Where does all the energy come from?!? They sure are cute, but how do you dial down a hyper kitten? Try these Zen-inspired tips to calm your kitty!
An overly hyper kitten can be a lot to deal with, especially since the average kitten is already a ball of furry energy that can be difficult to control and train. But it’s also important to keep in mind that it is totally normal for kittens to have a lot of energy, and to want to run around, climb, jump, chase, and play. In fact, if your kitten isn’t behaving that way, consider having a chat with your veterinarian to be sure your little fur baby is feeling well.
If your kitty seems to have endless amounts of energy, and you want to help her mellow out a bit, there are ways to calm down a hyper kitten. Most of the solutions involve simply giving your pet a variety of ways to release her energy in a positive manner. That way, she’ll be ready to rest and recharge.
So, before you lose your patience with your rambunctious little feline, continue reading for a few tips. And if you’ve tried several different strategies, but nothing seems to work and you think your kitten is way too hyper, consult a vetor a cat behavioristfor some support and guidance.
First Things First: How Does Feline Hyperactivity Look Like?
It’s in a kitten’s nature to be curious, active, and all kinds of mischievous. If your kitty is too calm, sleeps a lot, and doesn’t have outburst of playful energy, they might be having some issues or a medical condition that causes this lethargy and apathy. But, there’s a fine line between a healthy, active kitten and a one that’s hyperactive. If you are worried that your kitten has behavioral issues and that her energy is a product of something else than youthful spark, here are some symptoms of feline hyperactivity to keep your eye out for:
Overly aggressive or destructive behavior. Sure, your kitty will playfully nibble and even let some claws out when you’re teasing her with a toy, but if they are biting or attacking you more fiercely than that, it might be a sign of hyperactivity. If behavior persists after 6 months of age and doesn’t subside, consult with a vet.
Excessive meowing or yowling. While some kitties can be vocal, extreme vocalization is rarely a good sign. It can be a health issue that’s causing them to meow or yowl, or anxiety and pent up energy – so eliminate the possibility of underlying medical problems first.
Zoomies and running around the house. Yes, kittens have a lot of energy and they can often show it by acting like a track star – but if their zoomies seem more like erratic behavior than having fun, it could be another symptom of their hyperactivity.
Give Your Kitten a Space to Call Her Own
Consider providing your kitten withher own private haven.You might usea dimly lit small room where she can unwind away from other pets, distractions, and people. It should also be a space in which she can play and let out her energy without having to worry about her destroying anything.
Thisshouldn’t be used as a form of punishment. Instead, it can serve as a space where she could let out her energy while having fun, and where she could totally relax and take a rejuvenating nap. Plus, if you have more than one kitten or an adult cat, they can play together in this area of your home as well.
Like all of the other rooms in your house where your kitten will be spending time, this space should be a safe one where she won’t be at risk of harm. So,take some time to ensure there aren’t any areas where your kitten might end up getting stuck by accident (this might require blocking off parts of the room so that your kitten can’t get through and get hurt). It’s also a good idea to remove valuables or objects that might be broken by a fun-loving kitten who perceives just about everything as a potential toy. And make sure there aren’t any small objects that might be dangerous to your pet, or objects that could accidentally be swallowed.
With a safe, secure space that is filled with cat toys, scratching posts, a cat tree, a litter box, and food and water, your kitten will be ready to explore, play, and practice becoming the natural predator she is.
Play Soothing Music
Many times, kittens might act hyper as a result of uncertainty or fear, which can be caused by being in a new home. Sharing this new home with strange new cats, other pets, and people might result in your kitty feeling a little out of place, and it may take time for your fur baby to adjust and feel comfortable enough to relax. Plus, other stimulants in the environment might be to blame for your kitten’s behavior, so consider if there might be something that is making her feel on edge or getting her attention and enticing her to play all the time.
Related: How To Prepare Your Home For A New Kitten
In addition togiving your kitten her own secure space, consider playing some musicat a low volume. Stick with easy listening, instrumental, or classical music, as thesemay be morelikely to soothe your kitten’s nerves just as music soothes yours.
Or, you can consider trying something like David Teie’s “Music for Cats,” which was composed with the help of researchers and scientists whofocusedon figuring out what sounds would work best at helping kitties feel at ease. Unlike music for humans, songs that are specifically written with cats in mind might be more effective at getting your hyper little furry friend to mellow out.
