Cats are creatures of instinct. They often don't need a lot of direction to behave well inside your home. For example, most kittens use the litter box with little intervention needed on the owner's part. However, you can prevent some unwanted behaviors and help your cat socialize more easily with family members if you are proactive about providing the right instruction and equipment for your cat's needs. Here are some tips to help your cat learn good indoor pet behavior.
1. Provide a scratch post.
Cats scratch things to keep their claws healthy. They also scratch to encourage muscle development. A side risk, however, is that a cat will destroy a couch or other piece of furniture. The first line of defense against furniture scratching is to provide your cat with a scratch post so that they will leave the furniture alone. When your cat is young, redirect scratching to the post so that your cat learns not to use furniture or carpets for scratch needs.
2. Teach proper handling.
However, some people also worry about their cats scratching people, especially children. Children should be taught to hold and touch a cat gently. Cats like their space, and some cats may be playful and cuddly, but even those with friendly personalities deserve time alone to decompress. Constantly pressuring a cat will often lead to minor scratch injuries.
You can speak with your vet about getting your cat declawed as a safety measure. Declawing is permanent, and it takes away a cat's first line of defense. If you choose to declaw, you need to remember that you cannot allow your indoor cat to be outdoors alone, because it will not have the means to defend itself against other cats or small animals. Cats without claws will also not mouse, so if you use a cat for a mouse problem, look for alternative methods of de-escalating scratching.
3. Make sure your cat gets enough attention.
Unlike dogs and puppies, cats can be easy to ignore. When left to their own devices, cats are almost self-sufficient, but a good cat owner will spend time bonding with the cat each day and making sure that a cat gets enough stimulation. Playing games, using toys, and even teaching tricks helps to prevent a cat from getting into mischief and can help your cat to have better social behaviors later in life. Playing also prevents health problems, especially obesity. Cats who are not active enough will gain too much weight and struggle with complications like joint trouble and diabetes as they age.
For more information, contact a local vet.