10 Most Common Cat Behavior Problems and How to Deal With Them

When it comes to owning cats it can be a very rewarding experience, we often times get carried away with their silly antics and loving purrs and forget that cats need discipline just like any other pet you decide to make a part of your household.

Cats can exhibit behavioral problems that can be very frustrating and unpleasant to deal with causing very much avoidable tension between the two parties. Here are the 10 common cat behavior problems that usually show up in feline owned households.

Litter box problems

A very well-known problem that I’m sure a lot of cat owners are familiar with is the problem with cats using the litter box. The cause of this behavioral issue can be because of many reasons some that include like medical problems, stress and environmental factors.

The problem might go so far as where some cats straight up refuse to use the litter box entirely while others totally miss it or go outside of it. To finally overcome this issue we must identify the root cause so there can be an effective strategy.

The medical issues such as a urinary tract infection or kidney disease is to be consulted with a vet so it can be cured and then we can focus on the issue with the litter box. In cases where stress is the main antagonist it is recommended that the environment and routines are a bit altered to alleviate anxiety.

Veterinary Examination

Initiate the process by taking the cat to the vet for a comprehensive check-up, ensuring that any potential medical issues are promptly identified and treated.

Litter Box Quantity:

Confirm that there are an adequate number of litter boxes available, adhering to the guideline of one box per cat, with an additional one to minimize competition.

Enhanced Cleaning and Unscented Litter:

Elevate the cleanliness of the litter box by increasing the frequency of cleaning. Consider switching to unscented, natural litter to cater to the cat’s preferences and sensitivities.\

Variety in Litter Boxes:

Experiment with different types of litter boxes, including the exploration of automatic litter boxes, to discern if a particular design or mechanism resonates better with the cat.

Diverse Litter Types:

Introduce variations in litter types, such as clumping, non-clumping, or silica gel, to ascertain the cat’s preference and enhance its comfort.

Optimal Litter Box Location:

Ensure the litter box is situated in a quiet, private location, offering the cat a secluded space to attend to its needs without external disturbances.

Stress Reduction Strategies:

Implement stress reduction measures by utilizing pheromone sprays or other calming products, creating a more serene environment for the cat.

Positive Reinforcement and Accessibility:

Encourage positive behavior by rewarding the cat for using the litter box. Additionally, guarantee that the litter box is consistently accessible, reinforcing the cat’s inclination to utilize it.

Scratching furniture

Cats being cats love to always have their claws sharp, its in their nature. However if the appropriate equipment isn’t bought to satisfy their need to scratch all the time your cat might just start scratching in different furniture or carpets. Leading to frustrating situations for cat owners.

Dealing with that problem is easier than you would think like strategically place the scratching post or board in an accessible location, preferably in areas where your cat is inclined to scratch inappropriately. Encourage positive behavior by rewarding your cat when they utilize the designated scratching area.

This positive reinforcement establishes a connection between appropriate scratching behavior and positive outcomes. In addition to providing a suitable scratching alternative, discourage your cat from scratching on inappropriate surfaces by employing deterrents such as double-sided tape or aluminum foil.

These materials create an unpleasant texture or sound, dissuading the cat from using them as scratching surfaces. Recognizing that excessive scratching may also stem from boredom or a lack of stimulation, ensure your cat receives sufficient exercise and mental engagement.

Incorporate interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and play sessions to fulfill their physical and cognitive needs. This proactive approach contributes to reducing undesirable scratching behavior by addressing underlying causes.

Excessive meowing

Excessive meowing is another one of the 10 common cat behavior problems that can be caused by many other factors. One very acceptable explanation is that the cat just wants to get attention from its owner or trying to communicate its needs and wants to their owner. Sometimes cats may meow frequently because of some undiagnosed medical condition. Just to name a few like hyperthyroidism, dental problems or anxiety.

The way this will be solved is first assessing the situation and figuring out the cause of the meowing if the possibility of being sick is ruled out then provide your cat with plenty of toys and mental stimulation to keep them busy and entertained

Make sure your cat has access to food, water, and a clean litter box

Ignore your cat’s meowing when they are seeking attention for no reason, as responding to it may reinforce the behavior.

Provide positive reinforcement, such as treats or affection, when your cat behaves well or is quiet.

