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Cats' Top Pet Peeves

Things That Upset your Cat


Does your cat show some obvious pet peeves? Does kitty's body language show he is peeved about something? Take a look around; you may find yourself responsible for your cat's bad attitude. Did you forget to clean the litter box yesterday? Find out more cats' typical pet peeves and make friends with your cat again.

Share your own cat's pet peeves. What are the things you do that s/he hates the most? Share them in the attached form Note:This form is not for asking questions or replying to another reader. Think of it as your own mini-article on the About.com Cat site.

Stinky Litter Box

Scoop the litter box regularly
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Cats hate dirty, stinky litter boxes, and may be driven to search for substitutes, whether it be a corner of the carpet or in a basket of clean laundry in the closet. Think about it: do you enjoy using one of those "portable potties" commonly found in public places? Your cat's sense of smell is 14 times stronger than yours, so a litter box that smells reasonably clean to you may downright stink to your cat's discerning olfactory senses. This step-by-step tutorial demonstrates conscientious litter box maintenance.

Related Reading:

Cats Hate Nasty-Tasting Medicine

Pill Pockets
Photo Credit: Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Some pills taste so vile that cats literally foam at the mouth while swallowing them (or spit them back in your face.) It's even worse if you expect them to swallow pills dry. A 2001 study presented in a veterinary journal stated that "After 5 minutes, 84% of capsules and 64% of tablets are still sitting in the esophagus." The study also brought out the specter of esophagitis, which can be caused by the irritation of pills and capsules remaining in the esophagus for long periods of time.

A sick cat really needs his medication to be well again, or in the case of certain chronic diseases, to maintain a stable condition. Make it easier for both of you and try one or more of these different methods of administering oral medications.

Cats Don't Like Spoiled Food

Picture of Cat Enjoying Fresh Canned Food
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Spoiled food not only smells bad, but it also is unhealthy for cats to eat. The length of time you can leave canned cat food before spoilage out depends on room temperature. In the summer, lacking air conditioning, I'd suggest leaving the food out no longer than 20 minutes, maximum. Likewise, in the winter, if the heater is on, or the food is in a warm kitchen, 20 minutes would apply. The absolute maximum under optimum temperature, would be around 30 minutes.

Kittens, who should be given smaller meals more frequently, probably will finish their meal well before 15 minutes. It's better to give them a tablespoon or two every three hours than to take a chance on spoiled food.

Be your cat's hero instead of a chump, by keeping his food fresh.

Too-Aggressive Petting

This cat is waaay past the petting threshold
Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto/Anna Sematkina

Some cats are overly sensitive to tactile stimuli. Feline hyperesthesia is often associated with this. Your cat may be on your lap, sharing a tender moment as you are petting her, but after awhile may suddenly bite or scratch you and jump down. Amy Shojai's advice:

"Cats accept grooming from other cats on the head and neck, and full body strokes may feel “unacceptable” and stimulate the biting. Limit your petting to the cat’s head or the back of his neck. Then identify the cat’s petting threshold. In other words, count the number of strokes he allows before aggressing; watch his body signals so you stop before he bites."

Competition From Other Cats

Picture of two housemate cats having a spat
© Yesrie
Whether it's the day-to-day hierarchy battles between two dominant cats, jealousy that their human is paying too much attention to another cat, or an outside intruder trying to muscle in on their territory, many cats hate competition from other cats.
  • Hierarchy Disputes:
    Amy Shojai writes"In households where the cats get along very well, the 'top cat' position may change from room to room, with each kitty giving ground to the “owner” of the property only when s/he appears. Otherwise, the cats time-share and can all use the same favorite bed, for instance—as long as they get out if the 'owner' asks."
  • Outside Intruder:
    Fully covered in this FAQ.

Cats Hate Loud Noise and Commotion

Photo of Feliway Comfort Zone
Photo Credit: Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Holiday times are often extremely stressful for cats, especially those we've come to associate with fireworks, such as the 4th of July and New Year's Eve. Loud parties at any time of the year are also stressful for most cats, especially the older ones.

Thunderstorms are also a source of fear and stress for many cats. Three of my four cats panic and run to their bedroom sanctuaries whenever they hear a doorbell ring, even on a television commercial.

The linked article will offer many tips for helping your cats relax, which are applicable to all these situations. For especially "nervous" cats, it is also often helpful to give them one or another holistic remedies, such as Bach's Rescue Remedy. Here are some other suggestions.

Being Ignored by Their Humans

Photo of Jenny in Mom's Lap
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

My little rescued cat, Jenny, feels neglected when I am "away," even if I'm in my office working on my computer. She loves my company, but becomes very lonely when I'm not with her.

Unlike some people believe, cats are not solitary animals, but they need and enjoy companionship. Witness how they will knead your legs when sitting with you, or even lick your hand.

Amy Shojai has two great articles covering these feelings of being lost and alone: The first "separation anxiety," and the second, "Tips for Creating Your Dream Cat," offers many ways of regularly demonstrating your love for your kitty, so that she will feel loved, not alone, when you are not with her.

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