Ask the Expert… Jan-Feb 2015
Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q. We have got two four-month-old kittens. What games can I play with them? Do they respond to their names when called?
Dr KG Umesh: Your kitten needs to play in order to develop her natural instincts. Join in their games and you’ll form a bond that’ll last a lifetime. It’s mostly her mother’s job to stimulate her behavioural development, but as surrogate mother, your role is important too. So, make time to play with them. To start with, buy them a few toys, like a furry mouse and a ball, anything they can play with without hurting themselves (and nothing that can be easily swallowed). Or get creative – something as simple as a paper ball can provide endless hours of fun. Another good idea is to hang something on a length of wool and keep moving it as she tries to catch it. Some kittens enjoy hiding, just to catch you out when you least expect it. This is perfectly natural but it’s best not to encourage it unless you want to get frights for years to come. Ignore her if she does it and she’ll soon cease to find it fun. Your kitten can learn a lot from playing with you. By creating different situations, you can let her know when certain behaviour is unacceptable and, if she’s just arrived in your home and feeling timid, it’s a great way to get her used to her new environment.
Training a cat is very different from training a dog. You won’t be asking her to perform a range of actions such as ‘Sit’ or ‘Heel’. What you can teach her is to respect certain areas of your house and to realise that she isn’t allowed to climb up the curtains or jump on the kitchen counters.