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5 “Naughty” Cat Habits That Are Okay To Encourage

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Cats are very intentional and calculated creatures. Most of the things they do serve a purpose and help them live healthier and happier lives. It’s important to remember that when cats do something “naughty”, they aren’t trying to spite us, they are simply acting in ways that are in line with their natural instincts. Once we understand the instinct behind a cat’s less-than-desirable behavior it’s easier to redirect it into a more positive one.

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Image Source: Fabienne D. via Flickr.com

1. Scratching
It can be frustrating when a cat scratches things that shouldn’t be scratched, whether it’s the side of a couch or the carpet. If a cat keeps scratching inappropriate objects it can get quite expensive, potentially even costing you a security deposit!

You may see it as a destructive war on your property, but it’s actually an important part of your cat’s overall health. She scratches to keep her claws fresh and sharp, to stretch and flex her body, and to mark an object with pheromones from the glands in her paws.

Redirect her inappropriate scratching by making sure you have enough scratching posts in your home, and that they are the right kind. There are so many different types of scratchers: stand up ones, flat ones, curved ones, cardboard, sisal, catnip-infused. It’s hard to tell what kind your cat will like until you try a few, but you may be able to get some hints based on how or what she’s scratching. If she’s standing on her hind legs to scratch the side of the couch, she’d probably prefer a stand up post that can help her stretch her body. If she is scratching the carpet, she may enjoy a flat one that she can really dig her claws into.

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Image Source: KittyAcres via Amazon.com

2. Plant Eating
If you have houseplants, I’ll bet your cat has tried to eat them. There are a couple reasons why those plants are alluring to her. First, cats simply love things that dangle and sway. Viney plants can mimic your cat’s favorite wand toy (if it wiggles when touched it must be for playing, right?) Even non-viney potted plants may bring out your cat’s natural hunter instincts if swayed by a gentle breeze. The second reason is that your cat instinctually knows that the fiber in your houseplants will help her feel better if her stomach is upset– either by acting as a laxative or making her vomit.

Plant eating isn’t just annoying, it can be dangerous (or even fatal) to your cat if she’s eating house plants that are toxic. To make sure she’s getting the extra fiber when she needs it, trade out your cat-accessible plants with fresh catnip or car grass. Just make sure it’s organic so your kitty isn’t ingesting pesticides.

The ASPCA has compiled great lists of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to cats.

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