by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
All behaviour is a reflection of how we are feeling at the time. The same holds true for our cats.
While there are cats that perform actions for attention or reward, most are true to themselves, and this is reflected in their behaviour and posture.
While all changes in behaviour should be considered in context or the environment, including weather, people and sound, any change can be a message about health, comfort, safety or food.
Here are a few thoughts; the best person to help with diagnosis and a treatment program, if needed, is always your vet.
The most usually changes are seen in eating habits. Eating less or becoming fussy can indicate issues with mouth, teeth, sinus, digestion, pain, or safety. Overeating can be caused by some diseases or challenges by other cats. Frequent or increased vomiting
Changes in litter tray habits and output are a good indication of health too. Increased urination or eliminating outside the litter tray could signal a problem. Not using the litter tray at all is a greater concern for which there are many possible reasons including mobility, pain, cleanliness as well as illness.
An ongoing increase in drinking water means a trip to the vet for diagnosis; this can be an indication of more serious illnesses.
Play behaviour in older cats can be an indication of metabolic issues while more aggression can be an indication of pain or safety issues.
Cats who become more friendly may be indicating a need for help while those who seem more reserved could be hiding their issues. Purring, vocalising and head-rubbing fall into this category too.
Sleep patterns and places will change as kittens become adults and adults grow into seniors. A sudden and unusual change of place or length of sleep can indicate an underlying issue.
While overgrooming is typically seen as a behaviour issue it can also be a sign of parasites or allergies. Undergrooming is also not always a behaviour issue.