Creating Fun for your Kitten
Veterinarian Reviewed on April 16, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Posted in Behavior Management
No one can resist the cuteness of a young kitten! With their soft fur and their pitiful ‘meows’, kittens can melt the heart of even the most hardened person in the world.
As cute as they may be, kittens can also get into all kinds of trouble! Even though, in some circumstances, this can appear very adorable on the part of the kitten, it can also lead to some relatively naughty and dangerous situations.
If you do find yourself and your kitten in one of these types of situations, try not to scream or yell at your kitten. Rather count to 10 and calm down first and then you can firmly, but gently, take a hold of your kitten and say “No” in quite a firm, clear, voice and then put your kitten down on her bed.
Next, you should try to identify why it is that your little kitten got into such big trouble. For example, was your kitten bored, or was she practicing her hunting skills, or maybe it was just that the object of her attention offered too much temptation.
It is not uncommon that such situations, in which mischievous kittens find themselves, are derived from a mixture of boredom as well as practicing of their hunting skills. A kitten’s boredom can lead her to find such things as plants that have long leaves or apples that she can roll around on the kitchen floor or tabletop; and these items will actually tempt your kitten to become playfully mischievous. Remember too that even a young kitten loves to hunt, and so will occasionally ‘kill’ the odd cushion or sock!
You can quite easily curb your kitten’s boredom by simply buying a few kitten toys, as this will also help to teach your kitten what household items are acceptable for her to play with and what is not acceptable. One of the first toys that you should buy for a kitten is a soft ball to play with, because kittens all love something that is soft that they can bat around the floor.
There are many, cheap, household toys that you can make for your kitten:
Everyone has seen the paintings from decades ago depicting a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. Well, it is true; kittens do like to play with yarn and even string too. Cats and kittens alike, love to chase it while it wiggles along on the floor, moving both fast and slow. It also helps to trigger your kitten’s hunting instincts. Try tying a long piece of yarn onto the end of a short stick and then drag it along your floor to tease your kitten.
Although kittens are afraid of loud noises, they do love the crinkling sound of paper! You can roll up a bit of newspaper or plain paper into a small ball size and then roll it to for your kitten to play with. An alternative suggestion would be to take a brown paper bag and place a few grains of rice into it and then roll it all up into a small ball. The rice will make a rattling sound that your kitten will love to knock around your house.
Just like string and yarn, rope is very versatile and can be used to make all different kinds of toys for your kitten. Take a long piece of rope and tie is very tightly around a wooden post, and, Voila! You have a homemade scratching post for your kitten. It can also be glued or stapled onto pieces of wood to make scratching boards for your kitten that can be mounted on walls around your home. Place one above your kitten’s bed so that she has something to scratch first thing in the morning.
*Empty pill bottles
Another great and cheap kitten toy is an empty pill bottle. Since most pill bottles are childproof, your kitten will have a really hard time getting one of them open. You can add a few grains of long rice inside the empty pill bottle and make sure the lid is closed. Then give it your kitten so that she can then roll the pill bottle around on the floor. Your kitten will get great pleasure from the rattling sound that the rice will make inside of the pill bottle.
Another really cheap toy for your kitten is a large box with large holes cut into it that she can jump in and out of.
As your kitten gets older, any toy that can be filled up with catnip would be a perfect toy as they are usually designed to be able to keep her amused for hours on end.
Keep in mind that although a kitten getting in to mischief can often be frustrating, if given the right toys, she will not only entertain herself, but she will also keep you entertained by watching her antics as she plays with all of her new (and cheap) toys. Remember, your kitten does not intend to be naughty whenever she does something that she should not be doing; it is probably that she is just bored and needs some way to stimulate her mind. Toys are the perfect solution!
Photo Credit: wingingit
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan