Kittens tend to be hyper and energetic, which can be a handful at times. Also, kittens can get easily stressed when overstimulated or if exposed to an undesirable experience. As the owner, you should know how to calm a kitten to manage its behavior. This will also reduce your kitten’s stress so that it won’t border to aggression and behavioral problems. You can also try diffusing essential oils, massage, more playtime, and soothing sounds to calm a nervous kitten.
Below, I discussed ten easy steps you can take to calm your kitten. I’ve done this to my kitten Watson, and so far he’s doing great:
1. Let catnip do the trick
One of the easiest ways to calm down an energetic kitten is to give it some catnip. While other pet owners think that catnip will stir up their cat, it can also have an opposite effect. Catnips have been a great choice in soothing a kitten that’s either hyperactive or scared. The best thing is that catnip is generally safe and very effective sedative.
However, not all cats have a gene that reacts to catnip. About a third of the cat population doesn’t respond to this herb. To check if your kitten is one of those, try giving it a small amount of catnip and see how it will react. If it dismisses the ‘nip, you can always try other methods I discussed here.
2. Go inside a quiet room
Is your kitten afraid and always on edge? Bring it inside a quiet room away from the noise or crowd. Cats can get overstimulated through excessive petting or external elements. Loud sounds, sudden changes in the environment, and strangers can stress a kitten.
Changing your cat’s environment will help tone down its nerves. Still, it’s not enough that you bring your kitten in a quiet room. It would be best if you also did other tips I mentioned here to calm and soothe the cat.
If your kitten is nervous and you expect fireworks, many guests, and the likes, it’s best to keep it cozy on a quiet spot.
3. Please give it some playtime
Calming a kitten doesn’t always have to be quiet and gentle. Playtime is also a great distraction from anything that’s exciting or scaring your kitty. Also, by playing with your cat, you’ll burn its extra energy that will help tone down its nerves.
I encourage playtime that stimulates your cat’s instincts. Play games that engage the kitten’s hunting instincts as well as climbing habits. Games like feather and string, interactive puzzles, paper bags, hide-and-seek, and crumpled paper are just some of the energy-busting options.
After 15 to 20 minutes, your kitten would be more interested to nap than to wreak havoc around the household. Make sure that there are no harmful items around and be careful not to tolerate negative behavior like biting, nipping, and scratching. If your kitten does any of this, pause playtime.
4. Have the kitten checked
Sometimes, kittens won’t calm down due to a health condition. While most kittens will become neurotic because of anxiety and fear, some are suffering from hyperthyroidism. This condition will make the kitten increasingly active and thirsty. You will also notice a sudden boost in appetite, accompanied by unexplained weight loss.
You should bring your cat to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. No matter what you do, your cat will remain overly energetic unless its medical condition is treated.
5. Provide a safe space
Kittens should be raised and kept in a safe home. This way, your little feline won’t feel scared, which will save you from guessing how to soothe the cat. Kittens, and even adult cats, are usually fearful of open spaces. With that, make sure that you offer your pet a cozy spot where it can curl and feel safe. A corner with a cat cave is the right choice. This mimics the denning instinct of cats to avoid predators.
Please avoid using your kitten’s crate because it’s usually a source of stress. You’d want a space where your nervous kitten will retreat on its terms. It may take some time for your kitten to acclimate to the safe zone, which is healthy for young felines.
6. Practice spot-cleaning
I’ve talked to a pet expert before, and one thing he told me is to avoid cleaning a kitten’s territory entirely. A squeaky clean cat cage might look good, but it also erases their scent. This will make your kitten confused and anxious.
As much as possible, spot-clean any accidents and dirt. This will keep the scent of your kitten on its zone that makes it easier for them to find their safe space.
Please take note that erasing your kitten’s smell on its safe space will only stir stress. It would not be easy to calm the kitten down because it can’t find its comfort zone.
7. Be around
Sometimes, your presence is more than enough to calm a kitten. Your kitten sees you as its mother the moment you bring it home. So when it’s scared or nervous, it will gravitate towards you to seek comfort and security. In this case, you must comfort the little feline and make sure that it feels secure in your presence.
Cuddling with your kitten will help a lot since felines often find comfort in their humans’ scent. If your kitten tends to be anxious at night, it’s best to keep its bed close to yours for the meantime.
8. Use calming oils and treats
Another great way to calm a nervous kitten down is to diffuse some calming oils. BUT before you proceed, please know that some essential oils like wintergreen, citrus, pine, cinnamon, and sweet birch are HARMFUL to cats. It will help if you avoid these at all costs.
Most vets recommend lavender, frankincense, and copaiba for cats. Still, I recommend consulting your cat’s veterinarian before diffusing any of it to prevent the possibility of poisoning.
If you’re not comfortable diffusing essential oils, you can get calming treats for your kitten instead. There are commercially available calming chews explicitly made for cats, which are infused with naturally calming ingredients. This is also an excellent alternative to catnip if your cat doesn’t respond to such an herb.
9. Put on some white noise
Aside from their keen sense of smell, kittens also have a heightened sense of hearing. This is why your kitten quickly gets scared of a honking car, thunder, and fireworks. If you can’t control such noise, you can play white noise as a buffer so your kitten will calm down.
Each cat is different, and so is their reaction to sounds. Try classical music, nature sounds, and simply the television on. See how your kitten will react and which one works best. You can also pair the soothing sound with diffused lavender oil to help calm your kitten’s tensed mind.
10. Give some kitten massage
Lastly, consider giving your kitten a calming massage. This works a lot if your kitten loves petting or being stroked around the face. The same with humans, massage boosts lymphatic and blood flow among kittens, which can have a soothing effect. However, some cats may not react well to massage due to overstimulation. Again, it’s about knowing what your cat likes.
The key here is finding your kitten’s ‘safe zones’. These are spots that they love being scratched, stroked, or pet. Most of the time, cats love getting massaged on the shoulders, head, tailbone, neck, and tummy. You can also diffuse some lavender oil to boost the calming effect of the massage.
Knowing how to calm a kitten is probably on every cat owner’s checklist. Felines are naturally energetic, while some get scared easily. No matter what, it’s essential to help them tone down to avoid injuries and negative behavior. The tips above will surely help, but you should still consult your cat’s vet for the best advice.