► CAT BEHAVIOR
Cats are inquisitive and adverturesome, which frequently gets them into trouble. You will need to cat proof your home just as you would for a toddler, to prevent accidents and illness.
TO PREVENT PROBLEMS:
• Do not hit or strike your kitten for being naughty. This will only frighten or anger it, and frequently leads to biting and clawing behavior. Punishment is the least effective training method for cats.
• Spend lots of time playing with your kitten so its energy is used up more constructively. Drag a string around the house or tie an object to a string on a pole and wave it around, but remember to put it away after playtime to avoid swallowing or choking on the string. Do Not play with your kitten by wiggling your fingers or toes - this encourages biting and sends the wrong message to your cat that this is okay to do. When they are bigger, you won't think this is funny, it will hurt, and is a behavior that they learned from you that it was acceptable when they were a kitten.
• Never force a kitten to stay in your lap if it wants to get down. Do not grab at your cat or scare it, or it may learn to bite (a defense mechanism). Rough and tumble play also encourages aggression, so play gently using a toy and not your fingers.
• You might want to confine you kitten to one room when you aren't at home (provide food and water). Choose a room that has no plants or dangerous objects. Swallowing or choking on small objects is very common in cats and kittens. Beware of such things as rubber bands, pencil erasers, needles and thread, small toys, metal objects such as paper clips, scraps of fabric, earrings...well, you get the idea. Just know that anything smaller than one inch in diameter can probably be swallowed and needs to be kept out of a kitten or cat's reach.
• Provide at least one scratching post for your cat to use. Even declawed cats like to stretch and kneed their paws. Rubbing catnip on the post will encourage its use, as will keeping it in a handy place where you and the kitten spend a lot of time.
• A collar and ID tag are a good idea, especially if your cat tries to escape outdoors. Use breakawy collars to prevent choking. Microchips are also available now to safely and permanently identify your cat if it becomes lost.
See our Summer Newsletter for lost cat tips.
• To prevent litter box avoidance be sure the box is easily accessible and in a quiet place where your cat will feel comfortable. If your house is large, it is best to have more than one box. We also recommend multiple litter pans when you have more than one cat in the household. Scoop the boxes daily and empty them completely once a week. Many cats won't use a dirty litter pan. Try to avoid heavily scented litter – cats don't like perfume. Never physically punish a cat for going outside the litter box, they quickly learn to sneak and hide their accidents. Many times litter box avoidance is caused by a physical problem such as intestinal parasites, colitis or bladder infection. Any time a cat stops using its pan, they should have a physical examination.
• Any time you are having problems with the behavior of your cat, call us right away. Most behavior problems are easily treated if caught in time.
❥ OTHER CAT RESOURCES:
☑ Cat Body Language, via PurinaOne.com