One day you live with an incredibly cute kitten, and the next day it’s replaced by a rebellious cat who gets into mischief. Welcome to the world of feline adolescence.
How do I know if my kitten has become an adolescent?
Normally, adolescence in cats occurs between the ages of 6 and 18 months. This period of transition to adulthood is characterized by a change in behavior that is abrupt enough to be noticed.
Indeed, just as is the case with human teenagers, adolescent cats go through a kind of “identity crisis” that causes them to be somewhat difficult to live with their owners. Several signs can alert to the entry into adolescence of a feline:
1. It marks his territory
Who says adolescence says sexual maturity. This means not only that your cat is now able to reproduce, but also and above all that it is controlled by their hormones. Therefore, it is quite possible that it will start to adopt particularly pronounced marking behaviors.
This results in particular in jets of urine all over the house, but not only. Indeed, the fact that it scratches furniture and rubs against walls are also ways of marking their territory. You may also find them more talkative.
Good to know: to avoid periods of heat and unwanted behavior related to marking the territory, think about having your cat sterilized.
2. It is full of energy
If your normally calm kitten suddenly turns into a real electric battery, look no further: it has reached adolescence. Indeed, adolescent cats tend to be overflowing with energy and, driven by an insatiable curiosity, push their exploration behaviors to the extreme.
In fact, it is not uncommon for them to try to jump higher and higher, to start running all over the house, knocking over objects as they pass, or even to wake you up in the middle of the night. They can also get lost outside while trying to explore further and further the outskirts of their territory.
So not only do they test their own physical limits, but they also push the mental limits of their humans (and other cats in the house if there are any).
3. It is more aggressive
While your kitten was naturally gentle, your teenage cat turns into a wild beast and suddenly begins to take you for prey.
Don’t worry, if your hairball is throwing itself at your ankles to mash them, it’s not because it’s gone crazy but simply because it needs to let off steam. It then adopts a more aggressive playing behavior.
How to manage the adolescence of my cat?
To successfully navigate your cat’s adolescent period, which should end at the age of 24 months, there are a few tips.
First, even if your young cat gets out of control, keep calm with them. And in all circumstances. Indeed, if it acts like this, it is not to be malicious, it is simply obeying his instinct.
Then, be sure to channel his energy using interactive toys that will stimulate them both mentally and physically. These can be puzzles, kibble-dispensing toys, or even a cat tree. The important thing is that it can hunt, climb, scratch… In short, indulge in all their feline activities at will.
But above all, make sure to dedicate one or more playing times to them every day during which it can have fun with you. Not only will this strengthen your bond, but it’s also a great way to entertain them (and exhaust them at the same time).
Also note that education is not just for dogs. It is entirely possible to train your cat to obey commands by using the method of positive reinforcement, that is to say by using and abusing treats and encouragement. However, these training sessions can also be a great way to redirect your cat’s energy.
Good to know: cats living in apartments generally go through a more complicated teenage crisis than cats with access to the outdoors.