Kitten Psychology: Understanding What Your Cat is Thinking
Understanding your kitten
It's worth trying to understand how your kitten is thinking and why they behave the way they do. That way, you'll be able to build an even closer bond and it will help you to train out destructive behaviour, so they become a cat you love to share your home with.
How your kitten becomes a clever cat
Kittens learn by experience; if it's a happy experience, your kitten will want to repeat it. If it's an unpleasant experience, they'll try to avoid it. When it comes to training your kitten, the most important thing to remember is that rewards work. Shouting most certainly does not; all that will do is frighten your kitten.
To discourage your kitten from doing something you don't want them to do, create a positive environment around something they are allowed to do. For example, to stop them clawing your furniture, encourage the use of a scratching post. Try making it an exciting activity centre; put toys and some catnip around it, and praise when it’s being used.
If the relationship with your kitten is fun and playful, and you spend time together, as well as providing plenty of stimulating toys, they won't even think about behaving badly. More often than not, naughty behaviour is simply the result of boredom.
Why on earth are they doing that?
So much for normal behaviour, sometimes you'll spot your kitten doing things that seem a bit bizarre. Here are some explanations.
Why does my kitten suck on things?
Sometimes you might spot your kitten sucking on a blanket, or a toy; some people have even woken up to find their kitten sucking their ears! There is no clear explanation for this, but it's possible that kittens who have been weaned earlier are more likely to suck on things as a comfort or maybe out of boredom; try rotating your kitten's toys.
When cats eat non-food items it’s called Pica. Pica can be dangerous if cats are eating things that could block digestion like fabric or string. Some houseplants can also be toxic to cats. It's normal for cats to eat grass, so don't worry about that. In rare cases Pica can be associated with certain diseases, so if you're concerned don't hesitate to contact your vet.
Why is my kitten sleeping so much?
Most cats sleep between 13 to 18 hours a day, though it depends on their personality and their age. Your kitten is probably sleeping even longer. In fact, when they're first born, kittens sleep most of the time. This keeps them close to their mother and ensures they don't wander off and put themselves in danger.
Cats are nocturnal creatures, so they're likely to sleep during the day and be more active at night. This can be tricky, especially if you have young children who want to play with your kitten in the daytime, or if your kitten is prone to the 'night crazies'. If you play with your kitten during the day, and especially before bedtime, you have more chance of keeping them asleep at night.