They're soft, cute and incredibly hyper. Kittens seem unable to keep still, constantly driven to move. If you purchased a kitten hoping to have an affectionate lap pet, be prepared to endure her youthful energy until she matures. Understand the impetus behind your kitten's impulses to better tolerate them.
Kittens are born in litters. When they stay with their littermates they have built-in playmates with whom to work off their boisterous energy. Wrestling matches, hunting and socialization practice all take place among kittens growing up together. When you adopt a single kitten away from her litter, you are removing her from her playmates and her main release for her youthful energy. With no other kittens to play with, she tries to play with you and your belongings instead.
Cats are highly skilled hunters. Kittens are born with the urge to chase so that they can develop the hunting skills they would need if they had to feed themselves. Even though you provide your kitten with all the food she needs it does not change the fact that she is hard wired to hunt. As a result, she will chase and pounce anything that moves or catches her interest. Keep delicate items put away while she is young and be prepared for her to climb furniture and drapes.
Kittens in heat become hyper and vocal with an increased interest in leaving your house in search of a mate. A kitten's first heat is usually at around six months of age, but can happen sooner or later depending on the breed. If your kitten suddenly starts becoming more hyper than in the past, she may be experiencing the restlessness that accompanies sexual maturity.
Don't plan on a peaceful night's sleep with a new kitten in the house. Cats are nocturnal to better facilitate their hunting schedule: birds at dawn and rodents at dusk. The domestic kitten still has these nocturnal hunting urges no matter how well she is fed. Keep your kitten out of your room if you want to be able to shift in your sleep without your feet being attacked.
Nancy Lovering is a writer, photographer and teaching assistant. She took novel writing at Langara College and photography at British Columbia Institute of Technology. She obtained her teaching assistant certificate through Delta School District Continuing Education. She previously worked as an assistant controller while in the Certified General Accountants program, and has training in dog psychology through Custom Canine Teaching Ltd. in Vancouver, BC.