How to Raise a Kitten to Be Cuddly?
Raising a kitten? Maybe not something you immediately think of, but very important! Of course, you want to prevent your kitten from scratching your sofa or hanging on your curtains. Raising also means lovingly preparing your kitten for a life without stress or anxiety.
Can you teach a kitten something?
All animals can learn, including kittens. With puppies, we go to puppy-class, with kittens we usually do nothing about the education. We only take the plant sprayer when a kitten becomes naughty. But then the kitten has already learned all kinds of things that are not so useful. You raise a kitten from day one when he is in the house.
A kitten learns when something positive follows his action, for example, if you give him a treat when he scratches the scratching post. Rewarding is therefore a very important element in raising a kitten.
Raising and mother cat
The mother cat does play an important role, but even if your kitten has stayed in the litter long enough (preferably longer than 9 weeks), there is still a lot of work for you. Mother cat does not teach a kitten that it should not scratch the furniture or that a travel basket is not scary.
Make your house kitten-proof
A kitten sees your house as one big playground and has no respect for expensive vases. Therefore make your house ‘kitten-proof’. Of course, a kitten has to learn what he can and cannot do, but a kitten does not yet understand everything.
- Put your fragile and fragile items away temporarily.
- Watch out for small nooks and crannies for a kitten to disappear into.
- Think of your sofa and chairs. Kittens cannot jump that high yet, they climb up via the handrail. A grand foulard or other smooth cloth over the furniture prevents this. Climbing can eventually lead to scratching!
- Temporarily hang your curtains higher so that the kitten cannot climb into them.
Get the right stuff at home
You don’t have to spend huge amounts to make your kitten happy, but a number of things are really necessary, in addition to natural food and water bowls:
- a (clean!) litter box. Place it near where the kitten is most often, it is still too small to walk up the stairs to a litter box on the 1st floor.
- one or more good scratching posts, which will not fall over if the kitten scratches or pulls them.
- safe toys so that your kitten is not bored
On this page you will find an overview of what you need at least for your kitten.
Make educating a game!
The beauty of kittens is that they are still young and ‘unspoiled’. They actually like everything, are not easily afraid of something, and are always in for a game. That makes raising kittens relatively easy. Getting used to the travel basket? Regularly throw in a pellet or ball so that it is no longer a scary place for your kitten. Does he not fully understand the scratching post yet? Lure him to the scratching post with a fishing rod, pull the fishing rod up along the scratching post and the kitten will quickly discover what is intended.
Do you have a (long-haired) kitten that needs coat care? Do not comb or brush for too long and play with your kitten in between, so it will remain relaxed for both of you.
Happy and healthy kittens
When it comes to parenting, we mainly think of punishment or unlearning. But if a cat is afraid of the travel basket, it can just happen that you would rather postpone a visit to the vet because it is ‘such a hassle’ or because the cat gets so stressed.
As far as I am concerned, the education that your kitten
- learns that brushing or combing is fun (even if you only do it occasionally to check for fleas)
- get used to grabbing his paws (then you can easily see if he has something on his paws or cut his nails easier at a later age)
- in his mouth and allows other things that belong to the daily care
- getting used to the travel basket(and possibly a visit to the vet)
If the kitten is used to all these things, you will not be stressed later on! Build it up slowly, because kittens are not only easily distracted, they are still toddlers who do not understand everything immediately.
With love and patience
Just like a small child learns to walk by trial and error, a kitten learns new behavior in small steps. You cut up everything you want to teach a kitten in small steps and after each step you reward the kitten with a (part of a) treat, a treat or a hug.
Have patience! If you are unable to teach your kitten something, try a different approach.
Scratching the furniture
Teach your little one what a scratching post is as early as possible. For many owners, it is a specter that the furniture is shredding, so this is an important part of raising a kitten. Make sure you have enough scratching posts at home (so in several places) and also ensure that they are easily accessible for the cat. Young kittens prefer horizontal scratching possibilities made of cardboard. They are not that expensive, so don’t just choose the traditional scratching post with sisal. You will soon see where your kitten’s preference lies.
