Hello, Cat Enthusiasts!
Today we are going to learn how to recognize and deal with a hyper kitten.
The following information can be useful for people who are planning to adopt a kitten and also for cat owners who already have a hyperactive kitten or suspect their kitten or cat is hyperactive.
In this article we are going to discuss characteristics and causes of hyperactivity in cats and some steps to raise a naturally hyper kitten into a sociable and well-adjusted cat.
What Is a Hyper (Hyperactive) Kitten?
Hyperactive kitten is an extremely active, excitable and restless kitten.
The majority of kittens exhibit active behaviour but not every kitten is hyperactive by nature.
Hyperactivity is not a disease in itself but it can be one of the symptoms of illness and different disorders or develop as a response to environmental factors.
Hyper kittens sleep for 4-5 hours, then play and explore for 1-2 hours.
Characteristics of Hyperactivity in Cats
Characteristics of natural hyperactivity in cats include:
- excessive running, jumping and climbing
- chasing and attacking other animals and people
- excessive vocalization
- playful biting and scratching
If these behaviours is accompanied by anxiety, loss of appetite, hypersensitivity, aggression, overgrooming or other symptoms and pathological behaviours, it may indicate that there is an underlying issue. In this case, get your kitten or cat to the veterinarian for proper examination.
Causes of Hyperactivity in Cats
Some kittens are naturally hyperactive, others develop hyperactive behaviour as a response to certain circumstances, stress or disease.
Kitten Is Hyperactive by Nature
Every kitten is a personality with individual features and all kittens have different energy levels. Some kittens are hyperactive by nature. Hyper kittens are more confident, independent, noisy and exuberant than their littermates. They are mischievous and enjoy waking up everyone around them. Such kittens often stay hyperactive in later life. Hyperactive behaviour is the way they spend energy and it is completely normal for them.
Kitten Was Separated from Its Mother Too Early
A kitten can become hyperactive if it was separated from its mother and littermates too early (before 12 weeks of age). Growing up with mother is an essential stage in kitten’s physical, mental and social development. During this time kittens learn to be self-sufficient and to behave properly. Kittens who were separated early not only lack basic skills but also experience stress and anxiety which can lead to hyperactive behaviour. It’s better to let them stay with their mothers until they are 12-14 (ideally 14-15) weeks of age.
Lack of Socialization
Lack of human interaction and training can lead to hyperactivity. Young kittens don’t know how to behave and spend their energy in a home environment. After adopting a kitten cat parents should teach it many things, such as not to bite and scratch people, play with toys, scratch in appropriate places and so on. It’s important to start training your kitten early to prevent unwanted behaviour.
Lack of Attention
Boredom and loneliness are enemies of kittens. Kittens need a lot of attention and stimulation for mental and physical health. If a kitten doesn’t receive enough attention or it doesn’t have suitable environment, it will find ways to show it. And hyperactive behaviour can be one of those ways, especially if the kitten spends much time alone.
Stress and Mood Disorders
Hyperactivity can be caused by stress, anxiety and fear. A kitten may experience stress because it doesn’t feel safe in the house, doesn’t have comfortable resting and hiding places, something is constantly frightening it (e.g. loud noises, other animals, children). Also, kittens – as well as adult cats – are sensitive to changes in their environment. Unable to relax, a kitten may become restless, hyperactive and even aggressive.
Hyperactivity can be caused by different symptoms, such as constant itching, discomfort, chronic pain, etc. Various health conditions, internal and external parasites, diseases or nervous system disorders, infections, poisonings can affect kitten’s behaviour.
Hyperactivity can also be a sign of inadequate nutrition or digestive trouble.
It’s often difficult to notice symptoms of disease in kittens but unusual hyperactivity may indicate that there is a hidden health problem. If you’ve noticed any sudden changes in your kitten’s behaviour (e.g. unusual nervousness, excessive meowing or crying), habits, energy level, appetite, visit your veterinarian.
How to Deal With a Hyper Kitten?
If you have a healthy hyper kitten, let’s find out how to direct its energy into appropriate ways.
