Kitten Misbehaviour

MiloTheBlackCat

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I recently (about 2-3 weeks ago) have taken in a beautiful female kitten (about 3 months). She misbehaves quite often, this includes eating food off of the table, and being too rough when playing. She is also taking medicine (steroids for itching and Advantage multi). I need some help on how to get her to stop her misbehaviours. Or should i just wait it out?
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! Patience, and as near to 100% consistency in corrections as is possible (such as lifting her down from the table with a firm No) is paramount and very key to helping her to learn.

How To Set Healthy Boundaries For Your Cat – TheCatSite Articles

Be sure and feed her about 4 meals a day of wet food as much as she can eat each time, and have some kibble out as well. Kittens need a lot of food while they're growing. Also try some different brands and varieties so she gets familiar with different foods :)

Have a soft toy ready and give her that to play with instead of letting her chew on your arms and hands. If she insists on chewing on your hands, try a long hiss like a mama cat would do - she'll understand that, but you will probably have to repeat it a number of times. She's a baby, and she's smart but she needs patience just like with any other baby :heartshape:
 
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Cat McCannon

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We had the same problems with Belle. We got her to stop climbing up to get our food by including her in family mealtimes. We prep her food so she can eat when we eat. Since Mrs McCannon draws the line at Belle eating on our table, we feed her on a nearby windowsill.

While dealing with the second problem, remember there are two types of cat guardians. Those who have been clawed and those who are about to be. First, make sure you don’t play with your cat with your hands. Hands are not toys! Get a cat wand toy and only have it out when playing with your cat. When playtime is over, put the wand toy away.

Next, be careful how you react when your cat gets too rough. Learn how to disengage your hand from the murder mittens without getting hurt. Don’t pull back into the claws out they’ll dig in deeper. Push and roll your hand away from the claws.

Don’t slap your cat. It took me awhile to learn to not automatically give my cat a light slap when she dug in her claws. Don’t yell but have a phrase and a tone to let your cat know she needs to stop. I tell Belle “Hey-ey-ey!” and she now stops right away. I’ve also learned that when she disengages to let her. If she walks off, I let her go. I watch for signs she’s getting overstimulated and disengage with her before she gets rough.

It works well. I can tell that Belle doesn’t want to hurt me. I’ve had her wrap her paws around my arm when petting or brushing her, but stop herself and attack the carpet instead when she realized what she was doing. Your cat doesn’t want to hurt you, either. Sometimes, she just gets caught up in the moment.

Keeping a toy like a kicker around will let you play with your cat without her biting and clawing your hand when she gets aggressive. It’ll give her something to wrap her paws around and kick with her back legs and bite while keeping your hands relatively safe. Since you’re attached to the other end engaging her, it’ll be much more entertaining than self play.

Be patient with your kitten. At her age, she’s a bundle of endless energy and curiosity learning how she fits in the world. Your job is to make that journey a joyous one.
 
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Caspers Human

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Kittens misbehave. That is what it is to be a kitten. A young kitten hasn't been taught what acceptable behaviors are, yet. It's up to you to teach them. This is all part of the game.

Of course, we want them to stop doing the "bad" things but it is also important to show them what the "good" behaviors are. You discourage the bad and encourage the good.

Let's say that you want the cat (kitten) to stay off the kitchen counters and the stove. Not only can cats get into things on the counters that they shouldn't, food can be contaminated, they can eat things that are harmful and, God forbid, they might get hurt.

First off, you should always discourage them away from the counters but you should also find something that you can encourage them to do, instead. Find a place in the kitchen where the cat can go. Make it a place where she can see what you are doing and, maybe, she can get an occasional scratch behind the ear or have a kitty treat.

Cats are curious. They want to see what you are doing and "supervise" the goings-on. The also want to be near their humans to share in the fun. Many times, a cat will go on the kitchen counters because they want to satisfy their curiosity and share quality time with their humans.

One way to discourage "counter surfing" and encourage "quality time" is to give the cat a stool or a shelf to sit on. Let them be in a place that's close but not "too close." Put a kitty treat on the stool. Always say "good kitty" when they go to the stool instead of the counter. When they go on the counter, tell them "No" and either put them down or take them to the stool. Once they are there... Good kitty! Treat! Petting!

Maybe your kitten is too small to get up on the counters but, soon, she will be. Put a stop to it before it happens by teaching her what you want her to do and giving her an alternative thing to do, instead. Use other behaviors as teaching tools so that she knows what to do.

Scratching furniture... Discourage scratching the sofa by encouraging her to use a scratching post.

Running for the door when you come in or leave the house... Discourage that by encouraging her to go to some place where she can greet you when you come home

Waking you up at night... Discourage by encouraging lots of playtime during the evening, before you go to bed.

Different behaviors might have different drivers behind them but, in the end, the solution is always the same.

DIScourage the "bad" by ENcouraging the "good." :)
 
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MiloTheBlackCat

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Thank you for the lovely feedback! I will put these actions into place ASAP. Any recommendations for getting a cat to stop wire chewing??
 

Caspers Human

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Casper sometimes chews things when he wants my attention.

If I'm sitting at the computer when he comes into the room but I don't pay attention to him, he'll go under the desk and start chewing and toying with wires and things. In cat lingo, that means, "You're paying too much attention to that box and not enough attention to me."

I just reach down and say, "Hey, kitty!" and pet him for a minute. Then I direct him to another chair that's sitting near my computer desk where he can lay and watch. Every so often, he gets a scratch behind the ear.

There have been a few occasions where he chews things I don't want him to but "redirecting" him doesn't work. In those cases I put some Tobasco sauce on a Kleenex and wipe a little bit on the thing I don't want him to chew.

