Below are some tips on kitten behaviour:
- There are two main reasons for cats scratching: claw care and communication.
- Scratching is a normal behaviour.
- As a cat owner, you need to be able to provide appropriate scratching posts!
- Place posts near favourite resting places as kittens often scratch after waking up from their naps.
- It’s also best to provide vertical and horizontal posts made of wood, corrugated cardboard, sisal or loosely woven carpet.
- Double-sided tape can be a mild aversive deterrent to deter scratching on valuable furniture or rugs.
- Make sure to give positive reinforcement after your cat scratches in the appropriate spot!
- Learn how to trim your cat’s nails; we can always give you a demonstration at the clinic!
- Soft paws (small caps that are glued onto the nail) are also available to prevent damage from scratching.
- Litter boxes should be appealing and accessible at a convenient location on each floor.
- Most cats prefer uncovered litter boxes that are not near noisy appliances or furniture.
- If possible, clean litter boxes daily.
- Put away laundry/empty boxes/bags so as not to provide an attractive option to use a litter box.
- Most cats prefer clumping/non-scented litter.
- You should have 1 more litter box than the number of cats in the household.
- The most sensitive time for kitten socialization ends at 7 weeks. After that time kittens may be less flexible about learning social skills.
- It’s ideal to introduce your kitten to: adults, children, cat-friendly dogs and healthy, social cats.
- If your kitten will be going outside for supervised play or leash walks, introduce leashes, collars and harnesses.
- Remember – socialization should be fun and gentle.
- Practice handling – give treats for being touched, trim their nails and practice bundling/wrapping them in towels.
- Leave their carrier out and accessible. It helps to hide toys or treats inside to get them used to the carrier not being a bad place! You can take them on small car trips that end with treats to give them a positive experience.
Environment Enrichment – increase the size of the indoor world
- Allow vertical spaces for resting (shelves, perches, catwalks).
- If safe, use outdoor enclosures.
- Use different objects for them to hunt (food, toys, tunnels boxes).
- Place portions of a meal in food and toys.
- Playing – discourage chasing and biting at hands and feet!
- Reward based clicker training is also an option.
And the end of the day the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your kitten!
Written by Dr. Terri Chotowetz