Adopting a kitten is one of the most rewarding things in life if you are a pet lover. However, it can turn out to be a challenging task when your kitten has behavior problems. You need to be aware of the possible issues you might face with your kitten and learn how to solve them.
What are some of the kitten behavior problems?
Kitten behavior issues range from rough play to aggression. Other common issues include hiding, trying to escape and fear. However, you should be able to help your kitten settle in within a few weeks. Let us first outline these kitten behavioral problems.
My kitten won’t come out from hiding. What should I do?
Most cat owners have had instances where their kitten won’t come out of their hiding places. It is natural for a new kitten to feel out of place in a new home. I mean, she has just been separated from her biological family. She could experience anxiety and stress making him hide from you and other family members. Some of the reasons why your kitten may want to hide include the following:
Search for warmth
Most kittens hide in search of warmth. Well, as we have mentioned above, it can be quite challenging for a new kitten to adjust to the new environment.
If your cat is cold, she will hide in warm areas such as in the closet or under the bed. Kittens under the age of 10 weeks require a bed to lie on and to keep her warm.
Create a comfortable place for her and ensure it is warm enough. After all, your kitten will spend most of her day asleep. During cold weather, consider using a heating pad to keep your cat warm. Wrap the heating pad in a blanket and place it in her bed-it could be a cardboard box.
However, you must leave enough room for your kitten. This way, she can always move away from the heating pad should it get too hot. Hiding is one of the most common behavior problems in kittens.
Also, you may place her bed in your bedroom at night. You will be able to keep an eye on him as you both snuggle to sleep.
Your new kitten may also go to hiding every time you have friends over at your house. Well, initially, kittens are poorly socialized. You may need to expose your kitten to other people so that she may stop hiding from people.
It is usually as a result of under socialization which is as a result of fear. You need to expose her to people before she gets older. To get her to come out hiding, use tasty treats or exciting toys. At first, she might be afraid to come out but then a treat will serve as a reward for socializing.
Ensure that your cat not only spends time with you but also with your friends or family members. Some kittens grow up with undersocialized and therefore may not learn even in adulthood. When your kitty comes to you, offer him the treat and maybe gently stroke him.
The goal is to get her used to other people and curb the fear or social anxiety.
Fear of people or other cats
As we mentioned earlier, fear will make your kitten hideaway. Well, you must teach him how to curb fear and get used to the surrounding. This is especially important if you have other pets or living with other people. Now, because kittens are quite prone to anxiety, you will have to separate them from each other.
Use pet gates to keep them in separate rooms until your new kitten is confident enough. To introduce them to one another, rub a clothe on your new kitten and present it to the other pet, it could be a dog or another pet. Let them sniff and get used to the new scent.
You should do the same with your new kitten. Rub a clothe on the existing pet and leave it with your new kitten. Leave it with her for a while before you can let them see each other. It will help reduce anxiety and aggression against each other.
You can now go ahead and let them see each other, between the pet gate. This way, they will not come into contact with each other. Rather, they are going to get conversant with each other in a limited space. Once you are sure that they are comfortable with each other, you can get rid of the pet gates and let them associate.
Pain and illnesses
As we said earlier, cats sleep for about 16 hours a day. Therefore, do not be surprised if she hides in her favorite place for too long. However, if she won’t come out to eat or eliminate, there might be something wrong with her.
If you suspect that your kitty is ill, consult your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Even though we have domesticated cats for decades, they are still natural hunters. When your kitty is bored and has nothing to do, she is going to keep herself busy. Usually, she may play hide and seek with your hands or even bare feet.
Reduce boredom by providing exciting toys and also ensure that you play with her every day. Also, you can purchase a treat-dispensing toy to keep him busy when you are not at home.
You can also hide food in different rooms for her to find throughout the day. She will be able to exercise her hunting instincts and skills.
My kitten keeps trying to escape
Escaping is among the common kitten behavior problems you will have to deal with, especially with a newly adopted kitty. Unfortunately, most indoor kittens are unfit for the outdoors. Your kitten might lose her way or get hurt while exploring outdoors.
So why do kittens try to escape? Most kittens are just curious and thus the need to escape from home. However, other kittens, especially the ones approaching puberty, will try to escape during mating season.
The braver kittens will try to escape to stalk their prey. She will come back home unless she gets lost on the way. Well, leaving the door open may also encourage your cat to go out. And since you want to keep your kitty, you need to ensure that she does not get out.
How to prevent my kitten from escaping
You will have to be strategic to ensure that your new kitten does not escape from home. Use the following tips to ensure that your kitty does not leave the house;
- Use only one door to take your cat outside. Well, select only one door through which you can let your cat outside. She is going to associate that door with going outdoors and thus minimize chances of escaping through other exits.
- Teach him the sit and stay command. While training verbal commands to kittens remain difficult, you can teach your kitty to stay even as you leave the house. Note that a kitty who is looking to escape will do so when you open the door. Use treats and toys to make him stay behind even as you open the door. Provide a perching place and offer your cat a treat right before you leave. This way, she is going to be too distracted to care after all.
- Spay or neuter your kitty. As we have outlined above, your kitten is probably trying to escape to go looking for a mate. Upon neutering your kitty, you will curb his urge to go looking for a potential mate.
Aggression in all pets is a normal part of predation. However, when a kitten directs her aggression towards her human owner, there is a problem. In most scenarios, we are to blame for aggression issues in kittens.
Now, to address aggression behavior problems in kittens, you must unfold the motivation behind it. These may include:
- Rough play
- Social pressure
- Fear & anxiety
If your kitten has suddenly started being aggressive towards you, consider taking her to the vet. The first thing you should do is to rule out any illnesses causing pain and aggression. Your vet should be able to conduct a complete physical examination. If your kitty is sick, your vet will provide treatment options.
Forms of aggression in kittens
If your vet rules out any medical complication behind aggression, then you have to address this behavioral issue. How does your kitten exhibit aggression? We are going to help you address kitten behavior problems related to aggression
Your cat may bite on your hands during play, or even expose her claws. This can turn out to be quite painful. You must inhibit his biting as early as possible to avoid future aggression issues.
During play, your kitten might think that it is okay to pounce at you and even hurt you. Avoid using bare hands during playtime. Instead, invest in toys and particularly a tug toy. This will help you prevent biting and pouncing at your bare feet or ankles.
However, do not punish or hit your cat for biting or showing any signs of aggression.
When you are petting her, pay attention to his body language. You can be able to tell when she is showing the symptoms of aggression. For instance, if she starts thumping her tail, or suddenly stips purring, stop petting her immediately. These are some of the most common signs of aggression in kittens.
My kitten won’t stop soiling the house
House-soiling is one of the common reasons why people give up their kittens to shelter. However, it does not always have to be that way as you can teach your kitten to eliminate appropriately.
If your kitten won’t come out to use the litter box, then maybe something is wrong. It could be that the litter boxes are dirty. Given that cats will even groom themselves, it is clear enough that your kitty needs high hygiene standards. Always ensure that the litterboxes are all clean at all times.
In other cases, you should take your kitten to the vet care center for a check-up. Even though kittens rarely develop urinary tract infections, there is a slight possibility that an illness could be behind the inappropriate elimination problems.
Note that new kittens will have different personalities. Spend enough time with your kitten to be able to understand her. This way, you can always spot any change in behavior and address any problems associated with your kitten.