Tobasco won't hurt the cat if you don't use too much. Just a dab'll do ya'! But the cat certainly won't like it!

It only takes one or two times for the cat to learn that it's not good to chew on certain things!
 

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Kittens at 3 months old are like toddlers with ninja climbing skills & zero sense of self preservation! They misbehave like 2-3 year old human children misbehave ...... and go into hyper mode like human children.

My advice? Set up a kitten safe room with litter/food/water/cat bed/toys. When you need to eat or prepare food, for now give her some wet food in her room & keep her in there while you eat. Give her her own place (stool or cat tree) in the kitchen. The scratching furniture? Vinyl scratch guard stickers (Amazon) or in a pinch sticky tape. The counters? If you are serious about it a product like sscst. The attacking you? A high pitch ow followed by ignoring her for a couple minutes at the slightest hint of fang or claw. I did a high pitch wailing oooooowwwww with my guy when I was raising him & his siblings as wee babies.

I would advice a yes for every no, a second kitten the same age & sex if you can, patience she will be much more well behaved at 4 months and an aloof teenager at 5-6 months! Try keeping small toys in your pocket or a small kickeroo toy; if she starts to hung your; toss a toy away from you.


⭐ A second 3 month old kitten will help give her a wrestle partner & also help teach her how to play without causing harm. My cat grew up with his brother/bff/wrestle buddy; he sometimes plays with me so gently it doesn’t hurt at all..... I still discourage him though & redirect him to a toy.

⭐My last hyper cat taught me that you have to tire out their minds to tire out their bodies. A catio with bird feeders outsidd is ideal. Some bird feeders in view of a window with a sturdy pet safe screen (so you can open thd window in good weather) along with a window perch or chair or cat tree next to the window will go a long ways. Puzzle feeders, electronic toys you rotate in every 8 weeks or so, interactive toys bought or home made all go a long ways! I can not say enough about pulling out a wand toy like the cat dancer and playing with your kitten 2-3 times a day for 10-20 minutes every day.

This is Jackie (lynx) & Nick (panther) I raised them from 4 weeks on. My mom adopted the brother. For their well being we get them together almost every weekend for 2 days/1 night..... after we realized how much they miss each other. They are calmer & happier seeing each other for weekend visits..... and Nick quits picking on his sister because he is bored. Cats do better with companionship (& it is a shame they couldn’t both have been adopted by me.) My last 2 cats Dante & Salem seemed to have more of a frenemy/tolerating each other thing going. Imagine my shock when Salem grieved for Dante for a year.... when Dante had always been a bit of a jerk to him (when Dante got stuck inside for a couple of days/got bored he used to pounce on Salem & nip him between the shoulder blades!!! 🙄 ) They slept 2-3 feet apart & never seemed super close like Nick & Jackie are. My point is, even their frenemy relationship added something positive to their lives.

My advice? Adopt a 2-4 month old kitten & try to match similar amounts of energy & gender. (Dante was a hyper bully & Salem was the calmest, sweetest guy.) If you can’t adopt a second kitten right now then you will have to be everything to your kitten & enrich her life more. Watching the 3 kittens growing up showed me that the boys want to wrestle/play fight and the girl wants to play tag/hide & seek. That is why I said the same gender.
 

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danteshuman

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I knew one adult cat who was cat aggressive (he was abandoned) & he eventually reached a truce with our cats. He owned the garage/outside until we found him a home where he could be the only cat. In my experience all 2-4 month old kittens want cat (or dog) company. I’m general cats prefer having other cats around. The other cat helps teach them manners, provides company & provides a play mate.

I forgot to mention it but start getting your kitten used to being picked up/put down across the room, brushed & their paws handled/claws clipped. Always give thd kitten a nice bribe after you groom/medicate/annoy them. My cat(s) know the phrase “all done” and that they get lots of treats afterwards. You can see their bodies relax when I say “all done” and give them their treats.
 

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For electrical cords that need to stay plugged in, buy electrical cord covers and tuck the cords inside. Or DIY one by using thick flexible clear tubing from the hardware store, cut to size, slit the tube lengthwise, tuck cords inside. Coating the outside of cord covers with Bitter Apple spray is optional.

For cords that don't nee to stay plugged in all the time (phone and other device charging cords, lamps, etc), just unplug the cord and put them out of reach from the cat.

Some kittens chew on cords because they are bored out of their minds even if you play with them often and have toys out for solo play. These kittens do best if they have a friend to play with.

Kittens are hungry bottomless pits so just feed them as much as they want. Small meals work best for small kitten tummies. Most people feed mainly canned food and leave a small amount of dry food out for snacking. Hungry cats will seek out food wherever they can: your counters, trash cans, sink, etc. Get into the habit of not keeping food out on the counter unless it's in a secure storage container, cleaning counters of crumbs and spills, not leaving dirty dishes in the sink, secure the trash can in a lower cabinet or a room (pantry) that has a door if possible or secure the lid with child safety straps.
 

danteshuman

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Oh and teething kittens like silvervine sticks or jumbo straws that you check daily (when they get the chewed on look toss/replace the straw.)
 
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MiloTheBlackCat

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Thank you so much everyone. Now, Milo (my older cat, about 2-3.5 years.) is getting a bit annoyed by the kitten. He is lazy and likes to sleep and lay around, while Breeze (kitten) is, as you know, hyper and loves to play. She will often follow/chase him around and try to playfully swipe him, but Milo gets annoyed at this and hisses/growls at her while hitting her away. I would prefer to get them to get along, rather than keep one away from the other. But if the latter is necessary please let me know how to keep Breeze away from him/keep Milo away from her.
 
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