5 Steps to Bringing up a Well Behaved Kitten
Here are some tips on how to have a well behaved kitten!
1 Biting and scratching are normal components of a kitten’s play behavior, but should never be directed at humans. To make certain this doesn’t start, you must avoid any interaction that encourages rough play, such as wiggling fingers, “wrestling” or chasing through the house. Instead, teach your kitten how to play fetch or distract him/her with toy “fishing” poles or laser pointers. This way, your kitten can play with you without you becoming its favorite chew toy or scratching post.
2 A kitten’s natural instinct to scratch can be an issue if he takes a liking to scratching on your favorite antique chair! Observe what textures your kitten is attracted to, then offer a similar, appropriate option. Not all cats like scratching on a traditional post. They may prefer corrugated cardboard, sisal rope, logs or a number of other options. Placing a scratching option near where they are scratching can be helpful, and you can use catnip or praise to make it a fun spot!
3 Some kittens are cuddly by nature, while others need special bonding to teach them the joys of “lap time”. Never force a kitten to sit still when all they want to do is play! Pick a time when they are sleepy, then start a “kitty massage”. Start with the face and chin, and work your way down all the way to your kitten’s toes! He/she will be putty in your hands when you need to trim those nails every few weeks!
4 No one likes to come home to a kitten-trashed house. Overturned collectibles and dug up plants are just a couple of favorite destructive pursuits for a kitten! Don’t be afraid to confine your kitten in a special “cat proof” room while you are away, or even at night. Using methods such as water pistols, compressed air canisters, police whistles or double sided tape can all be effective deterrents when setting appropriate boundaries.
5 The first three to six months of a kitten’s life are the most important in establishing good social behavior. Be consistent with all behavior modification strategies (this includes everyone in your family). Spend lots of quality time with your kitten, and you will end up with a soul mate for life!
Cheryl Waterman is the Hospital Administrator at the Cat Clinic of Johnson County and a long-time cat lover. She has been with the Clinic for the past 13 years, and in 2007 received Certification in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM) designation. She is a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association and the American Animal Hospital Association. You can contact her directed at the Cat Clinic of Johnson County, (913) 541-0478 or www.catclinicofjc.com.