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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"

Teach Your Kitten to Love the Carrier in Six Steps

Your kitten's carrier is an essential part of her life. Whether you're taking her for a vet visit, traveling to visit your family or friends, or evacuating in an emergency, your kitten needs to learn to accept this form of transport. With the right carrier and a few simple steps, your kitten can learn to love her carrier.

Cat carriers come in every style from disposable cardboard boxes to designer purses, and your choice of carrier can make or break your kitten's relationship with this vital safety device. The best all-purpose choice is a medium-sized (large enough to fit one cat comfortably) plastic box with a handle and openings in the front and the top. These can be found at pet stores and online pet supply outlets.

Here are six steps for best results with cat and carrier:

Step 1 To get your kitten used to the carrier, start by making it a part of her ordinary life. Leave the carrier in the living room, backed up against a wall, with the door propped open.

Step 2 Put a small blanket or comfortable pillow in the bottom, and toss in a catnip toy and one or two of her favorite treats.

Step 3 Let her explore the carrier at her leisure: no stress, no drama. For extra de-stressing power, spray a little bit of Feliway Comfort Zone, a synthetic “happy cat”pheromone, inside.

Step 4 The next step is to get your kitten used to doing different things in the carrier. Close the door while she's inside and leave the room for a few minutes. When you return, prop the carrier door open again. The goal here is to make your kitten feel that the carrier is not a trap. Do this several times over the course of a week or so.

Step 5 Once she's used to that, close the door while she's inside and walk around the house with the carrier. Afterward, set it down, open the door, and give her a treat.

Step 6 Once you've gotten your kitten used to her carrier, it's time to take her for a ride. Close the carrier door while your kitten is inside and take her for a short drive. Even a trip around the block will do. Repeat this at random intervals over the next week or so. The idea behind this is to help your kitten understand that being in the carrier, in the car, does not necessarily mean she's going to the vet.

With the right carrier and a low-key, drama-free introduction, you'll have a kitten who will love—or at least, accept—the carrier.

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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