| More from Cat Behavior

Cats have a different set of rules, and if you are not paying close attention, you may miss the subtle signs that you are making your cat crazy. There are some universal things that drive away just about every cat on the planet. If you understand these things, you will probably avoid bothering your cat 98 percent of the time.

1. Touching her feet

Kittens are foot sensitive, and those little pink claw pads can be a little bit too. Cats use their legs and claws to defend themselves, so you can trigger a “fight or flight” reflex when you touch them.

With some time and patience, you can slowly get accustomed to touching your cat. Choose a time when your cat is resting on your lap, then touch your feet for a moment and squeeze slowly. Hold them for a moment or two, then stop. Do this daily, and soon you should be able to touch those beautiful feet without starting a battle. This exercise will also help him get accustomed to touching his feet so that you can clip those claws.

2. Ignoring the litter box

If there is one thing that will universally bother every cat, it is a dirty, stinky litter box. I have met people who do not earn daily – or worse, they do not scoop at all but do weekly used litter instead.

Cats may be familiar with where they will go and where they will not. Their sense of smell is 14 times greater than ours, so imagine what they smell when they unpack the box for one day. (Outhouse!) It won’t take your cat to find another place to “go”, and trust me, the place you choose won’t make you happy. Scoop yourself, and your cat, a favor, and that box daily.

3. Providing no means for stimulation or activity

If you come home from a long day at work to find out that your cat has baffled, knocked things over and is making a general mess of your house, I guarantee she is trying to tell you something. Has been: she is bored.

As a cat behaviorist and owner of a cat-sitting company, I am amazed at the number of homes I visit that make it seem like no cat lives there. No toys, no cat trees, no kitty beds, no scratching posts – nothing that welcomes a cat’s soul and makes her feel like part of the house. This really sets your cat up for failure, as he will find other things to keep his cat’s curiosity satisfied.

Cats need things in their environment that not only keep them occupied but it allows them to use nature as a natural form. Cats need to climb so that they can observe the world; Cat trees and / or climbing shelves are essential. Comfortable cat beds, toys, and scratching posts prevent your kitty from destroying your furniture, exposing your toilet paper, or otherwise damaging things in your home.

4. Move her while she is sleeping

Take your cat away from your hot cozy napalm location, and you are likely to invoke the “glow”. You look at him – the one who tells you that you just molested him and you’d better be careful.

You will find that your cat often falls in a place where you spend a lot of time. In fact, this is a compliment: she chooses those spots because she can smell you there, and it makes her very happy to feel close to you.

My cats are very good at giving them shine when I scoot them from my office chair so I can work. I have some comfy kitty beds on my desk, so it is often a pleasure to have cats in one of them instead. Provide your cat a comfortable alternative to your chair, and she won’t be mad for very long.

5. leave without a trace

I don’t travel often, but I remember one trip in particular when I was away for eight days. Although one of my staff members took good care of my kitties, my Sadie made a point of disliking her. Once I arrived home and sat on my couch, Sadie sat back on the arm of the couch for two hours to tell me that she was most offended.

Of course, you will have to travel many times, so when you are preparing to leave, and after returning home, be prepared to meet Shine and Stony Silence.

To help calm your cat while you are gone, leave everything you have worn and spread on your bed so that your kitty can feel your presence while you are away. This particularly helps cats who experience isolation anxiety.  Make sure that the person taking care of your cat gives her lots of love and attention, so the cat will not be alone without you there.

I cannot guarantee that I have covered everything that can drive your cat crazy. Each cat is a person and responds to things in its own way. But I hope I have helped you unlock the silly secrets that surround those thin kitty flashes and angry swats that we sometimes develop unknowingly because we are the only humans who love them.