Kitten Training and Discipline

Training and Discipline for Your New Kitten

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I'd estimate that at least 75 percent of kitten or cat discipline involves trouble-shooting to discover the reason for the undesirable behavior, and then correcting the situations that caused it. Sometimes a bit of re-training is called for, such as when a cat stops using the litter box.

Most training of kittens is pretty straightforward and easy. Provide them with a litter box and show it to them - they'll use it.

Put their little paws on a scratching post and watch them go to town.

In this lesson, we'll cover both of those in more detail, as well as some other potential behavioral issues you may encounter with kittens as well as adult cats.

The Necessity of Scratching

Managing Your Cat's Claws
Destructive scratching can be avoided with a 3-pronged plan: Providing desirable scratching surfaces, setting the limits, and trimming claws or using plastic nail caps.

This article will set the pace for all of the above, and will also offer convincing evidence of the value of scratching to your cat's health.

Provide Sturdy Scratching Posts
These scratching posts vary in price and styles, and will provide a selection of legal scratching surfaces for your kitten. Our Billy simply loves his Alpine Cosmic Scratcher, an inexpensive corregated cardboard model. Offer as many scratchers as you can afford and/or have room for, for healthy scratching variety.

Suggested Products to Prevent Destructive Scratching
Claw trimming is one means of preventing destructive scratching. These products will give your kitten a head start in developing acceptable scratching behavior.

Litter Box Training

Preventing Litter Box Avoidance
Most kittens will readily adapt to a litter box, especially if they were raised with a mother cat.

Otherwise, it's pretty easy to train a kitten to the box. Make sure it's easily accessible, filled with a quality litter. Immediately after a meal, place your kitten in the box. You may have to demonstrate by guiding his paw for a few scratches in the litter, but he'll quickly get the idea.

Retraining to the Box
Chances are, if you followed the previous instructions, your kitten will not make mistakes, but in the rare event that he does repeatedly, follow the instructions in this article.

Litter Box Maintenance - A Step-By-Step Illustrated Tutorial
Poor litter box maintenance is often the cause of litter box mishaps. Since litter box avoidance is a major cause of surrenders of cats to shelters, it is important that cats be given a fighting chance, by making sure their litter boxes are kept immaculately clean. This step-by-step tutorial will demonstrate conscientious litter box maintenance.

Chewing and Biting

Destructive Chewing A Potentially Harmful Habit
Kittens, like human babies, examine everything with their mouths, especially when teething. I've offered some basic guidelines here for preventing your kitten from chewing on harmful and/or valuable things in your home.

Biting and Scratching Human Hands and Feet.

Kittens love to "play fight," and if other cats are not around to accomodate them, they'll settle for the nearest human hand or ankle, especially if you've encouraged this form of play early-on. Learn how to divert your kitten from his human target, and how and when to simply walk away.

Heights: The Ultimate Goal

Counter Surfing
Kittens love heights, and the minute they see your kitchen counter they will set is as their first "Mt.Everest" to conquer. This time may come sooner than you expect, as many kittens are expert jumpers, and will hurl themselves upward at seeming impossible goals.

Here are ways to avoid potential accidents and keep your kitten out of food preparation activities, and away from harm from burns.

FAQs on Behavior

A large percentage of questions I receive by email or on the About Cats Forum are those concerning cat behavior.

Many so-called "behavioral problems" result from the cat owners simply not understanding what cats are trying to tell us. And often cats' behavioral "quirks" are their most endearing traits.

When Discipline is Necessary

Cats are highly intelligent creatures who need little training or disclipline to 'behave' the way their humans think they should behave. Learn how to separate undesirable behavior from communication of a cat's dissatisfaction, and how to correctly discipline a cat if indeed, a behavior problem exists.

Next > Play Time!


Kitten Care Course Navigation

  1. Preparing for Your New Kitten
  2. Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Household
  3. Food and Nutrition for Your New Kitten
  4. Grooming and Maintence of Your Kitten
  5. Training and Discipline of Kittens
  6. Playing With Kittens
  7. Indoors vs Outdoors
  8. Your Kitten's First Year