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68–71 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

How to Teach Your Cat to Use the Toilet :: How to Retrain a Fabric-Eating Cat :: How to Build a Good Relationship between Cats and Kids :: What to Do If Your Cat Gets Lost

How to Retrain a Fabric-Eating Cat

Some cats have a habit of eating or sucking on fabrics. This may seem cute at first, but after your kitty has turned your favorite sweater into Swiss cheese, you probably won't be so happy about it. Fabric eating can also cause potentially life-threatening health problems like gut obstructions, so you'll want to get your cat out of the habit as quickly as possible.

Although it was thought that fabric-eating was primarily a quirk of Siamese and other Oriental cats, the habit has been found in all breeds, including common house cats. A theory about fabric chewing is that some cats crave fiber and some cats seem to have a higher need than others.

To solve this problem:

  • First remove all temptation. Don't toss your socks on the floor or leave the bed unmade. Keep drawers closed and don't store sweaters on open closet shelves that your cat can reach.

  • Consider adding dry food to your cat's diet. If you're already feeding dry food, talk to your vet about a higher-fiber formula or add some canned pumpkin (half a teaspoon or so) to her daily ration.

  • Grow some cat grass, too; odds are that your cat will prefer the flavor and texture of grass to that of your favorite wool sweater.

Sucking on fabrics is not the same habit as chewing on them. Fabric sucking is believed to be caused by sudden or early weaning. The kitten continues her nursing behavior on clothes, shoelaces, owners' fingers or earlobes, or even shirt buttons. Some cats suck their own flanks, tips of their tails, paws - and even other cats' or dogs' nipples.

Most kittens eventually grow out of fabric-sucking habits. The best way to stop the behavior is to distract your cat. Gently disengage her and then pet or play with her.

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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