by Connor Robinson
Controlling any cat is a challenge. If you’re a cat owner, you are well aware of the strange behavior that our small tiger-like friends exude on a daily basis. The sound of food hitting the bowl will draw them out in the hours before the sun is up, even if they spent the entire night running around the house at 3 a.m. Kittens take the behavior of all cats to a new level, adding the element of destruction and sometimes pain–claws hurt–to the equation. With a new furry kitten recently added to my household it seemed pertinent to help others learn some tips and tricks to help keep your house, hands, and of course, your kitty safe.
- Keep your kitten occupied: The greatest way to combat the destruction of objects in your home is to give your cat a way to release energy in a way that isn’t devastating, such as a scratching post, cat condo, or other toys designed to take the clawing and biting that is bound to happen while your kitty matures into an adult cat. This is easy because once assembled, no input is needed from you for your cat to release energy and get exercise.
- Play with your cat: You don’t need expensive toys to have fun with your kitty. A piece of string will work just fine. Spending time with them while they develop their instinctive hunting skills can create a strong bond between you. If you do choose to shop at the pet store for toys, mice and small ball toys are always great because they allow your cat to stalk them as they would in the wild, providing quite the entertainment for you. Other fun toys include catnip, laser pointers, and even cardboard boxes.
- Protect furniture: If your couches and chairs are still being attacked even while you give your cat toys and attention, you may need to take measures to prevent further damage. Covering fabrics with plastic at night can deter most cats because they dislike the sound and feel when walking on and trying to scratch the surface. Most pet stores also carry nontoxic sprays that are designed to give off a smell that cats do not like on their paws. To use, simply apply the spray in areas commonly scratched or bitten.
- Set a schedule: Be sure to keep to a schedule when taking care of your cat; they are creatures of habit just like humans. Feeding at the same time every day ensures no overfeeding happens and staggering the meals of multiple cats can reduce the number of conflicts over food. Cleaning out the litter box often is crucial because cats are extremely picky about where they go to the bathroom, and if their box is dirty, the next best thing will likely be the carpet of a secluded room.
- Give attention: Even though the previous steps must be accomplished first, this is arguably the most important. Show love and affection to your new furry friend! Although cats can sometimes be hard to please, learning where to scratch and when to pet your kitten is vital to creating a lasting bond between owner and animal. Brushing can also be good for both your cat’s fur coat and your relationship. Cats show affection by grooming one another, so the act of brushing is important to show your kitty that you love her.