In the first year of my running Allison Helps Cats, I offered free consultations to individuals who had helped promote my business. One of those individuals had a cat with two relatively minor behavior issues. The first issue was that her cat jumped on counters and the second issue was that her cat meowed excessively at night.
Cats jump on counters for various reasons. They might be seeking food or attention or they might just want to climb up high to see what’s going on. My client collected data for several days, noting when her cat most often jumped on the counter. In this particular case, the data showed that her cat jumped on the counter most around mealtimes, and so we decided her cat wanted food.
There were a few easy fixes. First, my client stopped leaving dishes in the sink and on the counter. She also ensured there weren’t any scraps of food left on the counter. Second, my client used deterrents that wouldn’t harm her cat but would feel unpleasant enough that her cat might decide to stay off the counter. Placing bubble wrap on the counters for a few days worked for my client. To provide her cat with an alternative behavior, she gave her cat a puzzle feeder to occupy her cat during mealtimes. She also took the extra precaution of placing a cat tower near the kitchen, so that her cat could see what was happening during meals.
The second issue was her cat kept my client and her husband awake at night. Cats do this for various reasons, including that they’re lonely or bored. To address the loneliness, I advised my client to give her cat positive reasons to stay out of the bedroom. My client provided her cat with an overnight hideaway, left the radio on overnight, and placed treats around the house for the cat to find. To address the boredom, I suggested that my client both play with and treat her cat before bed. This was also easy enough to do.
Unfortunately, because my client had previously given her cat attention at night whenever her cat meowed, she had taught her to cat that meowing would get it attention. She now faced the challenge of ignoring her cat’s meows until she ready to start her day. If she looked at her cat, talked to it, or acknowledged her cat in any way, she’d only encourage it to continue to meow. My client eventually decided to just welcome her cat in the bedroom!
Because I’d successfully resolved two of her issues, my client occasionally asked me for advice on other cat behavior issues. For example, her cat would meow at her closet doors. Cats like to explore and so the simple solution was for my client to leave the closet doors open. My client was also concerned that her cat might door-dash. I advised her to throw treats in the opposite direction of the door when leaving and returning to her home. This solution has helped keep her cat stay safely indoors. I love when clients become lifelong learners of cat behavior!
Sometimes we all need a little (or a lot of) help with our cats. Whether you’re looking for support with cat behavior, training, socialization, enrichment, or husbandry care, I can help. Email me or fill out my contact form today.