They are cute, adorable, and can smash your favorite chair before you can say “bad cat!”
Well, of course I’m talking about America’s favorite pet: the cat. (I know, some of you think the dog is America’s favorite pet. But we cat lovers know better.) But, as most people who own cats (especially indoor cats) also know, these adorable critters can make a mess out of their boxes and break furniture if you’re not properly trained. And the best time to do the training is when the cat is young.
Since there is no such thing as a “kittygarten”, it is up to you to make sure your kitten learns the rules of the house. And fast. Don’t let the kitten develop bad habits that will haunt you later. For example, while it may be cute when Kitty manages to climb on her dining room table during dinner time, it is not so cute three years later and her cat still interrupts her mealtime. The best time to stop unwanted behaviors is now.
Here are some tips that can help you house train your kitten:
1. Kittens need exercise. If this is not done in the form of toys for Kitty to play with, Kitty will become restless and could harm you or your home. Make sure Kitty has plenty of toys of her own to chew, kick, and chase. Notice I said “his own toys”. Toys do not include her body parts. Never allow kitten to use your arm or feet as chew toys. Again, it’s cute when they’re kittens, but when the 3-year-old cat attacks your bare feet because you made him think your feet are toys, he’s not cute anymore. It is painful.
2. Since kittens are not potty trained yet, it is best to start by teaching them what to do with a litter box. The litter box should be big enough for Kitty to get in and move around. If you adopted your kitten from the Humane Society or rescue group, Kitty has likely been near a cat box. But, in case your new kitty has never been presented with a litter box, you will need to make the introductions.
Cats usually do their work after a meal or a nap. So after Kitty finishes her meal, play with her for about 10-15 minutes, somewhere near the litter box. Take it to the checkout. Move the sand with your hand to intrigue Kitty with the texture of the sand, inviting her to enter it. Cheers for Kitty once she enters and speaks to her in soft tones. Make Kitty feel like the box is a nice and comfortable place. Whether it gets messy on the box or not, be consistent with that shade. Eventually, you will like the litter box and do your business there. Finally, be consistent and patient. Results may not come immediately, but training will pay off over time.
3. Kittens’ claws are not yet as sharp compared to older cats, so Kitty is not too dangerous with furniture at this time. But kittens grow up early, and it is best to teach them that a scratching post is where they should sharpen their claws, and not on their favorite chair. You may want to sprinkle some catnip on the scratching post to get Kitty interested. When you see Kitty sharpen her claws on the scratching post, be sure to praise her or offer her a treat.
Praising the kitten for doing a good job and feeding it as a reward will help teach it to behave indoors. It’s obvious to most of us, but it has to be said: never yell at or hit your kitty.
Kittens are adorable animals and by spending time with them every day, you will end up with a lovable, well-trained cat in the house.