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Animal behaviour expert, Karen Wild, discusses cats in her latest column




A lot of us have super friendly cats – when they want to be, says Karen Wild in her latest animal behaviour column.

They enjoy fuss on their own terms. Some are all over us and can’t cope when we decide we want to sleep, racing around the house and peering into our snoozing faces.

How can we make sure those cats are kept happy so that behaviour issues don’t develop?

A cat
A cat

A stressed cat will show it by toileting out of their tray, spraying up furniture, hiding, fighting with other cats, and sleeping a great deal (more than you even thought possible). They hide so many signs that often when I am called in to help, the problem has become so big that it takes a long time to help resolve.

Helping a cat with issues doesn’t always have to cost you time and energy. If cats don’t get along in the house, you can do a lot to help them. Cats like places to get up and away from each other, and often will prefer coming and going through separate exits of the home, or at different times. With a bit of planning, you can help each cat to have their own space, because location is very important to cats. And, surprise surprise, they don’t like to share very often.

To help cats get away from each other, cat multiplay towers are ideal, but a simple shelf can suffice. Some of us purchase beautiful wooden ones that are a piece of furniture in themselves. After all, it will be in our home!

Any climbing tower, complete with scratching posts, swings, holes to hide in and platforms to look down from, give a fantastic use of the aerial space cats often occupy when free to roam outdoors compared to our ground-level
rooms.

Don’t be put off if your cat isn’t interested straightaway. Any new addition to a home is likely to be treated with suspicion, so give it time. If after about six weeks, they still aren’t keen, try it in a new place because it’s most likely the cats don’t like the exposure in that particular location.

Cats can compete for food or water bowls, so purchasing one set of bowls per cat, plus one, is an excellent tactic. When placed in different rooms, these allow cats to occupy their own food station territory to resolve squabbles. Additional, large litter trays encourage a cat to choose these more
readily.

Some cats prefer lidded trays, so that they can perform in peace away from other cats’ prying eyes. And don’t place litter trays next to feeding stations; many cats are understandably particular about eating dinner next to the
toilet!



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