Kittens are quite the handful: They pounce on everything, meow in your face before sunrise and may seem hyperactive. Chances are your kitten is bored and trying to expend excess energy. Play with him before bedtime and get him toys to keep him busy while you sleep.
If your hyper kitten is "scratch happy," clawing at everything in your home, it can be difficult to love him. Scratching is a natural behavior for felines; they do it to mark their territory, to get a quick manicure, to stretch and simply because it feels good. Rather than get frustrated every time you catch him tearing up your leather sofa, get him his own pieces of kitty furniture that he can claw.
Put a scratching post up against the side of the sofa where he normally scratches. Praise him and get excited when he claws the post instead of your sofa. Once he starts to understand that the scratching post is his clawing turf, you can start moving it away from the sofa, toward the corner of the room. If he's really active, you'll probably want to have a scratching post or tree in each room.
You're in a deep sleep, long before your alarm clock goes off, when baby Scruffy prances onto your pillow and starts "talking." He meows and meows until you give him what he wants. Some kitties -- especially if you have a single-cat household -- are just talkers. They'll mew and yowl to greet and communicate with you. There's not a whole lot you can do if excessive meowing is built into his personality.
If you give him what he begs for every time he cries, you're encouraging his behavior. If you roll over and pet him or jump up and feed him when he wakes you up, he'll quickly learn that meowing gets him exactly what he wants. Rather than give in, ignore him until he stops. Once he is silent, quickly pet and praise him. He'll catch on that silence, not crying, gets him what he wants.
Biting and Nibbling
Playing with your new furry pal should be fun and entertaining, not painful. He may nibble at your fingers gently during a petting or play session, which is normal. But if he is overstimulated, he might bite hard or possibly draw blood. You'll need to discourage this behavior early on so he doesn't cause serious damage.
During your playtime, stop as soon as his teeth touch your skin. When he stops, continue playing with him. He'll learn that biting causes you to stop touching him, which he doesn't want. If you continue to have problems, dab a touch of hot sauce or bitter spray on your hand before you play with him. When he bites your hand, he'll get an unpleasant surprise.
Give Him Toys
Make sure you give your fuzzy family member lots of interactive toys to keep him busy. Toys get his mind going, provide him plenty of exercise and give him something to pounce on other than your feet. Because he's already a bit overactive, you may want to avoid catnip-stuffed toys. Catnip is an herb that makes many felines act hyperactive: Rolling around, jumping wildly, running through the house in a blur and completely zoning out are common. Give him toys that have small pouches where you can hide pieces of kibble or small treats. He'll work hard to get his food out while getting his energy out and allowing you to rest.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.