Kittens make wonderful companions in homes. Often, kittens are full of energy and can need guidance to get used to scratching posts, litter boxes and human handling.
Kittens love to chase and play with anything that moves! To help prevent unwanted behaviors, it is imperative that their environments are enriched as much as possible. This can include “hunting” for food or use of food-balls, having at least 3-4 toys always available (and rotate different toys monthly), and regular playtime with their human companions. Being able to look outside windows (perhaps at a bird feeder) or having a kitty tv can further make their homes entertaining. It is important to encourage play with acceptable toys or substrates. It is best not to use your hands or feet as “toys” so they do not learn any behavior that may become undesirable as they grow up.
Scratching is a natural instinct for all cats; it is done for nail maintenance, scent marking and visual marking. The location of the post is extremely important, as cats may prefer to scratch on something near the front of a couch rather than behind the couch. Cats can also be very particular about substrate preference and you may need to try a variety of scratching posts (different substrates, horizontal and/or vertical) options to determine their individual preference. Sometimes, adding feliway or cat nip to the desired scratching post can help attract kittens and cats to use that particular area. Double sided tape may also be needed to deter cats from using any loved furniture if they have already started to scratch at it. Remembering to regularly trim nails can also be important in helping minimize unwanted destruction, and sometimes soft paws can be used as well. If there are any persistent problems with unwanted scratching, let us know so we can help!
It is important to provide easy access to litter boxes for all kittens and cats. Initially a new kitten should be confined to a small area for a few days with their litter box, toys, food and water. Encourage the new kitty to use the litter by placing the kitten in the litter box every few hours, especially after eating or sleeping. Ensure there are litter box accesses on each level of the house so they can familiar with using the various located boxes (very useful if later in life they have an injury or illness where they may not be able to go up multiple steps to get to a litter box). If there are multiple cats in a home, it is best to have one more litter box then the total number of cats. Any trained cat may stop using a litter box that is too small, dirty or in an area that lacks privacy. Remember to scoop daily, change litter weekly and scrub/disinfect the box on a regular basis.
We recommend to get kittens used to people and touch from a young age so that they learn to enjoy handling. Daily interaction with play, handling and grooming works best. Often food treats can be used as a reward and is best paired with different experiences. These positive associations can be useful to get kittens comfortable with having their paws handled (and nails cut), ears or teeth examined or tolerate grooming.