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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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How to Control Your Kitten's Destructive Behavior

How to control your kitten's destructive behavior

Kittens need ample time to play, explore and burn off energy. A lack of exercise and mental stimulation can lead to boredom, inappropriate behaviors and anxiety. As your kitten grows, these problems will just get worse until he/she is exhibiting destructive behaviors that are hard to curb.

Cats exhibit different destructive behaviors, including:

  • Scratching furniture
  • Obsessive licking and grooming, or "barbering"
  • Eating plants and other non-food items
  • "Spraying" around the house
  • Destroying items around the house

All of these behaviors are potentially destructive to your home, but some are also dangerous for your new pet. For instance, a cat could ingest a plant that is toxic and end up needing emergency care at the vet.
You can help avoid boredom-related destructive behavior by ensuring your growing kitten gets regular exercise. Regular play time will help physically tire your kitten and discourage him/her from acting out due to boredom. Just be sure any toys your cat has access to are safe and cannot be ingested.
Your kitten also needs mental stimulation to ward off boredom. The use of interactive cat games and toys can be a helpful solution but be sure to also include physical toys in the play sessions.
If your cat is frequently scratching at inappropriate items, including furniture, try giving your cat a few items designed specifically for scratching behavior. Some cats may prefer a traditional carpeted scratching post, whereas others may like a flat cardboard scratcher.
Some cats act out as a sign of anxiety and may require a vet's assistance to overcome their fears. However, for less severe cases, consider calming pheromones or anxiety chews to ease stress. Both remedies help comfort your pet and reduce the anxiety he/she feels.

Supplies to end destructive kitten behavior

Toys: Until you figure out which types of toys your kitten prefers, you should try out a few different options. Wand toys, small ball toys and catnip toys are all popular. Just be sure your cat cannot ingest any part of a toy, and always throw a toy out as soon as it begins to unravel or fall apart.

 

Scratching posts: Cats often have the urge to scratch, and providing your cat with scratching options will help prevent damage to your furniture or other parts of your home. With numerous types of scratchers on the market, you may need to try a few until you find one your cat prefers.

 

Anxiety solutions: As mentioned above, severe cases of anxiety will require veterinary care to address. For the moderately anxious cat, you can try a few pet anxiety remedies such as Composure Bite-Sized Chews or pheromone products like Comfort Zone for Cats to help comfort your pet and reduce anxiety.

 

Clean up: Accidents happen, and your kitten may slip up on his/her house training when anxious. Some cats will also eliminate inappropriately or "spray" in the house as a way of acting out. While using the other tactics listed to alleviate this behavior, you'll also need an effective pet stain remover to remove any traces of urine from the accident spot.

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