8 Ways To Hiss Off Your Cat

British singing cat on a dark background

“You did WHAT???!”  All Images courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

We love our cats but still complain about their “behavior problems.” Our blood pressure goes off the charts when cats scratch the furniture, baptize the bed, and caterwaul at 5:00 a.m., even though we’re purr-fect owners!

Our cats love us back. But there’s no doubt that kitty’s tail gets in a knot over a human’s “behavior problems.” Here are 8 common things you do to hiss off your cat.

Largely cat's paw with the extended claws

Cats claws are an engineering marvel, and grow from the last bone/digit of each toe.

Clawing Angst: Cats claw to mark territory, to exercise and relieve stress. Owners hiss off cats by not providing the kitty-correct claw object and location. Cats don’t care if it’s color-coordinated to human taste. A nasty-clawed-ugly-old-post with scratch-graffiti is like a child’s favorite binky and can’t be replaced with a spanking-new post. Hiding it away means claw-art won’t be seen. Cats re-train humans by clawing kitty-correct objects of the proper texture and location—like the sofa.

Declawing Growls: Surgical claw removal offends many cats on an emotional and physical level. It strips away normal kitty defenses, and changes kitty stride/balance. Yes, some cats manage to suck it up and soldier on, but others demonstrate hissed-off status by avoiding the litter box (it HURTS to dig with sore toes!), or biting more often in defense. Change in balance and stance may also add to arthritis pain as the kitty ages. Trim claws regularly, and offer legal outlets for normal kitty claw activity to prevent hissy claw fits.

Cat's getting a nail trim

Seren and Karma get their claws trimmed every week or so–in case they “forget” and scratch something, it does no damage.

Litter-ary Woes: Hit-or-miss potty behavior is the top complaint of cat owners—but we bring it on ourselves. Most standard commercial boxes are too small for jumbo-size cats so they hang over the edge or look elsewhere. Kitties hate being surprised in the potty, and dislike strong odors from perfumed litter or stinky deposits—a covered box condenses smells and blocks the view. Do you have a favorite TP? Cats get attached to favorite litter, too, and switching prompts some cats to take their business elsewhere. Having to “share” facilities is like you discovering somebody forgot to flush—ew! Extra boxes will reduce the hiss-quotient for kitties.

CatCarrier_31617035_originalCarried Away: Cats love the status quo. Changes to routine annoy or frightens them. Being stuffed into an unfamiliar cat carrier and then grabbed, poked and probed by scary-smelling strangers (vet alert!) makes cats hit the panic button. Couldn’t the vet at least warm up the thermometer? Savvy kitties teach owners a lesson by disappearing each time we reach for the S’carrier. Make cat carriers part of the furniture and add catnip toys or fuzzy bedding to take the “scary” out of the equation.

Left Behind: Vacations hiss off many cats because it messes with feline routines. Your felines get used to being fed, petted, played with, and snuggled at certain times and the owner’s absence throws a furry wrench in kitty expectations. It can take kitty a week or longer to become used to a new schedule of you being gone. Your return disrupts the newly learned kitty schedule all over again, so the cat has a double-dose of kitty angst from owner vacations.

cute young woman with cat

Do your cats wake you?

Sleeping Late: Why would owners want to sleep late, when a kitty bowl needs to be filled? Cats raise a ruckus to point out food bowl infractions or other owner irresponsibility. Felines become quite adept at training us simply with consistent purr-suasion, causing sleep deprivation until we give in.

Indoor Incarceration: Cats that have experienced the great outdoors can become distraught when “jailed” exclusively indoors. Never mind they’re safer indoors away from dangers—closed doors and barred windows drive these cats crazy. Bringing the outdoors inside with puzzle toys, cat towers and a kitty house-of-plenty can calm the feline freedom fighters.

the cat beats a paw on a nose of a dog. isolated on white backgrUnfaithful Owners: Owners may think kitty is lonely and wants a friend, but they never ask the cat! Bringing a new pet (especially a cat) into the house turns up the hiss-teria. How would you feel if asked to share your potty, dinner plate, toys, bed—and love-of-your-life human—with a stranger off the street? To the cat, the interloper looks funny, smells scary, and disrupts that all-important familiar routine. It can take weeks or months for cats to accept newcomers as family members.

NEW-CatCompet-lorezThere are always feline exceptions. Your cat may not have read the kitty rule-book, and perhaps throws hissy-fits over other issues. Understanding what concerns our cats helps us be better owners, and enhances the love we share. And…that’s one of the main reasons for the ComPETability book series, with how-to step by step advice your CATS and DOGS will love!

What have I missed? Do you hiss off your cat, too? How have you adjusted your “bad human behavior” to keep the hissy peace? Do tell!

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8 Ways To Hiss Off Your Cat — 6 Comments

  1. Ha! With the claw thing, my parents tried to get Simba Too a new scratching post when she outgrew her old one – she had to belly flop on the ground to scratch on it, because it was kitten-sized. They kept the old one too, and she still scratches it more than the newer, bigger one.

    Of course when her nails get too long she starts to prefer the couch, so we have to make sure I come over to trim frequently.

    I am starting to suspect that Anubis’s declawed front paws are, in fact, contributing to the arthritis in his HIND legs. Since it does change their gait, I have to wonder how much his had to adapt. He doesn’t usually have front-paw complaints, where he was declawed (not our choice – that was J’s parents before he was old enough to be in charge of those decisions), but his back legs seem to get pretty achy sometimes now.

    For the litter box we use one of those big tupperware containers like they make to slide under beds. We have two of those, plus a covered litter box for when he wants some privacy. That covers most of our bases (though sometimes when his IBD flares up he still goes elsewhere).

    With Anubis even if I get up to feed him on time on the weekend, if his daddy is sleeping in, he will still go climb all over the bed and fuss.

    Of course we managed to upset him the other day because J is doing phone interviews right now hunting a new job, and we were trying to keep Anubis out of the office to avoid him “helping”. But we had to abandon that since Friday he got so upset, he threw a fit at being herded away, even more of a fit when I tried to shut the bedroom door and get him to come curl up for a while, and stressed out to the point where his IBD flared up in a bad way and he was making little bloody micro-poops for a couple hours after (he’s ok now – if it had gone on longer we would have had to make a vet run for steroids to calm it down again). So from now on if anybody has a problem with a kitty joining the interview process over the phone, they can either learn to deal with it or be written off the list of acceptable employers. (Of course now we’re trying to decide logistics of moving, since we do plan to move at some point within the next year or so, and we don’t want to cause him to freak out since we’re going to have to shut him somewhere when we move the furniture out)

      • Yeah we knew it annoyed him, but I’ve never seen him get this outright frantic before. 🙁 Poor guy gets stressed more easily anymore, I think. But he’s got to be almost 18 now.

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