Training cats to be well mannered is not some fairytale impossible task. It takes a little bit of forethought, time and consistency – but anyone (yes, even YOU!) can have a kitty who follows the household rules. If you’re really adventurous, you can even have a cat who know how to give high fives, jump through hoops and play fetch! Our manager Brandi recently adopted a new kitten and wants to share her tips and tricks with you. While Sancho is not yet signing up for the circus, we hope you find this advice helpful & we will be sure to let you know when he hits the big time.
Just like puppies, kittens need examinations, intestinal parasite screening, protection from parasites and a series of booster vaccines starting at 6 weeks old. Here at Delhomme Animal Clinic we use the ULTRA Fel-O-Vax family of vaccines. They offer broad coverage and effective protection against calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, leukemia and panleukopenia in 50% less volume than standard vaccines. Why does all this matter for our kitties? We can provide effective disease protection with a more comfortable experience, and align with the low-stress techniques we provide to all of our patients.
You may have heard us talk about Happy Visits with the pups, but these “outings” can also help make sure our kitties are less stressed when traveling. You can create a more comfortable cat carrier by using the Feliway brand sprays and wipes. Cats communicate with each other using three types of pheromones that we’ll label Happy, Harmony & Territory. Using the happy pheromone spray & wipes on carriers can provide comfort and security to cats. Leaving the cat carrier in an accessible place instead of only pulling it out right before visits also allows your cat to view it as a part of their normal household that travels with them, providing even more of a sense of security. We also encourage you to bring your kitten to us on an empty stomach, so that we can create positive memories with treats & food for your cat.
Scratching can be one of cat owners biggest headaches. The best & easiest way to protect your furniture is to offer a variety of appropriate scratching surfaces for your cat. Tall cat towers, horizontal scratching areas & even shelves covered in twine or carpet are some of the best ways to provide your cat with safe areas to scratch. Cats scratch for lots of reasons like removing the cuticles of their nails, using the scent glands on their feet to mark their territory & to stretch and flex their bodies. You may find, during training, that a cat tree placed near the front door gets the most use, as cats seem to scratch when they’re excited to see you! Territory pheromones applied to the cat tree will also encourage scratching on appropriate surfaces. If your kitty is particularly stubborn, you may find you need to place a low-tack double sided tape onto your furniture to discourage scratching. Cats don’t like the sticky feeling on their paws and will go looking for a more comfortable scratchy place.
Countertops Are Not For Climbing
Cat paws on counter tops is at the top of my pet peeve list. Anytime we bring in a new cat, I always use the low-tack double sided tape on our counter tops & tables. I have heard that there are products available that are motion activated & spray compressed air to frighten the kitty away, though I have never found a cat stubborn enough to need this & the tape has been sufficient.
New Kit on the Block
Slow introductions are usually best when it comes to introducing the new kitten to the established group of kitties. If you have a small room or even a bathroom for the new guy, set him up with bedding that smells like the other cats, a litterbox & food/water bowls. Plug-in diffusers that release Harmony pheromones come in super handy, as these mimic the pheromones present between a mother cat & kittens, and can encourage harmony between cats of all ages. After a couple of days of sniffing (and probably some hissing) under the door you can usually start letting the newbie wander around the house under supervision. During the first couple weeks, it isn’t a bad idea to keep the “kitten room” in use during periods where you aren’t home. Eventually the house will calm down, and while not all cats turn into super snuggly best friends, you will usually find a peaceful friendship develops.
Some of these “training” methods will come in handy throughout your cats lifetime, not just during the kitten years! Have more specific concerns, need help finding the right pheromone, or even a kitty behavior specialist? Schedule ONLINE or give us a call at 337-442-6303 and we’ll work together to ensure your feline friend lives a long & HAPPY life.