It seems like yesterday that our beloved kitten came home. But no, six months have passed and he begins to show a different behavior. Little by little it stops being a puppy. Although we are very sorry to have to “say goodbye” to the most tender stage of our partner, and in fact we all know that we will never do it and that we will continue to see them as babies (or am I wrong? Heh heh), the cat must go through the most difficult stage of your life to become a Cat Lord.
Of course, I’m talking about adolescence , which can start as early as six months, but in larger cats such as Maine Coons, it can start somewhat later. It will end around one year of age, and in the meantime what we must do is be very patient, because it is at this stage when we will see that, literally: it does what it wants and when it wants.
Kittens at this age have a great desire to want to explore their world. That is why it is recommended that you get used to walking with a harness since you are a puppy. If it cannot be taken for walks, then it is highly advisable to adapt the house to the cat ; that is to say: putting scratchers at different points of the house, ramps, and toys.
A teenager needs mental stimulation on a daily basis, since he quickly gets bored. Fortunately, there is a solution for this: with clean yogurt cups, we can teach you to find food. We will take about 10 pieces (cut into small pieces) of, for example, ham, and cover them with the yogurt cups. At first we will cover them all, but as the cat learns, we will use less and less pieces.
When our friend gets rebellious, it is best not to lose his cool . And, above all, if you have more animals at home, you must not stop “safeguarding” the place that each one has. It is common for the adolescent cat to want to take away the place (bed, chair, … whatever) of an adult cat, and that the latter spends the whole day telling him in his cat language “be still”, “don’t do that”, etc. .
Although the adult cat is a reference for the little one, we do not have to leave the education of the adolescent in “their hands.” We are the ones who have to teach him that there are times to play and there are times to be calm. With patience and affection it will be achieved , really.
Your teenage cat and his behavior
It is important that you understand the new behaviors that your cat will have, why it is behaving like this and what you can do about it so that everything goes well.
Your little angel is going to try a ton of new behaviors, and you may not like all of them. Teen cats can become more confident and demanding: try to rush out, wake up at 4 a.m., or get on the table to share dinner with you. Or they can be more cautious or less tolerant: resist nail clippings or run from the carrier. All of this relates to your brain maturing and beginning to ask what is safe, what works, and what doesn’t.
The baby kitten is gone
It is completely normal for a teenage cat to behave worse than when it was a kitten. They are pushing the limits and trying new ways of interacting with the world. What they had learned and what they endured as kittens is flying out the window (for now).
Friends become enemies
Conflict between resident cats often escalates as a cat reaches adolescence. The teenage cat is trying to figure out where they fit in in the house as an adult, but may not be making the best decisions along the way. This can lead to a new conflict over resources (such as special nap spots), inappropriate play, or outright bullying. It is also good to note that any cat can be the instigator, not just the teenager .
Energy, energy and more energy
Your teenage cat is full of energy with which he does not know what to do and wants to find his place in the world, ideally at the top, testing the limits with you and with any other cat in the house. That could mean scratching on furniture to leave scent marks that identify the object as your own, furniture to mark urine or other objects for the same reason, and fighting with other cats .
At the very least, they’ll show off their physical prowess by jumping to the highest points in the room and sometimes awkwardly knocking down some decor accessories. Your adolescent cat is at an important stage in his life and it is crucial that you help him identify which are the appropriate behaviors from the inappropriate ones , as we have commented above, it is something that you must do with patience and a lot of love.
Channel your energy appropriately
For you and your kitten to survive their teens, it’s important to channel their energy through cat toys, trick training, and daily play times. Your cat will need to spend time with you, learn from you and above all, even if it has a somewhat rebellious behavior, it will need your constant affection and love .
If he tries to use your body parts as toys, warn them with a jet of water or air, or whistle and walk away, like his feline siblings would that this is inappropriate. Make sure they have lots of interactive toys that will engage their brain and give them a chance to hunt, stalk, and chase. A tall cat scratcher will give them an outlet to climb and scratch.
Trick-and-play training teaches self-control and can also help you redirect some of those behaviors you don’t like. Training is not just for dogs. Many cats enjoy the brain training of learning tricks, and some cats even play fetch!
You have to be patient and keep a good sense of humor. This too will pass, and one day you will wake up to find yourself living with a serene, well-behaved adult cat. But don’t scold him, and don’t ever hit him because he’s misbehaving. When you have to correct a behavior, always do it with respect and affection, your cat needs to learn from you, not be afraid of you.
Control bad behavior
Some days it may seem like a fight, but your cat isn’t doing it all wrong! You have to be on the lookout for any behavior you like and reward it. Your cat is learning what works and what doesn’t, make sure they learn the lessons you want by reinforcing what you want them to keep doing. Pet him when he wants to be petted or give him treats scattered on the cat tree to be discovered. If the counter has no food but the cat tree sometimes has treats, your cat will quickly decide where it wants to hang out.
Don’t forget about spaying or neutering
Adolescence is also the time when your kitten reaches sexual maturity. It’s hard to imagine, but your little kitten may be ready to have kittens of her own or contribute to the breeding process when she is only 5 or 6 months old .
If your female kitten suddenly screams and rolls with desire, she has just entered heat. This heartbreaking torture is one phase, usually lasting about a week, during which time you will need to confine her as safely as if she were on Alcatraz so that no male cat can heed her siren call .
Right after that, you can have it sterilized, so that none of you have to experience that again. To eliminate the possibility of your cat going into heat and reduce unwanted sexual behavior, such as urine marking (which can be done by both males and females), have your kitten spayed as soon as your vet recommends. I may even recommend it when your kitten is 4 months old .
It may seem early, but it is an easy surgery at that age in males. Kittens recover quickly, more so than older cats that undergo spay / neuter procedures. Your female cat will never again experience the frustrations of unrequited heat, and your young male cat will be less likely to express the belligerent behaviors of cats in conquering territory.
The important thing above all is that you enjoy this beautiful stage, where your cat is learning, but is also strengthening the bond with you.
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