While all cats share some common personality traits, each cat has its own quirks and strange behaviors. You have to write a lot of it off as cats being cats–my Saturn tries to bury her food, for instance. But there are some cat behaviors that make sharing your space with them pretty difficult. I’m talking about the howlers, the growlers, the clawers, the biters. Those darn wild cats.
No matter how domesticated cats are purported to be, every cat has a little streak of wildness in them. First, understand what’s “normal” for cats. While playing, cats will scratch, claw and bite you. These behaviors can be lessened through training, but they’re natural play actions to the cat. Often, she will lick you to remind you that this is–in her mind, at least–all in good fun. If your cat is playing with you and accidentally hurts you, avoid shouting. Pull your wounded limb away, stare directly in your cat’s eyes and say firmly (without yelling), “NO.” Then walk away for 10 minutes.
But what if your cat bites, scratches or claws you out of nowhere? Assess the situation. What was your cat doing previously? If he was playing, he may be trying to get you in on the game. If your cat has been unusually cooped up or bored, he might be trying to stir up some fun–in this case, the solution is more toys. If your cat’s ears are pinned, crouching or looking around anxiously, your cat may feel cornered or trapped. Step away to give your cat some space. If none of the rest of this is true, your cat may be sick or in pain. If there are other signs of sickness or distress, see a vet.
What about cats who meow and howl in the middle of the night? Often, these cats are bored. Play with your cat about 20 minutes before bed to tucker her out. Consider investing in an automatic teaser toy that can run all night for her amusement. If the meowing and howling is still a problem, there may be stray cats in her line of sight at night. Many cat owners find it helpful to put butcher paper up over the bottom portion of sliding glass doors, which prevents cats from seeing unwanted visitors.
Cats who are used to being outdoors will often howl to get out. If this is possible where you live, consider a doggy door. Just be sure your cat wears a collar, is microchipped, is up-to-date on her shots and has access to a safe, fenced-in area. No fence? Pinterest has a host of “cat run” projects you can explore. Essentially, you build a safe, sturdy enclosure that lets her outside without letting her run wild. These protect her from other animals. The brand Ideal Pet Products offers safe doggie doors that affix safely to sliding glass doors to offer your cat a way out while keeping your family safe.
At your wit’s end with your cat’s wild behaviors? Consult a vet or pet behavior expert.