Solutions to Common Pet Problems
How to handle your pets’ most annoying habits and show them (nicely) who’s boss.
Why it happens: Kitty might be implying she doesn’t like her bowl. “If it’s made of plastic, she’s right,” says Julia Szabo, author of Animal House Style. “Plastic harbors bacteria and imparts an off-putting taste to food and water.” Or she may just be playing with her food―it’s a game.
What to do: “Upgrade to a stainless-steel or china bowl,” says Szabo. If that doesn’t work, try different food or a deeper bowl. Or have a play session before mealtime.
Problem: Your Cat Scratches Everything
Why it happens: “Cats scratch to mark territory and to shed the outer layer of their claws,” says Stephanie Shain, pet-adoption director for the Humane Society of the United States, in Washington, D.C.
What to do: Temporarily limit his access to furniture and find him the scratching post of his dreams, suggests Shain. “Some cats like sisal or carpeted posts―even cheap cardboard posts work for many,” she says. “Also, different cats scratch differently. Some want something flat on the ground. Others like to stretch up.” The key is to put the post right next to the piece of furniture he’s ruining until he learns what is OK to scratch and what isn’t. (Consider the Corner Saver, which fits over the corner of a couch; $95, terisstore.com.) Once he has adapted to the post, move it to a place that’s less intrusive to your design scheme.