Your kitten is one of a kind, not to mention adorable. But training your li’l baby comes with some basic guidelines. Scroll on for a handful of our favorite kitten training tips.
Set up your kitten for litter box training success.
Introduce your new kitten to their litter box as soon as they get home. Then always set your cat in their box right after meals and as soon as they wake up from naps.
And don’t forget to reward your kitten with a treat, toy or some extra love after they use it.
Kitty, meet litter.
Litter, meet kitty.
Nip kitten biting in the bud.
When Kitty forgets their manners and bites you or shows their aggressive side, say “ow” or “no” clearly and sternly.
Then slowly remove your hand — or other body part — from their razor-sharp clutches. Pick up your kitten, place them away from you, walk away and ignore them.
You can also redirect them to a feather wand or another toy or activity if you want. But that’s your call.
That’s my hand,
not a treat, tiny cat.
Squash kitten scratching (and save your furniture).
By giving your little feline lots of sturdy scratching posts throughout your house, especially where they like to hang out, you can save your favorite furniture from unwanted claw marks and damage.
Oh, and be sure to trim your kitten’s nails regularly.
Say it with me:
Sofas are NOT
Cue the cat carrier training.
Teach your kitten that their cat carrier is a safe, comfortable place to chillax and feel protected.
Trust us, by making a carrier part of your fuzzball’s daily life, road trips and vet visits will be easier and safer for years to come.
It's midnight. Bring on the zoomies, furry one.
(Actually, please don’t.)
Curb the crazies when you’re asleep.
Want to stop your kitten from bouncing off the walls while you’re supposed to be deep in slumber land? Try these tips.
Have a long play session later in the evening.
Feed your feline a big meal of delicious, nutritious Opens a new windowIAMS™ Healthy Kitten or PERFECT PORTIONS™
Spend 15 minutes of purr-worthy snuggle time before you hit the hay.
Did you know there are five distinct cat personalities?
Yep, it’s true! One of our favorite Opens a new windowstudies from the University of South Australia proved it.
To help train your kitten, pick the word that best describes them:
These anxious felines tend to run away when the doorbell rings and are fearful of new situations.
The key to training a skittish kitty? Practice lots of patience and never force them to face their fears, like meeting your house guests after they’ve already runaway and hidden.
Some call them nosy, but we call them fearless. Outgoing kitties are curious and adventurous. They love to explore and get into everything — and they sometimes act naughty because they’re bored.
One of the tricks to training an outgoing kitten is to give them lots of toys and actively play with them. It stimulates their mind and helps burn off energy.
“Bossy” best describes these kitties. They bully other cats (and even other pets) and hog things like food bowls, toys and litter boxes.
If your kitten fits this category, be consistently firm and make sure you play with them regularly so they have less energy to be aggressive.
You might also want to make sure your little CEO (Cat Executive Officer) has their own food bowl, water bowl and litter box.
Two words describe these felines: impulsive and erratic. Their behavior and moods are unpredictable, even if they’ve encountered the same situation before.
When training, never raise your voice — it’ll just ramp up your kitty’s nerves and make them more erratic.
Also, be sure to stick to a consistent daily schedule for feeding and playtime so your little fuzzball knows what to expect and doesn’t get stressed out.
This personality is every cat lover’s dream.
These sweeties can usually be found curling up against your shins, meowing loudly and purring away.
The key to training these kittens is to never yell and to socialize them early and often. That way, they’ll continue to be everyone’s best friend for life.
You had me at
meow, li’l feline.
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Introducing a new cat into your home and life is a rewarding and fulfilling decision, one that requires some thought before you head to the shelter. So what should you consider before adopting a cat? Follow our tips to prepare for the best.
- What to Consider before Adopting a Cat
- Choosing the Right Cat for You
- Where to Adopt a Cat
- The Cat Adoption Process
What to Consider before Adopting a Cat
First, let’s explore some of the commitments you’ll need to make to ensure your new cat is content (and that you are, too!).
Cat-proofing Your Home
Make sure your home is cat-safe by eliminating or hiding away anything that could harm or poison your newbie. This includes:
- Household cleaners and chemicals
- Toxic plants, including aloe vera, azalea, rhododendron, lilies, chrysanthemum, mistletoe, philodendron, poinsettias and tulips
- Toxic foods, including chocolate, coffee and tea, dairy, raw meat, grapes and raisins, carrots, onions, garlic and alcohol
Cat Supplies You’ll Need
You’ll need a cat bed or hideout, toys, scratching mats, a cat tree or climbing tower, food and water bowls, litter and boxes, and, of course, well-balanced, nutritious cat food. IAMS™ provides a wide range of tailored, nutritional cat food to promote the health of your new cat.
Cost of Cat Care
Plan to budget for an annual exam (older cats or those with special conditions may need more frequent visits), medication and parasite preventives. It’s smart to save for emergency care, too.
