Problems at this time of year may become more obvious as we spend more time inside with our pets.
Cats may develop behavioural problems at this time of the year because of wet weather and outside “stress” . Every cat in the neighbourhood has a drive to be outside on these cooler dry nights socialising ,good or bad, or chasing mice and rats. This causes friction as your cats space is infringed on physically and verbally.
Population stress can cause a cat to stress out inwardly and start abberant behaviours such as inapppropriate toileting inside the house, scratching flooring and walls, and fighting with previously friendly housemates or neighbours . Auckland has the highest concentration of cat owning population in the world so there are more cats per square area in Auckland than any other city, hence the occasional problem.
Change can also bring about stress, shifting house, new arrivals into the house ;baby, visitor, flatmate, partner. A change in routine can upset some cats .
What can you do to prevent inappropriate toileting and destress your cat? ;Add Indoor toilet trays ; 1 per cat , 1 per floor level as a minimum. Cat litter substrate ; find one that the cat likes , recycled paper pellets, pine pellets and charcoal clumping litters absorb the most smell and fluid so are better, while some cats will just prefer certain types of litter that you will only find by trial and error .
Make the outside more inviting by digging up garden areas so cats can dig (for toileting). Chose a drier area close to the back door so there is not too far to go, to escape from conflict.
Ensure there is a safety area where your cat can escape to, either inside the house or maybe under the house, when scared by a marauding neighbourhood ruffian. Install an electronic cat door in a door or wall.
Plant cat repellant plants on your boundaries to keep other cats out of the area. Smelly plants mimick tomcat urine and give the imposter the idea that there is a big smelly tomcat around to sort them out of the teritory. These plants include tomatoes, potatoes, Geraniums,Callendula, Large flowering marigold, some grow best in summer months . These dont affect your own animals as they are at home anyway. Some repellents (granules and spray)work some of the time , less if raining .
You can buy Feline pheromone spray and difffusers called Feliway or Pet Remedy that are open sellers to help destress your cat . The europeans have bottled cats’ wiskers pheromone , that works at calming the stressed individual by reason of relaxed recognition, reducing the need to mark everything as their stress levels wane. This pheromone is breathed into the nasal tissue and quickly sends a message to the brain, calming the cat resulting in normal behaviour. This product is available OTC so you can buy it direct from the counter. Some homeopathic drops will work to settle a cats anxiety so are still worth a try. Fresh or dried catnip may help settle a domestic cat (more than a purebred cat) as they often love the flavour and it seems to calm many cats, as they roll all over the herb.
Sometimes only behaviour modifying drugs will be the last resort to try before some cats willl settle down .These drugs are more useful for timid, aggressive or scared cats . All treatments need to be continued for up to or greater than 30 days to ensure the best result.
Watch for general ill health signs especially in our older pets , the earlier we diagnose a problem the more we can help improve the quality of life.