Cats are curious creatures with an air of mystery about them, and their behaviors can sometimes be puzzling or problematic. When a beloved whiskered friend acts out of character, it is important to address the matter promptly. However, discussing behavioral concerns with your veterinarian can sometimes feel daunting. Never fear! Our team at Just Cats Clinic offers you some stress-free ways to communicate your cat’s behavior issues with us, so we can come up with the best solution together.

Cause for concern: Why your cat’s behavior may change

When your cat doesn’t behave purr-fectly, it can be easy to ignore the negative behavior and hope it goes away. You may feel responsible for their sudden change in demeanor or their need to “mark their territory” in every room, but there are several possible explanations for these types of changes, including an underlying medical condition, pain, or anxiety.

Common behavior problems include:

  • Eliminating outside the litter box
  • Hissing 
  • Vocalizing more often
  • Hiding
  • Scratching or biting
  • Fighting with other pets in the household
  • Engaging in other destructive behaviors

Certain behaviors can suggest more is going on than just unruliness, and it’s imperative you have your four-legged friend examined to rule out any medical issues that might be at the root of the problematic behavior.

Simple steps to communicate with your veterinarian

Learning how to talk about your pet’s behavior problems is key to solving them. You may be reluctant to speak to our team because who wants to discuss negative issues about their pets? We can assure you that we don’t judge. To make the communication process easier, here are some suggestions to get the most out of your veterinary visit:

  1. Be prepared — Observe and document the behavior(s) you would like to discuss. Note any changes in your cat’s routine, unusual habits, or concerning actions that have been ongoing or recent. The notes should include details about the frequency, duration, and triggers of the behavior. This information will help give us a comprehensive picture of your cat’s behavior.
  2. Communicate with transparency — It may be a natural reaction to want to leave out certain details about your cat because sometimes the truth can be uncomfortable. However, honesty is always the best policy. During the appointment, be open about the changes in your cat’s behavior or temperament and avoid downplaying or omitting any facts.
  3. Describe the behavior objectively — When you discuss your pet’s behavior issues, act as if you were describing the behavior of any cat. Emotionally charged descriptions can distract from the facts and keep us from getting a clear picture of what’s happening with your four-legged friend. Focus on factual descriptions of the behavior, such as “excessive hiding,” “aggressive tendencies,” or “increased vocalization.”
  4. Provide context — As with most pet behavior changes, there likely is more to them than meets the eye. Other variables should be taken into account, such as changes in residence, family tension, job loss, and any number of environmental stressors. Offering relevant context helps us gain insight into your cat’s behavior.
  5. Ask questions for clarification — If there’s something you don’t understand or you need more information about, speak up. Sometimes pet owners get lost in medical jargon or are so concerned about their pet, they miss key points about the behavior. When you need further information or clarification, ask.
  6. Follow through with recommendations — Recommendations or treatment plans are only beneficial if they are put into action. Ensure you follow through on treatment protocols, which may include changes to your cat’s environment, behavioral modification techniques, or medical interventions. Consistency, patience, persistence, and lots of love are key when implementing recommended changes. 

By preparing for your appointment, being honest and open, describing the behavior clearly, providing relevant context, asking questions, and following through with recommendations, you can work with your primary veterinarian to help your cat become a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted member of your family. 

The Just Cats Clinic team is here to support you and your furry companion every step of the way. Give us a call for additional information on behavior changes in cats or to schedule an appointment.