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20–23 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

Teach Your Kitten to Love the Carrier in Six Steps :: Litter Box 101: How to Make Sure Your Kitten Uses His Toilet Properly :: A Guide to Your Kitten's Senses: Hearing :: Four Tips for Handling the "Kitten Crazies"

Four Tips for Handling the "Kitten Crazies"

Your kitten is almost six months old now, and you've probably noticed that she's gotten quite a bit more confident. She scales curtains with the agility of a professional rock climber, but she still cries for your help to get down again. She starts playing Indy 500, running laps around your house as fast—and as loudly—as she can, usually in the wee hours of the morning.

Even if you've already had her spayed, she may still be vocalizing more than usual. Maybe she's testing her limits, climbing on forbidden surfaces like the counter or using your body as a cat tree. You may be getting frustrated with this behavior, but what can you do to help her direct her energy away from destructive and distracting daredevil antics?

  1. Do not punish her. Some people will spank or yell at a wayward kitten. Cats don't understand this kind of treatment, and it will only cause resentment in your kitten and destroy the bond you've created.

  2. Do distract her. Watch your kitten for signs that she's starting to get over-excited. Usually these signs include a swishing tail and getting ready to pounce. She may start eying an object she wishes to climb. When you see these signs, take out a “thing on a string” toy and get her attention. A few minutes of play will redirect her energy away from climbing your curtains or exploring your counter.

  3. Play with her food. If your kitten gets hyper when you're sleeping or preparing for bed, give her an energetic 15- to 20-minute play session about half an hour before you plan to go to bed. After the play session, give her a small helping of food. Playing will help her lose her excess energy, and food will help her sleep. Please note that if you do feed your kitten before bed, do not give her more food than she's currently eating. Give her the same amount of food, but divide it into smaller portions.

  4. Use the Ow, And Down technique. If your kitten's crazies include such behaviors as biting, clawing, or climbing you, say “Ow!”in a high-pitched voice and put her gently on the floor. After you do this, don't pay attention to her for a few minutes, even if she gets back in your lap. When kittens play-fight, they squeak if the play has gone too far and starts to hurt. By using a high-pitched voice to express your dismay, you're telling your kitten, in her language, that she's gone too far. Ow, And Down shows her in a gentle and non-abusive way that what she did was painful and that she's not going to get attention if she does things that hurt you

Advice from Other Cat Owners 

Basic Litterbox Training for Kittens

Some 3-3 1/2 week-old cats already use a box. Do not use scoopable litter as they will probably eat it and it will get all stuck to their fur. Put them in the box and scratch their paws in it. Some get it right away and some don't. If they have any poo accidents outside the box, just pick it up with a tissue and put it in the box so they can smell it.

An old baking pan is a good litter box, and they also sell "half" boxes almost everywhere. Another good box is for ferrets as one side is much lower than the others.

~DONNA K., owner of Domestic Shorthair

How to Stop Your Kitten from Biting and Scratching

First of all, take note that your baby is being a baby! He is teething, and will go right on teething until he is about 6 months. Discourage your kitten by walking away or gently picking him up and placing him on the floor. NEVER chastise. Your baby is just like a human baby. They need to be shown the right thing to do, not the wrong side of your hand!

The same goes for scratching and climbing. Gently pick him up and place him by his scratching post - do not shout as he will take this behavior as a good way to get your attention. When he scratches his post on his own, then reward him with lots of "Good Boy!"s.

Treat climbing the same. Place him at the bottom of his activity center if he starts on the curtains!

~North-West S., owner of Siamese

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