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Kitten Behaviors & Cat Training








Kittens are so fun, but sometimes naughty! Here are some questions on training them to - or not to do certain things!

Here are our archived questions and answers related to kitten behavior and training. Just scroll down to read more about:

  • "How To Stop A 6 Month Old Tapping Objects Off Surfaces?"
  • "Keeping The Kittens Out Of A Certain Area"
  • "Playing together without injury."
  • "VERY Playful!"
  • "Litter Tray Games"
  • "Training"
  • "Teething?"

How To Stop A 6 Month Old Tapping Objects Off Surfaces?

by: Jo Ward
(England)
frisky balck kitten
Our girl looking as if butter wouldnt melt x

Mischievous Kitten:


Hello, We have a 6.5 month old Maine Coon and she is fantastic but she wants to play with everything and I mean everything!

She will tap and push off objects on high surfaces. I know that kittens are playful but this is really getting annoying nothing is out of her paws reach.

So far she has broken a few things cups, picture frames and ornaments..

So far we have to lock her out of most rooms when were not around for more than few mins or we take her off the side before she can get anything off but we cant be around every second or lock her out of rooms all the time. So she still gets to things we don't want her to.

Does anyone know if this is just kitten behavior and will pass or can I do anything to deter her from wanting to play with such things?

Thanks

Reply:


Hi Jo,

The world is her playground, and try to tell her otherwise! She sounds adorable.

Our two were very much the same. They would get onto the most unlikely high shelves and knock things down, all the time! Quite climbers, they were!

She will most certainly outgrow it. It's a kitten phase and will pass. For now I would recommend removing any special nick-knacks you have around.

Also, make sure you have plenty of toys, and that they are always around, not put away! That will give her something to do when she has energy to burn. If you haven't been to our big cat toys page yet, it has some of the more popular toys listed.

Hopefully we'll hear from others who have had mischievous kittens, too!

All The Best,
Carrie

Comments:

It does get better
by: Joy

My kitten Marley is exactly the same, nothing is out of reach and 'no' means 'try again in a minute' The only thing that keeps me sane is that my 2 year old MC was the same and she has grown out of it. Marley has a room full of toys and they keep him occupied most of the time. The way that I manage him is by distracting him with a laser pen, it works every time. Good luck with your kitten, honestly it will be worth it

Kitten trouble
by: Tracy

Your kitten will grow out of it. Our Leo was the same and still does it a little but he is still only 15 months old. I have to say it has got a lot less frequent over the last few months. When he was a small kitten he had a fascination with glasses and if left on the kitchen worktop unattended it was not long til we heard a smash. Our main worry was that he might cut himself on the broken glass so all the family were instructed that glasses had to be put straight in the dishwasher! However, he is more than worth all the trouble. Getting a new Maine Coon kitten is just over a week so guess it will all start again!!! Good luck with your kitten and enjoy kittenhood as it doesn't last long enough!

Oreo Cat
My cat's name is Oreo. He is like that too. He is always climbing on things and he knocks them down. Last time he was climbing up one of the plants I have in the living room. He knocked down the lamp and the plant. He gets on the table and starts knocking stuff down. You shouldn't worry, lots of cats are like that. In my opinion you should not lock her out of the room that is just a phase. It will pass.

Hyper coonies!
by: Jane B

We have 3 coonies, littermates just over a year old. They were a complete nightmare when they were younger - I can't begin to count how many things they've broken (we learned to put anything valuable away!). They're still very lively/naughty, and it's worse because when they're running fast they have a bit more weight behind them now! They are better though - and I wouldn't change them for the world....although it would be nice if they learnt 'no' sometimes!

We know what you are going through
by: Baerbel

Oh my... I had to laugh for a minute! I can feel your pain! Our Bentley also gets into everything. We bought a whole set of unbreakable ornaments for this years tree, so we can survive Christmas with Bentley in the house...lol. I locked all of our valuables away until Bentley calms down. We take him now every day outside on a leash and harness which made a huge difference! Bentley loves going outside and begs us to take him. After his outings he is much calmer and the house is much safer. Just a thought...good luck with your little girl.






Keeping The Kittens Out Of A Certain Area

We have two Maine coon kittens, brother and sister, 6 months old, who are basically wonderful.

