Is My Cat Punishing Me?

What to Do

When your cat starts leaving you stinky notes of distress, the first thing to do is take him to the veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for the behavior.If he'sis an intact male, neutering can often help solve the problem. But if that's not the case, andyour cat isn’t suffering from a urinary tract infection or other illness, the next step is to help reduce his stress levels.

One of the more important things you can do is to make sure his litterbox is super clean. You know how normally it might not bother you that your house is a little messy, but when you’re stressed it drives you mad? Everything that doesn’t go your way bothers you more than usual. Cats are the same way. Scoop the litterbox as soon as you notice it has been used, change the litter more often than usual, and empty the box and clean it with warm water and unscented dish detergent every couple of weeks.

If your cat seems upset by your new significant other or the baby you just brought home from the hospital, go out of your way to associate the newcomer with good things. If the new person is an adult, have him or her give the cat all his meals and hand out favorite treats and toys. Make sure that only good things come from that person. If your cat is fearful, have the new person toss treats in the cat’s direction without making eye contact or even looking at the cat.

When the object of the cat’s stress is a new baby, give meals, treats and toys in the baby’s presence. This will help the cat associate the baby with those good things. But don't ever leave the cat and the baby alone together — their interactions should always be supervised.

Finally, be sure to spend time with your cat on a regular, predictable schedule. Plan positive daily interactions with your cat, such as play or grooming. It will help your cat to relax if he knows he can count on some special time with you every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.

More on


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!