Kittens are among the most adorable baby animals, but they are also one of the most confusing. These pint-sized cuties let their curiosity lead them into all kinds of strange behavior. We can’t help but be curious ourselves. Luckily, cat expert Sandy Robins is here to give us some insight into what is causing kitties to act so puzzling.
My kitten has a bad habit of scooting her bum along the floor, particularly carpeting. She doesn’t seem to have a dirty bottom, and she doesn’t have litter box issues. Does she just have an itch? Why else would she do this?
Yes, it means her rear end is itchy. “The most common medical cause is impacted anal glands,” says Weigner. “It can also be a sign of urinary tract disease. Some overweight cats also do this because they can no longer keep themselves clean.”
Consequently, it’s a good idea to book a veterinary visit for proper diagnosis and treatment. This could mean expressing the impacted glands or medication for a urinary tract problem.
“But,” adds Weigner, “some cats scoot along the floor simply because it feels good!”
My kitten likes to sleep on top of my head and in my hair when I’m in bed. Why does she love this spot so much?
“This is the ultimate sign of affection,” says board certified feline practitioner Drew Weigner DVM, ABVP who runs a feline practice in Atlanta called The Cat Doctor.
“My own cat does this, but only when I’ve been gone for a few days. My assumption is that he misses me and this is as close as he can get when I sleep!”
My kitten seems to be a little shy. Whenever I first arrive home, she hides somewhere I can’t reach her, but eventually comes out and cuddles with me. Why does she always hide from me at first, even though she doesn’t seem afraid?
“Even though she does come out and cuddle with you, the way you walk into the house and approach her most likely startles or frightens her,” says feline behaviorist Marilyn Krieger CCBC. “Kittens (and cats) are so tiny compared to people. Also, we walk louder and tower over them.”
“Try a different approach,” suggests Krieger. “When you enter your house, call her name softly. Also, formally greet her. Instead of walking up to her, sit down on the floor or on a chair so that you are not so imposing. Greet her by extending one finger towards her at her nose level. If she feels secure and wants to socialize, she will come up to you, touch your finger with her nose, turn her head until your finger is on her cheek. That is your cue to pet her. If she doesn’t want to fraternize immediately, that’s OK. Eventually she will.”
I am about to adopt a kitten from my local rescue. I’m OK with food, bedding and toys, but how do I choose the best type of litter and litter box for my new friend?
It’s not necessary to purchase a small litter box for a kitten and replace it when she gets bigger. This can be a one-off purchase, in which case, the bigger the litter box, the better. Be wary of closed boxes because often they look large but the actual litter area can be too small as a result of the design.
Cats can be fussy about the litter they will use. Start by asking the shelter what type they have been using and initially purchase the same brand so that the kitten has continuity. However, if you want to switch to something else, do the switchover gradually. Start by adding a small amount of the new brand to your existing selection and slowly increase the amount of the new litter over several weeks until you are only using the brand of your choice.
My kitten will lick his lips for a full five to ten minutes after eating. Why does he do this? Is there an underlying issue?
“For most cats, this is part of their grooming ritual after eating,” explains Weigner. “It also helps to help keep their teeth clean.”
But, because it’s not as efficient as flossing, it’s important for cats to have an annual professional dental checkup and teeth cleaning if necessary.