Kittens are very playful little creatures, but they are also very curious. During this stage, particularly in the first 4 months, they will be receptive of new things and will be quite easy to teach. Take advantage of the curiosity that comes naturally at this age by training your kitten and teaching her the important things that she needs to know.
So what are the things that you need to teach your kitten? Here are 4 helpful things little cats need to know.
1. Toilet training
Probably one of the most important aspects of cat training — or any pet training for that matter — revolves heavily around toilet training. While doing their toilet business in a certain area outside the house comes naturally to many cats, some kittens are not born with the same instinct. Regardless, you should be able to train your kitten to use a litter box or litter tray from an early age.
If your kitten is not trained to use the litter box, start by placing her in the box after she eats. It is also helpful to spot the signs that your kitten is ready to go, such as sniffing, scratching, or crouching on the floor. When you see these signs, place your kitten in her litter box right away. Similar to potty training a child, litter training your cat may take time, so be patient.
In the early days of litter training, it is recommended that you use a plastic tray with low sides for easy access. You can gradually switch to a larger and deeper box when your cat is already fully toilet trained. Another thing you need to consider is to carefully choose the type of litter that your cat may prefer. There are different types of litter, such as those with softer and finer grains as well as clumping litters. What you can do is place different kinds of litters in different trays and observe which one your kitten prefers.
To encourage your kitten to use the litter tray, place it in a quiet area where your cat can eliminate peacefully. It should be in an area different from the place where she feeds. Also, you need to make sure the litter tray is in an area that is very accessible for her. Plus, because cats are naturally clean animals, your kitten is unlikely to use a litter tray that is already soiled. This means that you need to clean her litter tray once daily and empty it at least once a week.
If your kitten is already litter trained and you notice signs of regression wherein she stops using her litter box, look into the litter box problem, which is a common problem among house cats. You may also need to take her to the veterinarian to rule out any possible medical issue.
It can be a good idea to check if your cat has a Polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This disease affects the kidney and visible symptoms may include: vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy, weight loss and frequent urination.
If your cat has any of the above symptoms you may consider ordering the Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease test
2. Her name
It is not enough that you and your family know the name of your cat. It is actually even more crucial that your kitten knows her name! The first thing you can do, once you have chosen a name for your pet, is to say it as often as possible. By doing this, your cat will quickly catch on to identify with the name, realizing that it belongs to her.
It is also especially helpful to say your kitten’s name during happy and pleasant experiences, such as feeding time or play time. Conversely, you should refrain from shouting her name to discipline your kitten when she has been naughty as she may come to associate the name with a negative experience. It is possible that in the future, your cat will start running away from you instead of coming to you when you call her.
This applies also for dogs or any other pet. If you have other animal friends at home, visit our animal DNA test page where you can find a variety of available test.
3. Scratching at the scratching post
Another thing that comes instinctively to cats is scratching! It feels good, especially to little kittens, and they also need to scratch to keep their claws polished. However, it can pose a problem to the pet owner if the cat keeps on scratching the furniture of the house. To curb this behaviour, you need to train your kitten to use a scratching post.
Your scratching post could have different surfaces, such as wood or rope, and it is helpful to give your kitten a variety of textures to see which one she prefers. Now, what you need to do is how to teach your pet to use it. You can gently encourage her to use the scratching post by placing her toy near it or hanging from it. You can also gently hold their paws to touch the surface of the scratching post. However, you should never place her at the scratching post by force as she will come to associate it with a negative feeling.
Unlike older cats, little kittens are very challenging to keep in one place because they are morbidly curious and playful and active. Even if you want to cuddle with her, your kitten may soon become restless and run away to start playing again. It is never recommended forcing your kitten to stay in place or stay in your lap for a cuddle as it will become a negative experience for them.
Instead, give her time to adjust and do not force them to do things that they are not accustomed to do, such as staying in one place. Also refrain from picking her up if they don’t want to be picked up. Just build trust and your cat would soon show affection toward you even without prompting.