My friend, Michelle, adopted a wonderful yet crazy kitten from her local shelter. While she loves Nala with all her heart, her recent kitten behavior has become out of control. Michelle has had cats (raised from kittens) all her life and has never experienced this type of wild, out-of-control behavior. While kittens tend to outgrow their hyper behavior, I wanted to see if I could help provide some constructive advice that could help Michelle minimize the ‘terror kitty’ syndrome.
First and foremost, make sure to have your kitten spayed or neutered to see if this helps with the devilish antics. However, even with the neutering, your kitten is probably testing your limits, climbing on forbidden surfaces like the counter or using your body as a cat tree. While it’s cute at first, you need to direct your kitten’s energy away from destructive antics.
DEFINE UNACCETPTABLE BEHAVIOR
Your first step is to define what behavior is unacceptable. When he or she jumps on a couch or table, clap your hands loudly, yell "no" or spray him with water. When he scratches the couch or your mattress, you should do the same. In fact, when he or she does anything you do not approve of, you need to tell him or her that this behavior is unacceptable.
However, do not spank a wayward kitten. Cats don't understand this kind of treatment and it will only cause resentment in your kitten and destroy the bond you've created.
I’m Nala, I’m naughty sometimes, but I am cute!
BITING, CLAWING, CLIMBING
If your kitten's naughty behavior includes biting, clawing, or climbing, you say “Ow!” in a high-pitched voice and put her gently on the floor. After you do this, don't pay attention to her for a few minutes even if she gets back in your lap.
When kittens play, they squeak if the play has gone too far and hurts them. By using a high-pitched voice to express your dismay, you're telling your kitten, in her language, that she has gone too far. Your “Ow” shows her in a gentle and non-abusive way that what she did was painful and that she's not going to get attention if she does things that hurt you.
Watch your kitten for signs that she's starting to get over-excited. Usually these signs include a swishing tail and getting ready to pounce. She may start eying an object she wishes to climb. When you see these signs, take out a “thing on a string” toy and get her attention. A few minutes of play will redirect her energy away from climbing your curtains or exploring your counter. In fact, any kind of interactive toy will be good to minimize her hyperactivity.
PLAY WITH YOUR KTTIEN BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP
If your kitten gets hyper when you're sleeping or preparing for bed, give her an energetic play session about half an hour before you plan to go to bed. After the play session, give her a small helping of food. Playing will help her lose her excess energy and the food will help her sleep. Please note that if you do feed your kitten before bed, do not give her more food than she's currently eating. Give her the same amount of food but divide it into smaller portions throughout the day.
Make sure that your kitten is on a healthy, well-balanced food. Sometimes the over- the- counter variety can cause hyperactivity in cats. You can also talk to your vet about herbal remedies. Sometimes they will recommend an herb that you can put in your kitten’s bed to relax him or her.
While kittens can be a handful, hopefully with some training and time, they will become manageable during these formative and sometimes trying years. Have you built a profile on Petpav.com?
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