4 Ways to Calm a Hyper Kitten

Have a hyper kitten? Of course you do! Kittens have lots of energy to burn. Use the power of adjusted 80s song titles to find out how help your cat calm down.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC | Updated: October 11, 2014, 12 p.m. PDT

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Hyperactive Kitten
It's natural for kittens to be hyperactive. Give them ways to burn some energy!
Q: My 11-month-old cat sleeps a lot, but when he’s awake, he’s a terror. He endangers his own safety. I am afraid to leave him alone. He has gotten stuck between brackets, under a large leather, double-recliner sofa more than once. It almost is impossible to get him out. We have blocked off every way to get in, but he still does it. He is declawed, but bites his way through things.

We can’t seem to control him. He walks on the range, and I’m afraid to cook when he’s around. He chews on electrical wires. Spray repellent smells awful, but doesn’t discourage him. We have to close the door to his room at night so he doesn’t get into trouble when we’re asleep. I am not much of a disciplinarian because I love him so very much.

A: You can channel this little one’s energy into more constructive activities in many ways.

Cat Plus One

You can't babysit your kitten 24/7, so consider bringing another kitten home. Most kittens do well with another friend who has an energy level close to his own. When you bring in another cat, make the introductions gradually.

Play, Play, Play
Hold frequent play sessions that imitate hunting activities to disperse some hyper kitten energy. A fishing pole toy is ideal. Pretend that the toy at the end of the pole is prey by changing the speed and jumping it into paper bags or under sofas. Play should be fun and challenging for your cat or kitten.

To stop, slow the play down, giving your kitten a cool-down period. At the end of the cooling down time, let your cat or kitten catch the toy, then feed him. His natural response will be to eat, groom, then go to sleep. One of these play sessions should be just before you go to bed. Please make sure that you put the toy away when you are not around to supervise the play. 

Hungry Like the Cat
Instead of leaving food around in bowls for your cat, make him work for his meals. If he eats dry food, put the dry food in treat balls instead of keeping the food in bowls all day. Treat balls are hard, solid, plastic balls with holes in them. In order to eat, your kitten or cat will need to bat at the treat ball and roll it around.

Up Where Cats Belong
Cats love tall cat trees in strategic places around the house. Good locations include next to a secure window and around family hangouts. Look for cat trees with wide shelves and a covered box or hiding area. The cat trees must be stable so that they won’t fall over when your cat is in a particularly playful mood. Interactive toys, such as puzzle boxes or turbo scratchers will also help alleviate boredom. Cats will spend hours trying to fish toys or treats out of these types of toys.

Find out all about kittens >>
See the hunting postures of cats >>
Make gradual cat introductions >>
Play with your cat interactively >>
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Reader Comments

kittenLittleTerror    International

8/20/2015 3:21:58 PM

I found the treat ball to be a success. :) my kitten was literally bouncing off of the walls, day and night. So we modified her play and with the treat ball, she goes after that thing like mad, then calms down after a couple of hours. It's been great!

Uh... wow.    International

3/15/2015 10:16:34 PM

@Tom and @Don'tHaveThe Shakes, it would be good for you to read the Wikipedia re: onychectomy (declawing) to get your facts straight. Also, ThePawProject (www.pawproject.org) for further info.

To agree with @GrowUp: OP "came here for help on her cats behavioral problems not whether or not to [d]eclaw him." But, since it's been brought up amidst SO much misinformation, I feel it important to address.

For reference: I am an American who has lived throughout North America and Europe, and who has three kittens siblings (with claws intact) who were fostered until adopted (in the US). I am VERY aware of the international opinion/legislature in regards to declawing.

@Don'tHaveTheShakes, most of your post is COMPLETELY off-topic, but in regards to your (rather ridiculously out-of-touch) quip "Guess what. If Americans say "we declaw our cats" the rest of the world follows."...you couldn't be more WRONG. The USA is behind not only our G-20 contemporaries, but also developing countries, such as Brazil.

// FACTS:
• Although common in North America, declawing is considered an act of animal cruelty. Many European countries prohibit or significantly restrict declawing. As do Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Turkey. Banned in at least 22 countries, including: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand.

• Declawing is also banned in many major cities in California: Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Monica.

• NONE of the above are "primitive" laws (e.g. "not 1965", per @Tom). They were passed within the past 15-20 yrs... most of them within the past 5-8 yrs.

@Susan and @Shakes, while your points about declawing and proven links to behavioral issues are valid... the insults you add are neither helpful, kind, nor productive. No adult wants to listen to that nonsense (i.e. not even people who otherwise agree with you on the topic of declawing and the potential behavioral effects of declawing).

Let's also remember: there are many animals in shelters who were declawed by previous owners. Animals that are in just as much need of being adopted, loved, nurtured, and shown patience --regardless of their behavioral issues and the underlying causes of those issues. I have several friends who have adopted declawed cats... not because they wished for a declawed animal, but because that was the animal they bonded with at the shelter. Each and every one of these friends has had to deal with (at least once, if not more than once) some over-zealous, anti-declaw activist outsider chiding them for something they DID NOT do to that animal.

TL; DR: Most developed countries (except the US, where we are behind) have laws against declawing, passed within the last 5-15 yrs. Also, not everyone who owns a declawed cat... declawed the cat.

Don'tHaveTheShakes    New York, NY

3/6/2015 4:12:00 AM

I have a cat. She is declawed. I am American and I tend to defend the greatest country on earth when I am offended. You know the country of "ignorant citizens" that has made every major world contribution in the past 150 years. Go ahead, just think of a concept, product, or idea. Where did it come from? That's what I thought! We also control the world economy, and have since you have been alive. The irony of people living in countries that we either saved in a war they couldn't handle financially or physically or are only still "in business" because we need your cheap, less skilled labor. Guess what. If Americans say "we declaw our cats" the rest of the world follows. Not sure what country you are from Shakes, but jump in line; anywhere but first place is already taken and always will be!

GrowUp    International

2/18/2015 7:34:37 AM

It has nothing to do with the year or where you are from. Declaring a cat is equivalent to chopping off the last segment of the human finger. Nevertheless, she came here for help on her cats behavioral problems not whether or not to Declaw him so it's irrelevant. Grow up. All three of you.

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