We are having an issue that is boggling our minds, however. Our house has an open floor plan on the main floor and there is one area of the living room that we have tried unsuccessfully to teach them to avoid.

Our methods have been to put down tape, sticky side up, on the floor, and to use the water bottle when we catch them in this area.

Our impression is that they know they are not supposed to be over there, but they will go there if they think they can get away with it.

We had read that the sticky tape would be effective and eventually we could remove it, but no success yet.

This is one small end of the room, and it is not where we congregate, so we do not understand the attraction.

Reply:


Hi,
Interesting question! We also have an open floor plan, and had two little Maine Coon kittens all over the place, just as you describe. It wouldn't have occured to me to keep them away from one section, though, as you describe.

I'm very curious now; why do you need to keep them away from this corner? Is there a leather chair, or delicate plant, or perhaps dangerous wires there?

It's a very unusual mission, to teach a cat to avoid an area. I've never heard of it. As trainable and smart as Maine Coon cats are, cats will be cats. And worse yet, kittens will be kittens! Even when parenting human children, there is a saying, "pick your battles." Meaning, when raising kids, don't waste your time, efforts, patience, and energy on the small things.

Ask any cat owner about how they keep a cat off this or that, and the answer is, close the door! Of course a smart Maine Coon may learn to open it :)

So my advice is to take whatever you don't want the kittens near and move it to another room, one that is not in the common area, and close the door. Part of having cats is accepting that they will have the run of the house. It's there home, and they love every part of it. Curiosity and exploring just can't be restrained!

As for the tape, it is a very good tool. I would put it right on any furniture, woodwork, wires, doors etc. that they try to scratch.

You can train them to keep of a particular item, but you can't train them to stay away from a particular set area of floor space. I suppose it's not totally impossible, but I wouldn't pick that battle if I were you!

An exeption would be a kitchen countertop. That should be easy to train them to be off limits if you decide to. But any cat will go on the counter anyway, if they smell tuna. It's the law of the land!

I hope this helps,
Let us know how it turns out,
~Carrie

Comments:

Thank you, Carrie
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I read it aloud to my husband. At that point the kittens were being very noisy, racing around. My husband said, "Look at them - they heard the answer, too, and they are celebrating!"

No, the item in that corner is not a leather chair (they have free rein of that), nor is it the sofa or the Oriental carpets (they have free rein there, too). It is a vintage Hammond B-3 organ and Leslie speaker in mint condition. Unfortunately, it is too heavy and bulky to bring up the winding staircase to a room with a door!

As I mentioned earlier, however, the kittens are wonderful and give us great joy as we watch their antics. The energy!



Playing together without injury.

by: Jason
(Melborne, Australia)

I have two Maine Coons, Jack and Chloe.

I bought them together thinking they would be good playmates, but as they get older Jack plays too rough and Chloe gets injured.

Hence she doesn't want to play with him whines for some play time.
Any cures??????

Reply:
Hi Jason,

Well, this is a tough one. I've been thinking about it. A few years ago, our household was in a similar situation. Alice and Leo are brother & sister from the same litter. He is literally more than twice her size. And he occasionally got rough. It started around the same time as you mention.

The only difference is that Alice is a feisty little thing and gives Leo a piece of her mind :)

And now he's older, bigger, and not quick enough to play like he used to. So, we never really had to do anything.

The old standbys are of course spraying with a water bottle, disciplining by saying "No!" or "Psst!" or even using separation.

Since you describe it as rough play and not aggression, I'm not sure. I think there is a "line" they can cross when playing.

And you mentioned on FaceBook that they are neutered/spayed, so I'll add that info for readers to this page.

It could be: just rough play, dominance, aggression, spring fever, a phase related to his age, etc.

As for Chloe's neediness, I can hardly blame her. That's not something you can really work away. But figure out her brothers issue & she'll have a playmate again. Don't forget, they'll always be close, but this "playing together" is a young-cat thing. Soon it will mostly be afternoon naps together.

What You Can Do


The key is that you do want to understand his behavior and help them remain friends. As they grow, they should still be buddies.

I would recommend those standbys mentioned earlier, so that he knows what behavior is acceptable.

Also, there is a well-known ebook on cat behavior. It explains a lot of behaviors and provides solutions for many issues, including a section on How To Keep Peace In A Multi-Cat Home.

