Kitty etiquettes -Jan 10


A well-behaved cat is simply a darling! Here are a few common behavioural problems and the ways to tackle them.

Toilet training…

Though it is not a common problem for a cat owner but in some cases it may be quite serious. Housebreaking means that cat always goes outside for urination or defecation or uses the litter box for this purpose. Feral cats defecate or urinate at the same places to mark their territory. These cats do not scratch dirt over their faeces or urine like domestic cats and leave the faecal matter exposed. Toms are prone to spay urine over objects within their territory, whenever they sense a female cats in estrous. These cats scatter the faecal material in the nearby areas of original deposits. This behaviour is used as a form of communication by cats. If a domestic cat goes outdoors to defecate or urinate, he may use this material to mark his territory and to make sexual communication.

Tips to follow: (a) Litter box – Indoor cats, who do not have access to outside, should be provided with a litter box. It should be cleaned everyday as cats are clean in nature and they prefer clean areas for defecation and urination. It is recommended that a litter box should be available for each cat and boxes should be kept in the same place in a consistent manner. Boxes should be placed in those areas where cats can have their privacy. The area should be disinfected on a regular basis. Choose from different types of boxes and litter available in the market.
b) Diet scheduling- Diet and timing for meals should be kept consistent as frequent change in diet will result in upset stomach. Sudden change from dry food to canned food will result in indigestion and the consistency of faecal matter. The diet should be changed gradually to avoid the drastic change in the timing of defecation. Fresh water should be available for your cat, specifically if she is on dry food. Discuss this with your veterinarian to develop a diet schedule for your cat.
The bedlam…
Another very common problems pet parents experience is the howling, meowing, crying or screeching of cats. The cat may cry even in the absence of pet parents and it sometimes becomes a nuisance for neighbours.
Tips to follow: Crying behaviour is often a sign of frustration and is an attention seeking behaviour. In such cases, you may take your cat on a lap or pet your cat. It is a highly reinforcing situation for your cat and he may exhibit this behaviour quiet often. In such conditions, you should try to ignore your cat that is don’t look at him, touch him or talk to him.
Heat periods…

During estrous, the female cats may cry or wail all day and night. Likely the toms are equally obnoxious as he will spray urine all over the place to mark his scent.

Tips to follow: Neutering will solve problem of crying and is also a good tool for birth control programme as so many unwanted kittens are born every year.
(Dr Geeta Sharma is MVSc (Surgery and Radiology) and MBA. She has been acclaimed by the ‘Limca Book of Records 2008’ for being the youngest female veterinarian to do the ovariohysterectomy (spraying) in female dogs in shortest span of time. She got training from Australian society ‘Vets Beyond Borders’. She can be contacted at geetasharmavet@gmail.comor 9711144506).