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Could you please stop that?!

Cats are loving animals that utterly captivate us and, let's face it, we couldn't live without them! But have you ever thought about the number of things they seem to come up with just to annoy us? We've put together a list of the 'Top 4 Most Annoying Cat Behaviours', and are going to take a moment to try to figure out if our cats are deliberately trying to make us crazy.

#1: Scratching

If you have a cat and a sofa, you know what we're talking about. Usually, we scold them and shoo them away to stop. But we shouldn't be reprimanding them for doing something that comes naturally to them.

Scratching is used for claw maintenance and communication. Cats have special scent glands in their paws, so besides creating a visual mark that identifies the scratched object as their own, they'll also leave their distinctive scent that reinforces this message.

The best approach to scratching is not to stop them from doing it, but to provide appropriate alternative structures that they can scratch.

#2: Running around at 3 am

Sleeping all day, running around all night; this is the one that might actually make us go insane.!

Again, cats are naturally more active at night. It's just how they're biologically designed. But you can teach your cats to be active at different, more convenient hours by feeding them and encouraging them to play during the morning and earlier evening hours.

#3: Dead – or worse, dying – presents

Cats are brilliant hunters. Even when they are properly fed, they still hunt out of instinct. In the wild, cat mothers bring home dead, injured and even live prey to progressively teach kittens how to eat, kill and hunt themselves. Male cats do this too, and it has been theorised that there might also be an element of bonding in this behaviour as well.

The ideal outcome in this situation is if the 'teaching experience' doesn't get dropped on our face!

#4: Always on top…

… Of our heads, if we're sleeping and miss breakfast time. Well, this one is on us, we can't blame the cats.

… Of whatever we're trying to do: this one has a simple explanation. Even though they might not overtly admit it, our cats love us and are just trying to get our attention. Either that or the laptop is feeling warm and cosy, and it is obviously the best place for our fluffy sovereigns to sit on.

… Of the kitchen counters: cats like vertical territory and the kitchen counters/table/bookcase/refrigerator just happen to be higher than the floor. This also comes out of instinct, since cats are both predator and prey and being on higher ground will give them access to a wider visual field.

… Of wherever, knocking things over – specialists haven't gotten to a consensus on this one, so we guess this is the one that has got to be on purpose! (Or well, maybe they just want our attention and don't realise how pricey that vase was...)

The bottom line is: no, our cats are not trying to annoy us, these behaviours are deeply rooted in cats' natural survival instincts and come out naturally for them. We just have to find alternative ways for our cats to express them. If we're being honest, this is what makes us love them so much anyway.

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Published: 17 Sep 2018

Read the previous article: Reward-based training