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FAQS About Teaching A Kitten Good Manners

February 1, 2024

Did you recently adopt a kitten? Congratulations! Little Fluffy is beyond adorable and can add a lot of joy and love to your life. She’s also, well,  a bit of a handful. Your new furball is basically a tiny, meowing bundle of curiosity, boldness, and energy.

It’s important for you to teach your pet good manners now. This stage is crucial to your kitty’s development; not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. In this article, a local Black Hills, SD vet shares some tips on how to do that.

Why Do Kittens Like Biting And Scratching?

Kittens are very interested in mastering all of those claws and teeth. This is fun for them, of course. However, your pet’s  instinctive need to jump and scratch is far more powerful than just entertainment. The cat is both predator and prey in the wild. That has given Fluffy her rather unique mix of traits. (Scientists are beginning to suspect that Fluffy may even be the perfect predator, but that is another topic.)

Basically, our feline pals are pre-programmed with both hunting instincts and the desire to explore and find safe areas. Therefore, you can pretty much expect your tiny ball of fur to practice her murder skills on you.

Playing with your kitten is important: this keeps her active and entertained, and also helps with bonding. Just don’t let your pint-sized panther use you as a toy! When playing with your tiny friend, always use toys that you can control from a distance. Some good options include laser pointers, string toys, remote-control toys, and balls. You can also try tossing a crumpled-up piece of paper down the hall.

What Can I Do To Make My Kitten Feel Safe?

Cats are small and fragile, so it’s important for them to feel safe. Speaking to Fluffy can go a long way here, and is also great for bonding. What you say doesn’t matter: just use a friendly tone of voice.

Cuddling your pet will also help her feel safe and loved. Cats crave affection, and many love to cuddle up with their humans. Simply letting the little furball curl up with you for a nap will go a long way. This is actually a good thing for you both! When you snuggle up with your feline friend, a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the Cuddle Hormone, is released in both of you. This reinforces feeling loved and safe. 

Make sure that your pet only forms positive associations with you. Fluffy can be mischievous, but she also gets scared very easily. Never force attention on her! Let your kitty decide when snuggle time starts and stops.

What Is The Best Way To Teach My Kitten Good Manners?

Kitties need to learn what is and is not appropriate. You may find it cute when your frisky pet bites or scratches you or pounces on your shoelaces, but this is not going to be cute behavior for an adult cat. In fact, it can be dangerous.

If your feline pal bites or scratches, immediately reproach her verbally. Don’t yell at her: just use a stern, disapproving tone. You’re better off to gently rebuke her and then guide her towards more appropriate behavior. It’s important to be consistent, so make sure you use the same words or phrases every time. You can say ‘No’, ‘Play nice’, ‘Don’t bite’, or ‘Put your claws away’.

You may see your tiny pet look insulted and affronted, and perhaps a bit confused, but sooner or later, you’ll also see those little wheels turning. She’ll figure it out eventually! 

No luck? The next step is to incorporate something that will annoy your furry friend without hurting or really scaring her. Squirt water or blow in her face. Loud noises also work well for this. Clap your hands, sound an alarm on your phone, or shake your change jar.

Is It Possible To Raise A Cuddly Kitten?

Each of our feline friends have their own purrsonalities. Some are cuddlebugs, while others are more reserved. While breed is certainly a factor, Fluffy’s upbringing is also important. 

This is the time to really establish that special bond. Let your kitten snuggle on your lap or in your arms as she is relaxing. Just being gentle, and providing great care, can help her bond. That will in turn make her more receptive to training. Once your pet gets settled, chances are, she will start her motor right away. Our feline pals think of us as their second parents. Kittens are very small and fragile, and want to feel loved, safe, and cared for. (Fluffy also thinks of us as her cook, maid, and butler, but that’s beside the point.) In fact, if your pet kneads you, it’s a sign that Fluffy sees you as her parent. Kittens knead to stimulate milk flow. Cats may have started purring as a way for mamas and babies to communicate. Kittens can’t meow while eating, but that soothing rumble lets their mother and littermates know they’re satisfied.  

If your furry pal’s claws are hurting when she’s making biscuits, grab a pillow, blanket, or even a sweater before you settle down with her on your lap.

What Are the Signs That My Kitten Is Happy?

Pets’ health has a profound effect on their mental and emotional health. Your kitten won’t be happy if she feels sick, uncomfortable, or hurt.

First things first: the basics of good kitty care include proper nutrition, clean litter, fresh water, and veterinary care. You may have to take your tiny friend to the vet a few times this year for microchipping, spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, and parasite control. That nose-to-tail evaluation can also tell you a lot. If your vet gives her the thumbs up after examining her, you’re doing great!

Your feline pal will also need toys, beds, and at least one or two things to climb or explore. Ask your vet for tips on this.

Little Fluffy’s behavior and body language can also tell you a lot about how happy she is.While some cats are braver than others, most are quite bold and curious when they’re feeling happy and safe. In other words, if your pet is frisky and playful, it’s a good sign. However, this is also why petproofing is so crucial.)  If your furry friend sprawls out on the floor, follows you around, and interacts with you, those are pawsitive signs. Happy cats also seek attention from their humans. Your adorable little buddy may climb your leg, hop into your lap, meow at you conversationally, or even jump into your arms.

Facial expressions can also be telling. That adorable look of contentment happy cats get will never not charm us. That’s a good thing, because kittens can be quite mischievous! 

In Conclusion: Raising a polite kitten isn’t hard, but it does take patience, consistency, and lots of love. Don’t force attention on your furry little buddy.  Let her decide when she wants to snuggle or play. If you force your kitten to be petted or held when she doesn’t want to, you’re doing more harm than good.

Have you recently adopted a kitten? If you have any questions about kitten care, please contact us. As your local Black Hills, SD veterinary clinic, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care.

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