Urine marking or spraying

Urine marking or spraying is a common issue, especially in unneutered male cats. It’s their way of marking territory and communicating with other cats, involving a small amount of urine on vertical surfaces like furniture and doors.

Initial Steps:

If your cat exhibits urine marking, the first step is a vet check to rule out any health concerns. Once medical issues are addressed, consider these simple strategies:


Neutering your male cat can be highly effective, reducing marking behavior in over 90% of cases. This straightforward procedure helps curb territorial marking tendencies.

Multiple Litter Boxes:

Some cats prefer their own space. Providing multiple litter boxes can prevent avoidance issues, especially if another cat has used the box.

Thorough Cleaning:

Clean and deodorize marked areas meticulously. This diminishes the scent that encourages your cat to mark its territory repeatedly.


Implement deterrents like double-sided tape, aluminum foil, or citrus-scented sprays to discourage your cat from revisiting previously marked spots. These simple barriers redirect their behavior.

Environmental Enrichment:

Create a stimulating environment with toys, scratching posts, and perches. This not only offers entertainment but also alleviates anxiety and stress, reducing the likelihood of urine marking.

Addressing urine marking in a cat involves a combination of practical steps. From neutering and providing multiple litter boxes to employing deterrents and enriching their surroundings, these uncomplicated strategies contribute to fostering a more harmonious living environment for both you and your feline friend.


Another very common behavioral problem like the other 10 common cat behavior problems found in cats that can really mess up your daily routine and cause unnecessary stress for their owners. If you notice your cat acting excessively hyperactive there could be many reasons behind it. Usually people are looking for any signs of any medical issues, boredom can also be the culprit, lack of stimulation, anxiety and or stress. To prevent this start by:

Identify Potential Causes

Start by observing your cat if there are any apparent triggers for their hyperactivity.

Increased stimulation

Providing more opportunities for physical and mental stimulation. Try engaging your cat in more and more play sessions, encourage their regular exercise, and try to introduce them to interactive toys to keep them entertained and happy.

Creating a safe environment

By having many hiding spots and perches your cat will feel a lot more comfortable and also another think to take into consideration is to put their litter box in a quiet space so that cat can have less triggers.

Professional guidance

If non of these tips help and your cat still continues to display signs of hyperactivity the the next best solution is to consult a vet or a professional animal behaviorist. They are well enough qualified to assess the situation at hand and create the right treatment plan for your feline companion.

Compulsive behaviors

When it comes to this behavioral problem, cats usually show repetitive, exaggerated and uncontrollable actions that are not connected to anything. While the cat does them they can become very harmful like self mutilation or excessive grooming. With these actions they might end up hurting themselves or they can also develop skin conditions.

To address compulsive behaviors in cats, it’s important to identify the potential underlying cause. Examples include annoyance and boredom, worry or stress, as well as physiological issues such as allergies, infections, or neurological diseases.

Treatment for compulsive disorders may frequently include addressing the underlying reason, such as offering greater environmental stimulation, more playing, interactive toys, and scratching posts, as well as behavior modification training for stress management.

For help identifying and treating compulsive disorders in cats, visit a veterinarian or professional animal behaviorist.

Destructive behavior

Also a very problematic behavior and in the 10 common cat behavior problems. Can manifest itself in scratching furniture and carpets, chewing on household items and knocking over objects.

The reasons why your cat engages in this kind of bad behavior can be for a number of reasons like boredom, anxiety and territorial marking. So to fix this problem try to provide your cat with plenty of toys, scratching posts so they can stimulate themselves and redirect their destructive tendencies somewhere else. Also having a lot of hiding spaces helps so the cat can have their alone time.

Positive reinforcement training

You can also make the cat unlearn this behavior by positive reinforced training such as giving your feline buddy a treat when they start to use any of the toys you’ve bought for them. That way they will start to associate their treats with good behavior.


Another solution you could try to do is to limit the space in which you cat can explore just by placing them in one room and closing all the other doors or installing barricades so they can’t go any further than the planned area you have had in mind. That way they will not try to destroy or damage any furniture or other objects you have in your home.

If the problem doesn’t get solved by these suggestions then try again talking to a professional like a vet or an animal behaviorist so they can help you with your cat.

