That sweet, tiny ball of fur you just brought home seems to have two personalities. The first is the shy, sweet and loving kitten who purrs and rests next to you on the couch. That second one -- Oh my, she’s a hyperactive little blur! This too shall pass.
It’s Just a Phase
Your new kitten is displaying perfectly normal cat behavior. She’s growing rapidly, she's eating plenty, and she has so much energy she doesn’t know what do do with it all. You catch her setting herself up for her next round of misbehavior, and this makes you wonder whether you’ve just adopted the feline Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. When she runs around like a crazy girl, chasing after who-knows-what, that’s completely normal. If you happen upon her making weird kitty faces, it’s the same thing -- she’s being a crazy, but normal, kitten. Each feline is an individual, but expect her hyper nuttiness to go down after she’s spayed. Your vet may recommend that she be spayed before 6 months old. You'll really notice the change a few weeks before her first birthday. She'll gravitate to your side for cuddle time more often.
Chasing, Stalking and Pouncing
Chasing, stalking and pouncing come naturally to your ball of fluff. Although it might seem you're raising a cat who’s constantly on the hunt, your kitten is just doing what comes naturally to her. That rough play is instinctive. When you see your kitten playing intensely with a stuffed toy or -- Horrors! -- another kitten, they aren’t trying to kill each other. Think of your kitty’s ancestors. Those felines had to be rough and fearless to survive. Although your kitten is domesticated, those ancient instincts still govern her behavior. If your kitten still had her mother around to discipline her, she’d get a growl, or a swat from mama’s paw, or she’d be ignored until she stopped. Mama cat would know her daughter meant no harm. Some time before her first birthday, this hyper crazy kitten will become a mellow, dignified cat -- and yes, you see her, paw over her mouth, snickering at that prediction.
Lay in Some Kitty Toys
Just like a human baby, your kitten needs physical and mental stimulation. Buy a few toys for her. These don’t have to be expensive. Provide enough toys that you can rotate them every few weeks and help your active little fuzz ball deal with her stores of energy. Choose a few toy mice, Ping pong balls and a feather toy. Look for small balls with bells inside. It’s best if these balls have holes in them so your kitty can grasp them with her teeth after she’s “killed” them. Give your kitten a daily play session lasting about half an hour. Along with the toys, you’re giving her attention and love that she needs as she becomes a member of your family.
Your kitten needs discipline and correction, just as human children do. When she does something wrong, such as attacking your leg, biting or scratching you, calmly discipline her. This isn’t easy when you have a sharp claw or tooth embedded in your leg, but grit your teeth, squeeze your eyes closed and draw on your self-control. She’ll respond best to discipline that’s given calmly and delivered consistently. Right after she’s done something, say “NO,” and quietly take her to a room where she'll be by herself for five to 10 minutes. Do this immediately, or she’ll get confused. A squirt bottle filled with plain water and set on “mist” will get your kitty’s attention. Don’t let her see the squirt bottle. Instead, fool her into thinking the mist of water came out of nowhere.
- Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images