Hey y’all! Happy June! I don’t know about you, but it’s been a pretty hectic time (hence the Wednesday post- sorry guys). I wrapped up my freshman year at ASU last month, and now I'm busy spending my summer playing with cute rescue pets. That’s beside the point though, we’re all here to talk about kittens, so let’s get into it!
People talk a big game about how hard raising kittens is, and tell horror stories of destroyed furniture. To be honest though, that’s mostly talk. Raising a kitten isn’t as hard as it sounds, and they’re definitely not malicious creatures set on scratching up your curtains. With kittens, fostering good behavior really just comes down to providing an enriching environment.
Although kittens are domesticated, there’s still an innate need for them to feel fulfilled in terms of hunting. Cats whose needs aren’t met often times become stressed, which may be expressed through behavioral problems. Kittens are also full of energy, so they need proper outlets to prevent them from playing in inappropriate ways. The best way to avoid this is to promote acceptable play for your kitten. To do so, start with supervised play- the most effective means of keeping your kitten out of trouble is to make sure they know what they areallowed to do. A great toy for cats, kittens especially because of their high energy, is a feather toy like this:
This is a good option because it will help your kitten get out some excess energy, and it will satisfy your kitten’s urge to hunt. An added bonus is that toys that are interactive for you and your kitten will help to increase your bond.
Take note though, you should let your kitten decide when and how much they want to play. Don’t force interactions, and make sure they have plenty of time to recuperate between games.
Protip: Make time to play with your kitten just before bed. The goal here is to tire them out so they’re not bothering you throughout the night, and it will help your new friend become assimilated to your schedule.
Don’t worry about spending all day everyday playing with your kitten, that’s exhausting, and impossible. At times when you’re not around, try giving your kitten a puzzle toy. This could be something with a hidden treat, or ball set in a track that your kitten can bat around without losing. It’s also recommended that you allow your kitten a rotation of toys. This will stop them from getting bored, which in turn helps prevent them from getting into things they shouldn’t. Not to say that you need to have a thousand different, costly toys for your kitten. You can easily get a cardboard box (great for scratching and keeping claws from getting too long!), a sock, or the cardboard roll from paper towels or toilet paper. If you’re interested in DIY cat toys, check out this article:
I will say that I’ve heard warnings against giving cats yarn or string to play with. Though they’ll enjoy it, these materials can be harmful to your cats digestive system.
(Links for similar puzzle toy options here:
Cats are territorial, and can also be moody if they don’t get enough down time- me too, for that matter. The best way to ensure your kitten is getting enough rest is to provide a safe place for them to relax. I mentioned in my last post these cuddle cups (Link here:
that my boyfriend’s cats adore. Again though, you don’t necessarily need to buy an extravagant bed for your cat. I’ve had major success with a simple cardboard box stuffed with an old towel/blanket before. Another great option is to patrol places like Facebook market place or Craigslist to find them at a cheaper price- or even free if you’re lucky.
Last but not least, cats love to perch. Love it. Having something like a cat tree not only fulfills your kittens need to explore and be stimulated, but also gives them a great place to observe what’s going on around them. Cat trees are also a great idea if you have other animals in the house, so that if your kitten needs a break they have a nice little escape, and don’t have to climb your cabinets. Most cat trees/perches are also made out of scratch proof materials, and this is wonderful as cats need things to scratch to keep their claws from getting out of hand.
Links for perches and trees:
While researching for this post, I found this article super helpful:
Be sure to check it out for more information on kittens and advice for interacting with and raising them.
Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you all back here next Tuesday!
Joy Shanahan is a student at Appalachian State University with a passion for community service. She can be found in the dance studios at ASU or researching helpful animal tips for Lee Shore.