What Cat Behaviors Need to be Broken?
The type of behaviors that your cat exhibits that you want to change will depend on where you live as well as your own personal preferences. It’s different in different households. However, one cat behavior most people agree is irritating is scratching. We’re not just talking scratching furniture here, either (although that is annoying, too, but can be taken care of with a scratching post). We’re talking scratching YOU.
While it won’t be possible to completely avoid ever getting scratched by your cat–unless you de-claw him, which is cruel and should never be done to a feline animal–you can reduce the instance of it with some basic behavior training. Making sure your cat always feels safe around you and everyone else in the household will prevent a lot of scratches, because cats scratch, in part, to defend themselves. Cats also scratch inadvertently when they play, and you can discourage this by firmly pushing your cat’s paws away from you and saying “No” whenever he scratches in play. You can also put plastic caps called Soft Paws on your cat’s claws. These are glued on and last several weeks before needing to be replaced, and can prevent scratches of all kinds while allowing your cat to flex his claws like he wants to.
Most people also dislike spraying, which is mainly a problem with un-neutered male cats, but can be done by any cat under the right circumstances. Cats spray to mark their territory, and this is quite natural. Even female cats will do this. You can discourage spraying in the home by buying a synthetic spray from the pet store. This spray will mimic the pheromones of another cat and will discourage your cat from spraying where he thinks another cat has sprayed.
Cats also like to jump up on high places, but many humans dislike it when the cat jumps up on the kitchen counters. You can discourage this by placing sticky strips or tin foil wherever you don’t want your cat to jump. The cat will not like the stickiness or the noise the foil makes, and will eventually stop jumping up where you don’t want him.
Finally, you will want to (most likely) discourage your cat from biting. Biting is a natural cat behavior, but it can be painful to you. Cats usually only do it in play, unless they’ve been de-clawed (in which case it becomes a neurotic or defensive behavior). Just push him gently away from you or put him on the floor whenever he bites and he will soon learn that this is not an acceptable behavior for him to perform with you.