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The Cat Whisperer

Get Your Whisper on!

5 Tips to Keep Your Kitten Busy!

Five fun and easy must-do’s for raising a happy, well adjusted kitten

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Kittens are a lot of fun… or a lot of trouble, depending on how you look at it. They are full of energy and eager to practice their predatory behaviour all day and all night! Without a plan, this could mean your hands and feet become prey and your temper becomes short. Directing this energy and practice predation into acceptable channels is the key to a positive, lifelong relationship with your new cat.

1. Play with your kitten twice a day for five to 15 minutes.

Never make direct contact with your body a part of the game. Kittens need the consistent message that flesh is not for teeth or claws. Use toys to reenact the chase for your kitten. Use something lightweight, like a crumpled up piece of paper, or use a fishing pole toy as the “mouse!” Start with the toy near your kitten and then jerk it away. Cats are innately attracted to short, skittery movements away from their body. Beware of hair ties, ribbon, string, tinsel—these become dangerous intestinal obstructions if accidentally consumed. Always end your play session by letting the kitten catch their prey and then give them a treat. Cats need to complete the hunt-catch-play-eat cycle to relax and know that playtime is over. Otherwise, they will become frustrated.

2. Give your kitten places to explore, climb, and hide in their environment.

Lure them by putting treats where you want them to go. This will help them establish a routine of going where you want them to go to rest and relax. 

3. Another kitten!

Two kittens that can play together is the very best way to keep them occupied and happy. And, if you want more than one cat, adding a cat to an established household is very tricky. Raising two kittens together is the best way to have multiple cats live in harmony.

4. Make your kitten’s carrier her favourite bed.

Get a carrier that you love to look at and leave it out in your kitten’s favourite room 24/7. Hide a treat in the back of the carrier every day.  Your kitten will enjoy the game and will associate the carrier with safety and happy times. Your travel and vet visits will get off to a good start!

{Editor’s Pick} The ultimate carrier! The stylish and cozy Sleepypod can be used as a pet bed, carrier, and car seat. ($200, sleepypod.com)

5. Never miss the opportunity to re-create the hunt.

Food in a bowl is a wasted opportunity.  Split the day’s food into many small portions and use hunting feeders to hide their food around the house and puzzle feeders to keep them on the engaged. Save half of the day’s food to hide overnight; this way they can hunt and you can sleep!

The Indoor Hunting Feeder or Wet Feeder from Doc & Phoebe lets you engage your kitten’s inner hunter to keep her occupied and engaged. (from $9, docandphoebe.com)

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