Cat Exercise and Playtime
Providing daily play and exercise opportunities can keep your cat physically and psychologically healthy, and help strengthen your bond. Toys, feather wands and cat trees should be part of your regular rotation! And believe it or not, many cats can be trained to walk on a leash.
Not all cats are solitary or antisocial; however, they can become this way if they aren’t introduced properly to new experiences. Strange sounds, smells and even appliances in your home might make a new cat anxious, as can other family members and pets (more on this later). So be sure to help your new cat get accustomed to unfamiliar people, places and things, and reward and praise them when doing so.
Litter and Litterboxes
Make sure you have the necessary box, scoop and other supplies to keep things tidy. If you have a multiple-cat household, provide one box per cat, plus one additional box, to help quell territorial issues.
A Lifetime Commitment
Keep in mind that cats often live into their teens and maybe even a second decade if you’re lucky. Know that you’re adopting a true family member for the extent of their lifetime.
Choosing the Right Cat for You
A cat match made in heaven starts by asking some questions about yourself.
What Is Your Lifestyle Like?
If you are not home regularly or gone for extended amounts of time, a cat’s independent nature can be a great fit. If your life includes other people or pets, make sure their behaviors, personalities and lifestyles suit having a cat family member — both for their sake and the cat’s. Allergies can be a dealbreaker, so take note of anyone in your home with cat allergies and their or your willingness to take allergy medication, vacuum constantly and groom the cat regularly to alleviate symptoms.
Your home should also have the space for play and exercise and shouldn’t harbor anything dangerous to your cat.
What Cat Personality Suits You?
Cats offer a variety of distinctive personality types, ranging from puppy-like cuddliness to feigned disinterest. Some cats are constantly on the go, exploring and poking into this and that, while others are certified nap ninjas. Vocally, they can be chatty catties or more taciturn souls. In short, you have a wide spectrum of personality types to choose from — which is what makes cats such fascinating and easy-to-love pets.
Do You Want to Adopt a Kitten or an Adult Cat?
Kittens will need a lot of attention, direction and a fair amount of patience. Their size, energy and inquisitive nature means you’ll need to supervise them closely.
Adult cats often will settle more quickly into a routine once introduced to their new home. An older or senior adult cat may be even more comfortable interacting with children and furniture. And providing a real home for a cat in their golden years is a rewarding and noble gesture you can feel good about.
Fur Better or Fur Worse
All cats shed. This will affect anyone with allergies and could also cause health issues for your cat, like hairballs or matting. Long-haired cats need to be brushed more regularly, and not all cats love this, so you may have to train yours to sit through this daily ritual.
Where to Adopt a Cat
There are several reasons adopting a cat from a shelter or rescue organization is preferable to buying. More effort goes into matchmaking when you adopt, because shelters and rescues generally have more information about their cats. Plus, adopting your cat from a shelter or a rescue actually helps two cats: the one you adopt and the homeless cat who takes your cat’s place.
In contrast, buying can be much more expensive than adopting, and the practice encourages cat mills and increases the number of pets who need homes.
Adopting a Cat from a Shelter
At shelters you can often visit with more than one cat and breed. The screening process can be easier (many shelters allow you to take a cat home that day), and adoption fees can be lower than at a rescue. However, the vet services might not cover all that your cat needs.
Adopting a Cat from a Rescue
Rescues have some advantages over shelters. They often know more about candidate cats because they may be placed in foster homes and even trained for a home. So you could adopt a cat that is already litterbox trained, socialized with other pets and with kids, trained to keep off furniture, etc.
Depending on the rescue’s screening process, you might have to make an appointment to see one cat at a time. While the screening might take longer, it’s designed to match you to the right cat. Adoption fees might be a little higher with a rescue, but they often cover more vet care, too.
The Cat Adoption Process
While rescues and shelters have similar adoption processes, they do vary depending on the organization. But you can count on these basic steps:
Make sure to have a valid ID to verify age (most organizations require adopters be adults) and address. You might also need references, so it’s a good idea to email or call ahead of time and ask about the application and overall adoption process.
Some of the cat adoption questions you might be asked include:
- Do you own or rent?
- Have you had a cat before?
- Do you currently have pets? Are they spayed or neutered? How are they with other animals?
- Do you have children at home? Are they good with pets?
- Does everyone residing in your home approve of adopting a cat?
- Where will your cat be kept during the day and in the evening?
- What are your care plans for when you have to leave home for an extended period of time, such as for a work trip or vacation?
They might also ask questions about your health, occupation and personal life to help match the right cat to the right parent.
2. Home Inspection
A home and family meet-and-greet might be required to see how everyone, including other pets, gets along with your prospective new cat. And the organization will want to ensure your residence will be a comfortable and safe home.
3. Adoption Fees
As we mentioned, cat adoption costs can vary, with rescues often being higher than shelters. Fortunately, the adoption fee will take care of basic veterinary services you will need anyway, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchipping.
Adopting a new cat isn’t just rewarding — it can be life-changing. Taking stock of the commitments of cat ownership, and taking the time to find your perfect feline match, will help set you both up for years of joy.
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