Kitten Behavior Problems

Kitten behavior is not always full of cuddles and purrs. Cats have a mind of their own, and each one has a unique personality that will begin to manifest itself during the kitten years.


Kitten aggression can be directed towards other animals, people or due to anxiety problems. Sometimes aggression is part of how a cat plays and is not meant to be mean. If a cat becomes too rough while you're playing with her, take a time-out and don’t play with her until she has calmed down. If you're using a toy to play with a cat, but she starts biting your hand or scratching, immediately stop playing and take a time-out (even if the aggressive behavior didn’t cause pain).

A kitten may be naturally aggressive and not know a way to express this in a healthy manner. As a result, the kitten may be worked up over a situation and direct the aggression towards her owner. If the kitten is fixated on an object or something she sees, distract the kitten so she knows you’re there. Don't let your presence be a surprise. You could also walk away and let the kitten be alone until she calms down.

Kittens may also become aggressive if they feel their territory is invaded, if they have a health problem or if they feel stressed.

Unwanted Destructive Scratching

Kittens scratch for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it's an instinctive behavior. They do it to remove the outside part of the claws, to mark territory or to stretch. Scratching as a behavior is not necessarily bad, but it's one that can be changed.

You'll notice that kittens like to scratch objects that are textured and soft enough to sink their claws into. Scratching happens the most when kittens wake up, when they’re marking their territory or when they're excited. The trick is to know the kitten’s preferred time to scratch and her favorite objects to scratch. Once this is figured out, modifications can be made to furniture so the kitten will not find it appealing, so she’ll learn to prefer a scratching post.

What to Do about Negative Kitten Behavior

Early intervention is necessary: the longer a behavior continues, the more habitual it would become.

Remember the difference between punishment and discipline. Don’t punish a cat for bad behavior, as this will only encourage bad behavior. (Punishment includes yelling, hitting and shaking a cat.) Discipline is a logical consequence to an action that should be executed immediately after a cat does an unwanted behavior. For example, if a kitten bites while playing, stop playing with her until she calms down. If a kitten does a desirable behavior, reward it immediately with a treat, pets or praises. Motivation, timing and consistency are the most important aspects of dealing with kitten behavior problems.

Kitten behavior problems many times go away with time and good training. A cat owner, however, needs to keep in mind that behaviors can’t be forced. Once you understand why a kitten is misbehaving and have the tools to correct the problem, a happier relationship can be well on its way.