When faced with an unruly mutt, most pet owners will instinctively turn to a trainer to get their dog under control, but when it's your cat that's displaying behavioural problems expert help can be much harder to find.

While most felines make loving pets, they can at times display destructive and difficult behaviours such as biting, clawing and refusing their cat food, and can become a serious problem for their owners if these issues are not tackled efficiently.

Cats are naturally intelligent and independent creatures and many owners will find that their moggie can be a little headstrong, but if your cat is becoming aggressive it may be necessary to try your hand at some basic training techniques.

As with most problems, prevention is better than cure so it's a good idea to instil good behaviours in your cat form an early age and to nip any serious issues in the bud.

According to Sarah Linehan of The Pet Experience, the best way to prevent your four-legged friend from becoming aggressive or destructive is to socialise your pet from an early age.

"Early socialisation with lots of people when the cat is a kitten will help stop any scratching or biting of people," she explains.

"If you are handling the kitten and it scratches or bites, simply put it down immediately. You can use a harsh command like 'No' at the same time and the kitten will soon learn that all strokes and fuss stop if it uses its claws or teeth."

However, if behavioural issues occur in an older cat, particularly one from a rescue centre which has ingrained problems, training your moggie can be a little more complicated.

Sarah recommends: "In this case there is no set solution, so I would recommend consulting a cat behaviourist who will be able to come to your home and assess your cat and provide you with a plan to recondition your cat and change its behaviour."

Written by: Hannah