Your New Kitten: Starting Off on the Right Paw

Guest Blogger: Linda Snyder

Who can resist adding a mischievous feline imp to the family? Nothing is more comical than the antics of playful kittens discovering the world around them! But kittenhood is also the best time to train your energetic kitten so that she will grow into a well-behaved adult cat.  Here are some simple tips:

  • Hands are not toys.  Godzilla attacks on your fingers may be cute today, but those tiny kitten teeth eventually will grow bigger and bite harder.  If your kitten bites your hand in play, simply let your hand go limp as if it’s a dead mouse.  She will lose interest. Encourage her to attack a feather toy or a catnip mouse instead of fingers.
  • Scratch the surface.  Introduce your kitten to appropriate scratching immediately, with either a flat cardboard scratcher or a scratching post. Play with your kitten there, or sprinkle catnip or treats on the scratcher so that she’ll grow up loving her scratching post more than your sofa.
  • Tickle those toes.  If you touch your kitten’s feet often, that will make trimming her nails easier for you and for her for the rest of her life.  And please, never declaw those beautiful toes.  Declawing is painful and can cause other problems later, such as your kitten’s possible avoidance of her litter box.
  • Use counter intelligence.  You probably don’t want your curious kitten wandering across your kitchen counter next to that pot of boiling water on the stove.  Teach her to stay off counters or other surfaces by temporarily putting double-faced tape on the surface or by turning pieces of “spiked” plastic carpet runners upside down on the surface.  Nobody likes to walk on sticky or spiked surfaces.
  • Play ‘til the cows come home.  Give your fun-loving kitten plenty of interactive playtime every day, and you’ll both sleep better at night.  Plus, the more human interaction she experiences, the more sociable she will become.
  • Safety first.  Remember to kitten-proof your house. Remove toxic plants that might tempt your kitten’s taste buds, hide electrical cords that she could chew, and be sure that doors latch securely and that window screens don’t have holes in them.  Lead her not into temptation!

Above all, hug your precious kitten as often as possible because that furry little sweetheart loves you with all her heart for giving her the best home ever!

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