Don’t play with your hands
A kitten must learn that hands are for cuddling/stroking, not for playing. Always use fishing rods, strings, balls, etc. By letting your kitten play with your hands, you teach him that you are okay with scratching and biting. If you don’t like that a few months or a year later, it is difficult to unlearn.
Scratching and biting during the game
Kittens can be wonderfully rash and it is unavoidable that they will accidentally bite or scratch you in the heat of the game. To minimize the chance of this, playing with hands is therefore not allowed (see also above).
If you have a kitten that plays fierce, be extra careful with your hands. Put the animal away in a calm way if it gets too fanatical, but never punish it! This behavior is common in kittens that have been removed from the litter too early and/or have not had any playmates afterward. The kitten cannot do anything about that and therefore it should not be punished. Make sure you play with the kitten a lot and regularly so that it can enjoy its energy in a good way. A kitten friend is usually also a good solution.
Here too applies: introduce your kitten to different brands and tastes. Also, let him get used to canning food. It’s nonsense that canned food would be too salty or bad for cats. Canned food has the advantage that the cat gets a lot of necessary moisture. Learning young is done old, and the more different things your cat learns to eat, the easier it will respond if it ever needs to switch to adapted food.
Should you housebreak a kitten?
No. When they are around four weeks old, they instinctively look for a spot where they can dig a hole and make their first attempts to urinate or defecate independently.
You must of course ensure that you have enough litter boxes in the house and that they are clean. Also, make sure that they are not too far away from the kitten. He is still too small to think in time that he has to run all the way to the end of the hall to be able to pee there!
Raising a kitten and the plant sprayer
Unfortunately, the plant spray is still seen as an important aid in the education of a kitten. Unfortunately. Because kittens can be scared by the plant sprayer and more importantly, they do not learn what they can or should do. In this blog, I will discuss the plant sprayer in more detail. Here’s why you should n’t punish your kitten.
Grabbing the neck is not a good way to punish, this is really a misunderstanding.
Raising a kitten is consistent!
That sounds like an open door, but almost everyone goes wrong here! If your kitten is not allowed on the counter, he should never be on the counter – so your partner or child should not turn a blind eye. Also remember that some things are funny when a kitten is small, but soon stop being fun. Some people are okay with the kitten climbing up in their pants, but by the time it has turned into a five-pound male, it is no longer fun. Learning is much easier than unlearning.
Raising kittens, various tools for positive reinforcement
Raising a kitten is not only done with your bare hands: you can fall back on various tools. A number of cat experts swear by clickers . With so-called marker signals you can positively reinforce the good behavior of your cat. This way you can make a lot of progress with clicker training. In principle, any cat can be raised with a clicker. However, not every cat is the same and some cats will respond better to the clicks than others.
As you probably predicted, the clicker works with striking clicks. In the normal environment of the cat, this sound does not occur at all. If you let this be heard every time the cat has behaved properly, the pet will associate this unique sound with the knowledge that he or she has behaved well.
In combination with the clicker you also have a tight time window of one to two seconds, in which you can reward your kitten with, for example, a few kibble.
Clicker training is also used to teach cat tricks, for example in films where cats play. Once you have taught your pet the basics of harmonious coexistence with the clicker, you can also do larger, more complex tasks this way of conditioning. Some owners have even taught their cats small pieces with the clicker.
Reward with candies and strokes
Not all cat experts love this way of raising kittens (clickers). Some find the clicker too impersonal to raise their cat. After all, the most important thing is to form a deep bond with your cat confidently.
Clickers critics think that kittens should get regular food, outspoken approval, and a nice pat on the back if they have just done something good. This way you can share your authentic joy about his positive behavior with your cat.
In principle, positive reinforcement allows you to effect positive behavioral changes quickly and in a healthy manner. We strongly advise against punishing with, for example, the plant sprayer, because this jeopardizes the relationship of trust between you and your animal. A solid relationship of trust is the most important requirement of success in parenting.