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Posted on Mon. Apr. 21, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

New ways to solve cat behavior problems

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From inappropriate marking to excessive meowing to scratching, a misbehaving cat can cause disruption to your home. Unfortunately, behavior problems are the No. 1 reason for pet euthanasia, resulting in the death of approximately 15 million pets annually, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

But not all these bad behaviors are your pet's “fault.” Stress, caused by a variety of factors, can contribute to these issues. After visiting a veterinarian to rule out any physical causes for your feline's follies, take steps to encourage good behavior and decrease stress in your cat's life.

“You don't need to resort to drastic measures to stop a cat's behavioral issues,” says Caryn Stichler, vice president of marketing for Sergeant's Pet Care Products. “There are a number of ways to create a calm, stress-free environment for your pet including using pheromone-based products.”

Here are some steps you can take:

Litter box: Is your kitty's use of his litter box unreliable? Make sure you're keeping it clean and changing the litter on a regular basis.

Don't relocate the box. Animals, like people, form habits and can be stressed out by change.

Noise: If you're the host with the most, be mindful of the consequences. Loud noises and a room full of strangers can add stress to your pet's life.

When entertaining, avoid blasting music and ensure your pet has access to water, a litter box and food in the less trafficked areas of your home.

Be proactive: More than two million cat owners have used a calming product on their pet. If your pet's behavioral problems are triggered by travel, thunderstorms, fireworks or new social situations, consider a collar for your cat that's been scientifically proven to reduce or eliminate such behaviors.

One such device mimics the pheromone that the mother cat produces to calm and reassure and calm her kittens. Pheromones are chemical substances used for communication between members of a species. Good for all ages and breeds, the pheromone calming collar helps cats feel safe and secure. •Comfortable space: Make sure your cat's living space is not just a place to survive, but a place to thrive. Cats love to observe the world around them, so make sure your kitty has access to windows. Provide plenty of toys and spend some quality time together each day as mental and physical stimulation are important


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