Your Cat is a Teenager – What to Expect Next!
20 May, 2014
Your cat has finally made it past kitty–hood, is litter trained and probably growing leaps and bounds. Your kitty is now used to your home and is coming into his cat teen years usually from 2 to 3 years old. And, similar to human teens, they can get a little testy and bratty! But, we still love them unconditionally and put up with this behavior to a degree.
Below are what you can expect from your teen cat and how to combat the inappropriate behavior:
If you neutered or spayed your cat, you will avoid the ‘hormone’ issue.
Most likely, you were informed enough to spay or neuter your kitty and therefore avoid not only your kitty being in ‘heat’ but the verbal accompaniment that goes with it as well as the ‘spraying’ issue. Neutered kitties or cats don’t usually spray urine unless they are older and have lost control of their bladders. (Yet another good reason to neuter besides overpopulation!)
Get the scratching in control!
When your kitty is in her ‘teens’, there are two reasons the scratching really begins. Your kitty is trying to leave his or her mark and to claim that piece of furniture as part of her property/territory. The second reason is that your kitty is trying to loosen irritating old nail sheaths, so new nails can grow.
I’m a teenager so beware…
If you can trim your cat’s nails every two to three weeks to keep them relatively blunt, that will help. Try starting the process while they are younger as it will be helpful and ease them into it through their teens. And, of course, get a scratching post covered with a rough material (sisal is ideal but rope will do) that is at least three feet tall with a wide, sturdy base that won’t tip over when your cat plays on it. You can keep the post desirable by sprinkling it with catnip every couple of weeks.
Place the post near your kitty’s favorite resting place since the urge to scratch is strongest when they wake up. Place another one in front of whatever he or she already scratches as a distraction.
Your kitty has so much energy she becomes aggressive
As you kitty reaches her teens, she will crouch, stalk, pounce, and bite your ankle, arms or whatever is in her way. Remember that our feline friends are natural predators! If your cat was taken away from his littermates too early (before 10 – 12 weeks old) and was not actively taught to inhibit his bite, you may find yourself his next hapless victim. But, this can be controlled!
When your kitty gets aggressive, give him or her a toy, or something to scratch when he or she goes after you. Praise your kitty for chewing or biting the correct toy or blanket and not your arm.
The nocturnal kitty
As your kitties get older, they can tend to keep you up at night. They are testing their vocals and are sometimes so restless that they can keep you and your family up. If your kitty is one of those late night vocal enthusiasts, try to have a play session with your kitty right before bed time to sap some of their energy. Cats love Nekoflies as they are interactive and will tire them out!
You can also try feeding your kitties right before you go to bed to help them feel satisfied and sleepy. A light meal can calm them down a bit.
And, as hard as it might be, if your cat or kitty does like to cry through the night, don’t get up to feed him or see what’s wrong. By doing so, you will be giving into his or her bad behavior and your kitty will try it again the next night. (This isn’t the same as a crying baby). Your cat will stop with the meowing if you do the above and ignore it, as he or she will get bored and then probably go to sleep.
As with all of the above, if you can train your cat early on in kitty–hood or even early teens to act correctly by providing distractions, positive feedback and rewards for doing the correct behavior, you and your cat will reap the rewards.