Ask a collection of cat owners what the single most annoying thing is that their cat does, and no doubt many of their answers will be about pushy behaviour.
Does your cat continually trip you up when you enter the kitchen, as they form figure-eight maneuverers around your feet? What about jumping on your keyboard when you’re trying to work? Or, probably the most annoying of all, meowing loudly in your bedroom in the morning, before your alarm goes off?
While these character traits can initially be cute, over time, they verge on annoying. Up there with common cat owner complaints such as random urination or fighting with another cat in your home, pushy behaviour is a widespread problem.
So where does this behaviour stem from? Cats are enjoy routine, so if you’re an hour late with breakfast, their high pitched meows will vocalise their disapproval. They’ll also become annoyed if you neglect to clean out their litter tray or give them attention.
Certain breeds are known to be a little more demanding than others so genetics also come into play. Take the Siamese cat, for example, renowned for its loud and bossy attitude, while the Sphynx will demand all of your attention. In fact, it’s been suggested that their lack of hair is due to their desire to be kept warm and continually petted. Clever little creatures, aren’t they!
And that’s what it comes down to. The way a cat acts is often an expression of what they need. It’s really just their way of telling us they want something. For example, if you notice a middle-aged cat has suddenly become louder and more demanding, this could be an indication of their deteriorating health and a sign of a condition such as hypothyroidism, especially when paired with hyperactivity. Therefore, any sudden changes in temperament definitely warrant a veterinary examination.
So while some forms of pushy behaviour are excusable, others are downright annoying, and as your patience is tested, no doubt you’ll be keen to do something about it. Thankfully, all is not lost. Here are some tips for dealing with a demanding cat:
DON’T TREAT YOUR CAT LIKE A DOG
While a misbehaving dog may respond to isolation, such as being closed in a room when they’ve overstepped the mark, it takes little effort for a cat to continually cry, which will probably annoy you even more. If your only answer is to put them into a closed room, make it a safe area, with toys and a comfortable bed so that they can nap.
PLAY TIME IS KEY!
If your cat is getting little playtime (especially indoor cats), pushy behaviour is a strong indicator that they need a run around. Schedule playtime in the morning and evening to keep your cat entertained. This will save you much time and despair in the long-run. Take a look at these fun indoor games to play with your cat.
Believe it or not, some cats don’t like to eat alone, and it makes sense that if you’re eating, they should eat too. This will help stop them constantly looking up at you and rubbing around your legs as you eat your dinner.
TRY TO COMPROMISE
If your cat wants to be on top of you when you’re working at your desk, place a bed near your computer monitor so that they can feel close to you. Having play toys and climbing trees in several rooms in your house will mean that when pushy behaviour begins, you’ll have an abundance of distracting toys at your disposal.
AVOID ENCOURAGING MEOWS
When your cat meows and you answer back, you are actually encouraging this behaviour. If you ignore them, they’re much more likely to stop.
Is your cat’s behaviour driving you mad? Ask our pet experts your burning question in our Dear StyleTails section.
Do you have any top tips on how to deal with pushy behaviour? Tell us in the comments below.