Play with Your Kitten
Playtime is necessary for developing kittens. They absolutely need to be able to let out their energy in a fun and positive way, and they will use every play session as an opportunity to practice their hunting skills. Plus, play is a great form of exercise, and as your kitten grows and becomes more coordinated, she’ll want to practice using her new abilities to climb, jump, stalk, and explore. While you can give your kitten time to play on her own, spending time every day playing with your pet will also help her release more energy and avoid boredom and loneliness.
Related: The Stages of Kitten Development
While you might think that playing with your kitten would make her even more energetic, the truth is you can use it to tire her out a bit. Here are some tips on how you can use playtime to help your kitten release her energy and then get ready for a nice nap:
- Enjoying numerous play sessionswith your hyperactive kitten throughout the day is a great way to bond with her while helping her release excessive energy. The games you play should mimic hunting, so use toys like wands with feathers at the end or stuffed mice that will get your kitten’s attention and awaken her natural predatory skills. Challenge your kitten while you play, but also let her win so that she has the thrill of taking down her prey, even if it’s only in her imagination.
- A warmup and cooldown are helpfulduring each play session. The cooldown, in particular, can signal to your kitten that it’s time to slow things down and relax. Start moving the toy more slowly and let your kitten chase it without as much energy behind her movements so that she can understand that it’s time to wind down. If this doesn’t work, though, toss a ball or other toy that she can safely play with on her own to tire herself out.
- As the play session comes to a close when you see your kitten beginning to get tired of the game, let her cool down and thengive her food. You can even let her catch her toy before giving her food to mimic the act of hunting. Instinctively, your kitten will want to eat a meal, clean herself, and take a nap. All you have to do at that point is put any potentially dangerous toys away and let her go to sleep.
- Set aside time before bed for a play sessionwith your kitten. Follow the same tips and strategies discussed above, such as using a variety of toys that will make your pet feel like she is on the hunt for prey. And after she is done playing, give her some food. Doing this before bed at night might help ensure she will go to sleep when you do. You might notice that your kitten isn’t as active during the night, and this can be helpful if you were having trouble sleeping because of your feisty feline.
Side note: Remember, don’t let your kitten nibble on or scratch your hands and fingers, as this habit can be a hard one to break if she starts to think that hands are toys. Her baby teeth might not hurt now, but once those are replaced by adult teeth, you definitely won’t want her to think that it’s okay to playfully chew on your hand.
Provide Cat Trees, Scratching Posts, and a Great View
Be sure to give your kitten scratching posts, a cat tree or two to climb up and perch herself on, and a window to look out of so she can view the world outside. These activities will help her release energy in positive, non-destructive ways, and she’ll also have little spots around the house that she can claim as her own, which will make her happy.
In addition to scratchers and trees, you can also find wall perchesand window perchesthat will give your kitten the chance to climb up to a high spot so she can check out her surroundings. Cat condosare another great choice because your kitten can play inside the hideaway with her toys, and you can also use it for interactive play, letting your kitten hide inside the condo while you dangle a toy outside the opening so she can pounce on it.
All of these products are designed to help you enrich your kitten’s environment and make it more interesting and fun. As she explores and plays, she’ll let out her energy, and once she needs to recharge or she is ready to eat, she’ll settle down.
Let Your Kitten Explore the Outdoors Safely
If you think your kitten is hyper because she has a lot of energy and she’s bored with being in the house, letting her explore the great outdoors in your backyard for a little while might be just what she needs.
Whether you buy a large outdoor enclosurefor cats, or build or purchase a catio, you can sit outside with your kitten while she takes in the fresh air, watches the birds and insects, and finds exciting new ways to release her energy.
We can’t stress this enough: if your cat is spending time outside, you need to be there to supervise and ensure she remains safe and secure at all times! If you are planning on taking your kitten outside for enrichment and play, whether you are going to train her to walk on a leash, ride in a pet stroller, or hang out in a catio, it is a smart idea to put a collar and ID tag on her. That way, if she ends up getting lostand someone finds her, they will be able to contact you. And, of course, you can also consider microchippingyour pet just in case you lose her.
