Cats are misunderstood animals. Some people consider them an “acquired taste,” unsociable and standoffish, and the yin to a dog’s yang. But cats are social pets that become attached to their owners and get lonely if left alone for too long. They can get separation anxiety, and, yes, cats can become depressed.
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A cat that’s feeling out of sorts can do quite a bit of damage, so it’s important to recognize when something’s amiss with your tabby. The signs may not be as overt as with an unhappy canine; instead, you just need to pay close attention.
Signs of Cat Distress
A skittish cat that hasn’t been declawed may manifest its consternation by going after the furniture, perhaps using your favorite couch as a scratching post, or he may shred a comforter or pillow. Extreme behavior may also include giving you a good scratch on the arm. Some felines will turn excessively lovey, turning into a clingy cat who just wants to be held and stroked.
Other cats may demonstrate their unhappiness by ceasing to use the litter box and urinating and defecating on the carpet or furniture. It’s also not unusual for a cat to show their unhappiness with excessive meowing or yowling. If your pet is showing one of these symptoms, he probably needs more attention and you should be prepared to prevent a kitty disaster in the meantime.
Cat-Proofing Your Home
Cats can be unpredictable if left alone too long, so cat-proof your home by making sure he can’t get into trouble or be injured by any objects left lying around. Keep any dangerous cleaning fluids or chemicals locked away, and don’t forget to get rid of any poisonous plants that could easily be chewed or gnawed on.
Make sure there are no sharp objects or small objects left lying around that could be swallowed by a curious cat looking for a quick snack. Move dangling cables or electrical cords out of reach — a full-grown cat can pull down something heavy and dangerous, such as a lamp, on their heads by tugging on a cord. Close off rooms that are off-limits, and keep dirty laundry out of reach and store food in an inaccessible cabinet.
Combat the Claws
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is one good way to prevent damage to furniture and woodwork. Cats scratch to sharpen their claws, mark territory, and burn off excess energy; it’s natural, instinctive behavior that’s common to the feline family.
Get several cardboard scratching posts or carpet-covered vertical posts that a cat can sink his claws into without getting into trouble. Also, you can always opt for heavy wood or metal furniture that will resist the most determined clawing cat, though that kind of furniture may not be your cup of tea.
Removing Cat Urine
Cat urine has a powerfully sharp ammonia smell that’s unlike any other. It’s overpowering and it won’t go away if you just leave it alone. So, if your pet has relieved himself on the carpet, take steps to clean it immediately and thoroughly.
Soak up as much of the stain as possible with an absorbent paper towel, then apply an enzymatic cleaner, which will break down the stain by releasing cultures that “eat” the offending substance.
Cats are loving, sociable animals, despite what some misguided people may think. Once you understand their temperament and habits, they’re terrific pets because they’re innately clean (they even bathe themselves) and they’re non-intrusive, unlike many breeds of dog. With just a few strategic precautions, you can avoid lasting damage to your home and furniture.