Cats Behavior – Adolescence / Kittens
Congratulations, you’re going to be the new cat owner on the block! Your feline’s first few days in the house can be very stressful, but with some careful planning, you can ease her transition.
You thought it was cute when your kitten attacked your ankles and then proceeded to shimmy up your leg, but now he’s getting heavier-and those nails hurt! And although he has always been fastidious when using his litterbox, lately he’s been missing his target. What gives? Your companion feline has entered his teenage stage. From the age of 6 to 18 months, cats undergo adolescence. With patience and humor, you can ease his transition from kitten to adulthood-and survive with nary a scratch!
Hormones are a major contributor to your kitty’s temperament. When your female cat has her first heat at about six months, she may be unusually affectionate, roll around on the floor and seem restless. She may yowl and call in an attempt to attract potential suitors. Hormones may also be the reason why your male cat has been having accidents indoors. As they mature sexually, intact tomcats may mark their territory by spraying. Drapes and walls are likely targets. To prevent your feline teen from hitting the spot over and over, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the area. There are products available in pet supply stores that will neutralize the urine and remove stains. Fortunately, nine times out of ten a male cat will never spray again if he’s neutered under 1 to 2 years of age. Keep in mind that spraying and other hormone-related behaviors can easily be prevented-simply by having your cat spayed or neutered before the age of 7 months. If your cat was taken away from his littermates prior to 10 weeks of age, and was not taught to inhibit his bite, you may find yourself his next victim. If your pet does nip, never hit him. Instead, hiss loudly or blow air in his face.
You can create an outlet for his predatory behavior by providing interactive play with a variety of toys. Toys that can be wiggled, dangled or otherwise made to look alive are fascinating to felines. The ASPCA recommends that you keep your sessions short, upbeat and frequent. Exercise has an important side benefit, too. Insufficient activity, coupled with the excess energy that adolescence brings, can result in bad behavior, such as scratching in appropriate places. To minimize damage by super-sharp kitten nails, trim your pet’s nails regularly, and provide him with a sturdy scratching post. Ideally it should be at least 3 feet tall.
For super-frisky felines who think that 4 in the morning is the perfect time to zoom around the house, a high-energy ten-minute play session followed by a late-night dinner may work wonders. Could you be inadvertently teaching your cat bad habits? If you get up to feed, play and cuddle with him when he tries to wake you in the middle of the night, you are, in effect, rewarding his bad behavior. Do not give into him! If you must, confine him to his own room at night; be sure to equip it with a litterbox, comfy bed and his favorite toys.