How to Calm Down a Kitten
While kittens do sleep a lot, when they are active, they’re usually hyper-active! And because they’re learning and experiencing new things every day, a kitten might get scared or nervous of something they’ve never seen or heard before. A kitten may also get excited by simple things like being pet or picked up, which can result in unwanted behaviour like biting or scratching. Try one of the following methods to calm down an excited or nervous kitten.
Calming a Kitten Down
Tire your kitten out with play time.Take the time to play with your kitten every day, multiple times a day if possible. Schedule some play time a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed and use that play time to tire, or tucker out your kitten.
- If you finish playing with your kitten and find that she’s still in the mood to play, direct her attention to a toy instead. Allow her to continue to prepare for sleep herself with a toy. Some toys to consider are: furry mice, cat balls with or without bells, feathers hanging on a string from a door knob, etc.
- Using a toy that is attached to a string at the end of a pole (like a fishing rod) is a great way to get your kitten to have a really active play session without requiring you to run around as well. You can stay in one place and use the pole to make your kitten run and jump all around you. Your hands are safe from harm too!
Implement a cool down period at the end of play time.Near the end of play time with your kitten, use slower and gentler movements to encourage your kitten to slow down. Don’t suddenly stop playing with your kitten in the middle of a really active play session.
- Stopping suddenly when your kitten is still really playful isn’t going to stop her from playing, it may cause your kitten to start chasing after you, or attacking you, because you’re still moving around.
- If you’re playing with a specific toy during the play session, allow your kitten to catch that toy at the end of play time.
Select special toys to use during play time.Play time with your kitten should be considered a special time of the day. Select certain toys that you only want to use during play time. When it’s not play time, put those special toys away. After a few play periods your kitten will learn which toys are specifically for play time, and when she sees them being taken out, she’ll get excited!
- Your kitten should always have some toys available to her to play with at all times of the day. However, you might want to hide toys that make a lot of noise (e.g. those made with hard plastic, or those that have bells or sounds) before you go to bed at night.
Feed your cat right after play time.A cat’s natural behaviour is to eat, then clean herself, then go to sleep. You’ve already tired your kitten out with play time, so feed her right afterwards. Your kitten will likely complete her natural cycle by going to clean herself up and then having a nap.
Get your kitten to work for her food.Instead of leaving food out for your kitten all the time, have your kitten work for her food. There are many commercial products you can buy specifically for hiding food. Your kitten then has to work to find and remove the food from the toy in order to eat it.
- You can also make food puzzles for your kitten with cardboard boxes or other items. Look for specific ideas on the internet.
- Making your kitten work to get to her food will also help to tire her out. This is especially helpful at the end of the day when you’re near bedtime.
Make a startling sound to make your kitten pause.If your kitten is really hyper, or playfully attacking you, and you need to encourage her to stop, consider making a sudden noise that will startle your kitten. The purpose of the noise isn’t to scare your kitten, but rather to make her pause long enough to reassess the situation.
Stop playing with your kitten if she gets too rough.If your kitten starts to play too rough, either during play time or on her own, stop giving your kitten attention. Do not encourage the behaviour by continuing to give your kitten attention. Instead, by ignoring your kitten, you’re sending a signal that this behaviour is inappropriate and you will not pay attention to such behaviour.
Adopt kittens in pairs.The best playmate for a kitten is another kitten. Kittens adopted together, especially if they’re from the same litter, can grow up to have a close relationship with each other. As kittens they’ll play with each other and tire each other out. They’ll also teach each other when certain behaviours are inappropriate.
Dealing with a Nervous Kitten
Provide your kitten with a tall cat tree or cat condo.Cats, in general, like to be up high where they can see everything going on. This is one of the reasons cats like to climb on top of tall shelves or the fridge. Providing your kitten with a tall cat tree or cat condo will give her a spot she can go to that makes her feel comfortable.
- Having a spot like this when something scary is happening can be especially helpful. For example, your kitten may prefer to sit in the cat tree when you are running the vacuum or watching a loud movie.
Give your kitten a place to hide.While you don’t want to have furniture that has a hiding spot where your kitten can get stuck, it is a good idea to provide your kitten with a safe spot to hide when she’s feeling nervous or scared. A cat tree with a cubby, or a cat tent, are great options.
- Since you are probably already aware that cats love boxes, providing one or more boxes for your kitten to hide in will also work.
- It is also a good idea to have more than one of these hiding spots for your kitten. You might want to put one in each of the main rooms your kittens hangs out in.
Keep your home quiet.A nervous kitten is likely to be scared of everything. The best thing you can do for a nervous kitten is to remove as many of the scary items as possible. This includes keeping the house (or room) as quiet as possible and slowly introducing sounds over time.
- Scary sounds might include the TV, radio, vacuum, washing machine, dishwasher, fans, etc.
- If your kitten is in her own room, try playing calming sounds or a radio at a low volume in that room to acclimatize your kitten to noises.
Try herbal remedies to keep your kitten calm.There are several herbal remedies made specifically for cats that can help them keep calm and reduce anxiety. Depending on the type of remedy, you may be able to put it in your kitten’s water, or in her ears.
- Some cats are also calmed by the scent of lavender or honeysuckle.
