Cat Displacement Behavior
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
To understand what a displacement behavior is, let's first think about humans.
When we are bored, we might twiddle our thumbs. When we are nervous, we might bite our fingernails. These are actions with no real goal or purpose, save to alleviate some of the pent-up emotion.
If the person starts to do these things more and more and the problem goes unchecked, he or she could develop what is technically known as a "stereotypy," which is really just a prolonged, repetitive behavior that serves no apparent purpose and may even be self-destructive.
For cats, a displacement behavior is "an out-of-context or irrelevant response to anxiety," according to the organization Cats International. An example they give concerns a harassed cat. The cat could run away or stand its ground and fight. Or, it may surprisingly display another behavior, such as grooming. Grooming causes cats to feel calm and reassured, so the cat is in essence trying to self-medicate during the stressful situation.
Cats are very tidy, and they spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Parasites and other problems can cause biting and skin sores. But if your pet gets a clean bill of health from a veterinarian and yet still seems to engage in unhealthy, repetitive behaviors, you might consider looking at sources of stress. Perhaps a new cat or dog in the house is terrorizing your cat. Maybe a new roommate causes stress, or there is persistent loud noise. The trick is to identify the stressor and remove it. That should end your cat's need to engage in displacement behaviors.
Recent Pet Articles
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility?
- When Should You Tell Your Dog 'No'?
- How to Plan a First-class Puppy Playgroup
- Dog Lovers: You Too Can Have a Garden!
- Are Tennis Balls Safe for Your Dog?
- 4 Simple Steps to Stop Dog Jumping
- Minimize the Shedding: Essential Springtime Dog-grooming Tips
- Grooming Curly-haired Dogs
- Why Your Dog Needs Vaccinations
- Old Wives' Tales About Dogs: Dispelled
- New Supplement Can Help Your Dog's Digestion
- What Snoring Says About Your Dog's Health
- The Dog Olympics
- Stop Cat Bullying
- Turn Your Cat Into a Social Media Star
- Best Books for Cat Lovers
- Improve Your Senior Cat's Eating Behavior
- Find Your Perfect Kitten
- Don't Declaw Your Cat: Furniture-saving Tips and Tricks
- Common Eye Problems in Cats
- Cat Displacement Behavior
- Luxury Hotels for Cats
- The Right Way to Handle Puppy Behavior Issues
- The Silken Windhound: A Low-maintenance Beauty
- Is Your Puppy Ready for Sports?
- Dog-friendly Spring-cleaning: A How-to Guide
- Dog Training Partner
- How to Help Keep an Aging Cat Healthy
- Do Bored Cats Sleep More?
- The Agile Cat
- Cat Athletes With Summer Olympics Talents
- Why Cats Have Whiskers
- 5 Ways to Save on Pet Costs
- Games to Download for Your Cat
- Is It Too Late to Train Your Senior Cat?
- How Cats Show Their Happiness
- Natural Ways to Eliminate Litter Box Odor
- How to Exercise Your Cat
- Why Your Cat Acts Stressed and Anxious
- Hidden Causes of Cat Obesity
- Lower Your Stress with a Cat
- The Cat Connection to Dating and Romance
- How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Old Pet
- Should You Clothe Your Cat?
- Cat Sleep Routines
- Can You Give Your Cat a Bath?
- Healthy Nutrition for Your Senior Cat
- Top 3 Apps for Cats
- Cat Breeds for Dog Lovers
- Train Your Aggressive, Biting Kitten
- Can Cats Find Their Way Home?
- Caring for Your Arthritic Cat
- Keep Your Cat Calm During Storms
- Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Cat
Copyright © 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.