Train and Socialize Your Kitten
It is essential to teach the kitten social skills and appropriate behaviour in the house as early as possible. Socialization helps kittens gain confidence, adjust to new environment and surroundings, get mental and emotional stimulation and prepare for adult life.
Basic training helps to channel their energy and instincts into harmless ways, develop healthy habits and avoid unwanted and destructive behaviour and eventually makes coexistence easy and comfortable for both you and your kitten. Reward desired behaviour, interrupt unwanted behaviour and never punish your kitten or cat.
Hyper kittens are impulsive and often it’s difficult to get them to concentrate, so you’ll have to be extra patient with them.
Create Comfortable Environment for Your Kitten
It’s important to provide safe, comfortable and enriching environment for the kitten.
Hyper kittens get distracted easily, so the litter box should be placed in a quiet area. If you have other cats, make sure they have separate litter boxes.
Hyper kittens sleep in short intervals during day and night and wake up easily, so sleeping area should be warm, calm and protected.
Create a playing area for your kitten and train it to play independently to keep the kitten busy while you’re away. Using puzzle feeders and hiding treats and toys around the room or on cat tree are great ways to stimulate kitten’s hunting instinct and keep it curious. Other options are cat tunnels, playing mats and laser toys.
Give your kitten access to a secure sunny window and supervised outdoor access, if possible. For example, train you kitten to walk on a leash. You can also cat-proof a balcony or build a catio and let your kitten enjoy fresh air and explore the outside world safely.
Play With Your Kitten
Interactive play is an extremely important part of kittens’ life – it’s the way kittens learn, explore their surroundings, communicate and practice their inborn skills. In addition, playing is a fun and healthy way to spend some energy.
Use different types of toys and play with your kitten 3-4 times a day for 15 minutes each time. Ideally, play every day at the same time, so the kitten will learn to expect it.
We enjoy music because it helps us relax, improves our mood, heals our minds and souls. But what about cats? Certain types of music can calm cats, bring them lots of positive emotions and reduce stress and anxiety. The latest research suggests that most cats prefer nature sounds, classical music and species-specific music (designed specifically for cats). However, all cats are different and have different music preferences.
My cats enjoy instrumental music, whale songs and relaxing cat music like this but rock music seems to be the sweetest lullaby for them. Play different music for your kitten or cat and observe its behaviour – if you notice that your kitten is calm, purring or falls asleep – it feels comfortable with the music; but if your kitten becomes anxious or leaves the room to find a quieter place, it definitely dislikes the music and you should try a different type of music.
Adopt a Second Animal
Cats are social animals and often are healthier and happier in pairs. Consider adopting two kittens (littermates or kittens who already know each other) instead of one or finding a companion for your kitten. Having two kittens can be a bit overwhelming, especially for first-time cat owners, but it has a lot of benefits for you and each of your kittens: two cats require less human attention as they always have each other, they’ll become much more sociable and confident than single cats and never get lonely and bored together.
If you already have a kitten and ready to adopt another one, make sure you have enough space for two cats and choose a kitten of a similar age and energy level. If your kitten is friendly to other cats and doesn’t live as a single pet for long time, there is a good chance it will embrace the opportunity to live with another kitten and they’ll become lifelong friends.
Hyper kittens are naturally confident, fearless and often easy-going, so they can become best friends not only with cats but also with different species.
Raising a hyper kitten can be challenging – sometimes it feels like it never sleeps and the house is too small for such an energetic creature. Hyper kittens are often impatient, stubborn, mischievous and simply annoying (particularly at night). It takes plenty of time and patience to teach them how to share the house with other animals and people. But well-trained and socialized hyper cats are funny, charming and make wonderful companions. You’ll never get bored with a hyper cat – it tends to be in the center of everything and will readily share every adventure with you.
It’s important to distinguish situations in which hyperactivity is normal from situations where the hyperactivity becomes a symptom of health disorder or stress. If anything in your kitten’s behaviour concerns you, don’t delay going to the veterinarian.
If you have something to add or wish to share your hyper kitten experience, please leave a comment.
Thank You For Reading!