Anxiety and fear

Just like us humans cats can also be prone to developing anxiety and fears for various situations which can spiral into problematic behavior if not discovered on time. Anxiety in cats can be caused by many factors like changing routines or new environments, lack of socialization or underlying medical conditions.

Fear may be caused by some negative experiences in the past or not being exposed to certain stimuli.

To confirm that your cat has anxiety or fear it is very important to identify the potential cause and act accordingly. With the same method from before like positive reinforcement therapy you can gradually expose your cat to those feared stimuli in a controlled environment of course, and by giving them treats you will eventually desensitize them from their previous fear. In some cases veterinarians might prescribe medication for the cat to take.

One very important note you must remember. If you are ever dealing with a cat that has anxiety or some kind of fear never use any kind of physical punishment. That can only reinforce their beliefs and make the situation even worse so worse that they might start expressing aggressive behaviors.


A pretty common behavior in almost all cats, which can be triggered by a plethora of different reasons such as the cat might feel threatened, overstimulated or frustrated.

And while not all biting can be bad some felines use it as a form of communication like while you and your cat are having a play session and your cat bites you it means a sign of affection. However, keep in mind that if the cats starts more frequently biting you and more aggressively it could cause some unwanted injuries such as scratches or wounds.

If you want to find out why your cat bites you then you have to observe closely, like if a cat bites when they are overstimulated give them the necessary toys and back off from the situation so that cat cant get overly excited.

If the cat bites because it feels stressed out or anxious, try to create a safe space for them and if they don’t calm down then go and see a vet. Again with a very important reminder never physically punish your kitty no matter how much they bite that will only lead to them becoming aggressive. Instead try with positive reinforcement such as rewarding good behavior and redirecting the cats attention back to their toys.


When cats act unfriendly, is a common problem and can be directed at other cats, animals, or people. Another issue in the 10 common cat behavior problems. This often happens when cats feel scared, stressed, or worried. To handle aggression in cats, it’s important to find out why it’s happening and reduce stress.

You can do this by providing chances for your cat to play and exercise and making a peaceful and calming space for them. Encouraging good behavior with positive reinforcement is also helpful. This means using treats, praise, or rewards to show your cat they’re doing well.

When Aggression Persists:

If your cat keeps being aggressive, it’s a good idea to talk to a vet or a pet behavior expert for more advice and help. They can give you more guidance on what to do.

Designated Scratching Area:

Cats naturally scratch to exercise and sharpen their claws, but this can harm furniture. Offer a scratching post or pad to redirect this behavior.

Varied and Stimulating Toys:

To prevent boredom and destructive actions, provide toys that imitate hunting and interactive play. This keeps them engaged and content.

Consistent Feeding Schedule:

Maintain a regular feeding routine to prevent begging and food-guarding behaviors. This provides structure and predictability.

Clean Litter Box:

Keep a tidy and easily reachable litter box. Cats are clean animals, and a well-maintained space helps prevent litter box issues.

Ensure Plenty of Rest:

Cats need adequate rest. Provide designated areas for napping or sleeping, away from disruptions, ensuring they get the sleep they need.

Avoid Punishment:

Refrain from physical punishment or yelling. Positive reinforcement, like treats and praise, is more effective for training and avoids fear and aggression.

Early Socialization for Kittens:

Socialize kittens early to prevent fear-based and aggressive behavior toward humans and other animals. Positive experiences build confidence.

Check for Medical Issues:

Behavioral changes may signal health problems. Regular check-ups and vigilance for alterations in behavior can catch medical issues early.

Provide Adequate Space:

Cats need space to feel comfortable and avoid stress. Offering multiple perches, hiding spots, and separate feeding areas for multiple cats prevents territorial conflicts.

By incorporating these simple practices into your cat care routine, you create an environment that encourages positive behavior and overall well-being.

When it comes to having a peaceful and enjoyable life with your little furry buddy you have to understand and take action about their poor behavior. Depending on the situation the problematic issues may occur differently. However if you truly want to help your cat and have no problems you must have patience, consistency and the right way to approach.

So next time your cat displays any of these 10 common cat behavior problems take your time to understand why they are acting the way that they are and work together to resolve the issue.

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