Raising a kitten – isn’t that a paradox? After all, cats are known and loved for their confidence and willpower, which, let’s admit it, quickly leads to the owner acting as “Your Majesty’s” staff. House tigers are not dogs and have no interest in subordinating themselves to two-legged friends. But this isn’t about training and drills, even though many cats can be taught tricks. In terms of an uncomplicated living community with humans, the kitten should already learn a few basic things. Find out what to teach the kitten here.
Copied from nature: How do cats train their kittens?
The kitten receives the most important lessons for later cat life within the first weeks of life from its mother – through imitation and guidance – and the interaction with the siblings. This is why it is so important that a kitten stays in the birth household for at least twelve, ideally thirteen weeks to be fully socialized. The elementary phase is between the sixth and twelfth week of the little ones. With its mother, the kitten learns how to groom itself, eat from its bowl, and even what a litter box is for and how to use it.
In addition, the kitten begins to interpret the body language of its conspecifics and to react appropriately. When playing and fighting with mother and siblings, the kitten practices typical movement sequences to try out its strength – in short, it learns to behave like a real cat. If necessary, the mother cat resorts to typical disciplining measures by – well-dosed – snapping or using her paws if the offspring gets too wild.
As a human, the best way to deal with the kitten is to use vocal signals and the principle of reward. A helpful tip: In order to reprimand the little ones acoustically, the mother cat makes a clicking noise in the back of her throat – people can adopt this sound to admonish the mini tiger. A gentle blow on the face also means a cease and desist command in “cat language”.
What role do people play in raising kittens?
Cats respond to positive reinforcement. You first gain the trust of a kitten via the stomach. If there is a treat for the desired behavior, the kitten will quickly grasp the connection and seek your closeness. Take the opportunity to be cuddled. Extensive cuddling hours and exciting games are also very popular. Once the ice is broken between you and the kitten, you can start training the kitten. Rule number one – for you, not for the kitten: never yell at or punish the animal! Fear is absolutely counterproductive in kitten education.
The most important command: No!
Living with the kitten is easiest when the animal knows exactly what it is allowed to do and where it should go when called. In contrast to the dog, for which more commands are part of basic training, two “commands” are enough for the cat – for example the word “No!” to stop misbehavior in time, and the call name to attract the animal’s attention.
Methods of educating
- Admonish: If the little velvet paw prepares to do something forbidden, comment with clear commands (e.g. “No!”, “Ugh!” or “Off!”). You don’t have to yell: this will scare the kitten. It can sense when you’re upset anyway.
- Immediate: this command must be given – otherwise the kitten will not associate the voice command with its current action. The time window for this is only one to two seconds!
- Praise the kitten when it abandons its plan. This motivates you to follow the rules.
- Remove the kitten if it’s slow on the uptake and doesn’t understand that it doesn’t belong on the shelf. Put it in a different place consistently
This is how you get the kitten used to scratch and biting
If the kitten sharpens its claws, it is not out of naughtiness. In this way, cats use scent glands on their paws to mark their territory and at the same time do pedicures to keep their paws in order. It would be asking too much of a kitten to immediately understand the difference between a scratching post and a wall unit.
Teach the kitten away from scratching and biting
- Reward the cat if you spot it scratching an allowed spot. Your comment on forbidden places with “No!” consistently places the kitten at a “legal” scratching spot.
- Cats don’t like the smell of mint oil. Insensitive pieces of furniture that the kitten has no place on can be left to “stink” accordingly.
- If the kitten begins to “catch” and bite your fingers and toes, stop it with a consistent no command. The kitten does not bite out of aggression but as part of the species-typical hunting game.