General Question

redsgirl4eva's avatar

What is the best way to train kittens?

Asked by redsgirl4eva (262points) August 10th, 2008

I just got two kittens and they claw and scratch at everything they also get on the tables. I don’t mind them getting on the furniture but don’t scratch me.

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Our resident miracle, all-knowing Vet guru is Syz. I hope she will chime in.

Kar's avatar

I have had cats for over 30 years. I haven’t been able to train any kitten not to scratch furniture – all the ones I’ve had have been full of spunk and are crazy. It wears off eventually. I think most kittens are this way.
As for them not scratching you – I’ve been bearing scars for years. When they get in those crazy wild moods it’s best to play with them with a long stick type of toy, or your hands and arms will most likely get shredded. Love the little buggers. They do grow up sooner or later!

marissa's avatar

As for cats jumping on the table, when training, I keep a squirt bottle with water in it and squirt them when they jump up on the table. I leave the squirt bottle sitting on the table so they can see it. After awhile, if they even see me go for the bottle they jump down and soon they aren’t jumping up at all. Also, just to be fair to the kittens, make sure you clear the table off when you aren’t there, so the aren’t tempted by food or fun things to play with.

Carla's avatar

I have never had a problem with my cats ever scratching the furniture and rugs as long as they have scratching posts available to them. I have three place through out the house.

Make sure that when you play with your kitty you don’t use your bare hands. They will think that your hand is a toy. Use toys or you can get special gloves to use for play.

I don’t have an answer for the tables. I still haven’t been able to keep Milo off the kitchen counter. He is just curious and wants to watch me wash the dishes. I put him down and he sits on the floor for all of 2 minutes and jumps back up.

tinyfaery's avatar

This is a great book.

Whatever behaviors you want to discourage or encourage in your cat are best dealt with when the kitten is still young. There are so many issues surrounding kitten care, behavior, and health; this book will answer all your questions.

Bottom line is that positive reinforcement is the best way to train your cat.

Have fun with your little kitty!

andrew's avatar

Also. Sometimes. No matter how hard you try, your animal may just be a jerk. A real jerk. Like, spitting-at-people-like-that-small-dinosaur-in-Jurassic-Park-level jerk.

That’s when you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to get a cat behaviorist. And then you need to ask yourself, are you really going to be that person?

Just, hypothetically, you may need to brace yourself for that possibility.

syz's avatar

(Poor andrew.)

New kittens are rambunctious, but you should be able to get them trained pretty quickly.

For scratching on furniture, make sure that you have an assortment of scratching posts available (some like sisal, some carpet, some cardboard, so it’s good to try a few until you find out what they like). When you see them scratching on the furniture, calmly pick them up, move them to the correct area, and praise them when they do it there.

For climbing on tables, a squirt bottle or can of compressed air works very well. Try to be sneaky – if they know you’re doing it, they stay off when you are around. If they think that water appears miraculously from the skies, then they stay off all of the time.

As for scratching, make sure that you’re not doing anything to stimulate an attack (play behavior with your hands). Play should be with a toy. When they try to play with your hands, distract them with a toy and displace the behavior onto the toy. If they still try to play with your hands, give a sharp, loud “no” (or some other noise – I usually sound like a game show buzzer). Be consistent.

Good luck. Have fun. There’s nothing more fun than kittens in the house. (And then they grow up to be cats.)

marissa's avatar

I also will put a bit of catnip on the scratching post to naturally attract them to it. However, this can make them a bit more psycho, so I don’t know if that is a good idea or not, maybe syz can offer an opinion on that :0)

syz's avatar

I’m not sure why, but (most) immature cats are not affected by catnip. They seem to have to grow into it.

marissa's avatar

I have noticed that also with young kittens.

marissa's avatar

I found this, apparently it has something to do with sexual maturity, if this source is accurate:
“Why does catnip made cats act crazy?
Their wacky, daydreamy state is actually a response to the herb’s powerful natural chemical, trans-nepetalactone. It’s almost identical to the essence excreted by female cats, which is why tom cats seem to love catnip the most. However, this doesn’t explain why females love it as well. Catnip was once thought to be an aphrodisiac, but scientistic tests have squelched that theory. Cats aren’t attacted to it until they are at least two months old. If introduced to catnip prior to this age, most cats will not respond to it at all when they are older. The herb valerian will give cats the same sense of ecstasy as catnip. Valerian is a mild stimulant and, though it doesn’t do any harm, it shouldn’t be offered to cats with kidney ailments. By the way, both catnip and valerian produce ecstasy through the odor, not the taste.”
From : Pawprints and Purrs, Inc.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

@tinyfaery where can I get the book pretty cheap I can’t get it online no where to buy it that way? It does sound like a great book.

Carla's avatar

@redsgirl4eva I don’t know if you have heard of This book is available there. If you sign up and list ten books you will get 2 free credits and can order the book and it will be sent out to you free. Check out the site.

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