Common Naughty Cat Behaviors and How To Fix Them

Picture this, you adopted a new cat who you love and adore, but after a few months, he/she starts some destructive behavior…peeing outside the litter box and scratching your furniture. At first, you think it’s okay, but a few weeks later, you are very annoyed. We are here to help! Try these methods to stop your cat’s bad behavior.

First and foremost, pick up some delicious high reward treats from Teton Tails, Pets Place Plus or the grocery store so when your cat is behaving, you can reward him/her!

  • If your cat is urinating outside the litter box: 
    • First, consult your veterinarian about a Urinary Tract Infection or other illness. Peeing outside the litter box is a common form of communication between a cat and its owner. Your cat might be trying to tell you he/she doesn’t feel well!
    • If you’ve confirmed your cat is not sick, we suggest trying a different litter. The most popular type of cat litter is made of clay which is the most absorbent option. Some cats prefer pine litter, wheat litter, grass litter or corn litter. The staff at Teton Tails and Pets Place Plus know all about litter options so you can ask them for assistance.
    • If you’ve confirmed your cat is not sick, we also suggest trying the ‘Sentry Calm Collar’ and/or the ‘Feliway Classic Calming Diffuser.’ These products emit pheromones which are a chemical substance naturally created in a cat’s cheek glands to alleviate anxiety and create a sense of security. Both the Calm Collar and Diffuser mimic a mother cat’s pheromones soothing her kittens. Within a few hours of adding the Calm Collar and/or Diffuser, your cat’s stress/anxiety/frustration will begin to subside. Once your cat is relaxed, we encourage you to verbally praise your cat’s good behavior (such as using the litter box appropriately and using her scratching post correctly) and reward your cat with high reward treats. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of mind. Calm Collars and Calming Diffusers can be purchased at Teton Tails and Pets Place Plus. Please follow the directions on the packaging. Calm Collars can last up to 30 days and Diffusers can be plugged in for 30 days.

  • If your cat is scratching your furniture:
    • Start by playing with your cat more! Your cat might be scratching your furniture because he/she is bored and looking for something to do! We recommend getting your cat a new horizontal scratcher with cat nip, a feather wand or a battery-operated mouse to chase.
    • If you already have vertical scratching posts, place the scratching posts directly in front of the furniture your cat is scratching. When your cat goes to scratch the furniture, encourage your cat to scratch the post instead, verbally praise the good behavior and reward with treats. The fastest way to fix this problem is to catch your cat in the act! Repeat this step of moving your cat away from the furniture and put them next to the scratching post followed by verbal praise and high reward treats as often as possible. This will be learned behavior over time. Be patient! Make sure the scratching post is sturdy, so it doesn’t fall over onto your cat.
    • If you don’t have any scratching posts, we suggest you buy several vertical scratchers and place one in front of each piece of furniture your cat is scratching. Although it sounds expensive, buying several scratching posts is cheaper than replacing furniture!
    • One way to speed up this process is to cover the zone of the furniture your cat is scratching with double sided tape. Your cat will not enjoy the double-sided tape sticking to his/her paws and will lose interest quickly.
    • Trim your cat’s nails. If you’ve never done this before, we suggest you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so they can teach you best practices.
    • Try pheromones! The ‘Sentry Calm Collar’ and/or the ‘Feliway Classic Calming Diffuser’ will relax your cat if he/she is scratching your furniture as a way to communicate that he/she is experiencing stress.

More Resources

Different Types of Cat Litter

8 Ways to Keep your Cat from Shredding your Furniture


*All of the products below are approved by the cats of Kitty City

Popular Cat Treats


Cat Scratchers




Calm Collar


Feliway Diffuser


Cat Nip


Battery Operated Cat Toys