Sometimes its NOT cat-titude, sometimes its a sign of pain or illness! Cats are the great hiders of disease, so by the time you notice a change your cat has likely been dealing with illness or pain for sometime. Here are some things to think about when trying to decide if something is a normal behavioral shift, or a sign of something more.
-How often do you see your cat drink? Many cat owners will almost never see their cats drink, and then suddenly they begin to see it – this is a significant change.
-How does your cat eat – is every meal his or her last, or does the bowl sit half full for the entire day?
-How often does your cat use the litter box? Many cats are secretive about litter box use, so again, if you have never before noticed your cat using the box, and now you do, there may be a problem. Also pay attention to the smells associated with the box – a sudden strong urine smell can indicate urinary tract infections.
-How does your cat respond to an invitation to play or cuddle time? Some cats love their people and are always around, others live stealthy secretive lives. Any change in behavior, especially in cats is often a sign that something is ‘off’. More affection or less affection qualifies as a change.
-When does your cat normally sleep and wake? Cats sleep up to 20 hours a day, yet many owners notice if their cats are sleeping more.
-Does your cat follow you from room to room or act independently of you? Again, what we want is for owners to be aware of their own cat’s normal behavior.
-How easily does your cat get onto furniture, go up or down stairs, or change positions from sitting to standing or the reverse? You may have spent the past ten years discouraging your cat from jumping on the counters, but a sudden adherence to the rules is more likely to be a change in physical ability to jump, rather than a sudden desire to capitulate to your requests (sorry).
These and other behaviors can change naturally with time, but they can also change if your pet is not feeling well, or is in pain. Cat behavior can also change when hormones that are normally in balance begin to shift due to various diseases. Because of this, we believe that paying attention to what is normal for your cat can ultimately help your cat live a longer healthier life.