Common cat behavioral issues – Diet & Treatment Advice

Cats, like humans, experience a wide range of emotions that can directly affect the way they behave.

A happy feline is going to conduct themselves differently to one who is maybe stressed or upset for instance.

When a cat starts “acting out” this is generally a sign that something is not quite right in their world, physically and/or psychologically.

Anybody who has lived with a misbehaving cat will tell you how much of a handful they can be, but it is always worth remembering that persistent bad behavior will inevitably be the result of an  underlying cause.

Cat behavior problems are extremely common. For some felines an uncharacteristic change in mood may only last a few minutes. For others it may continue for weeks.

Early intervention can prevent the latter from occurring, and should hopefully set your feline on a path to even better behavior.

What causes behavioral issues in cats?

Your cat isn’t going to tell you why they’re suddenly behaving differently.

So, it’s up to us as loving pet parents to work out why our feline is acting out of character.

Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Medical condition. Behavioral issues are sometimes indicative of a much larger problem. A cat in severe discomfort is almost always going to act differently to how they usually would. If you believe your cat is experiencing pain or is suffering from illness, seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Stress. Stress is known to be a significant trigger for cat behavior problems. It can be difficult to spot when a cat is stressed, but a change in behavior is definitely one of the signs. Common cat stressors include moving home, separation anxiety, introduction of another pet.
  • Change in routine. Cats do not like their routines being disrupted. Try and keep their schedule – feeding, grooming, playtime – consistent. If you do need to change things around, do so gradually, giving your cat time to adjust.
  • Poor diet. Feeding your feline a high-quality diet – one that is packed full of body-boosting nutrients – will help keep them fit, full and happy.
  • Boredom. A cat who is not receiving enough mental or physical stimulation may become increasingly frustrated. Make sure you provide them with plenty of toys, schedule regular play and grooming sessions, and ensure they are keeping active.

Common signs of behavioral issues in cats

  • Destructive behavior with household items. Cats are naturally curious and playful, so it’s not unusual for them to occasionally scratch or chew things around the house. However, repeated destruction of household items is unacceptable behavior that needs addressing promptly. Carpets, couches, curtains, doors, windows; few items are safe when a cat begins acting out in a destructive manner. Place one or two scratching posts around the house, and give their nails a trim while you get to the bottom of their bad behavior.
  • Aggression to humans or other animals. Acting aggressively towards humans or other cats is not normal behavior for a feline. The odd altercation is nothing to be concerned about, but continued displays of aggression are a sure sign something is bothering your cat. A number of reasons could be behind these feline flare ups. Ruling out pain and discomfort is a good place to start, so you’re best speaking to a vet first before taking any further action. Never punish your cat for aggressive behavior, it will only make the problem worse.
  • Litter box rejection. A common behavioral issue exhibited by cats is litter box avoidance. While frustrating for pet parents, it also isn’t nice for our felines either. Cats suffering from separation anxiety tend to struggle with uncontrollable urination. Resolving this problem quickly is vital if you don’t want it to become a habit. It may be that they have an aversion to that particular litter box. Make sure you clean it out regularly. If that doesn’t do the trick then try placing it in a different part of the house. Or better yet, provide them with a number of boxes so they can choose where they would like to go.
  • Excessive grooming. Cats are proficient self-groomers. It’s how they keep themselves clean, how they regulate their body temperature and how they cleanse any injuries. Felines can sometimes take grooming too far though, resulting in bald patches or sore areas of skin (commonly on their stomach or legs). The excessive licking is generally triggered by a change in routine or their environment, although skin allergies and parasites are both factors that should also be considered.
  • Increased vocalization. The amount of meowing a cat does will vary from breed to breed, and may also change as they grow older. Stressed cats do tend to be more vocal, while others will cry or whine because they want attention. Only give them attention when they are silent, otherwise they may begin crying all the time. Don’t ignore the meowing though, no matter how persistent it may be; not until you have checked there isn’t a problem. Hunger or pain can bring about excessive meowing so you will certainly want to rule out these two factors.
  • Stealing food. Cats are born hunters so helping themselves to food is not completely out of character. Despite this, it is a habit you will want to nip in the bud sooner rather than later. Stealing food from the table or the counter may be extremely annoying for a pet parent, but it’s potentially lethal for a feline. Do not feed your cat scraps from the table as this will only encourage the behavior. Focus on their diet. Are they enjoying their food? Are you packing their diet with enough nutrients to keep them satiated?
  • Up all night. Cats will spend most of their day sleeping. In fact, many felines will spend at least 16 hours a day snoozing. All this built-up energy means they can end up running around the house at night, making noise, looking for somebody to play with. While felines are classed as nocturnal, they’re actually crepuscular which mean they tend to be most active during dusk and dawn hours. Try and train your cat to follow a sleep pattern. Play with them before bedtime, and ensure they are well fed. This should ensure they sleep through the night, and allow you to do the same.

How to treat behavioral issues

There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to cat behavior problems.

All felines are different, each with their own distinct personality.

This can make diagnosing and treating a change in attitude particularly difficult.

Thankfully, the majority of behavioral issues can be resolved without need for professional intervention though.

The first thing a pet parent needs to do when faced with a misbehaving cat is work out what the underlying cause is.

A lot of people assume the reason for a cat acting out is because they are mad or out for revenge.

That isn’t the case.

While a cat developing unwanted behaviors is frustrating for pet parents, believe us, it’s just as frustrating, if not more so, for the feline.

If your cat’s behavior changes, it could be a sign they’re stressed, frightened or feeling unwell.

Once we know the cause, we can begin working towards a solution.

Stress and anxiety are certainly two big triggers. In this case, identifying the stressor – e.g. house move, new baby, new pet, change in routine – and managing it should resolve the issue.


It’s worth noting that you’re not going to correct a cat’s behavior overnight.

Do not lose patience with them, no matter how infuriating their conduct has become.

Shouting at a cat or punishing them in some way will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

Regardless of what steps you take or how much time you spend, sometimes a feline’s behavior will simply not improve. It may even become worse. At this point you are best seeking professional advice.

If you believe a change in behavior is related to injury or illness, don’t hesitate in booking an appointment with your vet.

Does diet play a part in behavior?

Treating behavior problems in cats does not have to be reactive.

There are plenty of measures we can put in place to prevent our felines playing up.

And there’s no better place to start than diet.

A well fed cat will more often than not be a happy cat.

Felines who are fed inadequate diets, lacking high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals are more susceptible to the health problems that will inevitably lead to changes in behavior.

Reveal’s recipes – like our Tuna with Sea Bream in Broth Pouch, Chicken Breast with Cheese in Broth Can, and our Tuna with Crab in Broth Can – all focus on natural ingredients that are not just delicious but healthy, too.

Rewarding good behavior through food is another tool in the pet parent armory that may be worth exploring.

Using our tasty Whole Tuna Loin treats to say “well done” will show your cat that good things follow good behavior.


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