Try Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toysare a good way for kittens to get some physical exercise, but they’ll also be getting a mental workout as well. With these products, you can hide treats strategically, so your pet will be required to work a bit to figure out how to get them.
How can this calm your hyper kitten, especially since this isn’t the type of toy that you can toss around or use to get your cat to jump and run? Well, a good puzzle toy is likely to grab your kitten’s attention, and once she smells the treats inside, she’ll need to use her physical and mental energy to solve the puzzle. Only by solving the problem will she be able to access those yummy treats, and it could take her some time to figure it all out.
There are many different puzzle toys to choose from, so you can find a few that are sure to keep your energetic fur baby entertained for a while as she “hunts” for her “prey.” Then, after she’s done hunting down the delicious treats, your kitten will feel accomplished and might even be ready for a nap.
Extra perk:Once your kitten has grown into an adult cat, you can continue using puzzle toys to help her stay active and reduce boredom. And if she gets really good at solving a particular puzzle, you can find more advanced toys that will provide a new challenge that she can work on.
Set a Schedule for Feeding Your Kitten
If your kitten is usually too hyper when you’re trying to get things done, the right feeding schedule might help by naturally getting your fur baby to rest while you’re busy. Rather than leaving dry food out all the time (free feeding), establish a feeding schedule that will ensure she gets all of the nourishment that she needs throughout the day. If you aren’t sure how much or how often you should feed your growing kitten, consult a veterinarian for guidance.
How could a feeding schedule have an impact on your kitten’s energy level? Because they tend to nap after playing and having a meal, this can be a good way to establish a routine that works for you and your furry friend. Then, when your kitten is awake and ready for action, you can give her various toys, including safe toys for playing on her own, to help her release all of that energy in a non-destructive way.
Get Your Kitten a Companion
If you don’t have any other kittens or young cats in the house that your kitten can play with to release energy and learn as she grows, consider adopting another kitten around the same age. After being slowly introduced to each other, they’ll grow up to be buddies and they can keep one another company when you aren’t home. Plus, you’ll have two forever friends instead of one.
This might also be helpful if you have a senior catwho doesn’t want to play and is often bothered by your high-energy kitten. Adopting another kitten or young adult might be the solution, as your kitten could have the playmate she’s looking for and your senior feline may be able to get the peace and quiet that she wants.
Give Your Kitten Plenty of Attention
Make sure your hyper kitten feels loved by paying plenty of attention to her. In addition to playing with her every day, let her sit with you while you work on the computer or watch television, snuggle with her in bed, and pet her while she purrs contentedly. This is another way to prevent negative behaviors that could arise as a result of feeling lonely, bored, and neglected.
Consider Calming Sprays or Diffusers
Sometimes, you need to rely on calming aids to keep your rambunctious kitten a bit more mellow and less erratic. Luckily, there are plenty of calming sprays and diffusers to choose from! The way calming aids for cats work is quite simple – they rely on pheromones, chemical compounds naturally produced by felines, which are used for communication. The pheromones in calming sprays and diffusers are synthetic form of the so-called feline facial pheromone (FFP), which kitties produce when they rub their cheeks on stuff. This particular pheromone signals a sense of safety and familiarity, which, needless to say, does help a nervous or a hyperactive feline calm down and unwind. When it comes to hyperactive kittens, such devices can soothe them and help keep their energy manageable – reducing the chance for destructive or aggressive behaviors that sometimes stem from hyperactivity and built-up energy.
You can opt for a plug-in automatic spray or diffuser that will work periodically, as set, and make sure your kitty is covered around the clock, or regular spray bottles you can use as needed. Alternatively, there are also calming pheromone collars for cats which are infused with cat pheromones and emit them as long as the cat wears the collar.
Of course, these nifty gadgets are completely natural and safe for cats to use, but if you have any doubts, you can always ask your vet to give you their opinion – after all, they know your cat the best.
Enjoy Every Moment with Your Feisty Feline!
Kittens grow up fast, so take in every moment along the way. Before you know it, that tiny little ball of fur will be a fully grown adult cat who’s naturally calmer. In the meantime, there are quite a few strategies that you can try when you need to calm down a hyper kitten.
Just remember that kittens are feisty because they’re learning and growing through play, imagination, and exploration, just like human children do. Having all of that playful energy is simply part of being a kitten, and it’s also one of the things that makes them so adorable and fun to be around.