Easy tips to train your kitten

Congratulations! You have just adopted a new kitten into your family! The next step will be to teach your kitten proper habits and manners by following these easy kitten training tips. Although less complicated than training a puppy, training a kitten is focused on three main issues: litterbox training, self-control when it comes to biting or scratching people, as well as teaching your kitten to prefer a scratching post to your furniture!

Training your kitten to use a litterbox

Even though most kittens learn very young how to do their business in a litterbox thanks to watching their mother do the same, some kittens may need a bit more practice. In order to teach your kitten to consistently use a litterbox, a few key points should be followed:

  • Allow easy access to the litterbox. Some kittens may be upset if the litterbox is hidden away in a far-off corner or is difficult to reach, while others may prefer a more secluded area, away from noise and visitors
  • Remove all the clumps every day and clean the litterboxes regularly since most cats prefer a clean area
  • Provide a litterbox that is large enough to accommodate an adult cat, and preferably one without a lid
  • Lastly, it is best not to punish or scold a kitten that makes a mess outside the litterbox because this may cause him to become anxious and lead to further accidents. A little detective work to figure out why your kitten avoided the litterbox would be more effective

Teaching your kitten to use a scratching post

Scratching is a normal and natural behaviour for all cats, regardless of age.  It is also a natural reaction that may be exhibited when the kitten is happy and comfortable, like when some cats begin the scratching behaviour as soon as their owner returns home. Giving your cat an appropriate surface to scratch against can help prevent that she choose a less desirable spot, like your sofa, curtains, or wicker furniture.

Provide a stable and appropriately-sized scratching post, and place it near a doorway or other prominently visible spot of your home. If your cat tries to scratch in another area, immediately redirect her behaviour to the scratching post. Be patient. You can make the scratching post more appealing by sprinkling it with catnip. You can also make your furniture less attractive to your cat by placing obstacles in front of the sides or with adhesive tape.

How to decrease biting and aggressive play behaviours

As with litterbox habits, most kittens will have learned how to control themselves during play through interactions with their mother and siblings. However, some kittens may forget some of this learning once they have been adopted, and may try to develop new and more aggressive forms of games involving scratching and biting. We must therefore continue to teach him the right way to play with his human family. When playing with your kitten, be aware of his level of engagement, and stop the game quickly if your kitten seems to be overstimulated. This way he will learn that fun-time ends unless he stays calm and relaxed. Avoid using your hands or fingers to tease your kitten; use a stuffed mouse or feathers on a stick as a toy instead. That way he will learn that your hands are meant for petting, and not biting.

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