Having a brand new kitten in the house is exciting as well as trying. They are full of energy and require a lot of attention. Kids love them at this age and will play with them for hours, but as kittens and kids are relatively the same age, they aren’t learning how to properly respond to human behaviors and mannerisms.
Why kittens misbehave
If your kitten loves to scratch you, your family, and your furniture give them a scratching post such as modern cat furniture. The best kinds are ones they can climb and claw very well. Often they are bored if they are scratching and by giving them a scratching post, you are helping them understand the proper place to claw is on it. You will also need to clean up the little fuzzies that will come off of it from the clawing, but it is worth the clean up for a well-trained kitten.
Don’t leave them home alone for long periods of time. Yes, we all have to work, but a new kitten needs attention. It is often good to adopt a new kitten into a home where there is already an adult cat to show them how to behave. The adult cat will often do a lot of the work with you just because they want their peace and quiet back. If this is not something you can do, pet daycares are available at least until they are old enough to be on their own.
Buy them toys. Along with the scratching post, make sure there are plenty of things for them to occupy their time. Make sure they are ones they can play with on their own. Kittens love to jump and pounce and bite so getting them a toy that is soft and that they can sink their teeth and claws into will help direct their energy and their behavior a lot.
Learn to read their own behaviors. A kitten will act out often because they have had enough of the humans around them. They might use biting or scratching as a way to tell you they have had enough play for the moment. They should be left alone when they have let you know they are done. Training a kitten is also training you to understand who they are.
How to train your kitten
Kittens are a lot harder to train than dogs. Kittens will become cats and once they have reached that age, they are in charge of the house. At least they think they are in charge. There are some things you can do to help your kitten understand the boundaries they are expected to live in.
1. Nose tap
This is the first thing you can do to discipline your kitten. They have done something wrong like nip you playfully. You can break their grip on your hand, tap them on the nose and say No! While this is a gentle way of starting, it will slowly teach them that it is not nice to be bitten and you don’t have to worry about accidentally hurting your kitten. They will also associate the word No! to something they should not do.
2. Spray Bottle
Like a dog, a spray bottle is good for instant discipline when they are older and starting to act out more. It is not a nice thing to do to them, but it is quick and to the point. They need to understand the counter is where you prepare food and it needs to be clean or biting your youngest child is not acceptable.
What you should never do
You should never hurt the kitten intentionally. If you have small children in the home, they should never be left alone with the kitten. If they kitten bites or scratches them, their automatic response is to pull the kittens tail or hit it. They are children like the kittens so proper responses to the kitten should be the tap or spray bottle method.
Having a new kitten in the home is adding to the family. They become a member of the household and can add joy, fun and kitten hair for all to enjoy. It is a trying time until they understand that the best place to sleep is not your face, but they will learn if you work patiently with them.