here in our hospital. Our incredible team will do their best to make your cat’s experience as pleasant as possible.
- At Home: We humans know that most cats consider themselves to be royalty and expect to be treated as such. At home, your cat will let you know what they want and need; it takes patience and lots of love to keep these warm bundles of fur purring at our sides. While many cats want nothing more than to cuddle up to you, remember all cats need some alone time. If your cat does not want attention, don’t force it whenever possible. Cats also need a safe place to hide and feel secure. Allow your cat a place in which to escape when they need to decompress. If change is happening in your home, such as a move or new furniture, keep in mind that cats are resistant to change and will require patience in adapting to an altered environment. Additionally, keeping your cat’s litter box clean is very important. Try to clean your cat’s litter once a day if possible. Tip: A general rule of thumb is to have an equal number of litter boxes and cats, plus one extra litter box.
- Scratching: Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It is best to give them an appropriate outlet where they may express their instinctive behavior. To encourage appropriate scratching, keep multiple scratching posts/toys throughout your home. Providing a variety of scratching options designed for your cat will encourage them to use their toys, rather than furniture or carpet. There are multiple ways to redirect your cat in a positive manner if they choose to scratch inappropriately. Please call or email us to ask for tips on positive redirection.
- Enrichment: Since most cats will live the entirety of their lives inside, it is vital to provide them with proper stimulation. Aside from ruling the home, cats need toys to express their natural behaviors. Inherently, cats love to hunt! Allow them to have toys they may chase and pounce on so they may practice their ‘hunting’ skills. It is also best to provide them with a variety of toys so they do not get bored. You may have to test out a few different types of toys before you discover what your cat loves. Once you know what they enjoy, keep the fun going!
My Cat's Behavior Has Changed
Cats are great at hiding health issues until they are truly problematic. If your cat experiences a sudden change in behavior, please contact our knowledgeable client care team for advice.