- Using either the essential oils of lavender or honeysuckle, or a spray made from the essential oils, may help keep your kitten calm.
- Do not put the spray or essential oil directly onto your kitten. Instead spray it on their bedding, toys, etc.
Use feline pheromones to reduce your kitten’s anxiety.Feline pheromones keep cats calm and reduce their anxiety. Man-made versions of these pheromones are available in spray and plug-in formats that can be placed in your home to help keep cats and kittens calm. These pheromones are similar to the ones cats release when they rub their chins and faces against something when they’re happy.
Preparing for a Hyper Kitten
Prepare your home for a new kitten.When you bring a new kitten into your home you should take the time to kitten-proof your home. Kittens are hyper and don’t yet understand what they can and cannot do. Preparing your home for an inevitable disaster will protect your belongings and help teach your kitten good behaviour.
- Remove breakable or delicate items from tables or lower-level shelves.
- Tie up the strings attached to blinds and curtains.
- Remove or change curtains that a kitten may be tempted to climb.
- Rearrange furniture such that there are no spaces where a small kitten could get stuck behind or underneath things.
Isolate your kitten when you first bring her home.When introducing your kitten to her new home, it is best to start by placing her in a small space, and then allowing her into more of the house as time goes on. A bedroom or a bathroom is a good place to start.
- As you introduce your kitten to new areas of your home, supervise her actions until she’s comfortable.
Do not allow your kitten in the bedroom at night.If your kitten wakes up in the middle of the night and then tries to wake you up, the most important thing you need to remember is NOT to react. If your kitten wants to play, or wants something to eat, do not give in to her demands. Giving into your kittens demands will teach her it’s okay to wake you up to get what she wants.
- If night time disturbances are a problem, you may need to close your bedroom door and not allow your kitten inside your bedroom at night.
QuestionMy kitten scratches too much, how can I make him stop scratching me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are playing rough with your cat, he will play rough with you and not understand. If he hurts you, say "NO" firmly and stop playing immediately. Walk away. Wait a couple of minutes and try again.Thanks!
QuestionMy kitten keeps meowing and doesn't stop exploring the house. Is there anything I can do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe kitten is most likely just curious about the new surroundings. Meowing can mean she may be hungry, want attention, or may be lonely, if she just left her litter. Young kittens are very energetic and flamboyant creatures, and usually quiet down as they mature.Thanks!
QuestionMy five month old kitten gets active in the morning and at night. How can I get her to calm down?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFollow the steps in the article and be patient. Cats have different active/inactive cycles than people, and kittens are naturally energetic.Thanks!
QuestionMy kitten always runs from one room to another. How do I stop her?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerShe's a kitten, so this behavior is normal. Try playing with her to get her energy out in other ways and help her calm down. She should take a rest after running around, too.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I calm down a kitten who is aggressive with people?Community AnswerTire your kitten out and then feed her before she comes in contact with other people. Reward her good behavior with catnip, treats and toys. Allow visitors to play with the cat using toys that do not require contact.Thanks!
QuestionI get my kitten's attention when I click my fingers, but how do I get her to know her name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe trick to teaching cats is repetition. When you feed your cat, say your cat's name as you fill the dish. The first few times, make sure the cat is in the room, but when you think she's getting the point, wait until the cat is in a different room.Thanks!
QuestionI just got my two month old kitten a week ago and he already broke my phone charger. Is there anything I can do to stop him from chewing on my cords and not spend a fortune before it's too late?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could try keeping your cords and chargers out of reach, and putting electrical tape over the cords so if the kitten bites them, they won't break.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my cat to stop humping everything?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHas your cat been 'fixed'? If not, perhaps getting your cat spayed or neutered would help. You should also talk to a vet.Thanks!
QuestionMy new kitten is able to fit through the baby gate that confines her to her current room, how do I stop her getting through?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would put poster board on the other side of the gate, or stuff the holes with tissue paper.Thanks!
QuestionMy kitten is 3 months old, we just got him yesterday. I have 3 dogs who don't mind him, but the kitten hisses and runs away when he sees them. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSeparate the dogs in another area of the house to give your kitten some time to explore his new environment. Slowly make introductions to the dogs one at a time, and let him grow accustomed to his new housemates, who, even though they're friendly, probably seem very intimidating to him.Thanks!
To calm down a hyperactive kitten, try tiring it out with play time, using toys like a feather hanging from a string. As you near the end of play time, use slower and gentler movements to help the kitten calm down after an active play session. Then, feed your kitten, since a cat’s natural behavior is to eat, clean itself, and go to sleep. If your kitten is still hyperactive after playing, make it work for the food by hiding it inside cardboard boxes or toys made specifically for hiding food.
- A kitten’s playtime behaviour is based on the hunting instincts of a predator. This is why mimicking hunting-type behaviour with your kitten is usually very successful when trying to get her to play.
- If your kitten is excessively hyper or nervous, you may want to take her to the veterinarian and ask about alternatives. There are some medications your veterinarian can prescribe that will help reduce your kitten’s anxiety and nervousness.
- Avoid using your body (e.g. fingers, toes, etc.) as play things with your kitten. Your kitten should never associate your body as a toy, or they may continue to attack them well into the future. Replace your hands or feet with a toy if your kitten starts to bite, nip, or scratch you.
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