After a busy day of work, one of life’s simplest pleasures is laying on the couch with a purring cat. They offer companionship, and even the busiest professional can still get enough time aside to properly care for their cat.

But sometimes living with a cat isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Each cat has its own quirks and figuring out what the real problem is can take time.

Let’s look at some common cat behavior problems and what we as owners can do to help manage those behaviors.

Why Cats Have Behavior Problems

The life and mind of a cat can be a mysterious thing. Cats are complicated animals, but they still have feelings. Cats are subject to all the same emotions that commonly affect humans too. Cats feel:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Joy
  • Pleasure

Because cats are such mysterious and complicated animals, it might be difficult to pinpoint exactly why your cat might be acting a certain way. Just keep with it and your cat’s negative behavior should lessen in no time.

Common Cat Behavior Problems

Here are some of the most common cat behavior problems. This is in no way a comprehensive list, but rather a look at what problems many owners have with their cats.


Vocalization is a very common problem with cats. It happens often when an owner falls asleep, but their cat decides that’s just the perfect time to start howling and meowing as loud as they can manage.

Is your cat just trying to annoy you? Absolutely not! Your cat is a nocturnal animal, so they become much more active at night than during the day. It makes sense that they might run around your home at night making all sorts of noises. But a loud cat can also be a sign for help.

If your cat makes a lot of noise for apparently no reason, this could be a sign of senility. If your cat’s rather young, you can probably rule that one out.

If they are meowing a lot during the day, it could also be a sign of pain. If they’re making noise while using the litter box, there could be a serious problem and pain while eliminating. Otherwise daytime howls can be pain from a catfight or other injury sustained indoors. Be sure to keep a close eye on your cat if they are making lots of noise, especially during the day. It could be a sign that something is wrong, or it can just be attention seeking behavior.


Cats’ claw at things. It’s just a simple fact of life. Cats need to “exercise” their claws to keep them top notch and useful for them. The problem is when your cat claws at things they shouldn’t.

If you find claw marks on your furniture or walls, it’s time to redirect that behavior. A scratching post is a great idea, as is a cat tree. It gives them a place to put that excess energy while giving them a higher vantage point on all the goings-on in your home.


Cats don’t chew as often as dogs but can create a mess for their owners. Chewing may be due to a nutritional deficiency, boredom, or aggression. Also, it’s natural for teething kittens to chew. It’s important to offer chew toys for cats so they don’t destroy items in your home.

Urinary Problems

Cats are known to have urinary problems. From bladder stones to stress, there are many reasons cats have issues with their urinary tract. They may urinate outside of their box, spray on walls and furniture, or stop urinating altogether. Limiting stress and acting on strange behaviors when they begin is the best way to keep urinary issues to a minimum.

Chronic Licking

Stress and anxiety may lead to chronic licking. Cats lick themselves naturally, but chronic licking leads to painful, raw sores. Over-grooming is a real issue. Your vet may prescribe ointments and tips for limiting stress.


Like dogs, cats may become aggressive. This can be for a multitude of reasons: from trauma to anxiety. Even medical issues can cause cats to be aggressive.

Find the Underlying Issue

As with any behavior issues, it’s crucial that you find the underlying issue. It’s the only way to resolve the behavior. We suggest having a talk with your cat’s vet if behaviors are getting out of control.