10 yo, Domestic
Condition(s): Problematic Behaviour
Family: 2 Adults
Fur family: 1 cat
Lifestyle: Indoor plus catio
What is 'Problematic Behaviour'?
There's no doubt about it, cats are fascinating, unique creatures. They are crepuscular (most active at dawn & dusk), both predators AND prey, and often fastidious about their living conditions. Yet cats often have very little control over their lives, especially if living indoors - we dictate where, when, what and how much they eat, their toileting conditions, roaming distance/territory and housemates. Additionally, we tend to find some of their everyday behaviours unappealing, such as scratching, nocturnal activity or seeking vertical space, which can result in attempts to curb or stop these normal, but problematic, behaviours.
This can lead to a lot of frustration for cats, and not only may they act out in ways that we find confronting, it can also lead to numerous health problems from chronic stress, some of which can be life-threatening.
Managing Louis' behaviour
Problematic behaviours Louis displayed included:
Jumping on benches
Knocking items of benches and bookshelves
Attacking the other house cat
Clawing furniture & carpet
Begging to go outside
Despite having a two-storey townhouse with multiple views and a catio to keep him entertained, a lot of Louis' problematic behaviours were linked to attention seeking, boredom and frustration. Without the right support and information, Louis' parents were using ineffective punishment-based measures to try and stop the behaviour, which created further conflict in their relationship. They also found training Louis challenging as he is not very motivated by food
Management - making changes to the environment to avoid/prevent unwanted behaviour from happening
Modification - making changes to training and the environment to encourage alternative, acceptable behaviours
No more punishment
Structure playtime more regularly
Set time aside for Louis' favourite activities
Stick to positive interactions with Louis to help build confidence
Reward desired behaviours (self-play, scratching posts, resting) with attention & praise
As Louis' problems were actually normal behaviour for the situation and not due to imbalances of neuromodulators, medication was not indicated.
Dr Channy's helped to modify their own expectations and perceptions of the not 'naughty', but normal, behaviour