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Common Naughty Kitten Behavior – How to Discipline a Kitten
Kittens are certainly one of the cutest pets to have, providing us with a lot of entertainment as they play, get into mischief and some silly situations. It is a bad habit that affects many owners, and they feel that they must control it somehow.
Animal experts, including veterinarians, often have questions from pet owners about “disciplining” their new kitten. Some of the most disturbing comments included references to beating the poor little things!
Perhaps because everyone is brought up with discipline that usually means a system of reward and punishment, they believe that it applies to animals as it does to children.
Reward and punishment are losing their acceptance in a good learning environment, however, as people begin to realize that they are not effective with animals. For that to be useful at all, the subject must be able to learn to make judgments about their own behavior. This requires the ability to use logic and to spend time thinking about things. Animals don’t do this. They live in time, in the “now.” Yes, they can remember that certain actions lead to good, and they can learn from that. But if we are supposed to be smarter than animals, then it is up to us to be the ones who use logic and think about things.
One should not use physical force, including hitting, on a kitten. It’s just not practical, and can cause injuries, sometimes death. In fact, beating any pet is not necessary at all. Try using a game vs. no game system instead.
Common naughty kitten behaviors are easily managed and loved by a caring and patient owner:
1. He didn’t use the litter box. Under normal circumstances, this should not be an issue at all. Kittens are taught by their mothers how to use sand. If a kitten is not familiar with sand, or kitty litter, it is usually because the little boy was removed from his mother too soon. Kittens need to stay with their mothers for at least three months – twelve weeks – but this is not always the case. People want the pleasure of raising their own kitten from the first possible moment. Some even get a loud noise from the bottle for them, but this is only wise if the kitten has become an orphan and no suitable replacement can be found.
If you have an orphan, you will have to be a surrogate mother and teach him to use a litter box. It doesn’t matter. Simply put the kitten in the box right after he eats or drinks, and pat the rear end gently, talking softly to encourage him. If you have other cats, let the kitten see the adults using the box. Cats learn through observation and imitation.
Perhaps the most important thing any cat or kitten can do to help ensure that their pet will continue to use the litter box is to keep it clean regularly.
2. Scratching furniture. Kittens absolutely must order. They can’t help doing it. It is up to you to provide a good environment for them to stretch their toes and exercise their front legs and paws. If they are announced at this time, it can affect the normal development of the foot and leg muscles. However, spaying an even older cat has more profound consequences and some cats never get over them. Provide a scratching post or pad, and encourage them to use it by being calm and happy every time they do it. Don’t bother with the catnip just yet; Kittens are not sensitive to it until they are much older, if at all. Some cats don’t seem to notice catnip. If you catch your kitten purring inappropriately, just pick him up and take him to the post office. Don’t shout, don’t hit, don’t get angry. This only teaches you that it can be unpredictable and scary. They don’t associate their actions with your behavior.
3. Getting into things. All young people love and need to explore. It’s how they learn what’s in their world and how they navigate it. If they are not allowed to learn things this way, their social skills or even survival skills will be disrupted. However, as their guardians, it is up to us to make sure they are safe while having a good time as they learn. With kittens, we need to provide lots of toys, hiding places, walks, and best of all, time together, where they learn to trust and interact with you. Just remember to be gentle and considerate. Don’t play rough with a kitten, or you’ll be responsible for creating a little biting monster. It’s cute and not too painful to put out their claws and teeth at 6 weeks, but you don’t want to wonder what happened to your gentle ball of fluff when you’re 2 years old and it’s bleeding.
Next, once they’re big enough to jump onto the countertops, it’s time to nip that in the bud, or you might not stop them. The most effective strategies seem to be related to noise levels. Don’t hit a kitten on a counter. It can really hurt him. You can always pick it up and put it back on the ground, but most cats don’t seem to agree. Instead, make a big noise. Hit the counter with something flat…a paddle, maybe…or use a can of compressed air if you want a really loud sound. Sometimes a breeze will do the trick.
If the kitten’s environment is pleasant enough – and safe – they will be less likely to get into things that don’t concern them. Homeowners can help by “baby proofing” their home and protecting any assets they want to keep intact.
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