You can Click Here to read more about it or even buy your own copy.

I hope this helps, and Jack grows out of his rough play! And, send us a picture sometime! We'd love to meet your handsome Maine Coon cats :)

All The Best,
~Carrie

Comments:

Rough Playing
by: Erin

I have a really large male and a smaller needy female Maine Coon. I also have a Russian Blue who gets too rough with the smaller female. When she does this I squirt her with a water bottle. If things get really rough I use Bachs Rescue Remedy. It is all natural and calms them. I never yell, but I will break up fights by picking one up and alternating which cat so there is no jealousy. I would read about multiple cat homes. Also the older male often breaks up the fights and reprimands both cats, he's such a good brother.

Also when my female Maine Coon gets needy I take her and watch TV or nap with just her for an hour or so and it makes her feel better. Good luck!!

Thanks for feedback
by: J.A.

Thanks for the response. Jack and Chloe still sleep together occasionally.I had Jack first by about 3-4 weeks. I only got Chloe as I work shifts and thought they would be great company for each other whilst at work, as sometimes I use to work 12 hours straight.

I have a suspicion that Jack is being more territorial with me(Doesn't want to share me with Chloe). He chases her off the bed if he wants to sleep there. And Chloe sleeps at the end of the bed ,but sometimes she sneaks on and I wake with the two of them beside me or between my knees. I think it's very cute are sleeping together.

I have uploaded a photo but it hasn't been added to the list yet. Once again I thank you for your imput.
Jason




PAWSitive Passages!


PAWSitive Passages!

VERY Playful!

by: Maria Lemon
(Huntersville, NC)

Sam Furr, our 2-year-old Maine Coon LOVES to play - he tends to wear us out, needing so much play. Any ideas about the best play toys and ways for him to get exercise.

Right now he has a tall cat tree and runs up the stairs full speed ahead to the top of the stairs and up the tree.

He seems to want our attention to play with him, rather than entertaining himself.

Thanks!

Reply:


Hi Maria,

That's Sam's natural social personality! I think he's getting enough exercise with all that running. But some new toys might be in order.

Since he wants to play with you and not just on his own, I have a couple of ideas.

Have you ever tried a laser toy? The FroliCat Laser Pet Toy is very popular, and it's a great way to wear out a cat. Our cats love lasers.

Also, it's great fun to get him to jump and do some kitty aerobics. The Da Bird cat toy is extremely popular, and cats just love it.

These are good toys for you to use with Sam, without having to run all over the house yourself!

If you've been to our Big Cat Toys shopping page, you probably recognize these. That's because I actually spent a lot of time researching the best cat toys around, and anything I would recommend to you would be on that page, too.

I invite other Maine Coon owners to share their favorite toys, too! Hope this helps,

All The Best,
~Carrie

Comments:

Hide and Seek
by: Theresa

Playing hide and seek is so much fun. I will say it does wear you out..but when you hide and they jump out and tackle you the rewards are worth it. I laugh so hard and I know our Peyton is just as pleased. Wand toys ...especially the one with the suede ends...something about that made our cat extra crazy about playing. Fetching little mice or small stuffed toys ...Maine Coons are amazing hunters and learn to fetch very quickly. Have fun..

Re: VERY playful! Sam Furr
by: Maria

Thanks Carrie and others for your comments about the toys mentioned. I think this next week I will be picking up one of those laser toys. I am ready for him to try something new that will keep him exercised and then finally ready for a nap!
Thanks again.




Litter Tray Games

by: Judy - UK
(S England)

Hi Carrie

I bought Buddy a 2'6" x (2' x 10" high), clear container for £4.99 from PoundStretcher. It works beautifully, EXCEPT Buddy has taken to playing in it taking his favourite toy. Rolling, jumping on the toy when inside etc.

He loves it but his tray isn't clean 100% of the time; I clean it out every day and clear the soiled litter 4 times a day.

Heeeelp! How do you and other Maine Coon owner suggest I tackle the problem?

Happy New Year to all
Judy

Reply
Hi Judy!
Oh no! Buddy sounds quite mischievous! But of course you don't want cat litter tracked all over the house and in his fur!

To be honest, my cats never did this. Maybe it's because we didn't get a large sized litter box until they grew out of the small litter boxes (OK, just Leo grew out of it!).

