Q. My cat has food, clean litter boxes, and toys everywhere, but she attacks my wife when we are sitting at the kitchen table. What can we do?
A. If some cats attack at times other than during play, they might be trying to get attention and do not know how to communicate their intentions. Always discuss any new behavior changes with your veterinarian in case there are any underlying medical issues.
Some cats prefer interactive play with their owners. Toys on the floor are often not interesting since they don’t move. Cats are natural hunters and enjoy sudden movement, chase, and capture. If the owner starts shaking the toy for their cat to run and leap after, then playtime is more exciting. Toys such as waving a feather on a stick or tossing brightly colored plastic coil springs or furry mice are easy ways to build a good relationship between cats and their owners.
Many cats easily learn tricks and enjoy doing them, providing both physical and mental enrichment. Stationing to a mat is useful for carrier training, redirecting cats off counters or targeting to a spot for attention or grooming.
Using positive reinforcement, cats can be taught to fetch and retrieve, jump through hoops, sit, high five or perform any alternative behavior to replace unwanted ones. Training provides enrichment and a communication opportunity for your cat.