Updated Jan 30, 2024
There’s nothing better than the joy of a new kitten, but sometimes those little balls of fluff can get crazy! If your new kitten is bouncing off the walls (literally), our experts at PrettyLitter are here to provide some helpful tips on how to calm a kitten down.
First, we’ll understand why kittens are so hyper in the first place, then we will provide some tips on creating the healthiest environment for them. Finally, we’ll share some of our favorite tips to get the most out of playtime together.
Why is My Kitten so Hyper?
After people adopt a kitten, they sometimes wonder why their kitten is so hyper! This is especially true if a kitten is more subdued at the shelter and then, after a few days at home, their activity level spikes.
All of this newfound energy is completely normal! Kittens play to learn how to be an adult cat and practice some of their most important skills, including running, climbing, and attacking. As your kitten gets older and becomes more familiar with their surroundings, they might push the boundaries even more with aggressive behavior. This could include climbing on furniture, playing roughly with claws and teeth, or attacking other animals in the household.
This behavior is healthy as your kitten develops, but it’s important to know how to redirect it. New cat parents need to identify when kitties calm down to help with their hyperactivity. You don’t want to risk hurting yourself, your cat, or your belongings. Let’s look at some tips on how to calm a hyper kitten down.
Tips for How to Calm a Kitten Down
Ever wondered, “When do kitties calm down?” Every kitten is different and will find different ways to channel its energy, but these tips will help you create a safe environment where your kitten can play to its heart’s content (without damaging anything in the process!).
Create a Regular Playtime
Cats love a consistent routine, and creating playtime at the same time every day will teach them that it’s their time to let it all out. Depending on your kitten, this might be multiple times a day! We will talk more in this article about appropriate play and how to harness your kitty’s rambunctious energy, but creating a playtime routine is the first step.
Depending on your cat’s energy level, this playtime could be 10 minutes or 30 minutes long! Most cat experts recommend that adult cats get at least 30 minutes a day, but young cats likely need even more playtime.
Provides Lots of Places to Play
Creating an enriching environment is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for your cat. As an indoor pet parent, you need to replicate all of the outside stimulation your cat is missing as much as possible. This includes having multiple interactive toys, scratching posts in areas where your cat will actually use them, providing different play levels using a cat tower or cat trees, windowsills, and shelves that your cat can climb on, and having cozy places where they can hide or sleep.
When you enrich your indoor cat’s environment with all the things they need to play, they will be more likely to redirect their energy toward productive exercise rather than toward unwanted behavior such as rough play, scratching your couch, or chasing your toes. And if your indoor space is limited, bringing your cat outdoors for exercise is also an option. You can read more on our blog about how to train a cat to walk on a leash.
Create a Hyperactive Kitten Space
In addition to providing plenty of enrichment, you can also create a space dedicated to your kitten. During those times when they just can’t seem to get all their hyperactivity out, and you have to hop on a video call, put your kitten in their own space with calming music (classical and instrumental work or streaming services like Spotify have cat playlists), lots of toys, and some food and water. If you’ve been wondering where to put a litter box in your house, this could also be an appropriate area.
Tips on Playing with a Hyper Kitten
Of course, the best way to calm a kitten down is to channel their energy into productive playtime so they get tired out and learn how to play instead of destroying or distracting.
We talked about having regular playtime with your new kitten. Once you have that schedule set, it’s time to learn some tips on how to actually play with your cat to keep everyone safe and entertained.
Don’t Use Your Hands and Feet
The first tip when playing with a hyperactive kitten is to not play with them with your fingers or toes. They will be tempted to bat at your feet as you walk or your fingers as you type. While it may be cute when they’re a little kittens, this behavior can get dangerous as they get older.
Instead of playing using your fingers, make sure you always have a fun cat toy handy to redirect their attention. Wand toys that have attachments at the end are always a hit. Or, you could go with the tried-and-true crumpled-up receipt, cotton swab, or hair tie!
Mimic Their Hunting Instincts
Learning how to play with your cat effectively makes all the difference between a hyperactive cat and a cat who is satisfied and tuckered out. The best way to play with your cat is to mimic their natural hunting instincts.
Rather than move a wand toy wildly around and hope your cat will chase it, build up the anticipation by slowly dragging it or moving it around and trying to time their pounce. If you imagine a cat hunting in real life, they are going to spot a wounded bird or mouse and stalk it until it’s the perfect moment to make their move. Simulate this struggle by moving the toy around the corner, under a blanket, or with rustling noises. You’ll quickly get your cat’s attention and once they’re in the hunt, there’s no stopping them!
Try Lots of Different Toys
Just like kids, cats have different preferences on the toys that catch their attention. Try many different options, from crinkle balls to feather toys to battery-operated toys (such as the best cat laser toy), to see which ones your cat prefers.
Don’t want to always buy new toys? Switch out your cat’s toys on a regular basis to make them seem new again! If you notice that your cat is getting bored with the same two or three toys that you always play with, put those away and break out some new ones in the rotation! Your cat will think they’re brand new.
Have a Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Just like when we exercise, cats need a warm-up before playtime and a cool-down after playtime. Because cats are hunters, they need to know that the chase is over and feel satisfied that they caught their prey. When you’re done playing with your cat, start to move the toy more slowly and let your cat catch it more easily. This will teach them that playtime is coming to an end and also satiate that hunter mentality.
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The Strategy for Calming Down a Hyper Kitten
As you can see, the idea behind calming down a hyper kitten is all about redirecting their energy. Young cats are hyper because they are learning about the world around them and how to act like a cat, and it’s up to us as pet owners to create as fulfilling of an environment as possible for them. This includes regular playtime, lots of places to play, and space just for them to calm down.
In addition, how you play with your cat is just as important. Some important things to remember are to not use your fingers and toes as toys, try out many different toys to see which ones your cat likes the best, and to mimic your cat’s natural hunting instincts by playing with them smarter, not always harder. Lastly, providing a “cool-down” for your cat when they are able to catch their prey and feel the satisfaction of their kill is helpful for both calming them down and making them feel accomplished.
And after all that playtime, it’s important to help your kitty refuel with nourishing food. PrettyPlease, our ultra-premium nutrient-rich cat food, contains everything kitties need to feel their best.
What are your favorite ways to play with your little hunter? We’d love to hear!