There is only one thing I can possibly think of. Get another container, same size, cut an opening in one end and wrap it with tape so it's not sharp. Then somehow fix it on top of Buddy's current box as a lid.

If you can get it secure, maybe he won't be inclined to think of it as a playpen.

Other Maine Coon owners, what are your suggestions?

~Carrie



Training

by: Tom Flounders
(Mathews, Virginia)

My daughter has issues with allergies and is giving us her Maine Coon.

He is about a year old and after learning how intelligent he is I want to know if I am expecting too much by wanting to train him.

Commands like stay, come, and roll over, etc. I've had good results with dogs but don't know what to expect from a Maine Coon, your advice, please.

Thanks,
Tom

Reply:
Hi Tom,

You'll have so much fun with him! I would say you probably shouldn't expect too much at first in the way of training and tricks. It might take him a while to adjust to the new home, smell, and occupants.

Some cats settle in immediately, others take a few months. He'll need to be fully "at home" before he'll respond to any training.

Also, at a year of age, he's still quite a kitten. His "smarts" might be used more for opening doors, turning on faucets, trying to escape, or other escapades for the time being.

Once he's settled, calm and ready to learn, yes you can teach him tricks! There are some very fun things to do with Maine Coons, like shake, fetch, roll over, kiss etc. And yes, he will surely come when called!

I would not expect him to sit, or lie down, though it's possible. Those, along with stay, are more easily taught to dogs. You'll want to do fun things with your Maine Coon cat - for fun, not for obedience. That is the big difference between training cats and training dogs!

We have a couple of videos on the site, sent in by Maine Coon owners. Rudy does some impressive tricks here: Rudy The Maine Coon

And then you can see Jimmie play fetch!

I hope this gives you a peek into playing with your new boy!

All The Best,
Carrie

Comments:

Cat tricks
by: Helen

I have always thought that cats were royality, not like dogs. They are to be pampered, petted and catered to like the kings and queens they are.

Cats can be trained to do circus tricks but it is done with food reward and the cat has to be kept hungry to persuade them to work. It is not in their nature to act foolish, unless it is their idea to do so. ;)

Training
by: Kim

In his life, I trained my Maine Coon to stay off the road. I did this by acting like I had a weed eater in my hands, which he was familiar with, and making a wizzing sound. This also discouraged him from following me when I walked to the store.



Teething?

My kitten is 7 weeks old and she keeps biting and gnawing on my hands and feet...it gets painful and irritating.

I already tried the usual yowling, spray bottle, say NO firmly, and other generic methods....she has toys that she does use to bite but only if played with; doesn't do it on her own.

And she also loves to attack my nose. I'm worried this behavior will transfer into adult life.

Reply:
Hi,

This is normal kitten behavior! Kittens, puppies, even human children need to gnaw on something when those new teeth are emerging, it's painful!

You are doing all the right things to deter her. Just try to keep patient. It's not a behavior problem, or aggression, or even a habit. As long as you don't allow or encourage it, it will stop on it's own.

She's very very young, still. Congrats on your new kitten, enjoy her!

All The Best,
~Carrie

Comments:

Teething
by: Kim

Cats like salt. Perhaps your cat tastes the salt when your hands and feet perspire.

Cats of all kinds
by: Helen

Cats of all kinds, domestic or wild, exhibit this behavior when young. Usually it is directed at a litter mate. The mama cat doesn't put up with it much and will get up and move away when they get rough.

Personally, I believe the disposition of an animal is shaped when they are young. Since I don't think it is ever okay for any animal to lay his teeth on me, I just move the animal away from me, sit it on the floor, or get up myself. There is nothing negative about this approach. Just be consistant. It doesn't take them too long to figure out that if they want my attention, using their teeth isn't the way to do it.

This has worked for me with cats, dogs (both large and toy). If you watch a mama cat or dog you will see this behavior. "We humans need to do more observing and less talking," according to Cesar Millan. I agree. The more closely we can use behaviors an animal understands, the faster they will get the message. A seven week old kitten doesn't understand a squirt bottle, words, or thumping on the nose. They do understand that their behavior will get them what they want. Play with your kitten, but only with a toy. They love to stalk and use prey behavior with a toy on a string.
Good luck.









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